Thursday, August 18, 2011

1953 Uprisings

As part of the Bosch program, we also get one-on-one tutoring. My tutor, Simone, liked to have sessions around Berlin where we could visit monuments or exhibits while having our session.

Below is a visit to the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus. It was constructed by Hitler between 1935 and 1936 to house the Ministry of Aviation and since 1999 the building has been the seat of the German Finance Ministry.

The mural below was created in 1950-52, made of Meissen pocelain tiles. Created by the German painter and commercial artist Max Lingner together with 14 artisans, it depicts the Socialist ideal of contented East Germans facing a bright future as one big happy family. In fact the mural's creation had been a somewhat messy affair. Commissioned by Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl, Lingner had had to revise it no fewer than five times, so that it ultimately bore little resemblance to the first draft.

The reason why we visited the site was because the area in front of the socialist mural later became, ironically, the site of the 1953 Uprising in East Germany. The uprising started with a strike by East Berlin construction workers on June 16. It turned into a widespread Anti-Communist uprising against the Stalinist German Democratic Republic government the next day.

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