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Tearing down of building on the B9: A piece of the Bonn Republic disappears

Tearing down of building on the B9 : A piece of the Bonn Republic disappears

On the B9, an office complex is currently being demolished which used to house the Ministry for Internal German Relations. Among other things, the ministry freed up thousands of GDR refugees.

Again and again, passers-by stop at the site fence and watch the fascinating spectacle for a short time: no less than three crawler excavators have taken up position in front of the former office building at 140 Godesberger Allee and are gnawing at the building fabric with their large grab arms. Seemingly effortlessly, large pieces of rock are torn out again and again and fall to the ground. A considerable mountain of rubble has already accumulated, with steel girders, pipes and even some radiators in between. The demolition work is necessary because a modern office complex is to be built on the same site in the coming months. A few years ago the OCCAR (Organisation Conjointe de Coopération en Matière d'Armement) was based there.

But passers-by probably do not know this: Not only is an old office complex on the B9 being demolished, but Bad Godesberg is currently losing a piece of its "Bonn Republic". The former terraced building was home to the Ministry for Inner-German Relations during the reign of the government. A ministry that received little public attention. However, those who were all most interested in the work of the civil servants there at the time were the spies of the GDR's state security. The ministry was also a household name for thousands of GDR prisoners who were ransomed - of course, it was agreed that these actions would be kept secret between 1963 and 1989.

In 1991 the ministry was dissolved because it was no longer needed due to reunification. Its legal successor is the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Even 29 years later, research on the ministry is still proving very difficult. Photos of the ministry in Godesberger Allee cannot be found in the archives - although it was housed there for around 18 years. Even checking whether the Ministry was actually based there is anything but easy. But the LVR Institute for Regional Studies and Regional History can help with the verification. "The Federal Ministry for Inner-German Relations, abbreviated BMB, was actually located in the building at 140 Godesberger Allee from 1973/1974," Marvin Dettenbach from the LVR informs us on request after intensive research. Incidentally, the location of the ministry was an interesting choice: Because the GDR Permanent Representation was located only one kilometre away, at Godesberger Allee 18.

Further facts about the ministry are provided by the Haus der Geschichte with its portal "Weg der Demokratie" (Path of Democracy). It was founded as the "Federal Ministry for All-German Affairs" and from 1949 to 1957 was housed in the Old Town Hall on Bottlerplatz in the middle of Bonn's city centre. According to the portal, the small ministry had above all an important symbolic function in Konrad Adenauer's time. "Its existence alone is a reminder that the Federal Republic does not accept the division of Germany," it says. In 1957 the ministry moved to the corner of Hofgarten and Lennéstrasse. Ten years later the move to the high-rise building on Tulpenfeld takes place - during this time the ministry also changes its name from "Federal Ministry for All-German Affairs" to "Ministry for Inner-German Relations". In 1973 the ministry moved to Godesberger Allee.

(Original text: Maximilian Mühlens / Translation: Mareike Graepel)