East Germany’s Soviet Heritage

Due to widespread demonization and digitally categorising everything in good and evil, some Westerners will surely misunderstand my photo series “East Germany’s Soviet Heritage” thoroughly as being propaganda or glorification. I do the project primarily because of my huge interest in history and Soviet Union as well as Communist times being definitely everything but boring. Both things are unique and, no matter if I want it or not, they are part of my life and me growing up.

It is quite shattering and stirring to get to know afterwards that in Vogelsang, being located only some 80km far away from where I grew up, nuclear missiles pointed to the west. Vogelsang wasn’t the only place with special weapons as even in my lovely little Rüdersdorf the Soviet’s deployed death-bringing SS-1b and SS-1c missiles, better known as SCUDs, being operated by 452th detachment of 27th ballistic missile brigade back in the days.

Death-bringing? Yes, death-bringing, as for us and our little Rüdersdorf village that meant to be on the radar screen and in the hair cross of the West in terms of a potential (nuclear?) counterattack. I would have never thought about that when our Socialist school classes celebrated friendship in Old Rüdersdorf, at the Soviet base…

Fortunately there are plenty of places left not being dedicated to assault or defence, but for commemoration. Their typical Soviet or Communist iconography stands for a universal and noble message to all humans:

Never ever war! – the most essential message of my photo series

When editing out any hegemony then we East Germans were part of a pretty special part of human history, a story without Starbucks, McDonalds & Co. The people of East Germany didn’t take the streets back in 1989 for instant soups, bananas and fattening candies, but to breast an incapacitating and humiliating system; to change or disempower it. The success of 1989 was the beginning of the end and the actual root of my decay displaying photo series. No system, no regime, no empire lasts forever!

New hegemonial presumptuous attempts to establish an empire are already looming at the horizon trying to have their foot in our door. US military bases on German territory, where death-bringing drones get operated from, as well as secret torture prisons where innocents get detained, have the very same character like Stasi repressions and Soviet SCUD missiles in the forest of Rüdersdorf.

High Command of Soviet Army in Wünsdorf near Berlin

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High Command of Soviet Army in Wünsdorf near Berlin

Tank battalion in Krampnitz near Potsdam near Berlin

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Tank battalion in Krampnitz near Potsdam near Berlin

Abandoned Soviet garrison Vogelsang

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Abandoned Soviet garrison Vogelsang

Soviet WWII memorial in Berlin Treptow

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Soviet WWII memorial in Berlin Treptow

Soviet WWII cemetery in Berlin Schönholz

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Soviet WWII cemetery in Berlin Schönholz

Sperenberg airfield

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Abandoned garrison and airfield near Sperenberg in the south of Berlin

Löwen-Adler barracks / Olympic Village

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Löwen-Adler barracks / Olympic Village

Soviet War Memorial in Berlin-Tiergarten

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Soviet War Memorial Berlin-Tiergarten

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