East Berlin
Photo­graphic Archive

Taken over from the collections of the Urban Administration Office for Urban Development, Housing and Transport Berlin (East) by the Senate Office for Building and Housing Berlin, 1991

Photography by Fritz Tiedemann, silver gelatin paper on paper, 18,5 x 24,6 cm
© Fotolabor viertel acht/Arwed Messmer

Two black-and-white photographs are glued alongside each other at the lower edge of a beige archive envelope. The one on the left is slightly lighter. Together they show a deserted panorama of Pariser Platz in Berlin, destroyed in the Second World War. On the left at an angle, two badly damaged buildings. On the right, the Brandenburg Gate without its quadriga.

The photographic archive of the former East Berlin Urban Administration for Urban Development, Housing and Transport comprises circa 50,000 black and white contact photographs from original negatives. Organised according to city districts, building assignments and themes, the history of building during that period has been captured in this collection. Today it is regarded as the most comprehensive remaining document of the architectural and urban development of East Berlin, as in most cases the original designs (models, drawings) have been lost or were destroyed. The leading photographers in this archive are Fritz Tiedemann (1915-2001) and Gisela Dutschmann (born 1933).
In the years 2003-2005, the Getty Foundation Los Angeles funded an opportunity to study and register the East Berlin Photo Archive. The publication “Ost-Berlin und seine Bauten. Fotografien 1945-1990” documents a selection of those research findings.
The exhibition and publication “So weit kein Auge reicht. Berliner Panoramafotografien aus den Jahren 1949-1952” were also realised on the basis of this archive in 2008.


Ursula Müller

Head of the Architecture Collection
Phone +49 030-789 02-824