Monday, December 14, 2015

Old Prussian Prison, now Geschichtspark (Moabit)

The relationship between memory and History in Berlin is always really problematic and not simple to understand and this Park just in front of Hauptbahnhof is a very good example: a place which was almost intact has been demolish and then some years later they've made a new public park to create a conceptual memorial park for it.

The prison (a prussian one made by an english model) was built in 1842-1849, in which the prisoners were imprisoned in 520 individual cells. The prison was in nazi time "Symbol für politische Unterdrückung, Folter und Mord" (symbol of political oppression, torture and murder) after the Wehrmacht and the Gestapo created more cells wings. The prison resists to the WWII and was then used by the Allies to imprison some Nazis which had been sentenced to death. It was demolished in 1958.

The spatial impression of a cell has been modeled in a concrete sculpture and in the former central monitoring area, has been created a panopticon. In this prison were forced the men who stands agains the nazis and then killed some days before the fall of Berlin. One of these men was A. Haushofer, who wrote "the moabit sonnets". One of these sonnets (In Fesseln) has been partially painted on the che former prison walls.

To be honest the idea is really nice and is a good way of creating something with is not so strong to watch, but can give the idea of the past in a conceptual way. But the problem remains: what's the meaning to destroy our history today and then to try to recreate it 20 years later?

All images are under CC Creative Commons (Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works), please refer to " darioj laganà | "

Monday, December 7, 2015

Also the Stasi goes to Kino (Lichtenberg)

In Berlin-Lichtenberg, where were the headquarters of the Stasi (MfS), together with the Stasi Museum and not so far from the Prisons of Hohenschönhausen and the Operativ Sector, there are some other mystery buildings, closed, for which is very difficult to understand from the outside what it is inside. 
For a long time I knew about this building but I had no connections to find out how to get in and unfortunately the only time I knew it was open for visiting, I didn't make it in time.
Now that almost all my friends know about my interest for history and Cold War buildings, I've been compensate with a visit to this huge clean and perfectly working place, far from the abandoned dirty broken collapsing ones that we usually see.
This building is not to be considered abandoned, it is more accurate to say that is closed, although after Die Wende it has been used by different companies and different events.
It was hosting a congress center with a cinema (with heated seats) and the translation booths, an hair stylist for the Stasi workers, a supermarket, a garage and a very huge canteen.
It is very fascinating that the building is still working properly, the elevator is working, the electricity and the lights are still on and luckly the vandalism acts are not so common.
For us, who explore Berlin already since 3 years now, it is a splendor to find such places still untouched.

All images are under CC Creative Commons (Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works), please refer to " darioj laganà | "