Berlin 1945, the Second World War was over in Europe but things didn’t look that good for the German capital. The Soviet Army had conquered a city reduced to rubble and under martial law. And the Red Army had Berlin just for them, the American, French and British army would only get there in a few months.
There are broken tanks engulfed in flames around the streets, makeshift barriers are everywhere, churches have been reduced to bombed out shelters. German soldiers are been hauled to Siberia and the surviving women are cleaning the debris and trading whatever they can for survival. The Russian Army looks as tired as the defeated German soldiers. This is Berlin in May 1945, a summer most people that were there would never forget.
This is why Berlin 1945 – Photos of the Aftermath is such an important book. The pictures inside this book show a glimpse of Berlin during the last moments of the Third Reich. These pictures were taken by Red Army photographers as the German Army was surrendering. Here you can finally see how impressive the destruction of Berlin really was.
Berlin 1945 – Photos of the Aftermath shows the world heart wrenching pictures that were never seen before. Most of them were taken before the rest of the Allied Forces got to Berlin in July 1945. During those months, the Soviet Military Administration broadcasted what was happening in Berlin into the world. The news reports were filled with the pictures that you can see in this book and almost disappeared after being forgotten in an archive for almost fifty years.
A testimony of the final breathe of a city that would never be the same. A testimony of the final battle and of the death of a city. This was Berlin in 1945 and these photos depict a unusual and disturbing normalcy that feels grotesque somehow. But this is what the survivors of that gruesome war can be seen doing in these pictures. Berlin would rise again even though it’s almost impossible to believe that these pictures are from the german capital.
Berlin 1945 – Photos of the Aftermath is split in ten chapters filled with large back and white pictures of the aftermath. And these pictures are impressive and show an unexplored history that can be haunting to some when you go through the book. But this is a gold mine for history lovers.
A gold mine of photographical treasures that everyone that loves Berlin should, at least once, go through. It may be just to try to find some of the streets and places that don’t exist anymore or to try to understand a little better how that moment in 1945 shaped what Berlin is today.