Neue Wache – Berlin

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On Unter den Linden in Berlin stands a curious survivor: the Neue Wache, or “new guardhouse.” It was the first major commission for Karl Friedrich Schinkel, prominent architect and city planner of the early 19th century. The building was new in 1818, when it was dedicated as housing for the palace guards of King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia. It served that function for one hundred years, until the fall of the monarchy after the First World War.

Since that time the Neue Wache has served as a war memorial. In 1931 it was dedicated in memory of the First World War dead. It was heavily damaged in the Second World War, but was repaired and rededicated in 1960 as the Memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism, with an unknown soldier and an unknown victim of the Nazi concentration camps entombed within.

After the Berlin Wall fell, the building was reframed again, with its new (and ever longer) name under a reunified Germany: the Central Memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the Victims of War and Tyranny. At the center of the empty interior sits a profoundly moving sculpture by Käthe Kollwitz, “Mother with her Dead Son.”

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The oculus above the statue is open to the sky above, exposing it to the weather. Go if you can, pictures can not show you what you may find, there.

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color photographs made using a NOPO 120 camera. black and white images made using a simple, yet sturdy assemblage of cardboard and tape.

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