'American Soldiers' Banned at the Berlin Wall for Allegedly Harassing Tourists (Video)
Authorities in Berlin have banned actors portraying American soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie, the famous Cold War-era gateway between East and West Berlin.
According to The BBC, German authorities say that the nearly 20-year practice has exploited tourists when actors aggressively demand money for posing in photos. The actors pose for photos with tourists, “stamp” fake passports and then encouraged visitors to pay three Euros for the service.
The actors are part of a company known as Dance Factory. This week, Berlin authorities revoked the group’s performing license after undercover cops dressed as tourists saw the performers’ behavior.
Tom Luszeit, the head of Dance Factory, contests all the reports and told CBS News that the group’s performing license was revoked over a technicality. He also was insistent that the performers do not harass tourists and only held up signs asking for donations.
The Berlin Wall separated East from West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. The checkpoint was the site where many East Berliners tried to flee to the West and many lost their lives while doing so. When the wall came down, Checkpoint Charlie became a popular spot for tourists.
However, many Berliners are upset about what they see as the “Disneyfication” of the historical spot. Visitors to Checkpoint Charlie today can purchase Soviet Red Army fur hats or pieces of the Berlin Wall itself.
Saturday, November 9, marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.