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1. The military history of the Bornstedter Feld and the FHP-Campus

Potsdam and The Bornstedter Feld have a long military history.  At the beginning of the 17th century, apart from the palaces and parks surrounding Potsdam, barracks and other facilities of the Prussian military were part of Potsdam’s cityscape. In the early years of the 20th century, the Reichswehr (the German Army under the Weimar Republic and the first few years of the third Reich from 1919 to 1935) and the Wehrmacht (the German armed forces from 1921 to 1945) restructured the Bornstedter Feld to suit their needs. This area even served as one of the first airfields in Germany and was used for military and recreational purposes. Around 1930, barracks for the 9th infantry regiment were built on what we now know as the university campus.

After the end of World War II, in 1945, the city planned to convert the Bornstedter Feld into a residential and industrial area, a project which was never realized because of the occupation by the Red Army; and once again these barracks were repurposed.

Image 1: Ein Luftbild des FH-Geländes aus dem Jahr 1998 ©1998, Barbara Plate
Image 2: Die Reithalle, fotografiert aus Haus 3 ©90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 3: Der rechte Seitentrakt des Stallgebäudes ©90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 4: Die Rückseite des U-förmigen Reitstalls ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 5: Der Schießstand auf einem Luftbild aus dem Jahr 1997 ©1997, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 6: Der Schießstand mit Metallvorrichtungen ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 7: Ein Luftbild des FH-Geländes aus dem Jahr 2005 ©2005, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 8: Die Reparaturhalle mit der Aufschrift “Instandhaltung und Reperatur” ©1992, Thoas Töpfer

2. The occupation of the Pappelallee barracks by the Red Army

  • 15. FHP_S-002_Nr._413_003_Wandbemalung_Sportplatz_1_(1993)

The original design for the barracks made by the Nazis was austere and sober, the architecture of the mostly three floor block-like buildings was characterized by its uniformity. During the period of Soviet occupation from 1945, the grounds where the Potsdam University of Applied Science now stands, primarily served as accommodation for the soldiers. Many workshops and garages for vehicles and heavy trucks were also part of the complex, which was surrounded by a fence or wall.  The internal processes were strictly confidential and the largest distribution station for Potsdam’s military-secure telephone system was found inside the Pappelallee barracks.

Image 1: Der rote Stern auf einem Tor zum Gelände ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 2: Das Haus 2, ein typischer grauer und dreistöckiger Kasernenbau ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 3: Haus 2, vom IBZ aus fotografiert ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 4: Der “Propusk”, die Zugangsberechtigung für sowjetische Kasernen ©Axel Schäfer
Image 5: Flur des Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 6: Treppenaufgang im Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 7: Reparaturbedürftige Wand im Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 8: Treppenabgang im Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 9: Eingangstür des Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 10: Treppengeländer im Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 11: Schlichte Außenbeleuchtung am/des Haus 2 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 12: Eingang von Haus 1 ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 13: Haus 1 mit Blick auf die Georg- Hermann-Allee ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 14: Einer derMauerabschnitte um die Kaserne Pappelallee ©90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 15: Die mit Sport-Piktogrammen bemalte Mauer, Übersetzung ins Deutsche: „Sport lernen“ ©1993, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv

3. Soviet traces inside the Campus

House 3, like houses 1 and 2, served as sleeping quarters for the Soviet soldiers. Particularly interesting aspects of this house were the paintings in some of the rooms which portrayed soviet-related motives, expressing a deep affinity for the soldiers homeland and their culture.

The kitchen and dining room were situated on the ground floor. The meals of the Soldiers were simple and high in calories and while most of the soldiers here cultivated fruits and vegetables and occasionally also had meat, other soviet barracks had to supply them with many basic goods.

Image 1: Der Uhrenturm von Haus 3 ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 2: Der Uhrenturm von Haus 3 © 90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 3: Der Saal im Erdgeschoss des Haus 3 © 1995, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 4: Haus 3, mit Haus 2 im Hintergrund im Winter 1996 ©1996, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 5: Haus 3 auf dem Gelände der FH Potsdam, fotografiertim Jahr 1996 ©1996, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 6: Malerei im Haus 3: Russische Landschaft ©1995, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 7: Malerei im Haus 3: Russische „Babuschka“ © 1995, Bernd Steigerwald

4. The Tank Hall and its surroundings

The “Panzerhalle” or Tank Hall is the oldest building on the campus. It was used by the Soviets as a garage and repair-workshop and after the withdrawal of the Soviets many tank parts and chains were found here.

Not far from the tank hall, the parking lot behind house 3 was used as a sports and military training area for the soldiers stationed here.

This area was used by many soldiers in the early morning for their daily exercise routine: the soldiers “workout- uniform” consisted of long trousers, foot rags and the upper body remained free year round.

Image 1: Die Panzerhalle ©1996, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 2: Panzerteile vor der Panzerhalle © 90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 3: Panzerteile vor der Panzerhalle © 90er Jahre, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 4: Die Panzerhalle ©1993, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 5: Die Panzerhalle und das Stallgebäude im Hintergrund ©1997, Thoas Töpfer
Image 6: Der ehemalige Truppenübungsplatz hinter Haus 3 – heute genutzt Parkplatz ©1997, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 7: Die Panzerhalle im Jahr 1998 ©1998, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv

5. The withdrawal of the Red Army

After the Second World War, the city planned to transform Bornstedt into a residential and industrial area, a plan which was halted by the Soviet occupation and was instead used by Soviet soldiers. After the German  reunification, the Soviet troops withdrew from Germany as well as from the Pappelallee barracks. Development began on these  now vacant premises. The relocation of the Potsdam University of Applied Sciences was part of this city-development project.

Image 1: Haus 4 und Haus 5 der FH Potsdam ©1993, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 2: Das Tor und das Kontrollhaus an der Pappelallee und einer der letzten hier stationierten sowjetischen Offiziere ©1991, Thoas Töpfer
Image 3: Das Tor zur Kaserne an der Pappelallee, hier schon bewacht durch die Preußen-Wacht ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 4: Renovierung von Haus 5 ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 5: Das Bornstedter Feld 1997 ©1997, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 6: Eine Begrenzungsmauer hinter Haus 4 ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 7: Eingang des Haus 4 ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 8: Putzschäden an der Außenwand des Haus 4 ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 9: Haus 4 nach der Renovierung ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 10: Haus 4 im Jahr 1995 ©90er Jahre, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 11: Eingangsschild der Fachhochschule Potsdam, fotografiert im Jahr ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 12: Haus 5, fotografiert im Jahr 1992 ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 13: Eine Kunstinstallationmit dem Titel: “Pause” im Flur des Haus 5 ©1998, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv

6. The Casino - The heart of the Campus

House 17, also known as the “Casino” was presumably built back in the 20s as a horse stall and was used by The Wehrmacht for keeping their carriages and vehicles in. As it was occupied by the Red Army, an upper floor was added, which was then known as the “officers casino” and was used by the officers stationed here during their spare time.

As the University moved into these premises, this house kept the name “Casino”.

The house was destined to be demolished; it was rescued by a group of dedicated students that fought to save it. With the activism of students and the support of some professors the casino had the chance to stay and evolve. It became a place for students to meet, work or simply relax. Today the front part of the Casino functions as a Café and Bar, an initiative that works on a volunteer basis, where all sorts of events, gatherings and parties take place and the rear part offers space for the offices of the student committees and as a co-working space.

Image 1: Das Haus 17, fotografiert im Jahr 1992 ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 2: Der vordere Teil des Haus 17: das Casino ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 3: Das Casino vor den Renovierungen ©1999, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 4: Das Casino vor den Renovierungen ©1999, Bernd Steigerwald
Image 5: Das Schild des Casinoss über der Eingangstür ©2002, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 6: Der Eingang des Casinos, fotografiert im Jahr 2002 ©2002, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 7: Das Casino, betrachtet durch einMauerloch ©1992, Thoas Töpfer
Image 8: Eine der ersten Partys im Casino ©1994, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 9: Eine Veranstaltung vor dem Casino im Jahr 2004 ©2004, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv
Image 10: Ein Party im Casino im Jahr 2005 ©2005, Fachhochschule Potsdam, Hochschularchiv