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Andreas Gehrke’s photographs show a copse of robinia trees that have grown for more than four decades largely without human intervention. At first glance, this landscape looks like a piece of deserted and untouched nature. Only our knowledge of the history of the site on which these pictures were taken changes our perspective and renders us peculiarly self-conscious.
Between 1933 and 1945, the area, which was located in the immediate vicinity of Berlin’s government district when it was capital of the Third Reich, was home to the most important institutions of the National Socialists’ apparatus of persecution and terror: the headquarters of the Gestapo, the SS, and the Reich Security Head Office. After the Second World War, the area gradually turned into a piece of fallow open land. By the early 1960s, what remained of the buildings on the site had been torn down, and after 1961 the Berlin Wall ran along the northern edge of the leveled terrain. In 1987, the site was “rediscovered,” vestiges of the buildings were excavated, and the area was opened to the public with the inauguration of the exhibition Topography of Terror.
With their mysterious mood capturing the historic aura surrounding this abandoned land in the middle of Berlin, Gehrke’s pictures will leave the beholder with profound and lasting impressions.
Published by Distanz Verlag
Essays by Klaus Hesse, curator of the Topography of Terror Foundation, and Thomas Seelig, collection curator of the Fotomuseum Winterthur.
25 x 31 cm, 134 Pages, 50 color images, hardcover