Haus der Offiziere
The pictures in this post were taken with an old camera and with a mobile phone.
I have visited Germany quite a few times, to visit abandoned places.
Among other things, there are a lot of old military installations and decay. One of them is the old headquarters of the Soviet forces in Germany during the Cold War. Today, the site is being taken care of to ensure that the building does not fall into disrepair.
A long military history
The area has a long military history dating back to the 1870s. But the place as it looks today has pretty much only remnants of the Soviet forces. It is also a large Lenin statue that receives in front of the main building. Due to the approximately 40,000 Soviet soldiers stationed here, the area was called Little Moscow in East Germany.
Little Moscow had goods in the shops known at home from the Soviet Union, and trains went from here directly back and forth to Moscow. The officers could bring both wives and children to the area, but the lower-rank soldiers had some restrictions on life during the secondment.
For the German citizens, the area was known as the Forbidden City, and only a few could access the buildings with their work permits. Otherwise, there are stories that if you bribed some of the Soviet soldiers, you could come in and get access to cheap cigarettes and schnapps.
The area was abandoned in 1994, and for the soldiers, it was at short notice they were sent back to Moscow. They were given a 12-hour notice, and here they had to pack all their things together before boarding the train that drove them back.
This meant that many of their belongings were left behind, as it was not possible to bring everything home. Unfortunately, there are not many of those things left, but still likely to find different things from that time.
I had the opportunity to visit the area here and look at some of the many buildings in the large area. The first of these places is the buildings here, which were built in 1917.
The buildings initially housed the Army Sports School, and later, when Germany was divided into East and West, the buildings were used as the headquarters of the Soviet forces in Germany.
Fortunately, despite the fact that the furniture had been emptied well, there were still many things to photograph, which had clear signs dating back to Soviet times.
I would rather find places with a lot of furniture, which gives a better picture of how life has been in the place. But places like this that have a long history can easily get many hours to go, even if I do not fall over a lot of furniture.
The highlights were clearly the large Lenin statue in front of the main building, the old and beautifully patinated pool, and not least the theatre where the light still worked.
Above the theatre stage is written in Cyrillic letters translated into English: Soviet Occupation Force of Germany.
Some of the houses and properties that were previously used as housing have been renovated.
But the future of the barracks buildings is uncertain, and one is waiting for some investors to appear who see opportunities in the historic buildings.
I had an extended weekend in the area, which is far from enough time when you want to have time to look at it all. But despite that, I got to see a lot of pretty cool places that more pictures will come of later.
I found a couple of historical pictures of Haus der offiziere.