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.