A Girl's Journey to Ecuador


Ina’s memories of her early life are sketchy but we do know that she and her family lived in a unique housing development on the outskirts of Berlin where many Freethinking and socialist families and artists resided.  The best known building in the development was the Hufeisenseidlung, or Horseshoe Estates,  a municipal housing development designed by the well-known architects Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner who aspired to modernism and who sought to promote efficiency and community building through architecture. The horseshoe shape allowed residents to have garden space, eliminated a strict distinction between the indoors and the outdoors, and promoted social interactions between residents (Barykina 2018: 476).  The plan for the building was to bring blue and white collar workers together in a single housing development. Over time, many artists moved to Hufeisenseidlung, drawn to the progressive political orientations of the community. In 2008, the Hufeisenseidlung was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in part because of its historical significance as a representation of the possibilities of progressive state inspired public housing design (UNESCO).

Shortly after Hitler took power, the socialist party in Germany was outlawed and many of the residents of the Hufeisenseidlung neighborhood moved, as the area was targeted as a hotbed of progressive, freethinking  values, unacceptable in an increasingly fascist state. In an effort to remove all dissent, the leaders of the freethinkers, atheists and socialists were rounded up by the Nazis. Indeed, the architect of the Hufeisenseidlung, Bruno Taut, a member of the German socialist party, was forced to seek exile in Russia in the 1930s.

Ina’s family moved to Templehof, a district of Berlin and lived in an apartment building with the hope that they would be less noticeable.

Cited Source: Barykina, Natallia. The Dissolution of Cities: the Horseshoe Settlement in Weimar Berlin. Urban History, 45, 3 (2018).

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