I went to visit Berlin in the summer of 1997. When I got off the train, I noticed a very heavy police presence (large armored vehicles, lots of police in body armor with automatic weapons). I had no idea why, but I knew something must be up.
As I wandered around, I noticed that there were lots of people wearing the colors (hats, scarves, etc) of soccer teams, so I just assumed that the police were ready in case the fans got rowdy. As I wandered over toward the Brandenburg Gate, I noticed that the police presence was increasing, and I even noticed that some of them were stopping people and searching their bags. I could speak some German, but not well, so I tried to remain inconspicuous.
Then I found a large crowd of protesters. I was curious and tried to make out what was going on, but I couldn’t. I noticed the the police presence at this protest was increasing so I decided to move on. At this time, there were still rebuilding around where the Berlin Wall had been, so it took a little wandering to make my way over to the Brandenburg Gate.
When I got there, I found another crowd of protesters and lots more police. I had no idea what was going on, but I waited to see what was up. Then the Nazis showed up.
A small crowd of people came marching up to the Brandenburg Gate carrying Nazi flags, and the crowds of protesters all made sense. The crowd of Nazis were small (20-50), and the crowd of protesters were very large (a couple hundred at least), and the police were there in force to keep thing under control.
I stayed for a little while, but soon became uneasy because the protesters were none to happy that the Nazis were there. My better judgment overcame my curiosity, and I moved on away from the crowds.
I doubt that I was in any danger, but it was scary and exciting at the time, and my mom nearly had a heart attach when I told her the story. Berlin made for some very good stories.
over 6 years ago