Königsberg, East Prussia

The Soviet Aftermath

Kneiphof island and Dom in 1949

What remained of Königsberg's historic city centre: Kneiphof Island and Dom Cathedral in 1949

While many other German cities suffered similar fates in WWII, by being nearly bombed into oblivion and thousands of its citizens killed - Dresden and Hamburg come to mind -the situation at Königsberg deserves special mention. Over the years much of Hamburg and Dresden has been rebuilt, with many of the destroyed significant landmarks being restored to their prewar condition.

But when the Allied Forces gave the essentially destroyed City of Königsberg to the Soviets in 1945 they took a different approach. They simply bulldozed the remains of most bombed-out structures away after going through the rubble for still-usable building materials which were shipped back to Mother Russia. Thus, the possibility of their eventual restoration was essentially eliminated, while some buildings were left standing in their bombed-out condition until as recent as today. Given that all of the areas original German inhabitants had been expelled, there was no local opposition to this as Stalin had repopulated the city with people from all over the Soviet Union, including from as far away as Siberia. As well, the city was now Soviet territory and - behind the Iron Curtain - essentially closed to all foreign eyes because Stalin was turning it in to a naval base, taking advantage of a newly acquired year-round ice free harbour with access to the Baltic sea.

 

1950 - koningsberg castle ruin1945 - The remains of Königsberg's Castle

demolition of kb castle

1968 - Castle Demolition

Castle Ruins

Castle Demolition

1968 -  Königsberg Castle - Final Moments

Overhead view devastation in of Lower Castle Pond afrea

1945 - Königsberg City Centre

Overhead view of University and Castle Devastation

Lower Castle Pond Area - Albertina University at top left - Remains of castle  lower left of centre.

1950 Streetcar

1950 - Living Among the Ruins - Kaliningrad, Street Car along Soviet Prospect 

Konigsberg around 1948

1948 - Königsberg Street Scene

Gesekus Square around 1950

1950 - Gesekus Square 

1960 - Lenin Prospect

1960 - Rebuilding a city Soviet style

Inside Bombed Out Dom

1945 - What remained of the interior of the Dom Church on Kneiphof Island

 Dom in 1981 - before being restored

The iconic Dom church on Kneiphof Island, which was still a ruin in 1990 has now been largely restored - the funding for this included financial contributions from Germany. 

 

Steindamm - Soviet era

Steindamm - 1945