'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

Socialist architecture

In August 1969, construction workers are mounting a neon sign on the Haus der Statistik, which was built the previous year as part of Alexanderplatz's restructuring according to socialist ideals. It housed the Central Administration for Statistics and different departments of the Stasi. The building has been left empty since 2008 and is to undergo extensive reconstruction.

'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

The 'chocolate' skateboard

The Germina Speeder from 1987 was the only skateboard produced in the GDR. Because it was manufactured by a state-owned enterprise for chocolate processing machinery, it was dubbed the "chocolate board." With its painted deck and narrow rollers and axles, it wasn't really suitable for skating.

'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

Proletarian military

The Combat Groups of the Working Class was a de facto socialist militia composed of the state's party members and reliable workers. Several times a year, they gathered in their free time for military exercises and vowed to defend the achievements of the Socialist Unity Party.

'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

In the Bauhaus tradition

Some pieces of GDR furniture have become design classics, particularly those that were influenced by the simple elegance of Bauhaus style. The former Bauhaus student Selman Selmanagic, a German architect of Bosnian descent, was a professor at the Weissensee Academy of Art in Berlin before he joined a state-owned workshop in Dresden, where he created this armchair in 1957.

'East Berlin. Half a Capital': Exhibition highlights

GDR socialist architecture

From a rooftop of a building on Karl-Marx-Allee, you can see the Berlin Cathedral, the City Hall and the TV Tower. Built in the 1950s, the monumental socialist boulevard was named Stalinallee until 1961. The street was used for military parades to showcase the glory of the communist government.

Thirty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the exhibition "East Berlin. Half a Capital" provides insight into everyday life in the GDR.