• Germany's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

David Hasselhoff rallies support for Berlin Wall

The Local · 17 Mar 2013, 17:38

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


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
US tries to block Chinese purchase of Aixtron
Photo: Oliver Berg / DPA / AFP

US President Barack Obama on Friday moved to block a Chinese company's purchase of German semiconductor equipment maker Aixtron by rejecting the inclusion of Aixtron's US business in the deal.

Merkel to chart 2017 election battle at party congress
Photo: Tobias Schwarz / AFP

After Donald Trump's shock victory, Francois Hollande's decision not to seek re-election and populism on the rise, German Chancellor Angela Merkel is next up on the campaign podium to set out her strategy for winning in 2017 polls.

Berlin vs Munich: whose newborn polar bear is cuter?
Berlin's (left) and Munich's (right) newborn bears. Photos: Tierpark Berlin / DPA

Both city zoos welcomed baby polar bears into the world in November, with Berlin zoo its releasing first photos on Friday. But which one is more adorable?

Learn how to speak German like a silver screen icon
Dirty Harry. Photo: DPA

We all agree that there is no other option than to learn irregular German verbs by rote. But when you want a bit of downtime, why not learn from your big screen heroes?

Stolen Dachau 'Work will set you free' gate found: police
The entrance to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Photo: DPA

An iron gate from the former Nazi concentration camp in Germany's Dachau with the slogan "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work will set you free") has been found two years after it was stolen, police said Friday.

Mystery flight path artist draws new message in sky
Photo: DPA

A pilot who likes to draw patterns in the sky using his flight path has returned with his greatest artwork yet.

Berlin 'abusing power' to stop Snowden coming to Germany
Edward Snowden. Photo: DPA

Opposition parties have accused the coalition government of overstepping its authority in its attempt to block American whistleblower Edward Snowden's trip to Germany.

Germany gains record number of Michelin-star restaurants
Head of the Michelin Guide, Michael Ellis (centre) with Michelin-star chefs at a presentation in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Germany had a slew of newly minted Michelin-star restaurants this year, and its top-rated establishments held onto their prestigious three stars.

At last: Germany passes major disabled rights reform
People in wheelchairs watch as the German parliament deliberates on the new disability rights reform. Photo: DPA.

For years people with disabilities in Germany have called for legislation to provide them with better benefits and opportunities in life and work. On Thursday the German parliament passed such a reform - but is it enough?

How new German rules are holding refugee families apart
Children wait for food in Jarablus, Syria. Photo: DPA

Germany, trying to staunch the flow of Syrian refugees, has placed high hurdles for them to be reunited with their families, creating a Kafkaesque nightmare in the courts.

Lifestyle
10 German Christmas cookies you have to bake this winter
Sponsored Article
The key to launching your international career
Lifestyle
Our 10-step guide for doing Christmas just like a German
National
Here's why so many Germans vote for the far-right AfD
National
7 events in Germany that'll make December unforgettable
Lifestyle
7 frosty German sayings to make you a winter wordsmith
National
This is how unequal German society has become
National
Six things you should know about the Lufthansa strike
National
9 ways living in Germany will make you a better person
National
These 10 German Christmas markets cannot be missed
Features
8 German words that unlock amazing secrets in English
Culture
10 German words with simply hilarious literal translations
Lifestyle
7 things Germans do that make foreigners feel awkward
International
Why Donald Trump's grandad was booted out of Germany
National
This is what is really inside your Döner kebab
National
Rejoice! Christmas markets start opening across Germany
Education
These German universities are best at landing you a job
Travel
Why Heidelberg is Germany's most inspiring city
Lifestyle
This soppy German Christmas ad will bring you to tears
National
Here's where Germans speak the best (and worst) English
Culture
10 German books you have to read before you die
Culture
U-Bahn train found filled with autumn foliage in Berlin
Features
Seven German words that unlock amazing secrets about English
Travel
Germany's ten most beautiful towns you've never visited
6,627
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd