Berlin Day 2: Communist Nazis

Saturday, November 7 2009, 12:50 AM

On the second day in Berlin, we got up relatively early to get more use out of the limited amount of available daylight. But... we got stuck in Berlin's traffic once again. After a lot of patience and some TomTom related irritations, we ended up almost exactly where we had left the day before. That was interesting albeit not exactly what we had intended. Fortunately, once you are out of the city of Berlin it's easy to get from point A to point B. Point B was in our case a former Nazi, later Russian and now abandoned army base.
We parked next to a truck whose driver was watching TV in his cabin, got our stuff and strolled off into the forest. Finding an entrance was as hard as finding a needle in a stack of needles. One of the first things we noticed inside were some fresh tire prints on one of the official looking roads. Oh well, probably just thieves.
The first building we entered happened to be a theater.

Theater
A small theater (HDR)

Walking around on the base was a walk in the park. Only that the weather was as bad as the day before. Gray sky, rain and coldness. Almost everything was grown over and now covered in yellow because of the approaching autumn. Most of the buildings weren't really interesting either.

The Fortress
Remainders of another building, now surrounded by nature

We wandered all over the base for a few hours, really enjoying the lost world that we had completely for ourselves. At least we thought we did. Until suddenly headlights appeared. They were attached to a car, which was not a good sign. For us that meant run, run, run. Find cover, hide and wait. Listen for the sound of the car's engine. It was slowly coming closer. Observing the road from my hideout, i spotted a sticker on the side of the car. It belonged to a security company. That was not good. There was only one person inside. And he drove past without looking around. Phew. He hadn't seen us.

Graffiti Comrade
Graffiti Comrade

After the adrenaline rush, we took a little break. Ate something, drank something, waited for the guard to maybe come back. He didn't. Until we decided to continue our tour. He passed by on a road that was a little bit further away so we were sure he again hadn't spotted us. But we had learned our lesson. They had security here so we had to watch out. In the meantime, we found some more remainders of the communist era of the base.

Music Chamber
Russian Music Chamber

Just like most army bases, the place was huge. I love that about military places. You can walk around the entire day just looking at the outsides of the buildings. If you start checking the insides, one day is too short to see everything. Most other people seem to disagree. They come here with an agenda of pictures they have to take and totally ignore everything else. Since we had been walking around for about six hours already, we decided to also follow that approach and look for just one specific thing.

Time is standing still
Time has been standing still in here.

The security guard seemed to have left the place, since we encountered him only one more time but managed to dodge him once again. We knew from the Internet that there was a room with a mosaic on the ceiling somewhere in this base and we decided we wanted to see it. The only problem was that we had absolutely no clue where it was. We guessed it must be a building that looked somewhat special from the outside, so we looked for that. Granted, we didn't find any special looking building. But, we did find a building that was locked better than the others. Hopefully something interesting was inside this one...

UFA
Leftovers from a film crew. Illuminated by my flashlight

A tightly locked door is only as useful as the completely unlocked door next to it. So we were inside. It was just as empty and trashed as the rest of the buildings. What a disappointment. But at least the stairs had the right shape. So we decided to walk through the entire building. And Bingo, there we found it.

Mosaic!
The famous mosaic.

My theory about the mosaic on the ceiling is that it was installed by the Nazis, painted over by the Russians and restored by a film crew for some movie production. The entire room there looks more fresh and clean than the rest of the base, so it must have been renovated. I also find it remarkable that no graffiti "artist" has yet left his tag on that part of the ceiling.
We took the usual pictures of the room, including some creative mounting of camera and tripod as close to the ground as possible and then decided to leave when we heard a car stop in front of the building and somebody knocking and shaking a door downstairs. The security guard was back. I had thought about security here earlier and concluded that if they were smart, they would just wait in this room because every "explorer" would stop by on their trip through the base. But what we experienced so far didn't lead us to believe that the guards here were particularly smart.
It turned out that we were right, because we could sneak out of the building and back onto the road leading us out of here. After a few meters on that very road, the headlights appeared again. We were very sure that we had been spotted this time but we dived into the underwood nonetheless. Our chances of escaping were still very good after all. Interestingly, the car took a turn and didn't drive any further in our direction. Maybe we weren't spotted or maybe he was avoiding us.
Whatever, we walked back to where we came in and left.


A lot more pictures can be found in the Gallery:

Communist Nazi Base

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Comments

#1 by Scavo on Nov 07 2009, 03:31
Very nice blog about your visit to kramnitz.
The securityguard from securitas was also on the side when we where there,he past 5 meter from me aways but didt see me.
Love your pics,not like the usual pics what i see from this place!
Greetz Scavo
#2 by Andreas on Apr 30 2010, 00:44
Love your pictures. Very well document the place. Like your theory about the mosaic. Hope it is real, and can't imagine a film crew would set it up with those small pieces of mosaic.

We were there for just a couple of hours and didn't reach over the place like you. And we didn't see any sign of security except for the tire tracks on the road.

Great site by the way!!
#3 by LB on May 01 2010, 20:29
Thanks.

I must say i love huge military places because in general you can walk around endlessly and enjoy the atmosphere. Here, most people seem to come only for the mosaic and the officer's casino and never look at the rest of this huge base.

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