Towards the end of the second world war, the city of Berlin—like many other German cities—was largely razed to the ground by allied bombing campaigns. What was left standing was destroyed by the Russian advance in the ground battle for Berlin.
This devastation left Berlin in ruins. The city, whose boulevards and buildings were home to one of the most vibrant and influential cultures of the 19th and 20th centuries, was reduced to 100 million tons of rubble.
Following the end of the war, a decision had to be made as to the future of Berlin. Several possibilities were put forward by the allies, the most shocking of which was to drop anthrax on the ruined city, and to rebuild it from scratch some 60 kilometers away.
Finally, however, the decision to rebuild the city in its original location was made. But before this could begin the rubble had to be removed. Because the war had decimated the male population of Germany, the job of clearing up the remains of the city fell to the women. Beginning in 1945, the Trümmerfraun (“Rubble Women”) began the long process of removing and transporting over 25 million cubic meters of the old Berlin.
The rubble from the old city was taken to three main sites, the largest of which isTeufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) in Grünewald, a large woodland park to the south-west of the city.
The photographs in this series were all taken from Teufelsberg. Beneath the trees and undergrowth lies what remains of old Berlin. Occasionally, in a few locations, the remains of the historic city can still be seen; a brick or a small lump of concrete might work its way to the surface once again, a small reminder of the Berlin underground.