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The Reichstag remained boarded up and abandoned, and the people unrepresented, throughout the 40 year life of Democratic Socialist East Germany.

The Reichstag in Berlin is the home of the Bundestag, or German Parliament. The large classical building was constructed between 1884 and 1894 as the seat of the Reichstag, the Parliament of the German Empire. On 27 February 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, a fire broke out in the Reichstag building. Although the origins of the fire remain shrouded in mystery - a young Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, was tried and executed for alleged arson - the Nazis exploited outrage at the incident as an excuse to impose emergency laws outlawing political opposition. The Nazis, who did not believe in parliamentary democracy, never rebuilt it and used the Kroll Opera House for occasional gatherings of the Nazi parliament.

In May 1945 during the Battle of Berlin, the Red Army fought its way to the Reichstag, rather then the Reich Chancellery where Hitler was dugout in the bunker. The Soviets used the symbol of "The Peoples House" to plant the Soviet victory flag. The building was further damaged in heavy fighting. During the 40 years of the East German regime, the communists, like the Nazis, never rebuilt the symbol of German parliamentary rule, either.

The building remained in shambles until after the Fall of the Wall in 1989. A unified German parliament voted to restore the building in the 1990s. The British architect Sir Norman Foster was commissioned for the work. In 1999, more than 60 years after it was first damaged and abandoned under two different totalitarian socialist regimes, it became the seat of German democracy.