In contrast to other Soviet Army sites that today are crumbling apart, the Officers‘ House in Brandenburg an der Havel is in a perfect state of preservation. The association „Jugendkulturfabrik“ is based there and uses the facilities for cultural events. The history of the house and especially the Soviet period is not forgotten, but deliberately emphasized, so that Lenin is also still a present figure.
The partially plastered brick building was built at the end of the 19th century as the officers‘ casino of the new cuirassier barracks and was later used by the Wehrmacht. After the victory over Hitler’s fascism, the Soviet Army moved in and later built here its Officers‘ House in Brandenburg an der Havel. When the Soviets left the building in 1992, young people from the association „Jugendkulturfabrik“ occupied it to organize parties and events. Due to issues of ownership, the occupation had a very short duration, but after a long negotiation with the city and a five-year reconstruction of the building, it opened in 2000 as a new cultural center. It has since established itself as one of the most important alternative cultural projects in the state of Brandenburg.
The Officers‘ House is a great example of a respectful and creative approach to the traces and memories of the Soviet Army in Germany. The historical background was actively included in the new design of the space. Both the name „Officers‘ House“ and many Soviet legacies, such as furniture, photos or sculptures, were preserved and the newly constructed areas were also given a Soviet flair. As would be expected, the figure of Lenin is also present.
A glass painting over two meters high with the revolutionary leader as the central figure is particularly interesting from an art-historical point of view. It’s an original leftover from the Soviet barracks and shows a side portrait of Lenin in the middle of a red star, surrounded by infrastructure buildings, a space rocket, two youths and a group of pioneers. This constellation symbolizes the modern development of the Soviet Union and the optimistic perspectives for the future. This unique piece hung on a wall in the local technical university for a long time. In 2019, the administration of the university wanted to get rid of it and gave it to the association, where it is currently stored. Soon it will be placed in the office area.
Lenin can also be found in many other forms: A small bust in the office is an authentic legacy of the Soviet Army, while a slightly larger bust in the bar was purchased by a friend of the organization at a flea market in Iran. It serves as a replacement for an original sculpture of the Soviets that was stolen during a party in 2019. At the entrance to the main concert hall, a graffiti of Lenin in DJ-look by Tobias Siebert (2011) can be seen. Lastly, four large Lenin side portraits made of thin plywood are preserved in the attic.
Many thanks to the team of the Jugendkulturfabrik