Andrews Barracks, circa 1940s, home of
Hitler's Leib Standarte Elite bodyguard
troops, was built in 1872 as a school for
Kaiser Willhelm's cadet corps. It was con-
verted to Hitler's barracks in 1933.
This 1946 photo of the bombed church
was taken from virtually the same
location as the one I took pictured
at right in 1967. An old, newly acquired
friend, Mac, took this when he landed
in Berlin with the 1st Allied Airborne
Army, 279th Station Hospital unit.
Mac has an entire collection of
1940s photographs on his web sites.
(Visit him at <firstname.lastname@example.org>)
The Berlin Wall, which separated West and East Berlin, was an omnipresent
structure, and several times during my stay there, a death trap for persons
fleeing from the east to the west. This view at Checkpoint Charlie was from
a small wooden stand erected for visitors who wanted to peer into the gray,
desolate city of East Berlin.
The photo of Checkpoint Charlie (right) is about a half
block away from the one above. Bruce Ford, secretary-webmaster of FSBVG, (Field Station Berlin Vets Group),
took this shot during his tour with the ASA in 1968.
He donated it and a few others, which appear on other
pages for reference photos. Thanks Bruce!
The Kurfurstendam, the main thoroughfare through downtown Berlin, was
busy night and day every day. Along the Ku'damn were shops, clubs, pubs,
restaurants, galleries, and business and office buildings forming West
Berlin's main business and culture center. Photo, 1966, taken from the
The Kurfurstendam was alive at night with passing traffic, sights, and shops with
bright lights. I felt the energy of the city when I perused the downtown streets.
There were actual times when I stayed out of the bars and pubs, believe it or not.
The first black Volkswagen on the right was owned by good friends of mine. I hope
they are still well and happy together. If either one sees this, please contact me
through my e-mail address on the last page.
French soldiers sat outside at a cafe while local downtown businessmen and
women carry on as usual. The French were rather standoffish to us, or maybe
it was us to them. I had no idea their level of occupation and mission in
West Berlin. That made no difference. The French women were intriguing, to
say the least. "N'oubliez Jamais!"
The actual concrete Berlin Wall began going up on the night of August 13, 1961, and many Berliners woke up to find themselves trapped in the communist controlled east sector. Pictured here under new construction in November, 1961, the wall was actually built in four stages over the course of the next five years, and was not actually a wall for many years. Besides the immediate concrete structures near downtown the rest was fence, barbed wire and barricades stretching for 96 miles through the remote sections of the city. The crumbling of the wall began in late 1988, and ended in November, 1989 as denizens poured through the Brandenburg Gate, and celebrated on top of the wall drinking wine and dancing for days. One of the largest representative obstacles of freedom became history.
(Photo, courtesy FSBVG)
Freedom had its price tag, not only in WWII, but in every war fought from the beginning of civilization. The millions of lives lost during the war on Germany, and the eradication of Hitler's sworn enemies, was by far the largest on the scales of justice and freedom at a huge cost. That's why we were there, to insure freedom was granted to those who sought it. Theoretically that's also why we were in Vietnam during the era of the 1960s and 70s, but it seemed no one in that country wanted their freedom.
If you would like to have any of these photographs please order them from me. The quality will be much better than you see here on the screen. The money I charge barely covers the cost and shipping and handling of prints.
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