Stop and rock: New Elvis Presley traffic light flashes in Friedberg

The King is back. He's helping pedestrians cross the road in Friedberg, north of Frankfurt, with his trademark swinging hips.

Stop and rock: New Elvis Presley traffic light flashes in Friedberg
Elvis in action. Photo: DPA

The Wetterauer Zeitung reported Wednesday that Elvis Presley had been immortalized in three pedestrian lights in the Hessian city.

The red light shows the singer, who died in 1977, standing at the microphone. When the signal changes to green, Elvis is seen with his hands up performing his famous dance move.

The new signal system has been installed around the city's Elvis Presley Square.

Local politician Marion Götz told the paper that the Elvis traffic lights, which were designed by an artist, cost around €900.

The Elvis red light. Photo: DPA

So why has Elvis become an 'Ampelmann' or traffic light man? Well, because the rock 'n' roll star was stationed as a soldier in Friedberg from October 1958 to March 1960, and lived in neighbouring Bad Nauheim during this time. The King is therefore a big deal in both these cities.

Not only are there Elvis Presley clubs active in both cities, in Bad Nauheim there are still sites of pilgrimage where fans lay candles, flowers or gifts for their idol.

There is also a 'European Elvis Festival' in Bad Nauheim, while a bronze statue of the singer is also being planned for the city.

'Tourist attraction'

Götz, of the Social Democrats, said the city wanted to make the lights eye-catching for tourists. Elvis fans are likely to want a picture of the spectacle. The project was approved by police who had to check if it was safe.

The initial reactions have been positive, reported the newspaper. “Good idea.” “Witty.” “Something different,”  were some of the reactions. A passerby added: “I was a bit surprised, but as always I wait for green.” So road safety is still guaranteed.

In recent years, some traffic lights in Germany have undergone transformations.

One of the most famous is the Karl Marx lights in the communist philosopher's birthplace of Trier. The lights were installed earlier this year, marking the 200th anniversary of Marx's birth in 1818.

SEE ALSO: Walkers of the world unite: Marx traffic light installed in his hometown of Trier

The most famous traffic light is found in Berlin. Created in 1961, Ampelmänner guarded the roads in the formerly communist half of Germany while sporting a pointy hat and a jaunty stride.

But today the creative characters exist beyond pedestrian crossings, having become a popular Berlin souvenir in all kinds of shapes and sizes.

SEE ALSO: East Germany's iconic traffic man turns 50


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Ex-police officer and wife arrested over far-right letters in Germany

Prosecutors said Monday they arrested a former police officer and his wife who they suspect of having sent threatening emails to politicians and other public figures across Germany, signing them off with a neo-Nazi reference.

Ex-police officer and wife arrested over far-right letters in Germany
A police officer in Kassel, Hesse in 2019. Photo: DPA

A 63-year-old former officer who already has a police record over previous far-right crimes and his wife, 55, were detained on Friday in the Bavarian town Landshut in the case that has sparked a row over right-wing extremism within German law enforcement.

“Both are suspected of sending several emails with insulting, hate inciting, threatening content to parliamentarians and various other addressees,” said Frankfurt prosecutors in a statement.

READ ALSO: Hesse police face claims of links with far-right scene

The unnamed suspects have since been released as prosecutors said they did not have sufficient evidence as yet to remand them in custody.

But investigators were combing through data carriers seized from the suspects.

The anonymous messages were all signed “NSU 2.0”, a reference to the German neo-Nazi cell National Socialist Underground that committed a string of racist murders in the 2000s.

The so-called “NSU 2.0” affair has already claimed the scalp of police chief Udo Münch of the state of Hesse, who resigned after it emerged that police computers were used in the search for details about a far-left politician who subsequently received one of the threatening letters.

Germany's defence minister last month ordered the partial dissolution of the elite KSK commando force over right-wing extremism.

While right-wing extremism was once thought to plague mostly eastern states, Hesse was shaken last year by the murder of pro-migrant politician Walter Luebcke, allegedly at the hands of a neo-Nazi.

It was also in the Hessian city of Hanau that a man gunned down nine people of foreign origin in February this year.

READ ALSO: What is Germany doing to combat the far-right after Hanau attacks?