Welcome to the Buyer's Paradise - KADEWE

This monstrous bat was hovering above the restaurant's guests today in Berlin's KADEWE (Kaufhaus Des Westens = Department Store of the West). For a lousy 160 € the eager consumer could purchase a ticket to gain access to their Halloween Party. Cheers!

The more than 100 years old KADEWE was opened in March 1907. It is the largest department store on the European continent. In 1927 the store was incorporated into the Hertie group. In the course of  the "Aryanization" during the National Socialist era, the owners were forced to sell and an "Aryan" managing director was appointed. An American airplane crashed into the building in 1943 - the KADEWE almost burned to the ground.

The original KADEWE was designed by the architect Johann Emil Schaudt. It was  a five stories high ferroconcrete building in unadorned neoclassical style. The storefront made out of shell limestone was structured horizontally (residential building like) with two central projections.

Today the giant store welcomes up to 180.000 visitors from all over the world each day - many of them just strolling around and marveling at the luxurious goods offered for sale.

Entrance hall in 1908

Storefront 1907 


The Water Tower's dark Secret

This water tower located in Prenzlauer Berg near Kollwitzplatz is the oldest water tower of Berlin. It was completed in 1877 and active until 1952. At the very beginning of the Third Reich the tower's machine house was used as a "wild" concentration camp . Here, the SA tortured and killed Jews and opponents of the regime.

Later, in 1934, when Hitler felt threatened by the SA's independence under their leader Ernst Röhm, the SS and the Gestapo massacred many of the SA men in this building during the famous "Night of the Long Knives" (also known as "Operation Hummingbird").

Today, the water tower is used as residential house.


Young People's Museum - Schöneberg

A very warm welcome awaits you on your visit to the "Young People's Museum" in Schöneberg.

Situated in a beautiful old villa, this unusual museum offers among other exhibitions the "Amazing Cabinets and Chests"-exhibition, where you can explore 54 yellow chests, each of which contains a selection of themed items from different areas of life. You can touch and check out objects, you can try on clothes, etc.

There is also a "History Laboratory" which is exhibition and research workshop wrapped in one. More than 300 objects - ranging from toy to espionage camera - tell the story of our once-divided city.

If you are looking for something exceptional for your kid's upcoming birthday: Children from 6 years on may even celebrate their birthday party in this very special location.


Mädchen mit Spielelementen - Girl with Play elements

This bronze statue by Michael Klein was erected in 1985 in East Berlin. The statue is dedicated to the German pedagogue Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel (1782 - 1852) - who coined the word "kindergarten" and its today universally known concept.

Fröbel was an advocator of  "free play" in childhood and designed and manufactured educational toys for children.

Fröbel: "Education = Example + love, nothing else."

Fröbel Website
Fröbel Gifts
Fröbel in the Encyclopedia Britannica


Bergmannstraße - Impressions

The Bergmannstraße in Kreuzberg is a very colorful and busy street crowded with people, shops, pubs, and restaurants. Find vintage and modern fashion, cozy places to eat and drink, and a great variety of people from all over the world as well as the historic Marheineke Market Hall (dating back to the 19th century), a huge indoor grocery shop.


Holy Martha!

This very beautiful red brick house (built in 1912) in Kreuzberg, a stone's throw away from the border of northern Neukölln, holds a very special secret: It covers a backyard Church! Who would have guessed that?

Walk through the gateway and you will be standing right in front of St. Martha, the church of a protestant parish. Built in renaissance style in 1904, the church bears a striking resemblance to the U-Bahnhof "Schlesisches Tor" (one of the first Berlin subway stations). U-Bahnhof

In the seventies the church was split horizontally to make room for indispensable community work: If you enter the church through its main entrance you will find a large hall reserved for inter-cultural and inter-religious open youth work and a kindergarten. Use the stair to get to the room where religious service takes place.

Picture of Martha Church in 1904


Zeiss Large Planetarium

Under the three-quarter sphere of Berlin's "Zeiss Large Planetarium" you can contemplate the starry sky even on a cloudy, almost rainy afternoon. That's what I did today.

The Zeiss Large Planetarium is located in the former East Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg (or Prenzlberg as the locals say). Inaugurated in Oktober 1987, it was built as one of the world's largest planetariums. You enter the 295-seat planetarium on the second floor. The seating arrangement is unidirectional, which means that the seats point in one preferred direction of projection.

The planetarium offers a special program for children, and also foreign language events in English and Russian (must be booked for groups - events ).

Zeiss Großplanetarium
All you ever wanted to know about planetariums


Umbrella Kids - "Kinder unterm Regenschirm"

This afternoon while riding the tram on my way to take photos of the Synagogue in Rykestraße, I spotted a cute couple, holding an umbrella. Instantly I jumped out (fortunately the tram had stopped anyway) to take a closer look:

Of course I wondered what this sculpture might represent, and when I arrived home I did a little research on their behalf: The sculpture is apparently a well - which I had not realized - and was built by Stefan Horota, a German sculptor in the years 1967/68. It seems, the artist wanted to erect a memorial in the honor of the children of Prenzlauer Berg (an East Berlin city district).

The materials used are bronze (sculpture) and granite (socket) and you can find the sculpture in Prenzlauer Berg (corner of Prenzlauer Allee / Danziger Straße, right opposite the tram stop [Tram 1 and 20]).


Jewish Life in Berlin

New Synagogue Berlin, 1896

 The first documentation of Jewish presence in Berlin reaches as far back as 1295.
After several acts of persecution and expulsion in Brandenburg and Berlin during the Middle Ages, today's over 12,000-member-strong Jewish community started out in 1671 when several wealthy Jewish families - expelled from Austria - were allowed to settle in Berlin. This was due to the fact that Emperor Frederick William of Prussia needed help with the reconstruction of the country after the Thirty Years War.

Today, Berlin's Jewish community is a fast growing one. Many Jews in Berlin are unaffiliated, so that the total number of Jewish inhabitants is estimated at 20,000 - 30,000. In 1991 the German government adopted the Contingent Refugee Act which "exempted Jews from the many hurdles that immigrants face when applying for German citizenship" (ACJ), which subsequently led to an immigration wave of Soviet Jews.

Nowadays you can find 7 Synagogues in Berlin (photos here :  Rykestraße 53) with their religious orientations ranging from orthodox to egalitarian (addresses and religious orientation).

Jüdische Gemeinde Berlin



After my little daughter taught me the very basics of flashy photography (you have to use a tripod) I managed to get a few halfway decent shots. See for yourself.


Exposure Time

 Okay: Today I learned about the exposure time thing. I won't have time to get out there and take photos, so I will do that tomorrow. Take the tripod and off I go to - hopefully - deliver a few good shots.

Wish me luck!


Festival of Lights

The night is falling and I'm gonna get out there in a few minutes and shoot some. That sounds a bit weird, but wait until you see the flamboyantly lit nightly Berlin!

Yeah, right. Now: That was so not fun! I went out there in the cold an rainy night - only to make my one reader happy (and myself of course but that doesn't really count) - and what happened? I have no idea. My Samsung refused to take other than really crappy photos. What did I do wrong? Why does it hate me so much? Have I unknowingly mistreated you, my dear friend?

I adjusted the camera settings one million times, approximately - without any other result than taking more crappy photos. Luckily there is an official Festival of Lights website! Go there, my one reader and take a look:
Festival of Lights - Berlin

Here comes the fun thing: After this, I took a few photos in the subway, and guess what? All of them pin sharp! Now you tell me why is that so!


Go climb the Alex!

Sad, but true: Many Berliners have never been on top of their city's 365 meter high TV tower at Alexanderplatz. Visit the 70s style rotating restaurant on top  (it is not expensive) and enjoy the marvelous view over Germany's most exciting city.

Watch the miniaturized city life, downscaled trains and suddenly so tiny tower buildings. Now, during the Festival of Lights it would be a good idea to go there at night and contemplate the illuminated urban life.


Get your passport stamped!

You can find that tourist shop at the East Side Gallery. I thought it was a funny idea, until I learned it was a felony ;) in this forum: Beware of criminal passport stamping!
Hilarious! Please read the answer written by "klaush" - it is the third post on the page.


International Boat Party - Weekly Language Party

 Every Wednesday, if you are up to it, you can spend a diverting evening on the "Eastern Comfort", a lounge floating on the river Spree only a stone's throw away from the Oberbaum Bridge.

In addition to meeting people, and hearing (or speaking) a great variety of languages, you can just relax and enjoy the cozy atmosphere close to the fire place while sipping on your drink. A different band is performing every week - starting around 10 p.m.

For details visit Charles Clawson's website: International Events in Berlin


Café Dritter Raum - Parlor with WLAN

Today I visited "Café Dritter Raum", Hertzbergstraße 14 in Neukölln. In addition to the friendly sofa-ish atmosphere and inspiring conversation possibilities, they offer extensive, very reasonably priced breakfast and unlimited WLAN.

Lots of books and newspapers are available for the common and uncommon reader. Visit their website and register for the newsletter to get updated on the weekly program.

I greatly enjoyed my stay and will be back for sure!


I know I am ugly - but I glow at night

What is there to learn from the above: It's always good to know how to put your "special features" into perspective! :)