In 1981, Harf Zimmermann moved into a fifth-floor walkup apartment on Hufelandstrasse, a cobblestone street in East Berlin.
The rock group Phonolog.
The neighborhood was an anomaly in the increasingly drab Soviet-administered city. Buildings boasted proud facades and balconies, linden trees lined the broad sidewalks, and an unusual number of privately-owned shops remained in business.
But in 1985 the crumbling balconies were stripped away, and in 1987, with the soil poisoned by leaking gas lines, the last of the linden trees were felled. Feeling like the “final witness” to something that would soon be gone forever, Zimmermann went out onto the street with a large-format view camera.
“Everyone seemed to feel connected to the place and responsible for it, to be acting in tacit consensus and always working to save the diversity of their island from the sea of gray for as long as possible,” says Harf Zimmermann.
At the corner of Hufelandstrasse and Bötzowstrasse.
HO (state-owned “Trade Organization”) butcher “Wild Geflügel” (game, poultry), No. 10.
Herr and Frau Fleischer in their engagement outfits with their dog Putzi.
Rocky the bull terrier in front of a 1936 Mercedes.
My neighbor Frau Töpfer with her grandson René.
Frau Baer (center) with her daughter, her grandchild, and her daughter’s partner on the thirty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the GDR.
The bride and groom Frau and Herr Dressler, who have booked the package “traditional wedding, celebrating 750 years of Berlin.”
Two students in the eighth grade.
Student whose nickname was “Student.”
Employees of the cooperative “Berliner Blumen” (Berlin flowers), No. 18.
From left to right: Beate (freelancer) with her daughter Henriette, her partner Matthias (freelancer) with his son Gregor, and their daughter Lilly.
Ingeborg (front, cleaner), her son Lothar (left, carpenter), her grandson Guido and their grandmother.
Margot Schulz, disabled retiree, with three of her fourteen children.