Potsdam erases Enver Pasha Bridge name, condemning a dark legacy
The City of Potsdam has officially removed the name "Enver Pasha Bridge" from its street directory, marking a significant step towards permanently distancing the city from its association with the Ottoman Minister of War, Enver Pasha because of his role in the Armenian genocide.
The bridge itself was destroyed and only its remains exist to this day. It was blown up by Wehrmacht soldiers in April 1945. But it is still shown on maps, although at this point only two steel girders span the water and thus provide support to supply lines.
The reconstruction that was actually planned was completed with the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961. Even after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, nothing has happened so far. Apparently nothing will come of it until 2027 at the earliest.
The decision to revoke the name, which had persisted for decades, was reported in the city's official journal.
This decision was initiated in response to a request from the Sozial.Die Linke parliamentary group, who have long advocated for the removal of any tribute to war criminals within Potsdam's boundaries. Enver Pasha, who played a pivotal role in the Armenian genocide during World War I, had resided in Klein Glienicke as a military attaché and later lived incognito in Babelsberg.
Enver Pasha, who lived from 1881 to 1922, was not only instrumental in ensuring that the Ottoman Empire remained aligned with Germany during World War I but was also one of the chief architects of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 and 1916. Following a battle against Russia, the Ottoman Empire viewed the Armenian population as potential allies of the enemy, leading to the deportation and deaths of hundreds of thousands through starvation, epidemics, and outright massacres.
Enver Pasha's connection to Potsdam lies in the fact that he found temporary shelter in the city after being overthrown in 1918 and fleeing his homeland aboard a German submarine. During this time, theologian Johannes Lepsius, who documented the Armenian genocide and drew international attention to it, also resided in Potsdam. Lepsius's work led to efforts to suppress negative headlines about the allies, and he is believed to have saved the lives of 20,000 Armenian refugees. Today, his legacy is preserved in the Lepsiushaus at Große Weinmeisterstrasse 45, where Enver Pasha's role in the Armenian genocide is also explained, ensuring that history is never forgotten.
In January of the previous year, the Left Party, the SPD, and the Greens had already called on Mayor Mike Schubert (SPD) to work towards erasing the previous bridge name from maps and potentially naming it after a resistance fighter, underlining the city's ongoing commitment to cleansing itself from the dark past.