• Germany's news in English
 

David Hasselhoff rallies support for Berlin Wall

Published: 17 Mar 2013 17:38 GMT+01:00

“This is like tearing down an Indian burial ground. It’s a no-brainer,” the 60-year-old former Baywatch star told reporters at a packed press conference at a club near the Wall. “This is the last memorial to the people who died and to the perseverance of freedom.”

“Somebody said to me: ‘What if they tore down the Brandenburg Gate?’ I think there’d be a bit of a protest there too. If you tried to get near 9/11, where [the terror attacks] happened, you’d have a lot of problems,” he said.

The segment of the Wall in question is known as the East Side Gallery, a tourist attraction and one of the few remaining signs of Berlin's Cold War division. After German reunification in 1990, the 1.3-kilometre stretch of concrete barrier was covered in colourful murals from artists around the world.

But plans for a high-end residential development along the banks of the Spree River as well as providing access to a footbridge require a 22-metre part of the Wall to be dismantled. After angry demonstrations in recent weeks, the plans have been put on hold. Talks with the Berlin government and local district authorities are set to commence on March 18.

After hearing about the demolition work, Hasselhoff, known affectionately by his fans as The Hoff, decided to travel to Berlin to voice his support for the protestors fighting to keep the East Side Gallery intact. He also took the opportunity to recount his experiences of traveling through East Germany shortly after the Wall fell.

Click here for a gallery of The Hoff in Berlin

“It was staggering and overwhelming. The only place they had a flat road was in front of where politicians lived,” he said. “The food in Leipzig tasted like shoe leather. There was acid rain all over the cars. They had lived in acid rain for the last twenty odd years.”

When asked by The Local if he’d consider buying part of the Wall, he laughed and said: “There’s no way I could afford it. But together we can work to raise the money.”

As he left the conference to begin the planned walk alongside the last remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, he provided a heartfelt rendition of his 1989 hit “Looking for Freedom” to the delight of the crowd awaiting him outside.

Hasselhoff has repeatedly stated that singing the song to half a million East and West Germans in front of the Brandenburg Gate just a few months after the Wall fell was one of the most special moments in his life.

But many of the thousands of people who turned up to witness the spectacle were sceptical about the difference The Hoff’s presence would make.

“Anything that raises awareness will help. But you’ve got to ask yourself whether people are here to support the Berlin Wall or whether they’re only here to see David Hasselhoff,” Lisa Goldschmidt, an onlooker, said.

The general opinion, however, was that anything that brought attention to the cause and garnered extra publicity would have a positive effect.

“Whether you take him seriously or not, you have to recognize that his appearance today has mobilized a lot of people,” said Phil Boyd, who was keeping his distance from the melee provoked by Hasselhof's exit from the riverside club.

"The fact that international media have turned up to cover this will only increase awareness of the situation."

Matthew Luxmoore

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

20:33 March 17, 2013 by pepsionice
If he could master a half-way decent bit of German....they'd hire him for a hit-German-cop TV series, and he'd be a star again. He just doesn't realize the value in his career left....if he just stayed in Germany.
09:15 March 18, 2013 by Steve1949
I'd say he probably sand everyone to sleep. He wasn't much of an actor but yes, maybe in Germany he could be a star since the Germans like him so much. He's even less of a singer.
14:29 March 18, 2013 by simi1983
what do you mean as the Germans like him so much? it's a nice offer but the U.S. really can keep him :p
17:54 March 18, 2013 by lordkorner
More a case of rallying support for his own feeble career.
23:47 March 18, 2013 by luise28
Well, as an American who Loves Berlin, I personally don't care for Hasseldorf, but I would hope they would keep portions of the Berlin Wall, as it is so historically important. Perhaps to Berliners it's too harsh a memory, but the message it imparts to the world is very important. And tourists from around the world will go to see it, but they will have no interest in touring new apartments. Please keep portions of the wall as a reminder of freedom's triumph.
17:04 March 19, 2013 by franconia
A foot bridge? This is "THE WALL" , and i have plans for a tunnel instead. It would be a lot more appropriate. It can be constructed to look like a 60s or 70s tunnel with photos of the originals on either side. Because everyone sees the wall above and has no clue what went on below the wall. We must never forget the tunnelrats.
Today's headlines
Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture
A fissure on the Autobahn near Heidelberg. Photo: DPA

Extreme heat causes Autobahn to rupture

The heatwave sweeping across the country may have Germans flocking to the sea this weekend, but the extreme temperatures are also causing Autobahns to break apart. READ  

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Nazi island resort to be turned into luxury flats

A vast Nazi mega-complex meant as holiday homes for German workers and later used by the Soviets as a Cold War barracks is about to be turned into luxury flats. READ  

Greece crisis
'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble
A poster of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens reads "For five years he has sucked your blood. Now tell him NO." Photo: DPA

'Bundestag must vote on new bailout': Schäuble

UPDATE: Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Friday that there would be no quick release of bailout funds to Greece after the country's referendum on whether to accept its creditors' terms on Sunday. READ  

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp
The new Deutsche Post stamp showing the Dalai Lama. Photo: DPA

Activists give Dalai Lama 80th birthday stamp

Pro-Tibet activists have created a new limited-edition stamp featuring the Dalai Lama to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 80th birthday. READ  

Women's World Cup
'Germany will crack England': top coach
Star striker Celia Sasic. Photo: DPA

'Germany will crack England': top coach

The manager of European champions FFC Frankfurt told The Local he expects Germany to beat England in the third place play-off in the Women's World Cup, and predicted his protege Celia Sasic will grab a goal or two. READ  

NSA surveillance scandal
Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying
Chancellor Angela Merkel, the highest-profile German victim of NSA spying, speaking on the phone. Photo: DPA

Calls grow for govt to act on NSA spying

Green Party security expert Konstantin von Notz told The Local on Friday that Chancellor Angela Merkel is failing to restore faith in the German-US partnership following fresh spying revelations. READ  

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds
Ilka Semmler and Katrin Holtwick. Photo: DPA file

Germany reach semis of beach volleyball worlds

Germany's top beach volleyball pair are storming the world championships in Holland and prepare to face Brazil in the semis on Friday. READ  

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues
Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks. Photo: DPA

Environment minister blasts Merkel, colleagues

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks loosed a broadside against her cabinet colleagues on Friday in a guest article for Die Welt, saying that they had decided to do too little to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in a way that would cost too much. READ  

Greece crisis
BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'
Image: BILD/screenshot

BILD polls readers in own 'Greece referendum'

Tabloid Bild continued its campaign against bailouts for Greece on Friday by calling its own "referendum", asking readers to fill out a poll on whether Germany should keep stumping up. German politicians were divided on how the Greek vote would affect Europe. READ  

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar
The Panther tank removed from a cellar in Kiel, with a prosecutors' evidence label attached to its barrel. Photo: DPA

Police confiscate WW2 tank hidden in cellar

Police searched a villa in a wealthy suburb of Kiel on Wednesday and found a Second World War tank, a torpedo and other weaponry in the cellar. On Thursday they were still working on removing the tank. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Police seize pensioner's WW2 heavy weapons haul
National
How to survive the Europe-wide heatwave
Sport
Is Schweini already out of the door at Bayern?
Politics
How German media shaped the Greece crisis
National
Car assembly robot crushes worker at Volkswagen
Rhineland
Weathermen red-faced over heatwave snow warning
Society
An eye for an eye? Mum protects child in playground with pepperspray
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's final day in Germany
National
As it happened: Queen Elizabeth's second day in Germany
National
Queen Elizabeth II's first day in Germany - as it happened
National
Bus passengers tell fake racists where to get off
Politics
What's really in the Queen's handbag?
National
Germans say USA doesn't respect freedom
National
Yes, you CAN buy adult e-books before 10pm in Germany
VIDEO: Watch a 93-metre turbine crash to earth in slow motion
Gallery
Who's got a shot at the German Film Awards
Rhineland
Anger over 'child-free' beer garden
National
How do you do, Majestät?
National
Man defends right to pee in public with tear gas
Features
The Germans who won Waterloo for the British
Frankfurt
Should Germany ban circus animals?
Hamburg
Where people are having the most sex in Germany
Culture
Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Not this student...
National
Dresden's three-decade-long red light
Politics
Upper house calls for gay marriage now
Berlin
Berlin named 3rd-best city worldwide
Sport
In search of the toughest firefighter
Business & Money
German firms shine for European engineering students
Gallery
Hitler's paintings up for auction
National
German's 70-year search for murdered US pilot
Politics
What the G7 leaders agreed at Elmau
Business & Money
What really makes Germans happy
National
Playmobil builder leaves worldwide legacy
National
The car share that became a drug run
Politics
What Snowden revealed to Germany
Rhineland
Why wolf cubs are being raised by hand
National
Hitler's booze cave found
National
Environment makes Germany worth living in
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,945
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd