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When the decision to build Ernst Thälmann Park was made in 1981, things were starting to simmer in the capital of the GDR. Resistance developed against the planned demolition of the former gasworks. Once imposing landmarks of industrial culture, the three remaining gasometers became symbols of imagination and renewal. People were demonstrating and protesting, discussing alternative models. A student of architecture wrote a thesis about possible changes of use. Because “Berlin without its gasometers is like a meatball with no mince!” The Stasi made a meticulous record of more than 200 flyers and posters, as well as 160 submissions to official bodies. But the MfS got at their authors as well as the professor who had suggested the thesis. After a visit from “two slick-looking guys” he spoke out in favour of demolition.

It could have been a cultural centre, a museum of aviation, roads and shipping, or all of the above. But thousands of boreholes were set for blasting. In the video shot illegally by an amateur filmmaker, the Triple Colosseum of Prenzlauer Berg sinks into ghostly pink clouds of dust on July 28, 1984.

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