Why Germans See David Hasselhoff as a Symbol of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

1989 seems like a long time ago, but this year is still recent in the memories of the people of Berlin, Germany. Until 1989, the Berlin Wall divided the city and its citizens, with those on the east living in Communism, and those on the west in Capitalism. The wall was was heavily policed, and attempting to cross was a deadly act of courage.

Thankfully the city (and the country) was eventually reunited. Many factors contributed to the fall of the Berlin Wall, and, weirdly, to some Germans David Hasselhoff is a symbol of its removal.

Yes, the guy we best remember for a being the hot 1980s super-stud from Baywatch has a special place in modern German history.

We may know Hasselhoff best for being a fake lifeguard, but Germans associate him with their freedom.

That’s because, in addition to acting, Hasselhoff also sings. His first album, 1985’s Night Rocker, was pretty successful when it was came out, but he became iconic in Germany in 1988 when he released a song called “Looking for Freedom,” in an album with the same name.

Though it was released in June 1989, many Germans were still listening to it when the wall came down several months later, on November 9, 1989.

To be clear, the star insists that he’s not responsible for the fall of the Berlin Wall in any way.

But it’s logical that some German fans at the time associate his song with the momentous event in history because of its timing.

Hasselhoff has spoken to various media about his memories of this era. He told TIME he was moved by his experience touring in Germany in 1989. When he was asked to perform, he said, he’d only do it if he would be allowed to perform at the wall, WHICH HE DID.

Of the experience, he said,

“I remember it like it was yesterday. There was a camera on the crane, and I wasn’t playing to the camera. Usually you play to the camera. I just kept bending over and playing to the crowd because I was so moved by the experience.”

No matter what Hasselhoff says about his connection to the Berlin Wall, it’s clear his German fans will always have a special place for him in their hearts because he was the man who sang about freedom.

Is there anything that surprised you about David Hasselhoff and his special place as a pop culture icon in Germany? Let us know here!