I was driving through the former East Europe, with friends, the year the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Empire fell. We went from Budapest to East Berlin. We stayed at an East Berlin modern hotel a few hundred yards from the former Berlin Wall right at Checkpoint Charlie.
It was evening when we checked into the hotel. After dinner I was anxious to go for a walk in West Berlin. East Berlin was grey and dank.
I went to Checkpoint Charlie which had a gate for pedestrians where the constabulary was charging $1.50 in West German marks to cross into West Berlin. I had coins for $1.45 which I gave to the guard and explained that I was a tourist and hadn’t been able to get to a bank for currency before they closed in the afternoon. I said this in English and broken French.
The guard told me “NEIN”. No explanation would change his mind.
At this point I concluded I was dealing with the classic German mentality that had killed millions of my people and many of my relatives.
I went back to the hotel and stayed the next two days in the hotel swimming pool and reading. We left Germany early.