Germans Admit They Hung White Flags Over Brooklyn Bridge

Ariel Cohen Contributor
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The pranksters who removed the American flags from the Brooklyn Bridge and hung white flags in their place have finally surrendered.

Two artists in Berlin called The New York Times Tuesday, admitting they swapped two bleached white flags for the American flags which usually hang over New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge.

On the morning of July 22, two bright white flags flew atop the bridge’s 276-foot towers, instead of the usual two American flags. It took the NYPD weeks to discover the perpetrators.

Mischa Leinkauf and Matthias Wermke, the two Germans who hung the flags, turned in a video to The New York Times on Tuesday proving their role in the crime. They say it was not an act of malice or terrorism, and that they hoped to celebrate “the beauty of public space” with the flags.

The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by 19th century architect John Roebling, who died on July 22, 1969.

“We saw the bridge, which was designed by a German, trained in Berlin, who came to America because it was the place to fulfill his dreams, as the most beautiful expression of a great public space,” Leinkauf said. “That beauty was what we were trying to capture.”

The German artists said they carried the white flags in backpacks and climbed up the cables workers and police use to reach the towers around 3:00 a.m. Neither Leinkauf nor Wermke saw the security cameras.

The artists said they made the flags themselves, alternating two shades of white fabrics.

When the two Germans removed the American flag from the bridge they allegedly ceremonially folded them, “following the United States flag code.”

“This was not an anti-American statement,” Wermke insisted.

“From our Berlin background, we were a little surprised that it got the reaction it did. We really didn’t intend to embarrass the police.” Leinkauf added.


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Ariel Cohen