Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What are those Pink Street Signs in Berlin's Friedrichshain?

Grünberger Straße
named after the former
German City of Grünberg
(Zielona Gora, Poland)

For the past month, pink street signs have decorated major traffic corridors in Berlin's Friedrichshain neighborhood. It's part of an art project intended to draw attention to the common history shared by Germany and Poland. It also marks the beginning of World War II with Germany's invasion of Poland seventy-six years ago today. 

After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles deprived Germany of its territories in West Prussia, East and Upper Silesia and Danzig, and transferred them to Poland. Consequently, German cities located in Poland were renamed and give a Polish name. Yet, many streets in Berlin (named after Polish cities) continued to retained their German name. For example, Grünberger Straße is named after the former Silesian city of Grünberg, which is today Zielona Gora. 

As part of the installation, street signs (named after a Polish city and with a German name) have been decorated pink with the Polish city and its geographic coordinates engraved on the pink base. The installation continues until September 20, 2015.

Proskauer Straße
named after Proszkow (Formally Proskau)

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