The photographs document my first impressions of urban life in so-called new German states – Brandenburg, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia – which were dissolved by the East German government in 1952 and were re-established in 1990.
Leipzig, the biggest city of Saxony, met me with a rainy weather, so the city is no way as gloomy as it might seem through my camera. Since the reunification of Germany, this has been a city of dramatic change – the most dynamic in Eastern Germany after the capital of Berlin. Leipzig was even called as “the new Berlin” by some and it is definitely worth spending much more time there than two days I had.
As I arrived in Dresden, the capital of Saxony, just for a day, it was raining cats and dogs. Walking in that gloomy weather I tried to grasp the sadness of beautiful Dresden that was destined to be bombed into ashes by the Allied British/American forces in February 1945. 2,600 tons of high explosives and incendiary devices had been dropped on the unprotected city. At least 25,000 inhabitants died in the terrifying firestorm and thirteen square miles of the city’s historic centre, including incalculable quantities of treasure and works of art, lay in ruins…
Experts assume that despite thorough clearing of the cellars after 1945, there are still some undiscovered bodies from the bombing night.
Dresden went through a complicated restoration process as well as the process of economic revival since the reunification of Germany. Like no other city in Europe, it reminds of the whole nonsense of conducting wars and constructing walls…
Dresden is a must-see city for all who are interested in the history of the European continent.
Frederick Taylor, British Historian
“The destruction of Dresden has an epically tragic quality to it. It was a wonderfully beautiful city and a symbol of baroque humanism and all that was best in Germany. It also contained all of the worst from Germany during the Nazi period. In that sense it is an absolutely exemplary tragedy for the horrors of 20th century warfare and a symbol of destruction.”
Since the reunification of 1989, the district of Neustadt, located across the Elbe and to the north of the Innere Altstadt (Inner Old City), has been associated with counter-culture and anti-authoritarianism, typified by a very high level of street art and graffiti.