Berlin – still lost planet … ?

There is obviously still a lot of interest in the weaving of the myth of Berlin inheriting all these lost, forgotten and abandoned places. And true, there are a lot of free, unused, abandoned, shut off, … places – especially for a location, which is regarded, though kind of north-east, definitely as part of the western part of Europe, by being the recent capital of Germany.

Nevertheless the city quite changed over the recent years, houses got renovated, spaces built on, it all became quite busy and more expensive and so it is kind of surprising to find stories, which sound so similar – back then and now. Some things obviously remain …..

excerpted from:
Saddam Hussein Is in My Kitchen
by Caroline E. Winter

…. During a second visit, I easily climbed over the gate (no guards are on duty) and walked through an unlocked basement door. I arrived to find several other people inside rummaging through file cabinets, dragging furniture out onto the balcony for picnics and trading dusty posters of Saddam Hussein. The looters ranged in age and type: five Berliner hipsters in their 20’s; a young couple and their sandal-clad daughter; a middle-aged photographer; and an American, as interested in getting Baath party paraphernalia as in finding toilets and furniture for his newly opened Berliner bar.

The young couple took a copy of a text titled, ”Building Up Iraq Together,” a photography book on East Germany’s architecture, and backpacks full of Iraqi pamphlets. The hipsters carried out a large, faded poster of the former dictator on horseback. I asked them why they wanted it — mainly because I was trying to pinpoint my own fascination with the haunting images. ”I don’t know,” one of them replied, ”We are going to hang it in our bathroom.”

According to a man who answered a phone call I made to Iraq’s other embassy, in Berlin, there are plans to move back into the Pankow site once Iraq becomes politically stable and after renovations have been made. When I asked the man, who identified himself as a Mr. Mofak,

what he thought about Saddam Hussein’s image still hanging on the walls, he replied: ’’If I had a key, I would go there and take those pictures down.’’ A key?…. – Geiserbotschaft Berlin

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