Cold War Foreclosure: Checkpoint Charlie Memorial Razed by Bank Bulldozers

A Cold War memorial consisting of 1,065 large wooden crosses and a 140 meter stretch of rebuilt Berlin Wall was razed yesterday by bulldozers under court order despite efforts by 200 protesters who demonstrated in heavy rains. The monument was built last year near the historic Berlin East/West crossing Checkpoint Charlie by the privately owned Berlin Wall Museum as a memorial to the more than a thousand people who died trying to flee East Germany.

The court ordered that the property be cleared after the owner of the land, the BAG Bank, reclaimed it when the lease ran out and the museum was unable to raise the £20.5 million price. Despite the fact the "wall" was fake and laminated plastic name shields pinned to the crosses gave an adhoc feel to the monument it quickly became a prominent tourist attraction in Berlin where there is little left of the real wall that once stretched for 27 miles through the city. Both civic authorities and historians had argued that the memorial was inaccurate and simplistic and the German parlimement recently approved a plan to build a memorial to "The Wall" at the Brandenburg Gate.

The Times of London quoted German MP Stephan Hilsberg as saying "I never thought that the wall would disappear as it has done. I think the city government has been almost criminally neglectful in how it has dealt with the legacy of the wall. It canít do much at Checkpoint Charlie now because itís sold the land there."

Times of London: Bulldozers clear tribute to 1,000 Cold War victims

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