Berlin, as a site and a backdrop of many epochal events, used to play a central role during the East-West confrontations in the 20th century. Nowadays the city turned into coulisse for many historical events, commemorations and discourses. As the past conditions our present, Berlin as a spot is also seen pertinent to the generally and specifically “european” interactions with Ukraine. Common history, as surveyed bellow, connects Ukraine as geographic and socio-political entity with Western Europe, personified by Berlin.
Berlin city plan, as presented at the Berliner Stadt-Modelle (Mitte).
Diorama of the Siege of the Berlin Reichstag by the Soviet Army in 1945 at the Deutsch-Russisches Museum Berlin-Karlshorst.
View from the Flak tower at Humbolthain.
Cecilienhof Palace in Potsdam, south of Berlin. It is the last palace built by the House of Hohenzollern that ruled the German Empire until the end of World War I. In 1990 it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The palace was used for a summit by the G8 foreign ministers in May 2007.
But first it was the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, in which the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States made decisions affecting the post World War II time. The red star was planted by the Soviets well in advance of the meeting to imply the dominating position.
Negotiation table of the Potsdam Conference.
The view from the second floor.
The Soviet War Memorial in Tiergarten, erected in 1945, within a few months of the capture of the city.
The memorial is a place of active commemoration and a popular tourist attraction. It is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union, whereby wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial. The site and adjacent cemetery are maintained by the City of Berlin.
Soviet tanks are renowned, and these constitute an inevitable piece of every WWII commemorative scene.
T-34 model, as built after 1944, at the pedestal at the German-Russian Museum Berlin-Karlshorst, which is the historical venue of the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht on 8 May 1945.
Airplanes, like tanks, are also impressive artifacts. This Handley Page Hastings transport plane deployed by the Royal Air Force is placed at the Allied Museum museum, which was inaugurated in 1998, on the fiftieth anniversary of the Berlin airlift.
The US Air Force Douglas C-47B “Raisin Bomber” on the roof of the German Museum of Technology.
Tempelhof was one of Europe’s first airports, and its 1 km long main building was once among the top 20 largest buildings on earth. The whole complex was designed to resemble a flying eagle with semicircular hangars forming the bird’s spread wings. It acquired an iconic status as the centre of the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49. Tempelhof Airport closed all operations in 2008, and the airfield has been subsequently used as a recreational space known as “Tempelhofer Feld”.
First air jets of the early 1950-s, as displayed at the former Royal Air Force Station Gatow (now Bundeswehr Museum of Military History): a Soviet jet…
… and a “Western” jet.
A West-German NATO propagating poster “His comrades are our allies” (Bundeswehr Museum of Military History).
A Soviet officer training an East-German pilot – a monument of the GDR-times. A clear connotation for the younger brother relations within one family, subtly and cunningly propagated in the Communist Bloc. (Bundeswehr Museum of Military History).
One of the cipher machines from the exhibition over the history of espionage and secret services at the Spy Museum, opened in 2015.
The KGB Prison in Potsdam near Berlin, situated in the command quarters of the KGB for Germany, was a detention centre run by the Soviet counter-intelligence. Soviet soldiers, accused of desertion, espionage or close contact with the population, were imprisoned here until the mid-1980s. Until 1955 Germans were also interned here. The memorial site was opened in 2009.
A ward´s peephole in the cell´s wall.
GDR Museum, the 11th most visited museum in Berlin, is located in the former governmental district of East Germany. Opened in 2006 as a private museum, its exhibition depicts life in the GDR in a direct “hands-on” manner, as it does not focus on every single individual exhibit (of which there are thousands), but rather on the overall atmosphere.
Jewish Museum, opened in 2001, is the largest Jewish museum in Europe. Its modern building is erected in deconstructivist style, which gives the impression of the fragmentation, unpredictability, absence of harmony or symmetry.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe consists of a 19,000 m2 site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field next to the Brandenburg Gate.
Photos and copyright: Alexander Svetlov