Ten years after the end of the war, large swathes of Berlin still lay in ruins. The scene during the winter of 1956 was bleak.
These are an amazing find - many thanks for posting them!
Far more interesting than the latest DSLR - at least for a world tourist or history buff- and a great reminder of the documentary power and historical value of photographs, even casual snapshots, taken at the right place/at the right time!(This despite the quality being about that of a disposable film camera of bygone days and likely surpassed by even the most basic digital, compact camera or camera phone sold today!)
Someone forgot to correct their parallels :)
I am fascinated by image #10. I have published on the Warenhaus Wertheim, the building being propped up by scaffolding, and I have never seen an image of it in quite this state.
Thanks a lot for these old pictures.. I can remember some of places you've shown here. The "Potzdamer Platz" was at this moment a really great "desert" just with some big stones laying here and there. As far as you could see with your eyes, you couldn't see a standing building ! As a little child discovering this kind of landscape, some years before these good pictures were taken, is absolutely unforgettable ! If you return just now to same place, there will be a big surprise of course.. just some "little changes".
If you want some more interesting history on the recovery of the city, read about Teufelsberg: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teufelsberg The "listening post" shown in one of the pictures was built in 1972. Ironically, abandoned, it is slowly becoming more of the rubbish comprising the hill.
Because West Berlin was surrounded by the wall, it became very difficult to deal with garbage disposal. The solution was to bulldoze it into higher and higher mounds. When a mound got big enough, it was landscaped and turned into a park. These mounds were built up near Teufelsberg itself, eventually creating a manmade range of hills in what is an ancient sea bottom, and otherwise very flat.
I was unable to travel to the Russian sector due to security issues, but friends who went there to shop and tour on weekends said that (as of the early 1970s) there were still whole city blocks of WWII rubble in East Berlin. By then, W. Berlin was a bustling Weldstadt, as it was viewed then.
I am not sure that this architecture is more "brutalist" than Grosvenor Sq. London W1
Barney and all,
if you like these, you will also like the pictures, U.S. Army Photographer Bill Perlmutter took in Germany and other European countries after the war. His black and white pictures, taken with a Rolleiflex, are masterpieces.
This building (slide nr. 12) is the Deutsche Sporthalle on the Karl Marx Allee, former Stalinallee. Built in 1951, they closed it down in 1968 and tore it down in 1971, since the build quality was so bad, it nearly collapsed on its own.
The correct name of this building is "Haus des Sports" (see my previous comment, including a link to a slide show that is as least as interesting as the one posted on DP).
You have asked people to identify buildings; #1 is of course the Reichstag, site of the very last fighting in the battle of Berlin. That may be obvious to all, but perhaps not.
Thanks for posting these.They remind me of many years ago when I picked up an old WW2 vintage folder in an antique shop, I remember staring into the lens and wondering what that little piece of glass that I held had witnessed, and I imagined...
I visited Berlin every year between 1950 and 1976. In the early years as a school boy, my Father was stationed in Hanover. From there, we used to vist my Uncle who was Stationed in Berlin with the Welsh Guards. Later I joined the British army in Northern Germany (December 1959), I was posted to Barracks just two miles from the war-time Belsen concentration camp. As an army musician I spent three weeks every September in Berlin for the Berlin Tattoo, which took place in the 1936 Olympic stadium.
It was hard in the 1950s but during the 1960s and 1970s the situation improved considerably, until I was posted away in October 1976.
Let's not forget that Germany attacked Poland exactly 75 years ago (Sept. 1, 1939) Hitler started WWII - those ruins are nothing compare to Warsaw ones. Please google "Warsaw ruins 1945" or "Planned destruction of Warsaw" too.
@jerryielo - I cannot and am not speaking for Barney Britton. I can only assume and hope he posted these photo to share a piece of history, not for statement of his political ideology, nor putting a blame on any one, nor justifying the destruction of Germany. I have been to Warsaw, Krakow, Treblinka and have seen the ghetto and other war memorial.
My personal take is the story of the destruction of war. I don't care about the quality of the photos, I accept it as they are, a medium for vivid documentation of history.
Very interesting. I wonder if this is how the commies came to be known as "reds".
@AbrasiveR - I assume your post is rhetoric but just in case you really did not know, the Russian Flag is dominated by RED color which signifies the blood spilled by the Bolsheviks (working class peasants) when they revolted against the Czar's WHITE army. You might have noticed the big RED star with the hammer & sickle representing the then communist USSR.
But I suggest we leave political ideology and focus on the historical photographs.
Great photos. Thanks for posting them.
Interesting set, but architecturally, #7 isn't 'brutalist' ;)
Barney- thanks for posting these on DPreview- doesn't matter that you've posted them in other places too.Why post these old pics on a photography site? because it's a reminder that the photographs we take of everyday subjects can take on different meanings after (and long after) we take them.
I'm sure I'm not the only one who has walked past a familiar building that was recently demolished, and wished I'd taken a pic or two of it as it was.
The only other site I posted these is my own personal portfolio site (as a work in progress) and thanks! History is always interesting.
I like these photos, although I think they have nothing to do with photography or cameras. They would probably be more appropriate on a history website. But I'm glad I saw them.
In fact I think photos like these are much more valuable and interesting than the over-processed digital photos on 500px, etc.
Actually, photos are what come from cameras so there is a connection.
Nice one 'Abrasive Reducer'. 'Boss of Sony' wrote, "I think they have nothing to do with photography or cameras." Photographs are taken with cameras as you correctly pointed out. These particular 'photographs' were taken by a U.S. soldier, using his 'camera' in the early 1950s.
I think they have everything to do with photography and cameras. Without them, how would be be able to see this pictures?
We would only be able to see color sketches and paintings made in the spare time of servicemen. In other words, we wouldn't see them at all.
They don't have anything to do with the topic of camera quality, photography technique, etc. These have historical interest value.
Yes and Coffee has got nothing to do with Coffee Beans, sorry I have to be rude (my apologizes Dpreview) but are you RETARDED "boss of sony" ?!
No, but all the available evidence indicates that you are. These photos don't have anything to do with the topics of camera quality, photography technique, latest camera models, etc. These have historical interest value.
Oh really Boss of Sony? How about the framing, correct exposure? Also the IMAGE QUALITY matters MORE than the Camera Quality, You can buy a FANTASTIC camera but you will still be a SH**TY photographer if you don't study.
Thanks for the valuable advice.
You are welcome, also to claim a photograph has got nothing to do with photography is an oxymoron.
Thanks for the valuable information.
But are they sharp in the corners?
@MPA1 - Are you serious?
Depending of what we are able to see, particularly in the corners. You likely also need the right glasses..?
@Onlooker - Yes. I'm aware of that. It would be useful if the other website made some comment on the photo collection's origin. (It may do so and I may have not been able to find the information). I only found the site using an image search (looking for the "Strength through Joy" muraled building. This (DPR) site said they were 'found in a flea market'. Quite possibly true, although the majority of "found in an old camera/album/..." claims turn out to be a gloss over a just as useful reality. Knowing where the claim came from and being able to trace some of these back a little more would be interesting.
I (the editor of this site) found these images at a flea market (in Seattle) and scanned them (using my scanner) and published them (here).
Barney - that's brilliant! One gets accustomed to internet stories speciously wrapped round 'interesting stuff'. You'll be aware of the Pearl Harbour "Found in a Box Brownie" photos that turned out to be from US Naval records. So nice to have a definitive source. A shame that the original collator is (presumably) unknown - probably an additional layer of story there. Alas no flea markets here (NZ) ever come close to that.
Glad you like them :)
I'm not sure how these relate to these
Barnaby Britton works for DPR.
Geez, don't tell me Barney is plagiarising himself - this will create a greater stir than the damn monkey selfies ;-)
Is it possible to plagiarize oneself? Especially since I didn't shoot the pictures myself ;)
Well actually yes you can, particularly in the academic world. Once an item is published, republishing in (almost) any form is considered plagiarism, unless of course there are appropriate acknowledgements to the original source.
Probably a bit too much information...
Keep up the great work Barney!Stephen
Instagram ain't got s**t on this!
@Omexis. What if these were posted on Instagram… would that blow your mind?
Thanks a lot, DPR, for posting these rare images. They may not constitute fine art nor distinguished photojournalism, but then they were never meant to. And viewed on their own terms, they provide great insights into a Berlin slowly recovering yet still ailing from the wounds of the war.
As a German "last-minute" baby boomer who lived through both the last phase of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall, I felt privileged to be able to explore the vibrant cosmopolitan city Berlin is today when I first visited the place two years ago. Like any big city, it may have its uglier corners, but on the whole I was kind of exhilarated by what I saw.
#8: Platz der Luftbrücke, on the right side you can see a part of Flughafen Tempelhof (Airport)#10: View on Leipziger Platz with the ruin of Wertheim Kaufhaus (Department store). Behind us, the Potsdamer Platz. On the right side, a part of one of the two Torhäuser.
Interesting to see the Reichstag as it was after the war--today it has been rebuilt and fitted with a transparent glass dome that contains a detailed exhibit about Nazism. I appreciate the efforts Berliners make to repudiate the past of divisions and hatreds, rather to be inclusive and tolerant of differences, because the wars have shown that peace and prosperity depends on it.
Cue the Harry Lime music.
Oops, wrong city. "The Third Man" was set in Vienna.
Vienna plays the leading role in "The Third Man", and the Harry Lime theme fascinatingly illustrates the city's morbid, menacing aspects under the cover of Gemütlichkeit.
12 is de Haus des Sports on the Stalinallee, now called Karl-Marxallee:http://www.berlinermaueronline.de/berlin-fotos/berlin-1950/berlin-1950-008.htm
Worth going through that whole slideshow by the way.
Yes, the gallery you mention is worth to go through. Thanks for information.
Wow. Great indeed! That sense of vacuum, but still not of emptiness...
Further to previous:1. Is obviously the Reichstag,2. must be the Gendarmenmarkt, with the two cathedrals,4. is indeed the Luftbrucke Memorial, but only half of it, the other half being at Frankfurt/Main,14. In the middle is the ruined Kaiser Friederich Gedächtniskirche.
Almost, but you got the wrong emperor. No. 14 is the ruins of Kaiser Wilhelm's imperial church, to which were added several parts to make it into the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Gedächtniskirche. More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaiser_Wilhelm_Memorial_Church.
I am the wiser, thank you!
#8 could be Breitscheidplatz, taken from just past the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church?#10 is the old Wertheim Kaufhaus / Shopping Centre at Leipziger Platz
"Geske" is truly fascinating - with a little effort the sign can be made out as "Anfang des Demokratischen Sektors" - i.e. Here starts the Soviet Sector! And note that the snow has been swept off the Burgersteig that side of the sign, but not in the west!
Very nice indeed. Love that film spirit. Nothing can match it.
Generations have passed since the end of World War II, but pictures like these help remind us of the horror, death and devastation brought by war.
A few years before these photos were taken, Berlin was perhaps the most impressive looking city in Europe. But, a German government that created new dimensions of insanity brought about the death of millions and destroyed this once beautiful city.
"new dimensions of insanity" - the victor writes history but we do not have to believe this brainwash anymore...After all it was UK who declared war to Germany and that caused a local conflict (betwen GER and Poland about the German city Danzig) to become a pan-european war.
@cmosse. And there was Germany just minding its own business. Not doing anything at all to provoke the rest of the world.
Ask Spain (Guernica etc.) if Germany was just sitting harmlessly behind its own borders in the 1930s.
I was being sarcastic.
Nice photos. I enjoyed browsing and more to come - Fab!
I spent several days in Berlin earlier this year, so these old photos are particularly interesting. The massive buildings on Strausenberger Platz were built by the East German government and are mostly apartments, built to show that the Communist system could provide good housing for the masses. They're part of a massive, half-mile long complex along what is still called Karl-Marx Allee in what used to be east Berlin.
Anyone any idea what make the double decker bus (DD) in picture Nr. 8 is? Probably Daimler, they launched the first motorised DD in 1898, but it looks like a 1940's British bus. I tend to associate DD's with London and Britain in that era.
It looks like a D2U, built by Orenstein & Koppel, first shown on the Industrieausstellung in Berlin, 1951.
Many British DDs were Daimler in the 50s, and Leyland (before they became British Leyland incorporating Morris Austin vehicles).
Okay, I used to live in West Germany when my dad was in the army, I was born the year these pictures were taken. I spend in total 15 years in the country.I never went to Berlin but around that time and into the sixties most of the buses in the major cities were made by a firm called, and excuse my spelling, Maderus Deuze or something along those lines. It was a manufacturer of large trucks and buses. Its emblem reminds me of a 1950s rocket or a three pointed star, or even the Mercedes logo but without the ring. Sorry to be a bit vague but its the best way I can describe the detail. Hope it helps.
Quite right, I think the spelling is "Magirus Deutz"
"The logo of Magirus Deutz was a stylised M with a sharp, long center point to represent the tower of the Ulm Cathedral."
In btw trucks you can spot some old-timer bus as wellhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiIvWjSRPms
What splendid information everyone, thank you.
Picture 12 is the "Deutsche Sporthalle" at the Karl-Marx-Allee, East-Berlin, build for the World Festival of Youth and Students, 1951, demolished 1971 in rweason of construction defects. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl-Marx-Allee#mediaviewer/Datei:Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-11700-0002,_Berlin,_Karl-Marx-Allee,_%22Deutsche_Sporthalle%22.jpg
Great and how were the German's supposed to know they were leaving a zone?
Signage. For example, the sign in #5 says "Start of the Democratic Sector of Greater Berlin." Similarly #3.
The small print at the bottom of the sign is in German.
I believe that the point of the signs was to avoid conflicts between the troops of the different occupying countries, especially Military Police. At this point, Germans were free to move about between zones without any restriction, the signs were not for them (hence only small print in German).
And where is the "Cold Ware Camera"?
Great photos. Thanks for posting them.Love seeing the change people can make when they are given the opportunity.
Its funny how the post war "Wirtschaftswunder" never seems to take a lasting foothold in the far east and middle east. The US never seems to liberate them all the way till the end I guess. I guess they are not making the same mistakes like they did in Germany, where they just managed to stay and rebuild the country for 30-40yrs./irony ends/
Germans rebuilt Germany. Not easy because they lost patents and material resources. But feasible because knowledge stored in the brains was still partly there ... The 4 year long Marshall Plan (most given to UK and France) certainly helped and accelerated things (important during the cold war) but isn't crucial to understand Wirtschaftswunder.
Er, no! Marshall Plan aid was most certainly NOT given to the UK, which continued to pay the US for "Lend-Lease" for many years after the war.
The UK paid its own way.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan cf. infografics "European Recovery Program expenditures by country"(The Marshall Plan is officially called the European Recovery Program, or ERP.)
Falconeyes has some point. It is much easier to rebuild if you have capital and knowhow. US supplied capital, some of know how was in place. The east countries were not so lucky. US would never agree to help countries behind iron courtain and those countries, on Russian instigation, would never agree to take help if that was offered. Regarding know-how, German and Russian occupation forces made sure to mass murder that part of societes in the first place. Together with total demolition of infrastructure and breaking many social ties they left countries, poorer than western counterparts in the first place, economically devastated and moved back a century. I think the barbarians invading Roman Empire would be ashamed.
@shoevarek: it was worse than that. Trust me.
Not to start any debate but nobody provided any "help"Everybody provided "loans" , "debt" and "strategic partners" in the same MO in use today, but running out of world to destroy...
@Zerg2905. I believe you and I haven't claimed otherwise though my stand is that for every action there is a reaction. My, maybe too strong, response was partly driven by the surprising fact that on the day of 75th anniversary of most deadly war in the history (so far) DPR chose to show few mediocre pictures of the capitol of the country that started that terrible war. Pictures showed here do not create any emotions and do not give justice to so important the anniversary. When I think of this day I have that picture in mind: http://ww2db.com/image.php?image_id=8527
I don't think that DPR is the place for the Kriegsschuldfrage to be argued over - Berlin, however, (according to the great lexicographer Langenscheidt) is a German-Speaking city, not a German one! It is also one of the centres of European culture. I only spent three years there, but to breathe the Berliner Luft was an experience I'll never forget.
@reps2: > Berlin is a German-Speaking city, not a German one!That was true until 1990, Oct. 3 only. Now, it's not only a German city, but it's their capital.
@reps2. I think majority of photographs carry some hidden message. Message can also be passed through conscious selection of photo gallery. Given that I find DPR a venue to discuss various topics, just as photographs show various subjects and pass various messages. I also did not venture to argue over Kriegsschuldfrage for the simple fact that there is no frage.
In addition to question of Germany post-war rebuilt effort I simply found the selection of news/topics on that special day rather intriguing. It stimulated me to go back in news history and check June 6th. DPR does not often commemorates anniversaries of important historic events so I assume plain ignorance. Though it is rather disturbing it is in line with the level of western historiography and collective knowledge of western societies. One could only wonder if attitudes were different had German army bulldozed part of Paris rather than perform its atrocities behind the invisible curtain of Eastern Europe.
Interesting. Photo #14 shows the hotel (prewar vintage that survived) on the corner to the left of the church where I used to stay in the 80s and 90s. Thanks!
Yep it's cold, but surely there are better pictures around from that era?
@ GRUBERNDOn the contrary, there have been massive changes in the area of Berlin´s architecture and city layout, in its political and social structure as well (think of the reunion with East Germany) as well as in its economic importance since the end of WWII and in particular since the reunion in 1989. Besides most media agree in the opinion that Berlin is one of the liveliest, most creative and open cities of the world.Sorry to say that, but your opinion may be either based on ignorance or resentment.
I think you'll find that Grubernd's comment was done with a touch of sarcasm. Don't take yourself so seriously :-(
And what does this comment have to do with the posting of vintage photos? In fact, why the "On the contrary,"? Contrary to what? I don't see any "based" [sic] opinion.
And try the "reply" button next time. A new experience awaits you!
I think @Grubernd was being ironic i.e. I think he tried to put a smilie face at the end of the post to indicate this but used a ;) instead of a :)
Berlin has indeed changed a lot. I was there in the 1990s and again in 2007 and I barely recognised many of the places I had visited in my first visit.
+1 on that. Especially the east. In the late '90's, one could still see the unpainted (and definitely unrenovated!) flats in the east of the city, 2006 was a mass of cranes and 2012 was like many other european capitals. Many changes.
Great set of photos. I feel privileged to see these and be able to connect some of the places. #13 I believe is from the direction of the siegessaule.
@fidibus.. see below. and consider what @Hugo808 said. =)
not much has changed in the last 60 years.. ;)
get a life
@Stollen .. i have one, which brings me to Berlin in regular intervals. most of the images shown here could be taken with only slight differences even today - which could be said about most of the old european cities because that's how things *visually* change .. not much.since the images do not really show much of the social or economical side of Berlin in the 50ies, well, there is not a lot to see in terms of change. take a phone, use some filters and i bet you would get darn close enough for most not to see the difference.
only a few of the pics i took at berlin over the years, i never tried to emulate old looks, so they will look very different than the above:
Always enjoy these old photo galleries.
YesThe present nearly always seems banal, as it is so familiar. Old photos are of a distant time and distance nearly always lends enchantment.There was a set of colour pictures from prewar England that were equally enchanting M Engles
This is a picture of the German Sports Palace at the Stalinallee. The hall was built in 1951 for the 3rd World Festival of Youth and Students in only 148 days. In 1969 the Hall was closed due to structural damage and demolished in 1971.
Well they're in color and they're of Berlin in the 50's, but....
I would really like to see content you might find interesting. You certainly project a tone that you are more enlightened or in-touch with material (obviously) so much superior than what the site is feeding us.
Photo number 7, the one with " brutalist post-war Soviet buildings" inserted into the caption is interesting. That particular structure reminds me of some of Philip Johnson's buildings.
This "Stalinallee" quarter nowadays counts among the most appreciated ones. With hindsight, Soviet architecture turned out not to be so bad after all. The equivalent on the West Berlin side, the Hansaviertel, which is not on the photos since it came a little bit later, and which sports a more modernist approach, is also very popular. It is always interesting to see which architecture stands the test of time. Both quarters were of cause quite ambitious and intended to show the superiority of the respective system.
Was thru there early 60's, The remains of the church (last Photo) was the only thing standing for Kms around at the end. Liverpool still had bomb sites. UK made the final payment to US only few year ago.