The Other Side Of The Berlin Wall: Life On A Street In 1980s East Germany

“Everyone seemed to feel connected to the place and responsible for it, to be acting in tacit consensus and always working to save the diversity of their island from the sea of gray for as long as possible” – Harf Zimmermann

 

Frau Töpfer with her grandson René.

Frau Töpfer with her grandson René.

 

In 1981, Harf Zimmermann (born: Dresden 1955) moved into a flat on Hufelandstrasse, East Berlin. His photographs of life on an a street marked by roomy pre-war apartments, ornate foyers, linden trees and family-run business. Hufelandstrasse was a rare survivor from a bygone age of capitalism and color.  “In a word, it was less gray,” Mr. Zimmermann said. “There was more color.”

 

Berlin Hufelandstrasse 1055

Tomi, Silvy , Manuela, her sister Trixi, Uwe, and Tatjana, (from left). C/O Berlin Exhibition 2017 April 28th to July 2n

 

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Hufelandstrasse’s look changed significantly during the decade he lived there, Mr. Zimmermann said. Many of the beautiful balconies that gave the apartment buildings their special character were removed in 1985 because of safety concerns. Later, when leaking gas lines polluted the soil, the linden trees died and were cut down. Mr. Zimmermann moved to nearby Mitte in 1991, seeking more space and a change of scenery. After a small gallery show in 1989, his photos of Hufelandstrasse sat untouched in a box for two decades.

 

Two painters from the cooperative “Decorative Construction and Living” finish painting the stairway entrance to my building, No. 31, 1987

Two painters from the cooperative “Decorative Construction and Living” finish painting the stairway entrance to my building, No. 31, 1987

Galow’s snack bar, Mr. and Mrs. Galow in the middle, their son on the right, No. 31, 1986

Galow’s snack bar, Mr. and Mrs. Galow in the middle, their son on the right, No. 31, 1986

The Schramm family, father, mother and son, and their employee (second from left) in front of their fruit and vegetable shop, No. 3, 1986.

The Schramm family, father, mother and son, and their employee (second from left) in front of their fruit and vegetable shop, No. 3, 1986.

ünter (pantomime performer) and a private parade for a child’s birthday, 1987.

ünter (pantomime performer) and a private parade for a child’s birthday, 1987.

Phonolog

Phonolog

Hufelandstrasse and Bötzowstrasse

Hufelandstrasse and Bötzowstrasse

HO (state-owned “Trade Organization”) butcher “Wild Geflügel” (game, poultry), No. 10.

HO (State-owned “Trade Organization”) butcher, “Game Poultry”, No. 10, 1987.

Herr and Frau Fleischer in their engagement outfits with their dog Putzi.

Herr and Frau Fleischer in their engagement outfits with their dog Putzi.

East GErmany 1980s 3

East GErmany 1980s

Rocky and a 1936 Mercedes.

Frau Baer (center) with her daughter, her grandchild, and her daughter’s partner on the thirty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the GDR.

Frau Baer (center) with her daughter, her grandchild, and her daughter’s partner on the thirty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the GDR.

East Germany Berlin 19870s

Frau and Herr Dressle

Two students in the eighth grade, 1986.

Two students in the eighth grade, 1986.

East GErmany 1980s

Student nicknamed “Student.”

East GErmany 1980s

“Berliner Blumen” staff

Beate (freelancer) with her daughter Henriette, her partner Matthias (freelancer) with his son Gregor, and their daughter Lilly.

Beate (freelancer) with her daughter Henriette, her partner Matthias (freelancer) with his son Gregor, and their daughter Lilly.

ngeborg (front, cleaner), her son Lothar (left, carpenter), her grandson Guido and their grandmother.

Ingeborg, her son Lothar, her grandson Guido and their grandmother.

Margot Schulz, disabled retiree, with three of her fourteen children.

Margot Schulz, retiree, with three of her 14 children.

 

 

Buy the book Hufelandstrasse, 1055 Berlin, published by Steidl.

Via: Lens Culture