Relics of the GDR
Oct. 6, 2006
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These amazing stained glass windows by
Walter Womacka adorn the entry hall of
the European School of Management & Technology, where our
meetings were held in Berlin. They are unusual relics of the
Cold War era: the building was originally the
state council building for East Germany. It's a surprisingly beautiful
contemporary space, and it struck me as highly ironic to be sitting
under one of these murals or mosaics discussing IT strategy
and offshoring. To my mind, they suggest bright aspirations, a very different
picture than the one we're used to seeing of the old East Bloc.
Although most of the building dates from the early 1970s, the portal
on its facade was salvaged from the old Hohenzollern palace,
the Berliner Stadtschloss, that once stood near the same spot.
We were told that on its balcony, Kaiser Wilhelm II
announced the beginning of the first World War. It wasn't rescued
for that reason during the communist era, but rather because from
the same balcony at the end of the war, Germany's communist leader
Karl Liebknecht announced the end of the monarchy and the
creation of a socialist republic.