Engulfed by the Soviet Military Camp No. 7
Several villas, former properties of Hohenzollern kings and kaisers, are located on the Pfingstberg’s southern slope, facing the New Garden. Today, they are part of the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG). The former gardener’s house of the Villa Lepsius on Große Weinmeisterstraße, now called the Pfingstberghaus, belonged to this group of buildings. It now houses the offices of the Förderverein Pfingstberg in Potsdam e.V. in direct proximity to the Villa Quandt and the Memorial Leistikowstraße, a former prison and detention center.
Decline in the Cold War
Following the Potsdam Conference at Cecilienhof Palace, the Soviet Military Administration of Germany (SMAD) requisitioned the land between the New Garden and Pfingstberg, including some 100 buildings. Declaring this a restricted area, it was converted into the “Militärstädtchen Nr. 7” (Soviet Military Camp No. 7). For a long time, most residents in Potsdam had no idea what was concealed behind the fences. Only after the fall of the Berlin Wall did it gradually become public knowledge that the Soviet counterintelligence SMERSCH (Special Methods of Spy Detection) had also maintained a remand prison here, which eventually merged with their prison at what is now the Memorial Leistikowstraße.
Due to its isolation in the Soviet military camp, the gardener’s house at the Villa Lepsius also disappeared for 40 years. The building suffered greatly and incurred severe damage through its use by the Soviet secret service as a garage and warehouse.
Renovation and Current Use of the Pfingstberghaus
Thanks to EU funding from the EFRE regional development program, the Förderverein Pfingstberg was able to renovate the building in 2006-07. The Pfingstberghaus is idyllically situated in Lenné-Park at the foot of the Pfingstberg ensemble. Because the building serves as the association’s offices, it is only open to the public on special days, such as on International Museum Day.The building’s event hall, which includes access to the garden, can be rented for business events.
Information about renting the event hall at the Pfingstberghaus is available here.