DThe best exhibit in the “Minsk”, Potsdam’s newest museum, a building that was called “Café Minsk” until recently, long after the gastronomy had closed and the building slowly became a ruin, but is now called “Das Minsk” by its full name so that the brand is also remembered – the best exhibit here are the glass walls, through which one has an unobstructed view over half of Potsdam because the house is on a hill. The sky, even when not overcast, is reminiscent of Lotte Laserstein’s melancholic gray. The Nikolaikirche protrudes so confidently from the roofs, as if to indicate that the tower of the Garrison Church will soon be stretching out here like a middle finger. In the foreground is a swimming pool, behind it the main train station – and both are buildings of such banal angularity, such desolate aesthetic modesty, so clumsy and at the same time impudent that if you only regarded them as perfect expressions of capitalism, you immediately overthrow capitalist relations would have to.
Do houses have an ideology?
Which is nonsense – but according to this method, only in the other direction, so to speak, was used in Potsdam to judge the buildings of socialism. What was built under his rule can only be an expression of the wrong ideology, unfree, inhuman, brutal. Not everyone in Potsdam saw it that way; but those who saw it that way prevailed. Even Olaf Scholz, a social democrat and then a candidate for chancellor, spoke in the election campaign of Potsdam’s center that had to be won back after socialist barbarism. And so now that the elegant building of the university of applied sciences has been demolished, the first houses in the Prussian pseudo-baroque style are growing. The Staudenhof, a modern block of flats in a prominent location, will not be there much longer. The computer center, sober, modernist, with a wonderful mosaic on the ground floor, stands in the way of the reconstruction of the garrison church.
In this respect it is good news that Hasso Plattner saved the “Minsk”. Plattner, of all people, who is one of the richest and most powerful men in Potsdam. And who, until he bought the ruins of “Minsk”, would have been counted among the people who dreamed of Potsdam as a neo-baroque Prussialand. He alone financed the Barberini, the replica of a baroque palace that was itself a replica; his foundation runs a museum there. Before anything came of it, however, Plattner had the plan to set up an art gallery next to the Lustgarten. However, a high-rise hotel from GDR times would have stood in the way. When opposition to its demolition became unmistakable, Plattner gave up the plans and it looked as if he had been a little offended with his favorite city at the time.