The largest Soviet base abandoned in Germany

About 40 kilometers south of Berlin lies the small town of Wunsdorf, home to about six thousand inhabitants. However, less than thirty years ago it had a population of sixty thousand, of which fifty thousand were soldiers of the Red Army. The military lived inside one of the largest military bases in Europe and the largest Soviet military base outside the USSR. The former headquarters of Soviet forces in Germany was so large that it was known as “Little Moscow”, or small Moscow, with trains departing daily towards the Soviet capital. Inside, there were schools, shops, hospitals and leisure facilities.

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Wünsdorf became a Soviet military base after the fall of Nazi Germany at the end of World War II, but the military history of the city goes back seventy years or so. It was originally a firing range of the Prussian army, before the first army barracks were built. With the construction of the railway line, the whole area began to gain strategic importance and when the First World War began in 1914, the 24,000-hectare complex had become the largest military base in Europe.

In 1935, Wünsdorf became the seat of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany. Under Hitler’s leadership, Wünsdorf became a great military fortress. They built a modern underground communications center called Zeppelin, which had walls up to 3.2 meters thick, and several bomb-proof bunkers with 80-centimeter ceilings, mimicked as country houses.

When the Nazis left the premises the Soviets entered and Wünsdorf became a closed Soviet city in the heart of Germany. Its original inhabitants were expelled and all roads to Wünsdorf were closed to traffic. For the inhabitants of the area became Wünsdor Die Verbotene Stadt, the “Forbidden City”.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the reunification of Germany and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian soldiers returned home. When they left, they left behind them an extensive area planted with 98,300 rounds of ammunition, 47,000 pieces of artillery, 29.3 tons of ammunition and garbage, including chemicals, used oils, old paint, tires, batteries and asbestos. Stores were filled with electronics, radios, televisions and refrigerators. The families left the place in such a hurry that they could not take everything. The houses were full of household appliances. Even the pets were left behind. Their skeletons lie lying on the ground.

Today, the whole complex rots in the abandonment, from time to time receives the visit of photographers and explorers of abandoned places.

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Image credit: Micha Blitz / Flickr

Image credit: Steffi Reichert / Flickr

Image credit: Steffi Reichert / Flickr

Image credit: Micha Blitz / Flickr

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Image Credit: Kevin Hackert / Flickr

Image Credit: Kai Oswald Seidler / Flickr

Image credit: Micha Blitz / Flickr

Image Credit: Kai Oswald Seidler / Flickr

Image Credit: Kai Oswald Seidler / Flickr

Image Credit: Paul Schulze / Flickr

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The largest Soviet base abandoned in Germany

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