It lies on the border with Poland. It's chilly, it's bleak and gloomy. It's the most easterly part of East Germany. Scarred by economic recession, unemployment and depopulation. It's the Oderbruch, the borderland between Germany and Poland. Almost 60 kilometres long and about 20 kilometres wide. The Oder, an 866 kilometre long river, which rises in the Czech Republic and flows through Poland to Germany, marks the border between the two countries. Time seems to have stood still in the Oderbruch. The war and the communist post-war economy have left deep scars on the land.
Heavy, black earth lies across wide swathes of the Oderbruch. Only a few people still settle it. Most have left, searching a different life. Far away from the solitude and bleakness of a landscape which, they say, sticks to you like the boggy swamp that lies on the bed of the Oder. Far away from a landscape which, they say, eats into you and never lets go.
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