A Day of Shame


One of the last remaining parts of the Wall in the Berlin city center was removed today, together with 1,065 large black crosses commemorating the 1,065 people that were shot dead by the former Communist regime of the so-called German “Democratic” Republic (GDR) as they tried to flee to freedom.


Pictures from: Davids Medienkritik

The crosses, bearing the names of the victims, were erected in October 2004 by Alexandra Hildebrandt, the owner of the Wall Museum near Checkpoint Charlie, on a nearby piece of land which she had rented for the purpose from a bank.

Her initiative to remember the victims of the communists was criticised by the left-wing government coalition of Socialists and former Communists now governing Berlin. The bank terminated the contract for the land and a court ruled that the crosses had been erected illegally and ordered them to be taken down. Hildebrandt refused to do so, whereupon the city authorities decided to act. More than 150 former political prisoners of the GDR regime and sympathisers, including christian-democrat politicians, had tried to prevent the demolition by chaining themselves to the crosses, but they were forcibly removed this morning by 190 policemen and the crosses were taken down. The first cross to fall was that carrying the name of Erwinn Neumann who died on 3 July 1967 while attempting to reach the West.

Relatives of those killed described the forced removal of the crosses dedicated to their loved ones as a “second murder.” “We really don't have much left to say about this outrage. The anger inside all of us right now is simply too much,” one ashamed German commented in his weblog. You would think the Communists had won the Cold War instead of losing it.