You’ll no longer see soldiers at Berlin’s Checkpoint Charlie
A new ruling has now been introduced, forbidding actors posing as US army soldiers from making money from visitors at Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War from 1947 to 1991.
Checkpoint Charlie was the name given to the crossing point by the Western Allies, and since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, hordes of visitors have been attracted to it. Bild has reported that, despite saying that they only accept voluntary donations for issuing passport stamps and posing with visitors at Checkoint Charlie's wooden hut, police found otherwise and reported the performers after carrying out an undercover operation.
They alleged that rather than the donation being voluntary, the actors demanded €4 (£3.50) per photo. This resulted in the public order office in Mitte informing the theatrical agency supplying the actors that the practice is illegal, unless supported by a special permit, which it is not prepared to issue.
The practice has been going on for 17 years and involves around ten actors. Following the ruling, their agency, Dance Factory, has asserted that it will fight the ban. It is believed that removing the actors is part of a plan to give appropriate historical treatment to the Berlin Wall border point going forward.