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The magazine of the art-form of the photo-essay “A free, really high quality photo-essay magazine.  Fabulous!” Stephen Fry. British actor, writer and film & documentary maker
April 2015 issue
Iraq’s Ghost Embassy East Berlin
by Stefan Boness
The former Iraqi embassy in East Berlin, then capital of communist East Germany, was deserted by its diplomats in a hurry over two decades ago. It has turned into a dilapidated ‘ghost embassy’ with many traces of the long vanished Saddam Hussein era. The embassy was neglected in January 1991 after the reunification of Germany. That was also the year Iraqi forces marched into Kuwait. The new embassy in now far away based in Zehlendorf, West-Berlin. The 5,000 square-metre old site built in pre-fabricated socialist style in the former East is now diplomatic no-man’s land. It is property of the German government but the Republic of Iraq has exclusive rights - a common arrangement for embassies. The building was erected in 1974 when Iraq enjoyed good relations with the GDR. Iraq was the first non-socialist state to recognise East Germany as a country in 1969. Most of what the Iraq embassy staff left behind of their abandoned offices in a hurry in January 1991 is still there twenty years later: overturned chairs, worn out sofas, ravaged desks and filing cabinets, rusty typewriters and telex machines, shards of glass on the floor everywhere; and heaps of embassy files, official brochures, documents, letters, photos and even pictures of Saddam Hussein. The abandoned Iraqi embassy is in many ways a symbol of the story of Berlin and a symbol of the upheaval of world history since the fall of communism.
Wired entrance at 51 Tchaikovsky Street in Pankow.
Neglected Plattenbau at 51 Tchaikovsky Street in Pankow.
Old Photo displaced at the entrance 51 Tchaikovsky Street.
Graffiti inside the former embassy.
Old typewriter on the balcony the former embassy.
Furniture left inside the former embassy
Graffiti inside the former embassy.
Files and furniture inside the former embassy
Old phone made by the former GDR inside the former embassy.
Vandalised typewriter inside the former embassy.
Recording device inside the former embassy.
Burnt device inside the former embassy.
Book with photo of Saddam Hussein.
Official file inside the former embassy.
Iraq Trade Directory inside the former embassy.
Foreign Trade Directory of the former GDR.
Newspaper with photo of Saddam Hussein.
Former reception inside the old embassy.
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Noise reducing door inside the old embassy.