Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin And Kreuzberg
King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the man who four years later will reject the title of the Kaiser of the united Germany, lays a cornerstone for a new hospital and for the Institute for Education of Protestant Sisters of Merciful Heart. It will be built in the so called Köpenicker Feld, on what was then the edge of old Berlin.
It was the King who chose the architects and the style (the front quite Italian, possibly after the Archduke´s palace in Urbino) for the new hospital and decided upon the name. “House of misery” or “poor house” as some translate the original Aramaic name of a small village on the south-eastern side of the Mount of Olives, less than 3km away from Jerusalem. According to the Bible בית עניא or Bethany was the birthplace of Mary, Martha, their brother Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead and of Simon the Leper.
Two years later, only hours after the official opening ceremony on October 10th 1847 Bethanien Krankenhaus in Mariannenplatz checks in its first patient.
Today Bethanien – since the beginning of the 1970s no longer a medical institution and occupied in 1971 in the first wave of Hausbesetzungen in Kreuzberg – is probably the most powerful symbol of this borough´s rebellious past.