The setting for my first novel was post-Cold War Berlin. The picture I have attached is of the no man’s land between East and West Berlin where people were actually killed for trying to escape communism to the West. My family and I lived in West Germany when the Iron Curtain fell in Europe. Less than a year later we moved to Berlin just before the reunification of Germany. We lived there for four years, leaving in 1994 when the US Army left Berlin. The first year we lived in Berlin was very exciting. The Soviet Union was had severe budget problems and Soviet Soldiers who were stationed at Potsdam, Germany were selling military equipment in the streets of Berlin and flea markets. This didn’t go unnoticed. The German Police started a crackdown to prevent this equipment, which at times included small arms would not get into the hands of criminals. My wife actually saw these items being sold on one of her trips to the flea markets. As the unification of Germany began to be implemented East German factories and government workers were laid off. They received unemployment benefits, but their morale was at rock bottom. Several former NAZI officers took this opportunity to buy these unemployed men a beer and explain to them that the immigrants were the problem. Thus began a resurgence of Neo-NAZIs. Immigrants were beaten by drunken gangs. There was also an increase in crime in the city. Before unification Berlin was a safe city, women could ride the subway system without fear of being attacked. Unfortunately, this came to an end when an old lady was killed for her purse. The German Police cracked down on crimes, but they found several Neo-NAZIs within the police force. The Americans in Berlin were spared most of this crime. The real focus was on immigrants with the cry of “immigrants out.” I cannot imagine a better scene for a murder mystery. Unfortunately, I took no action on the idea for over 18 years.
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