An intense and often polemical debate raged over whether to preserve or demolish the Palace of the Republic, and whether to rebuild the Palace of the Hohenzollerns. Those opposing the demolition regarded the plan to rebuild the older edifice as an expression of a primitive, ideologically motivated politics of memory – which was exactly how the advocates of reconstruction viewed the SED-ordered destruction of the old palace in 1950. Although the discussion was polarized between East and West, there were notable exceptions: East German politicians Regine Hildebrandt and Wolfgang Thierse both supported reconstruction.
The graffiti in the photo reads: “The GDR Never Existed” – a sardonic commentary on the complete demolition of the Palace of the Republic. Photo: Arno Burgi.