Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


What was good for Vidal Sassoon is good enough for me: today “two in one”.

For today we shall be visiting a street and a church.

December 20th, 1905

It is always good, if not strictly advisable, to know what those in power are up to. Their daily schedules ought to be an open book to all those whose interests they represent.

Today we can follow our politicians pretty closely thanks to their web pages, Facebook accounts, often numerous “twits” and “In´s”, “Bunte´s” and “Gala´s” of this world. So much so that occasionally we wish we were spared the insight.

And in this respect only the means of public surveillance have changed – the surveillance itself is nothing new. In 1905 people also wanted to know what their rulers have planned for the day and perhaps even more so, considering that entertaining information was so much more difficult to come by back then.

For that reason – among others – many Prussian newspapers dutifully published the daily schedule of the Kaiser. The subjects should know how busy His Majesty was (and if kept only half of his schedules, he was one busy Kaiser indeed).

Although not a subject myself (Vive la revolution!), I was curious whether the press reported the event that took place in today´s SO36 on December 20th, 1905.

It did. On that day a new church was blessed and inaugurated in the presence of His Majesty Kaiser Wilhelm II and his wife Kaiserin Auguste Viktoria. The church was given the name  of Taborkirche.

From "Anzeiger für Das Havelland" of December 21st, 1905

From “Anzeiger für Das Havelland” of December 21st, 1905

The construction of the new church belonging to Emmauskirche parish (Emmauskirche in Lausitzerplatz was its centre) began on the 1st of June 1903. Two and a half years and 393,000 Mark later the temple was ready to receive the first believers.

On December 20th, 1905 in the morning (late morning, one would presume) the Kaiser climbed the steps leading towards the main door of Taborkirche facing Wrangelstrasse and after being greeted officially by the church representatives, he walked in under the glass mosaic sponsored by himself. The mosaic which miraculously survived WW2 almost untouched – as did the rest of the church not counting the roof and the top of the belfry – shows the transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor  – the mountain after which the church was named.

The glass mosaic above the main entrance (photo:

The glass mosaic above the main entrance (photo:

On February 1st, 1906 Taborkirche, which with its over 23,000 parish members (remember how thickly populated Wrangelkiez was back then and how many people were still to arrive!) gained enough weight to be officially a “grown-up”, to become an independent parish itself.

As already mentioned above, Taborkirche was lucky to have been spared during the air raids. Its interior did not suffer much damage: apart from the five altar windows (all gone, including the one with Jesus on Mount Tabor) and some other minor loses inside the building, everything there is still  as it was more than a hundred years ago. Or would be, if the church had not undergone a massive refurbishment to make it more comfortable and user-friendly, which it indeed became.

The spiky roof of the church tower is the only part of Taborkirche that is gone forever.


Both paintings in the church galleries are original. So is the church organ built for Taborkirche by Berliner Organbauanstalt von Gebrüder Dinse – famous church organ constructors from Kreuzberg´s Dresdener Strasse. During the First World War, however, the zinc pipes were dismantled and smelted to make ammunition – they were used to make a different kind of music altogether. In 1922 the gaps were filled in with brand new pipes again.

And if you hear the tolling of Taborkirche bells, please know that what you hear is exactly the sound that filled Kaiser´s ears on that late morning in December 1905. All three bells are original and arrived in Görlitzer Ufer 30/31 from Bochum. They bear an inscription of Bochumer Verein.

And now to your question, one I am sure you have just asked: Görlitzer Ufer? But the church is in Taborstrasse…

And so it is – let us proceed to the next paragraph to explain:)

December 19th, 1912

Part of Görlitzer Ufer – to be exact the section between the crossing with Heckmannufer and Schlesische Strasse – is re-named Taborstrasse. After the church opened in the street on December 20th, 1905…

By the way, in Görlitzer Ufer 34 – later Taborstrasse 22 – Familie Kleeblatt used to run a small inn, a Kneipe, which they owned between 1900 and 1926. The great-grandson of the original owner, of Ludwig Kleeblatt, and himself an author of several extremely interesting Kreuzberg blogs (one of them is the bergmannstrasse blog), has been publishing his great-grandfather´s diaries describing life in Wrangelkiez at the beginning of the 20th century.


The inn in Taborstrasse 22 (photo through

Unfortunately for German speakers only but it pays to go to your linguistic limits. Being able to read Familie Kleeblatt Bloggt Seit 1900 blog is definitely worth it.

You can read more about Görlitzer Ufer in one of the past posts here.

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