When Albert Speer, Architect of the Third Reich, drew plans for Hitler’s »Welthauptstadt« he had no idea he was about to create a collection of time capsules on par with those of London, Paris, or Rome – cities whose historical significance he sought to eclipse by creating a new World Capital. And they say Germans have no sense of irony …
Tag Archive for Berlin
Berlin: Imagine a City & Stasiland
Welcome to Book Club. Followers of this blog will have noticed a theme developing over the past few posts, and to be honest if you find historical dereliction a worthwhile subject for photography you will sooner or later come across…
Stasi Correctional Facility, Hohenschönhausen
In 1960 my grandfather was abducted by Communist secret police for speaking out against the state. Locked away in a correctional facility that didn’t exist, in a district that wasn’t on any maps, regular people who gave voice to popular opinion were methodically tortured and in some cases killed by civil servants in the name of democracy. Fast-forward 53 years and I’m standing in a cell with my camera, trying not to believe what a former inmate is trying to tell me.
Haus der Offiziere, Wünsdorf
It’s roots firmly in the 19th century, this sleepy town just south of Berlin was not only home and HQ to German high command through both world wars, but also played a crucial role in grooming the Reich’s elite, the olympic sports teams, and housing up to 75,000 secretive Soviets during Russia’s occupation of Germany. Today only ruins remain, and with bunkers below as numerous as buildings above ground you’d be hard pushed to find a site more richly steeped in history.
Kaserne Krampnitz, Germany
Hidden behind the sleepy village of the same name, Krampnitz was originally built for the German cavalry and later used the Soviet army for pretty much the same thing. Today it’s a vast complex of trashed barracks, overgrown parade grounds, and rusting machinery, but it also presents some photogenic secrets for those inclined to keep digging.
Beelitz Heilstätten, Germany
Located just 30 minutes south of Berlin, Beelitz Heilstätten is an urban explorer’s paradise. The former tuberculosis therapy centre features 64 architecturally fascinating buildings in various states of decay / vandalism, and has a long history speckled with famous patients such as Hitler and Honecker. What a lovely destination for a day in the snow …