The First Pfingstberg Festival – Under the Watchful Eye of the Stasi
Under the mistrustful surveillance of the GDR’s State Security Service, the first Pfingstberg Festival took place all around the Belvedere and in front of the Temple of Pomona in June 1989. It was a cooperation with the AG Umweltschutz und Stadtentwicklung Potsdam (ARGUS, consortium for environmental protection and urban development). The cooperating AGs had invited the public to an information and cultural festival with no party affiliations. This festival, attended by more than 1000 visitors, gave many residents of Potsdam the courage to engage in political change, especially in the period leading up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in autumn 1989. Matthias Platzeck, the former Minister President of Brandenburg, a cofounder of ARGUS and member of the AG Pfingstberg, was among its initiators. He is still a member of the Förderverein Pfingstberg.
The Association Writes History: Reconstruction of the Belvedere, Temple of Pomona and Lenné Park
With the reunification of the two German states, the AG Pfingstberg ultimately became recognized as a nonprofit association, the Förderverein Pfingstberg in Potsdam e.V., on September 22, 1990.
At that time, thanks to the engagement of association members, the reconstruction of the ensemble consisting of the Belvedere, Temple of Pomona and the garden grounds began to take shape: In 1991 the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung made a donation available to the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG) for the reconstruction of the Temple of Pomona. Tied to the donation was the wish that the Temple of Pomona would become the starting point for further restorations and the use of the Pfingstberg ensemble. Thus, following its reopening on Pfingsten (Whitsunday/Pentecost, from which the location derives its name) in 1993, the association has continued to use the Temple of Pomona for exhibitions, events in the series “Culture in Nature,” visitor information, and also for additional fundraising campaigns to finance the renovation of the Belvedere.
Following the discharge and withdrawal of the former Soviet troops in 1994, the SPSG took on the task of reviving the park grounds on Pfingstberg. Step-by- step, it restored the vistas, viewing relationships and Pfingstberg’s ties with the New Garden, based on historic precedents. The Förderverein Pfingstberg supported this undertaking with on-site work by association members and also used cultural events to draw attention to the restoration efforts.
In 1994, the SPSG, as proprietor, commissioned plans for the restoration of the Belvedere. Four years later, in 1998, two substantial donations ‒ from the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung and from Prof. Dr. Werner Otto, the founder of the mail order company ‒ crowned the association’s untiring fundraising efforts. Restoration began in November of the same year.