The Wall – Good Riddance

Posted: August 13, 2011 in Geopolitics
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Today is the 50th anniversary of the erection of the Berlin Wall. A little known fact is that the “wall” actually ran the entire length of the Inner German Border.

I saw the wall at a place called Hof in 1989, near the Inner German-Czech border. I was serving as an officer at 4th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Germany at the time. We visited a unit of the 2nd Armoured Cavalry Regiment near there. They took us to a border point. It was sobering to see the “wall.” Two rows of chain link fences about six feet apart with barbed wire and electrified wires at the top. There was also a wire running down the middle with a very mean half-starved German Shepherd patrolling his particular length of fence. Nearby there was a concrete guard tower about 50 feet off the ground manned with border guards with AK47s and, no doubt, machine guns.
At the location they brought us, there was an East German textile factory just on the other side, with women looking at us from the windows, and waving. The American Staff Sergeant had warned us all prior to going that we were not to wave back at the girls because the East Germans would take pictures and then doctor them, say to show a NATO soldier flipping the bird instead of innocently waving at a pretty girl on the other side. Wouldn’t you know it, we weren’t there 30 seconds that some dolt couldn’t help himself and waved back. The American NCO immediately sent him back to the bus.
Our German translator stood there and had tears in his eyes. It was sobering and moving, and I will never forget the experience.

© 2011 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted for non-commercial purposes with full and proper attribution.

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