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In 1994, the last Russian soldiers withdrew from the forbidden city in Wünsdorf, the headquarters of the Red Army during the Cold War.

The forbidden city of Wünsdorf

The Forbidden City of the Soviets

In 1994, the last Russian soldiers withdrew from the forbidden city in Wünsdorf, the headquarters of the Red Army during the Cold War.

Wünsdorf has been a garrison town since long before the Russian passage. During the Second World War, Wünsdorf hosted the headquarters of the Wehrmacht (the German army), which enthusiastically set up a megalomaniac bunker village there.

Top secret

After the liberation of Germany in 1945, the Red Army set up camp there. Only the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers (and their families) were welcome here; Wünsdorf - popularly known as "Little Moscow" - was strictly off-limits for German (GDR) citizens.

Haus der Offiziere

In the heart of the forbidden city is the Haus der Offiziere, a neo-baroque, U-shaped building from 1914-1916.

Initially, German soldiers were trained here; later, it became a "Heeressportschule" to prepare the German athletes for the Olympic Games in 1936.

After the liberation of Berlin, the Russian army moved into the complex. The main building, which has two side wings, now served as a relaxation and meeting room for the military. Maps of Western and Eastern Europe decorated the walls.

Memorial Hall

In the darkened 'Gedenkhalle des Museums für Geschichte,' a relief and photos commemorated the sacrifices during the Second World War.

Elsewhere, wall drawings and reliefs praised Soviet industrialization and rocket technology.

The main building contained a radio studio and technical (transmitting) installations.


In 1970, the Russians expanded their headquarters with a "Diorama": a circular, windowless concrete temple. Due to its dilapidated state, the building can no longer be visited.

Inside hangs - or rather hung - the work of art "Die Schlacht um Berlin," a gift from the GDR to the Russian army. The Russians took the 36-meter-long and 7-meter-high work home with them when they left in 1994.

Pioneer House

The south wing houses the restaurant, renamed the "Pionierhaus" in 1945, decorated with Doric columns.

One of the richly decorated ceilings in the Pionierhaus hasn't yet tumbled down.

Banquet hall

The north wing, which consisted of 4 gymnasiums for German athletes, has housed the concert and banquet hall since 1945, and soldiers can watch a film in the cinema.

The Haus der Offiziere has been empty for more than 20 years. The municipality of Wünsdorf is trying to attract investors to repurpose the historic buildings.

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