papers: report supplemental to the dossier Aerial Reconnaissance Berlin
The following document was released
after parts of it were quoted in a
statement issued by Triple Canopy.
Since that statement, independent and unauthorised
by INS, has been publicised, the INS Deptartment
of Propaganda has issued the original document
to avoid any misinterpretation of quotations taken
out of context. This document forms a supplement
to the the dossier Aerial
Reconnaissance Berlin published in 2009.
INS Inspectorate Berlin: Surveillance
Type: Confidential Briefing
Authorised: Anthony Auerbach, INS Chief of Propaganda
Authorisation Code: AA230610
Surveillance of the city of Berlin, mandated
by the INS Inspectorate, remains for
the time being focused on aerial reconnaissance,
inspection and research. INS observers
have been installed in high buildings.
Local informants and collaborators continue
to be recruited. Foreign agents are being
mobilised to obtain information and spread
INS propaganda under cover of literary,
journalistic and artistic enterprises.
Technical preparations have been initiated
for future interventions in the city.
The following represents a sample of
information acquired recently, corresponding
with current and possible future INS
investigations and activities in Berlin.
The remarks offered to the Inspectorate
Committee in this document highlight
aspects of the Inspectorate’s principal
concerns (marking and erasure; transit,
circulation and transmission; cryptography
and death) and their interconnections
that have not hitherto been emphasised.
For example: how the archaeological move,
as if to exhume the past, mainly brings
debris to the surface, effects erasure,
and calls for burial.
Several photographs are attached.[A
display of the figures cited in the text
below and additional photographs opens
in a new window]
References to the dossier Aerial
Reconnaissance Berlin (INS PUB. B.01/09) are indicated
by section/paragraph numbers in brackets.
INS reconnaissance operations remain
concentrated on sites of erasure, in
accordance with the brief issued by the
Inspectorate (1), with particular attention
on places designated as monuments and
memorials. These sites were identified
as the ‘sites of the most intense,
the most intentional and the most ruthless
erasure’ (5.4). A variety of material
and symbolic techniques of effacement,
camouflage and encryption were observed
Berlin’s system of monuments is
being actively maintained, enhanced and
expanded. Previously neglected victims
are being identified and additional areas
of the city appropriated to marking their
deaths. Previously demolished and neglected
monuments are being revived and/or revised.
Competition among lobby groups for political
favours, among artists and designers
for commissions, and among developers
for government subsidies and tourist
spending tends to intensify the process
by which monumental architecture and
memorial installations consume an increasing
proportion of the real estate of the
World Capital of Death.
2 Continued Monitoring
In addition to documenting the five sites
selected for aerial photographic reconnaissance,
the dossier B.01/09 indicated two sample
cases for continued monitoring of possible
neurotic symptoms (5.n2).
2.1 An observation platform has been
erected at the Schlossplatz, close to
the lawn which now covers the place where
the Palace of the Republic was razed
(1989–2009) in anticipation of
the reinstatement of the royal palace,
which stood on the same site until 1950.
Fig. 1 Preliminary construction of the
observation post (2009).
Fig. 2 A permanent-looking advertising-cum-observation
platform now being built suggests the
reconstruction of the palace will not
be finished soon (2010).
Apart from ordinary commercials, the
provisional platform advertises itself,
the soon to be completed ‘Humboldt-Box®’which
should replace it, and the projected
reconstruction of the Schlossplatz. The
trademark ‘Humboldt-Box®’ (taking
its name from the proposed Humboldt Forum
to be housed in the new palace), whose
construction is presently overseen by
the provisional platform, was designed
by a firm that specialises in spectacular
outdoor advertising, in particular, what
they call ‘monument veiling’,
which offers brand-owners building-sized
advertising opportunities in prominent
locations, and monument-owners revenues
to support redevelopment of the monument.
If the advertising space is not sold,
the monument may be covered in a replica
façade, as has already been observed
at several sites in Berlin (e.g. St.
Hedwigs-Kathedrale and the Alte Bibliothek
(6.A[n33]), both on Bebelplatz; and the
Bauakademie, on the Kupfergraben, opposite
the Schlossplatz (5.n2.3[n30]) — in
the case of the Bauakademie, there is
no building behind the façade.
An echo of the just-removed Palace of
the Republic appeared briefly on the
façade of the privately funded
Temporary Kunsthalle erected on the opposite
side of the Schlossplatz, 2008–2010).
The provisional platform is dressed with
a simulation of part of the façade
of the projected reconstruction of the
Stadtschloss, the same part as was preserved,
or rather replicated, by the Communists
when the ‘Karl Liebknecht Balcony’ was
built into the DDR State Council building
Fig. 3 Two copies of the balcony face
each other across the Schlossplatz: the
former Staatsratsgebäude (5.n2.3)
can be seen at the left, while the advertisement
for the Aussichtsterasse is on the right
The Schlossplatz itself is now the site
of extensive archaeological excavations,
displaying the full rigour of the art
of digging (Figs.
22–24). The exercise
appears to be intended primarily to authenticate
the reconstruction of the Stadtschloss
by uncovering the foundations of the
original, although other pretexts are
officially cited. In the context — that
is, of the resurrection of the house
of the Hohenzollerns, Kings of Prussia
and Emperors of Germany — it looks
like digging for imperial glory, or at
least the image of Rome, World Capital
The archaeological dig is sponsored by
the Federal Government, the City of Berlin
and the Jobcenter Lichtenberg, hinting
the project may be designed as an opportunity
for unemployed people to dig holes and
fill them in again under the appropriate
supervision. However, it may also be
a sign that the organisation promoting
the rebuilding of the royal palace — which
solicits donations under the slogan MACH
GESCHICHTE! (Make history!) — has
successfully co-opted the government
and its agencies to clear the ground
for its own ambitions.
Fig. 4 An ‘information’ placard
provided by the lobby group that succeeded
in persuading the government to adopt
the idea of rebuilding the royal palace
advertises the demolition of the Palace
of the Republic as a ‘democratic
Further comments on an apparent trend
towards archaeology, or rather, the image
of archaeology, seen in various parts
of Berlin will be offered below.
2.2 The concrete bus that stopped at
the Philharmonie on the corner of Tiergartenstraße
and Scharounstraße in 2008 (5.n2.4[n32])
has now gone.
Fig. 5 The Sans Souci bus stopped close
to where the Denkmal der grauen Busse
stood at the infamous address Tiergartenstraße
A new freestanding plaque and a poster
in the nearby bus shelters now inform
people about the Nazi programme of murdering
Germans with disabilities, codenamed ‘Aktion
T4’ (after the address of the building
where it was devised and administered).
These panels now complement the plaque
on the pavement which remembers the ‘forgotten
victims’ beside the blank sculpture
by Richard Serra (Fig.
The information panel, put up by the
city’s department for art and culture
and the Topography of Terror Foundation
(see below), also announces: ‘The
area around this plaque is due to be
redesigned as a memorial site for remembrance
and information on “T4”.’ For
the time being, a newly designed ‘Aktion
T4’ logo has been provided by the
designer, adorning the information panel
Like many of Berlin’s monumental enterprises,
the rebuilding of the Stadtschloss and the memorial
at the Philharmonie result from the initiatives of
so-called ‘grass-roots’ organisations:
interest groups, enthusiast groups, self-appointed
lobby groups, and in some cases individual (7.3.5[n63])
and commercial initiatives. The Association for the
Rebuilding of the Berliner Stadtschloss and the Topography
of Terror Foundation are among the most successful
in achieving institutional status and state patronage.
A variety of private interests and political groups
are concerned to leave their mark in ‘public’ space,
for example: the group that calls itself Aktion 18.
März successfully lobbied for the renaming of
the space on the western side of the Brandenburg Gate
Platz des 18. März, in memory of the failed bourgeois
revolution of 1848. The party that wanted to rename
a place for Waldemar Pabst, the officer credited with
making sure of the murders of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl
Liebknecht on the tacit orders of the SPD regime, and
thus saving Germany from a proletarian revolution,
did not succeed in persuading the local authority.
The Society for the Promotion of Art and Culture on
Rosa Luxemburg Platz, is responsible for several sculpture-
and gardening projects including a sculpture-assemblage
of copies of fragments of well-known, mainly leftist,
monuments, by the artist-duo Clegg and Guttmann, apparently
intended to thematise the role of monuments in changing
spatial and historical contexts.
Fig. 8 It could be part of the artists’ intention
that the sculpture is constantly in need of repair
A copy of a bronze statue of Rosa Luxemburg recently
erected across the road greets visitors to the offices
of the former DDR youth paper Junge
Welt, as if to
advance a claim on the place named after her (Fig.
9), or perhaps to compensate for the lack of any figurative
memorial in the artist-designed, SPD-PDS sponsored ‘Denkzeichen’ (memorial
tokens) which are scattered about the square, as if
to quiet the competing claims on her person.
Fig. 10 Part of the ‘Denkzeichen’ memorial
installed on Rosa Luxemburg Platz in 2006 (2010). For
the history of this quotation within a quotation, see
INS PUB. B.01/09, 6.D.5[n50].
Another society is currently promoting the redesigning
of the Friedhof der Märzgefallenen — the
burial place of the victims of March 1848, and of November–December
1918 (6.D.2) — as a place for ‘positive
remembrance culture’, where, according to their
brochure, ‘the significance of individuals for
the success of democracy’ should be ‘experienced
through the example of the cemetery’.
Fig. 11 The current design of the burial and pilgrimage
site is its Communist-modern iteration, dating from
1960, now in a state of romantic dilapidation (2010)
(See also Fig. 12, c. 1912).
As far-fetched as the cemetery proposal sounds, political
parties, lobby groups, cultural societies and self-styled
communities have succeeded in realising projects no
less ludicrous-seeming, with and without official support.
For example: a monumental slab inscribed for the ‘victims
of the second world war and the division of Germany’ which
has the Ten Commandments written on the back, or the
meticulous art-historical conservation of the exterior
dilapidation of a house in Mitte that was squatted
in 1990, while nearby buildings, still empty, remain
subject both to further deterioration and to possible
future redecoration (Fig. 13).
Some proposals that have been advanced suggest a critical
approach to Berlin’s memorial culture as well
as a comment on the its proponents. The entrenched
leisure class — which enjoys the tranquility
of a depopulated city, and, having formed the urban
avant-garde of what East Germans call the ‘takeover’ and
West Germans prefer to call the ‘peaceful revolution’,
tends to resist further capitalist development — this
class would appear to be indicted by a proposal for
a banner inscription in one of Berlin’s inner-city
suburbs: ‘Ruhe und Frieden ohne Juden’ (Peace
and Quiet without the Jews). Other proposals, such
as erecting a statue of Lady Macbeth, would appear
to have a more general ironic import. Though harmless,
these suggestions were blocked by the authorities.
Similar proposals have been circulated mainly for polemic
effect, probably without hope of being realised, but
nonetheless were taken seriously. The suggestion of
systematically extracting, melting down and selling
off Berlin’s ‘gold teeth’, that is,
the ‘Stolpersteine’ (Stumbing Blocks) as
they are properly called — inscribed brass cobblestones
set into the pavement which are meant to remind the
current residents of a house of the names of former
residents who were deported and murdered — resulted
in the cobbles being secured in concrete.
Fig. 14 The so-called ‘Stolpersteine’ which
first appeared in Kreuzberg in 1997 are an individual
artist’s enterprise. Although initiated without
official approval, the inscribed cobbles were adopted
by the local authorities and have spread throughout
Notable is the plurality of such initiatives and the
variety of societies, foundations and communities formed
to promote them. The activities of such ‘grass-roots’ organisations
have become a familiar part of the urban and media
landscape in Berlin and therefore are to be recommended
as front organisations for INS activities when required.
Sites previously the subjects of detailed aerial surveys
were revisited recently.
The restoration of the façade of the law faculty
building that formerly housed the royal library (6.A.1)
on what is now called Bebelplatz is almost complete,
but the building is yet to be unveiled.
Fig. 15 No trace remains (Fig. 16, 2010) on the façade
where the Lenin plaque was removed (6.A.2) (2005).
The new institutional building and landscaping of the
site of the Topography of Terror (6.B.1) is now complete
and open to the public. Most of the didactic components
of the complex have been moved indoors while additional,
formal emphasis has been placed on the exposed or reburied ‘archaeological’ finds — the
cellars and remains of foundations of buildings formerly
used by the Nazi administration.
Fig. 17 The design of the Topography of Terror exhibition
complex has achieved the aesthetic unity of the new
pavilion, the covered and uncovered remains of demolished
buildings, the remnants of the Berlin wall and the
refurbished Nazi Air Ministry, currently the Federal
The ‘balast’ that surrounds the building — that
is, the type of stones usually used on railway lines — was
laid on an impermeable membrane to help prevent the
colonisation of the area by plants. However this already
proved ineffective during the construction phase. It
is not clear what herbicide regime is used to maintain
Fig. 18 The anomaly (a hump) that was the topic of
PR (6.C) in 2005 has subsided (Fig. 19, 2010).
Fig. 20 A new granite table inscribed ‘To the
Victims of Stalinism’ has been installed opposite
the Memorial Site of the Socialists (Fig. 21) (5.n1.2.1[n19],
Several remarks were made in the Dossier submitted
to the INS Inspectorate Committee in 2009 regarding
burial, its symbols, surrogates (5.n1.2.4–5)
and reiterations (6.D.2[n46]). Mention was made of
grave-digging as form of sculpture (6.A.2[n39], 6.D.5–6),
of exhumations (7.3.5[Additional note]) and quasi-archaeological
The symbolic action of digging was one of the opening
moves in the ‘grass-roots’ campaign for
the recovery of the site known as Prinz Albrecht Terrain
(6.B). The uncovering of buried parts of buildings
was central to the exhibition Topography of Terror
which opened in 1987. These remains — the basements
once used by Nazi institutions — formed the principal
material exhibit upon which the narrative of the Nazi
terror apparatus and its victims was hung. The quasi-archaeological
ruins, displayed for contemplation, have now been mostly
separated from the didactic exhibition in the new building
and landscape design for the Topography of Terror Foundation
which inherited the whole site. Some earlier excavations
have been filled in and other building remains newly
exposed. Likewise, the uncovering of the foundations
of the demolished Stadtschloss preserved under the
tarmac in front of the Palace of the Republic was central
to the campaign for the reinstatement of the royal
Fig. 22 While extensive archaeological digging (see
also Figs. 23–24) is now underway in the area
about to redeveloped as a simulacrum of the old Hohenzollern
palace, the foundations of the former DDR palace were
systematically removed (see also Fig. 3) (2010).
Fig. 25 The basements uncovered by the earlier digs
on the Schlossplatz remain exposed and are deteriorating
rapidly from the action of frost and vegetation (2010).
These two projects, each concerned in its own way with
state and empire, demonstrate how archaeology can stake
a compelling claim on a particular territory while
selectively re-presenting the recent past as pre-history,
or completely obliterating it. The Topography of Terror
and Stadtschloss campaigns have achieved an exemplary
status that extends to an image of archaeology for
Berlin. That is to say, an embodiment of archaeology
as wish-image in a city where direct reflection, say,
on Athens or Rome would tend to be regarded as hubris.
(The dream project of refurbishing a nineteenth-century
neo-classical museum as a ruin, realised recently in
Berlin by an English architect, provides another model
for salvaging the past: in this case renovating an
outdated image of history — neo-classicism — with
a romantic version of the antique.)
The Topography of Terror affirms its own example. The
design realised recently honours the ‘original’ dig,
while burying the erasure of the failed memorial project
that preceded it (the surface surveyed as part of the
Aerial Reconnaissance phase of the Inspectorate, Fig.
Fig. 27 The digging season in Berlin reveals widespread
enthusiasm for the archaeology of the recent past.
Fig. 28 Karl-Marx-Forum (2010).
Fig. 29 Bernauerstraße (2010).
Fig. 30 Oranienplatz (2010).
Fig. 31 The exemplary character of archaeology lends
an empty significance to the disclosures exhibited
as part of the extension of the Berlin Wall Memorial,
now stretching some 1400 m along the former course
of the Wall on Bernauer Straße (2010).
Fig. 32 The same material, on the one hand discarded
as debris, on the other hand revealed as a find (2010).