Exhibit of the Month April 2012
Makeshift TV Antenna from a Russian Barrack, circa 1990
Modern art or commodity?
At first glance, the Object of this Month stuns the observer. The task of museums is to collect meaningful and rare historical documents. They often work together with people who have similar interests. At the beginning of the 1990s, an enthusiastic collector named Mrs. G. visited numerous barracks, which at this time had just been cleared by Soviet troops. Mrs. G. was fascinated by the juxtaposition of the symbols in these barracks and the legacies of the soldiers—in the buildings that were often erected during the Nazi era, there were items from National Socialism and from the Soviet troops to be found
Television as Gate to the World
Even in the socialist brotherland the GDR, the Russians were not particularly popular. The strict regulations also forbade them closer contact to their surroundings. Far away from home and close to the western territories, they lived largely in a closed world. Many must have tried, however, to cross these boundaries through television. Mrs. G. found, especially in the officers’ houses, makeshift antennae with which television from the GDR and the FRG could be received. These antennae were simply constructed from building materials and workshop odds and ends, and were attached to the windows or on the rooftops.
Mrs G. has left the Deutsches Technikmuseum eight antennae. Without her commitment, they would probably have been lost forever.
This antenna comes from the grounds of the Krampnitz barracks, north of Potsdam. After the withdrawal of the Red Army in 1994, the barracks fell into decline; the Stalingrad film "Enemy at the Gates" (2000), among others, was shot in the ruins.
Inv. Nr. : 1/2011/0719 0