March 7, 2017

Amnesiopolis : modernity, space, and memory in East Germany by Eli Rubin

By Eli Rubin

Amnesiopolis explores the development of Marzahn, the biggest prefabricated housing venture in East Germany, equipped at the outskirts of East Berlin within the Nineteen Seventies and Eighties, and touted by means of the regime because the way forward for socialism. It additionally focuses specifically at the adventure of East Germans who moved, frequently from crumbling slums left over as a legacy of the 19th century, into this noticeably new position, one outlined by Read more...


exact concrete housing blocks are an iconic legacy of lifestyles in the back of the Iron Curtain. Amnesiopolis experiences the development of Marzahn, the biggest prefabricated housing undertaking in East Germany, Read more...

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Extra resources for Amnesiopolis : modernity, space, and memory in East Germany

Sample text

All these personae of one person or family and, for that matter, of the nation can be found assembled in photo albums or artfully rendered in vignettes of the century. 28 Indeed, most of the memoirs I use are told in the form of short vignettes, and in many of my interviews I conducted, I was handed literal, physical scrapbooks and photo albums. As Jarausch and Geyer suggest, I found these to be moving and sometimes shocking in the bittersweet way they tried to recover the temps perdus of their erstwhile concrete utopia.

Luftangriffe auf Berlin: Die Berichte der Hauptluftschutzstelle 1940–1945 (Berlin: Berlin: Ch. Links, 2013), 17. 37 There is a very large literature on the air war and in particular the use of incendiary weapons on German cities. See first and foremost the controversial Jörg Friedrich, The Fire: The Bombing of Germany, 1940–1945, trans. G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction, trans. Anthea Bell (New York: Random House, 2003); Uwe Bahnsen and Kerstin von Stürmer, Die Stadt, die sterben sollte.

Finally, in the Conclusion, there is a consideration of the paradoxical reversal of fortune that has befallen Marzahn and places like it since the fall of the Wall in 1989, leaving them as places with no past and no future. The work ends with some cautionary reflections on the standard triumphalist, dismissive attitude that the West often takes regarding communist housing settlements like Marzahn. 1 From the Slums to the Tabula Rasa Germany’s Working Class, the Housing Program, and the Marzahn Plan The prefabricated housing settlements built in East Germany during the 1970s, of which Marzahn was the largest, were in many ways radical breaks from the past.

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