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Zingster Straße 25

#6 / Conversations with old and new residents of Neu-Hohenschönhausen 


To address the urgent need for living space, the GDR government began to focus on industrial construction based on prefabricated concrete slabs, the so-called Plattenbau, in the mid-1950s. New housing areas were erected on the outskirts of the cities; modern amenities made these apartments quite popular.

One of the last large developments to be built in East Berlin was Neu-Hohenschönhausen, with Erich Honecker himself laying the foundation stone in February 1984. Many of the apartment buildings were ready for their new tenants as early as 1987—the high-rise at Zingster Straße 25 counted among these.

Three decades later, the artist Sonya Schönberger inquired what had become of the buildings’ original tenants. Who still lives there? Who has since moved in?

Based on interviews, the stories in this book offer a glimpse into different everyday realities, interconnected through the outer shell of the Platte. They tell, in a very personal way, of daily life in the GDR, of the change of the political systems, and of the present day in reunified Germany.


Leseprobe (pdf):


Sonya Schönberger

Sonya Schönberger studied ethnology and experimental media design. She moves between performing and visual arts and works with the media of video, theatre, installation and photography. Her works are based on biographical narratives and memories, but also on expert knowledge, for which she conducts narrative interviews.


Concept and interview transcripts: Sonya Schönberger
Photographs: Ulrich Dießner
Design: Ana Halina Ringleb, Simon Schindele
Design e-book: EECLECTIC
192 pages (pdf), 2 illustrations
May 2018
ISBN 978-3-947295-07-4 epub (2 MB)
ISBN 978-3-947295-13-5 pdf (2 MB)
3,99 Euro

Published as a book by: berlinerhefte.de
ISBN 978-3-946674-05-4
7,00 Euro

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