KREUZBERGED BERLIN

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin

TODAY IN KREUZBERG: AUGUST 18

For that day, which happens to be the birthday of my first Lovely Son (and Heir) as well of my Lovely Mother for whom the former was the greatest birthday present ever, I was able to find several interesting events. Two directly related to Kreuzberg and two which definitely had its heavy impact upon it.

Here they are.

1804

A high order issued by the city authorities forbids depositing rubbish between Hallesches Tor and Tempelhof. Until an end to this illegal procedure was put, the problems were gathering and growing daily.

1813

In 1813 the area of today´s Kreuzberg might not have been as densely populated as it is in 2012 and it might have hardly been part of Berlin as such but some poor souls were certainly affected by another new law that came into force on that day: as of now it is forbidden to smoke tobacco in public when in Berlin, Charlottenburg or Tiergarten.

From what one hears is happening in Bavaria, we might be heading for the same Days of Prohibiton today. History indeed doesn´t teach us anything…

1867

Deutsches Gewerbemuseum zu Berlin, since 1879 known as Kunstgewerbemuseum or Museum of Decorative Arts, is granted the status of a legal person. The original museum with its seat at the Gropiussche Diorama on the corner of Georgenstrasse and Stallstrasse (today Universitätsstrasse in Berlin-Mitte) opened in 1868 to present German skilled craftsmanship. The inspiration for the exhibition was the World Exposition in Paris the year before.

In 1881 due to modest space available to it at its first address, the museum moves to the new house in Prinz-Albrecht-Straße 7 (already mentioned here) or as it is better known today, to Martin-Gropius-Bau in Niederkirchnerstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg, where it will remain until 1921 before moving again to the no longer existing but about to be resurrected Berliner Schloß.

1976

Berlin is in the state of emergency or as they prefer to call it in American films: “Code Red is announced”. The storms rolling back and forth over the city produce a terrifying show. Around 136 close lightnings (meaning closer than 3 km, as the National Severe Storms Laboratory from Norman in Oklahoma informs me and who should it now better than they do?) are counted. But what makes this occasion truly special is a rather rare phenomenon that occurs in Berlin that day : Saint Elmo´s Lights also called Saint Elmo´s Fire sometimes.

In the days when great wooden ships ruled the waves and people had very narrow understanding of things such as meteorology or personal hygiene, Saint Elmo´s Lights – bright blue, greenish or purple glow on top of the masts (as well as chimneys, church spires or aeroplane wings) – were considered an evil sign, an omen foretelling the sinking of the ship and the death of all on her board. Which considering the fact that each ship gathered water quicker than it could be pumped out or used up for showering – which it wasn´t – was a relatively likely event.

I believe that after watching this short video you will understand the sailors´ unease:

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