Report on West Berlin’s paedophile rings ‘the tip of the iceberg’

Three decades after it vanished, West Berlin is portrayed in a new report not just as an anything-goes playground for artists, drop-outs and draft-dodgers – but also for paedophiles.

A study of child abuse in West Berlin between 1970 and 2000 searched state and private archives, finding that paedophile groups targeted children who had run away from home or were neglected.

Ingo Fock grew up neglected in the West Berlin neighbourhood of Kreuzberg. His young mother worked and, after school, the 10-year-old spent the afternoons in a neighbour’s photography shop.

After building up trust, the man took naked pictures of the boy, which he then used to blackmail him into meeting his “friends” in a private apartment. There Ingo and other children were passed around to other men: a dentist who liked role play and a judge who told Ingo that he could make any complaints he made to the police disappear.

Soon, one of the men began selling Ingo to other men behind West Berlin’s Zoo Station, a place infamous due to the book and film about teenage drug addict and prostitute Christiane F.

“The police were always going along there but they never did anything,” said Ingo. “What would have happened if they had intervened and asked: ‘What, exactly, is going on here?’ ”

Kevin from East Berlin was just 13 when a school caretaker began abusing him. When the wall fell he, too, found himself selling sex at the train station and remembers the light touch of police: “Sometimes they gathered us up and drove us to the suburbs, saying ‘We don’t want to see you at the station for a while’.”

Tolerant attitude

The study’s authors say paedophilia was accepted – or at least tolerated – by many in West Berlin liberal circles.

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