At first glance there’s not much to see here aside from the usual Berliner Tristesse. A gas station, a busy road and a massive construction site. But on closer inspection – the secret of the Chauseestraße unravels. A thin brick line crosses through the street – the memorial of where the Berlin Wall once stood – a familiar sight to most Berlin aficionados. And then you spot the Rabbit. At first its just one – but then as the saying goes – they seem to multiply like the proverbial rabbits. As soon as you’ve spotted one, another seems to appear out of nowhere.
The Berlin Wall once divided East and West Berlin here, creating a 120 Kilometer strip of no mans land. While it was off-limits to people – the Rabbits found it fair game, digging tunnels from west to east, east to west and merrily populating the green death belt of Berlin.
The Rabbits of the Berlin Wall lead a comfortable life, undisturbed and unaware of the political turmoil surrounding them. At least until the Wall came down. The Rabbits now had to find a new home and adjust to their new surroundings, as the wall that once meant death to the people was their safe haven. The rabbits quickly relocated into the Parks, Bushes and Gardens nearby.
The brass Rabbits – better known by its official name “Kaninchenfeld” was a project by the Berliner Artist Karla Sachse, who in 1999 created the installation at the former Inner-German border crossing Chaussee- / Ecke Liesenstraße. The idea behind project was that the Rabbits functioned as a projection surface (for the people) for both sides (East and West). For some because they tenaciously continued to dig their tunnels on and on, and for others because they brazenly ignored the border and its limitations.
120 brass rabbits once populated the Chauseestraße Border crossing – but like their real life counterparts, they are slowly vanishing. Thanks to some careless construction work to the road and sidewalk, over 40 rabbits have already disappeared. Others adapted, loosing their golden color and turning a dark grey to match the asphalt. Alone the few Kaninchen on the Chauseestraße that survived the construction work have retained their golden color to this day thanks to the polishing effects of the car tires.
Hopefully the brass Rabbits of the Chauseestraße will last longer than their real life counterparts.
Public Transport: U6 Schwarzkopfstraße