The former GDRs former Iraqi Embassy

by Sara · 06.09.2013 · Architecture, Places · One comment

Remem­ber Sad­dam Hus­sein? The Iraqi dic­tator was a pretty big fan of the GDR and loved to sup­port the com­mun­ist regime. Good times came to an end when the wall fell and the Gulf War was over. By 1991, the Iraqi embassy of the GDR was aban­doned. After the reuni­fic­a­tion of Ger­many and a brand new estab­lished gov­ern­ment, the Iraqi staff were forced to leave the build­ing. They must have been in a hurry, for now vis­it­ors of the ruins can still peek into the rem­nants of the embassies work (if they under­stand any Arabic anyway).

The Iraqi embassy was built in the 70s. The Iraqis were the first non-socialists to recog­nize East Ger­many back in the days. And now the build­ing is sub­ject to a cer­tain own­er­ship curi­os­ity: while the build­ing tech­nic­ally belongs to Ger­many, the rights to it are still with Iraq. Nobody knows what to do with these his­tor­ical leftovers, and so the build­ing rots away and in it the doc­u­ments and per­sonal archives of a whole nation. We didn’t find any of the alleged weapons and explos­ives they had bunkered here dur­ing the GDR times, but maybe someone else beat us to the mission.

It used to be easy to enter via the front gate, but someone locked the door and barbed the fence with wire– appar­ently this is soon going to be a proper exhib­i­tion of the rem­nants so they locked it down to save the rest of the stuff that’s in there from thieves. Not sure if the guy who told us (as always, when you visit those places, don’t expect to be alone) was just mess­ing with us… he was sure annoy­ing enough. You can still get in there around the back of the build­ing, through that little garden. When we made our first steps we hadn’t expec­ted any­one to be there because it wasn’t dark yet and on a week­day after­noon, but many people were actu­ally hanging out there enjoy­ing themselves. 

You can see that this build­ing was simply left without a notice. Among the rubble and dirt you can find pic­tures and hand-written let­ters, news­pa­pers, books, everything you can find in an embassy. But it’s also pretty clear that people have taken stuff from here on the reg­u­lar. Type­writers are gone and so are prob­ably any cool souven­irs and art­works or pho­to­graphs. The former Iraqi embassy was gilled like a fresh fish. Typ­ical scen­ario: fur­niture kaputt, walls and ceil­ings break­ing down, shattered glass, graf­fiti and trash every­where with only a hint of what this could have looked like years ago. 

While it’s still excit­ing to climb around the leftovers of Ber­lins his­tory, it’s becom­ing more and more annoy­ing to find the places in such a shitty con­di­tion. Nat­ural decay is one thing, but tak­ing stuff home and leav­ing the monu­ments in this rot­ting limbo renders the task of explor­a­tion use­less. So if you’re look­ing to waste a bit of time, I can highly recom­mend a visit. 

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