In 1976, my brother was stationed with the US Army in Berlin and the family took the opportunity to visit him in Europe. Of course, it was before the wall came down and the area was heavily fordified. We made the mistake of bringing East Marks into East Berlin and the police confiscated all of them. Things got a little scary when we had to sign a confession admitting to illegally having the money. Right then I realized my freedoms and knew we were at their mercy with a machine gun tower over us. Looking back, it was a good experience for a young American who grew up in California.
Here I am 37 years later standing at Checkpoint Charlie and remnants of the wall are full of tourists taking pictures. The original Checkpoint is standing as well as the sign stating leaving the American sector. I didn’t realize the hotel I stayed in was in old East Berlin until it was brought to my attention. I stood and looked at the streets and none of it looked like the grey and dismal buidlings with oppessed people from years ago. East and West are one and its hard to imagine what occurred many years ago. Thank goodness for progress for this society.