From “Knight Rider” to “Baywatch”, David Hasselhoff has always been a hero.
And now life is imitating art once more. The US actor is back in Berlin, ironically to help save the wall he once wanted to destroy.
Above his TV appearances, Hasselhoff is better known by Germans for releasing a schmaltzy song called “Looking for Freedom” shortly before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The longest remaining stretch is now under threat from a property developer who wants to build luxury flats on the site.
Hasselhoff said because of the wall’s great historical importance this was “like tearing down an Indian burial ground”.
“This last piece of the wall is really sacred. It’s the last memorial to the people who died and to the perseverance of freedom,” he told a news conference in Berlin.
After years of people wanting it torn down, the feeling now is that what remains should be left standing.
“The wall has become a symbol and its image has a huge meaning for Berlin’s image and its tourism industry. I think it’s pretty ridiculous how Berlin damages its reputation,” said one woman who turned out to see Hasselhoff visit the site and speak out against the demolition.
Hasselhoff stood in the back of a bus, that served as a makeshift stage, and sang “Looking for Freedom,” with many in the crowd singing along.
Another participant in the demonstration against the developer’s plans said: “I don’t think the wall should disappear, no way, for historical reasons and also because of the people who suffered here. It should be kept as a monument.”
Protestor Andreas Baummueller added: “I hope that the (politicians) realise that this is about much more than just some apartments for a few people. It is about preserving the city’s atmosphere.”
Demolition work was suspended after activists formed a human chain around the threatened section. It remains to be seen if the Hoff can add any clout to the calls for it to remain.