Peter Grimm / 20.11.2019 / 10:30 / Foto: Bundesarchiv / 4 / Seite ausdrucken

English version: Berlin – No genius loci for Tesla

By popular request our contribution "Kein Genius Loci für Tesla" here also in english language: 

Higher consecrations for the new Tesla plant are certainly highly welcome. The Berliner-Zeitung immediately noticed that the opposition member Robert Havemann lived in the surroundings.  However, the area was used by completely different rulers: Here hid the most infamous warehouse of the Ministry for State Security – Erich Mielke's robber cave.

For all friends of the current government course in the matter of energy and traffic turnaround it was the strengthening sign against all the growing doubts whether the one-sided fixation on the electric car is really the right way or whether it does not in the end rather promote the destruction of Germany as a business location: Elon Musk wants to build a giant factory in Germany on the outskirts of Berlin. Of course, the doubters do not fall silent completely and accuse Musk of having chosen the location because of the easy accessibility of subsidies. He would like to promise castles in the air and the German politicians, who are eager for good traffic and energy turnaround news, would be just as willing to pay for it. It is important to show the good spirit behind the Tesla plant, even if the product has not been profitable for the producer so far.

Higher consecrations for the good work are certainly highly welcome. And many opinion leaders are willing and able to find them. Perhaps a suitable genius loci would be obvious, a spirit of the place with which one could decorate the electromobility plant a little more. According to the agencies, the location is Grünheide near Berlin. And a committed author of the Berliner Zeitung immediately came up with something thanks to his solid historical knowledge of Grünheide:

"Perhaps in a few years the name Grünheide will be associated primarily with electric cars - if Tesla operates the new car factory here. After all, the US electric car manufacturer wants to invest up to four billion euros in the planned "Gigafactory" here and thus expand Grünheide into an automobile location. However, the town in the southeast of Berlin still has quite different associations with older, mainly East German, people. Robert Havemann lived here, one of the smartest and most courageous opposition members ever to live in the GDR. His small house on Möllensee is still standing almost unchanged in Burgwallstraße.”

The title itself creates a melodious connection: "Tesla-Fabrik is being built on the house of a GDR oppositional". It is undisputedly right and important to pay tribute to Robert Havemann when the opportunity presents itself. And that the temptation for the well-meaning author must have been great to connect Havemann – after all, his late work also includes a "real utopia" – as a genius loci with the Tesla work is easy to understand. A little research would have saved him from galloping so thoroughly for Tesla in the Genius Loci.

For the new Mecca of German electromobility is emerging in a neighborhood of contemporary interest, not just in that of an upright GDR oppositional, but in that of the Stasi. When reading the reports about the Tesla settlement, the location is described in more detail: It is the Freienbrink district belonging to Grünheide but located outside the town. Admittedly, this does not really have to mean anything to the uninvolved. But a quick look at the Internet provides illuminating information. Spiegel, for example, described the former use of this wasteland with good transport connections as early as February 1990:

"The curious are still undesirable in the Freienbrink forest. Men in the uniform of the GDR customs authorities refuse passage. The large gate is opened for trucks entering and leaving the port and for "authorised persons".

The approximately four square kilometer forest, right next to the motorway, eight kilometers southeast of the city border of East Berlin, is secured like the German-German border used to be: watchtowers and high fences with barbed wire, behind them the obligatory death strip, cleanly raked.

As a "military restricted area", the area was taboo for GDR citizens for years. Soldiers of the guard regiment Feliks Dzierzynski secured the area with sharp weapons around the clock. The caution was justified and still is. Even after the fall of communism there is a need for secrecy. The "Objekt Freienbrink" was one of the most sensitive and secret addresses in the SED and Stasi empires. Here hid the most infamous warehouse of the Ministry for State Security (MfS) - Erich Mielke's robber cave.

Here, what escaped or imprisoned citizens had had to leave behind was hoarded and moved: Furniture and household effects, family and costume jewellery, shoes and clothes, radios, tape recorders, record players, televisions.

Here one hand washed the other: Anyone who could work with the head of the department – top comrades from Wandlitz anyway, but also colleagues from the other departments, if they were needed as allies and confidants, could make use of the Stasi fund.

Here, in the middle of the forest, the Stasi filmed the most audacious German-German thing: "Since 1984, every parcel of the Bundespost that erroneously landed somewhere in the GDR had not been sent back, but was taken to Freienbrink and plundered - the largest state-organized mail robbery of all time."

A place of state-organized robbery does not really fit the Tesla settlement. This investor in Freienbrink will certainly not be robbed by the state; instead, this state will certainly promote the new settlement. If there is no suitable genius loci, then one should not try to suggest one.

Die deutsche Fassung dieses Beitrages finden Sie hier.

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Uta Buhr / 20.11.2019

Thank you very much indeed for the English version of this article. I shall take pleasure in passing it on to a couple of friends who do not speak German but who are keen on understanding what is going so wrong in” good old Germany”, once called the “model country” in Europe.  Alas, it’s been a long time.

Sabine Schönfelder / 20.11.2019

But now I don’t have to translate my comment into English? Soon you will write your texts in Serbo-Croatian, or Esperanto!

Hans-Peter Dollhopf / 20.11.2019

Genius Loci? Well, as a recycling facility for the chattels of their victims, this location already has a tradition to serve heartfelt matters of our green Savers of the World. Sustainability, you know! Nota bene, under the auspices of their nowaday coalition partner,. They once were not able to save their socialistic world. How should they now save the world withtheir socialism?

Thomas Taterka / 20.11.2019

An english version? - That’s cute. And ” of course you know this means war “ ( Bugs Bunny or Groucho Marx ) with the friends of the friends of ” I love you all “ - Erich. GEEERONIMOOO !!!

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