In 60 Images the Abandoned Soviet Military Town in Germany

Anastasia Kolomiets
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©technolirik

Wünsdorf, also known as Bunker Town, was the very heart of Soviet military presence in Eastern Germany. The small town just 15 miles south of Berlin historically has a strong connection to the military: the area was first used to build a military complex on orders of Kaiser Wilhelm II and then during WWII by the Supreme Command of the Armed Forces (OKW) and the High Command of the German Army (OKH), where both had their headquarters.

When the Second World War finally came to an end, the area was occupied by Soviet forces and became part of the GDR. The Soviets decided to turn Wünsdorf into center for their military presence in Germany, so many military units of the GSFG (Group of Soviet Forces in Germany) were based here.

This bring us to the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment, and the military town we are going to explore today.

Alexander’s father during his first month of military service in Wünsdorf. Source: Private Archive

The photos are provided by Alexander, more commonly known as technolirik for his blog on abandoned military places. From 1985 to 1990, Alexander, together with his parents and brother, lived in Schwerin in a GSFG town, and before that, from 1969 to 1971, his father served in the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment, which was stationed in the Wünsdorf area.

Below is the story of the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment and some amazing photographs offering a peak into what it would have been like to be stationed in the military town back when it was operational. You can find more on Alexander’s journey to his father’s old post here: technolirik

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The 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment formed part of Soviet strategic military presence in the region, and was ready to mobilize at any point in time. The military town was built in the early 1950s specifically for the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment. Priot to this, the regiment was stationed in the settlement of Drakhausen, north of Cottbus. Judging by the style of the buildings, it is most likely that German rather than Soviet specialists constructed the town, although this information cannot be confirmed with complete certainty.

Barrack building ©technolirik

Apart from the usual military installations, such as the parade ground, barracks and soldier’s club, the town also had residential quarters, a school and shops.

This is how the barrack house from the previous photo looked like in 1970. Source: Private Archive

In 1994 the regiment was redeployed to Chernorechye of the Samara Oblast. It was assigned a new Military Unit Number 65347 and was reduced to merely 150 personnel. At the end of 1994, the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment was reorganized into the 169th Proskurov Red Banner Orders Suvorov and Kutuzov of the 2nd degree tank regiment of the 90th Guards Tank Division, and the same year a part of the equipment and personnel was transferred to 81th Guards Motorized Rifle Regiment to take part in the first Chechen campaign.

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In 1997, the 90th Guards Tank Division was converted into a 5968 storage base for weapons and equipment, and the regiment into a department. In 2005 the base was disbanded, and thus the history of the 69th (169th) Proskurov Red Banner Orders of Suvorov and Kutuzov of the 2nd degree Regiment was completed.

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Now The barrack houses now are completely empty and abandoned. Most buildings in the military town are in very good condition. Some glass windows are still intact, and salvageable things like metal doors surprisingly have not been taken away.

It is peaceful and quiet. The space was slowly being taken over by vegetation. Young trees began to grow between the cracks in the floor.

But the town is gradually being cleaned up. Allegedly, there are some plans to convert this deserted military camp into comfortable housing, so the town will become a community once again, this time a civilian one.

A huge thank you to Alexander for information and photographs! You can see more of his work here: technolirik

Soldier’s club of the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment. This is where rehearsals, concerts and musical performances took place ©technolirik

 

During a concert at the club. Source: Private Archive

 

Inside the club ©technolirik

 

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Hole for the film projector, which used to go to the club’s assembly hall ©technolirik

 

How the stage of the soldier’s club used to look like during special occasions. Source: Private Archive

 

Square with WWII memorial ©technolirik

 

The relief is now almost completely indecipherable apart from a figure of a soldier holding a PPSh-41 ©technolirik

 

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United military band of Poland, the Czech Republic and the GDR is performing at a festive event dedicated to the anniversary of the German socialist newspaper Neues Deutschland. Some of the musicians were from the orchestra of the 69th Motorized Rifle Regiment. Source: Private Archive

 

Performers and visitors from the USSR also came to the festival. In the photo the popular Soviet band “Singing Guitars.” Source: Private Archive

 

German artistic collectives performing. Source: Private Archive

 

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Orchestra of the 69th Regiment takes an active part in the wreath laying ceremony in Treptow Park on May 9. Source: Private Archive

 

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Parade ground and tribune ©technolirik

 

Parade ground in 1970. Source: Private Archive

 

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Inside the main cantine ©technolirik

 

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Contemporary mural art ©technolirik

 

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The military town is now being cleared and cleaned up ©technolirik

 

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