Monday, 7 July 2014


History and names.

Near where we're staying, in Berlin not far from Checkpoint Charlie, two honoured figures of the GDR were remembered in street names I can see on the old map of my other half has from the 1970s, Berlin Capital of the GDR, an official GDR map.  
Wilhelm Külz was a political figure who had bravely stood up to the Nazis in pre-war Dresden, but after the war was compromised by his part in the Liberal Democratic Party in the GDR which helped rubber-stamp the dictatorship.  So perhaps not surprising, but sad given his previous history, that he has disappeared from the map, replaced by the Markgrafenstrasse, back' to Prussian history which has been rather in vogue since the Wall went. 

On the theme of the Wall, there's a piece, apparently, outside our smart block of hotel-suite-Appartments, near Kochstrasse and Checkpoint Charlie. This would have been eerily close to the Wall, maybe empty territory on the Western side, a cul-de-sac world by the hideous inhumanity of the Wall and the deadness it brought all around.
Reinhold Huhn was a border soldier for the East who stopped a man trying to cross in 1962 after the Wall went up. Huhn was shot, but his killer escaped to the West (many didn't survive the varied attempts to get over).
The GDR authorities tried to pursue the case, but this in fact happened, it seems, in the 1990s after the escapee-killer was tried again and although only nominally sentenced to a year's imprisonment, suspended, was eventually found guilty of murder due to the "heimtückisch"  count (a clause that somehow slipped through from the Nazi era).  History is never far away in Berlin, and this sad story has the Cold War, the Nazi era and the post-Wall era all in one. The escapee shot first to protect himself, allegedly, but afterwards blamed East German soldiers for killing Huhn: it also seems he shot the soldier in the back, according to a report, which is where the"heimtückisch" count comes in.
See:,10810590,9629864.html for instance.
Hard to say what's right and wrong, or what's more wrong, sometimes.  Today the Reinhold Huhn Strasse is named after Rudi Dutschke,  the student leader murdered in 1968 - .  Not a great peace-lover or moderate figure himself, however, so an interesting replacement for a soldier on the new "anti-fascist protection wall" as the Communist authorities euphemistically called this monument to state repression.

No telling where the border is now, except for an old map, and the Axel Springer publisher house building, formerly close to the Wall - they campaigned virulently against left-leaning protestors and shortly after Rudi Dutschke was shot (see above).

"What's in a name".  A great deal, in fact, the past, ideas and attitudes, history and live.

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