Checkpoint Charlies: Irreverent tributes to Berlin's brutal past spark outrage





They were icons of the Cold War: the Brandenburg Gate symbolised the division of Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie was the East-West crossing of spy novel fame, where heavily armed Allied soldiers and Communist border guards confronted each other.

Now two figures stand as if frozen in front of the Brandenburg Gate. One is dressed in the uniform of an East German border guard, the other as a Soviet army officer. Both are covered from top to toe in sickly dark green paint to make them look like weathered bronze statues.

"Even we notice the crisis," one of them complained during a rare coffee break in which they were allowed to open their mouths. "We're not getting the trade that we used to." The pair were charging tourists €1 apiece to be photographed with them.




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