BERLIN: Spandau

Time to read:

1 minute

As part of German practice, I’m reading the Spandauer Tagebücher (Spandau Diaries) of Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect and minister for war production. He had the notes smuggled out of Spandau Prison on the west side of Berlin during the 20 years he served for using forced labor during WWII. I had visited the prison years earlier, while Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess was still there. I wanted to revisit the site a final time, but it’s not there any more.

This old photo gives you an idea of what the prison looked like after WWII.

New construction in the area where the prison stood has the same red-brick look that the prison did, even to the rectangular walls and windows and the pattern just below the roofline.

Here’s another nearby building that reminds me of the Spandau look. Can’t be a coincidence.

I read that the old prison was blasted to dust in 1987, after Hess committed suicide, so Neo-Nazis couldn’t make a shrine of it. The Brits (the prison was in their sector) poured the rubble into the North Sea or buried it beneath construction on a Royal Air Force base so no one could get to it.

Several shopping centers have been tried on the site. The latest is part of a grocery chain.

The grocery is all brick, too.

Inside the grocery where Spandau Prison stood.

Stopped a fellow old-timer and asked about the prison. He confirmed what I’d read. But with a sweep of the hand, he said the buildings across the street had been there when the prison was.

Red brick in the shade of a setting sun. A last glimpse of the old Spandau look.


One response to “BERLIN: Spandau”

  1. pacho53 Avatar

    Clint, I well remember visiting Spandau with you in 1983. I remember the armed guards watching us we walked toward the gate, which, if I remember correctly, said something about deadly force being authorized. We kept our distance. Good times.

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