Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
What Elisabeth-Kinder-Krankenhaus (today KEH Krankenhaus Lichtenberg or Diakonissen Krankenhaus), the city historian and town registrar Johann Fidicin, writer Alfred Döblin (the author of the novel of the Weimar Republic era in Berlin, “Berlin Alexanderplatz”) and the film studios of Oskar Messter as well as those of Alfred Duske have in common is the address. At some point in Berlin´s history they were all residents of Blücherstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg, a beautiful long street originally stretching between Hallesches Tor and the Garnisonkirche at Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz (today Südstern).
The children´s hospital occupied the house at No. 7 (later No. 14), Fidicin lived at No. 25. Young Döblin, forced to move out of his doctor´s room in Krankenhaus Am Urban where he was employed 1908-1911, opened a private GP and obstetrics surgery at No. 18.
As for the film studios, Duske chose the house at No. 12 for his new atelier and film production company. His then greatest competitor occupied one of the most modern film studios at the time. It stood only a couple of hundreds of metres down the same street: Oskar Messter´s films were directed and produced at No. 31/32 (more about Messter Film Studios in the following post).
But the name Blücherstrasse was not the street´s original name.
Between 1813 and 1836 the road connecting Hallesches Tor and Hasenheide was known as Pionierweg – the soldiers representing the Garde-Pionier (military engineering troops) used to march along its sandy strip down to the exercise field in today´s park. Here in 1808 the Prussian government built modern shooting stands for them.
In 1836 a slightly more elegant-sounding -street replaced the -weg to emphasise its coming up in the world. It remained Pionierstrasse until October, 31 1864, when it underwent its last adjustment and became the good old Blücherstrasse (after General Field-Marshall Blücher who led the Prussian army against Napoleon at Waterloo, or rather at “Belle Alliance” as the battle is known is Germany).
From the 11th of May 1938 until the end of July 1947 Südstern, the plaza at the end of today´s Blücherstrasse was known as Gardepionierplatz (Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz before that).
And here is a precious (because rare) visual proof.