Allotment Diary Travels

The allotments of Berlin

This week I’m volunteering at WCEU which is being held in Berlin, Germany and I couldn’t go the whole week without squeezing in a teeny weeny bit of blogging while I’m here.

Currently I’m based in the South East of Berlin, not a stones throw away from Sonnenallee and as usual, whenever I visit new places I like to take some pictures of the local allotments or leisure gardens that happen to be in the area.

Walking around Berlin in the blazing sun looking for allotments is no mean feet, they’re actually pretty hard to find, and the reason being is because it looks like they take up a whole block, and are kept behind a tall fence or a wall overgrown with ivy – which kind of added to the mystery of the find. I was close to calling this post – The ‘Secret’ allotments of Berlin.

I was walking around Thiemannstr. and that’s where I found the first set of allotments. They felt a little bit restricted. There were three gates and only one of them was open – the rest were locked up tight.

Walking around the corner onto Sonnenallee was where I hit the mother load of German allotments!

Upon entering the garden, I found something quite interesting…

Against forgetting

We recall the forced labourers from 1942-1944 and the approximately 500 Jewish women who were here from 1944-1945. In the sub-camp of the concentration camp Sachsenhausen for the armoury production.

“National Krupp Cash Register Gmbh” NCR were housed.”

A Google search led me to this website, which explained the history of the area.

Interestingly I stumbled across the grounds of the Neukölln forced labour camp for Jewish women, which was a sub-camp of the bigger Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

The grounds were originally owned by National Krupp cash register GmbH, which was the result of a merger between the American company – National Cash Register and the German Krupp Cash Register Company, some years before World War II.

When World War II started, the factory went from making cash registers to armaments. Eventually, the factory housed a reported 850 Jewish women who created detonators and sub-machine gun parts.

The reason why there’s an allotment garden there today, is because the original factory housed a sports ground as well as a garden for the children of the employees to garden in playfully, and to teach the children a sense of responsibility.

Today, here is what stands…

There’s even a nature garden where bees are stored and kept. For me personally, this is as close to a beehive I’ve ever been, and was definitely a new experience. At first, I felt a little bit nervous, but that soon subsided as I saw the bees entering and leaving the hives, focusing on the task in hand rather than me.

The message on the board reads “Nature does not need us but we need nature.” I couldn’t agree more.

And of course… the flowers were in full bloom and looked absolutely fantastic and vibrant in the sun.

I’m really glad I ventured out today and I feel that I’ve done a different kind of sightseeing. I was also very encouraged to see that the allotment association has it’s own website, which you can check out here.

If you’re into gardening and you’re walking around Berlin, finding the cash register allotments is a recommended exploration.

2 replies on “The allotments of Berlin”

Beautiful blog Adam and I loved reading this, especially as I had been walking past the allotments each day on my WCEU but didn’t have chance to pop in. From your photos the plots look incredibly well kept and a lot more structured than what I see in Bristol allotments. Thanks for sharing!

Thank you! Very well kept indeed and very similar to allotments I’ve seen in Poland. It wasn’t until I got back and translated the signage that I got a grasp of what I was visiting. I had so many tabs open on my browser as I went down the rabbit hole of research.

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