Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Kreuzberger Bär holding the local coat of arms

Kreuzberger Bär holding the local coat of arms

The motto of this blog being “Better late than never”, we would like to invite all of those interested in participating in Kiez life to an event which might have already started but definitely hasn´t come to an end yet: to KiezKulturWoche am Kreuzberg.

From August 30th until September 7th the neighbourhood stretching between Viktoriapark and Landwehrkanal (the western part of Tempelhofer Vorstadt) is celebrating itself and its history.

The official opening took place at Rathaus Kreuzberg in Yorckstrasse 4-11. One of the main guests was of course the new Mayor of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, Monika Herrmann. Her short welcome speech also marked the opening of a historic exhibition called So Entstand Unser Kiez – Einblicke in die Geschichte des Wohngebietes zwischen dem Kreuzberg und dem Landwehrkanal. The title´s translation must be equally lengthy: “How Our Kiez Was Born – Insights Into The History of The Residential Area Between the Kreuzberg and the Canal”.

Whatever interesting parts of the programme we missed there is still a lot to look forward to. A historic tour with Michael Thomas Röblitz today at 4PM, for instance.

The tour is called The Wars of Liberation against Napoleon in Tempelhofer Vorstadt and presents both the National Memorial (Nationaldenkmal) on top of the Kreuzberg (do not get confused: the Kreuzberg is the hill in Viktoriapark while Kreuzberg is the whole of the borough – not easy but makes sense) and the etymology of the street names around the neighbourhood. All of those interested and armed with a working knowledge of German are welcome to join the group. The meeting point is the platform on top of the Memorial. Which means that a pair of fit lungs and even fitter legs might be good things to be armed with as well.

After you have descended from the top of the hill after the tour and still feel thirsty to learn and enjoy, at 7PM another event is beckoning from not afar. In the Community Rooms of Möckernkiez e.V. in Yorckstrasse 62 Prof. Dr. Kurt Paetzold will be talking about The Kiez and The Nation – Nationalism in 1813 and 1933. Prof. Paetzold is going to talk about the battles of 1813 and how they became the name-sakes for the streets around the Kreuzberg. He will also present the history of the National Memorial on its top and discuss the developments in the borough after January 1933 when Hitler came to power.

As for tomorrow, you might want to visit Chamissoplatz at 4PM and enjoy the historic tour of one of Kreuzberg´s most beautiful plazas, led by Gabriele Hermsdorf. The tour From Düsteren Keller to Marheineke-Markthalle begins in front of the Belle-Alliance-Apotheke, the old pharmacy in Mehringdamm 62 at 4PM. Sharp.

Personally, we are very much looking forward to another event later that day: The Kiez Fights Back. What options do the people in the Kiez have to defend themselves against the exploding and for most no longer affordable rents? How to prevent the driving out of the long-time residents? We wish we knew, too. It is going to be interesting what the others believe could be done. Should you care to listen or to participate in the discussion, it is going to take place at the BVV-Saal in Rathaus Kreuzberg in Yorckstrasse 4-11. From 7PM. Sharp.

Should you, however, feel that your German might not pass the test of a public discussion or if you are not a fan of such, there is just the thing waiting for you behind the corner. In Großbeerestrasse at the pub called Dodo you can sit down at one of the several language-tables. The so called Sprach-Cafe is an opportunity for all those whose German legs are still rather shaky (linguistically speaking) and prefer to rely on the help of their mother tongue or any other tongue they feel at easy speaking.

As for Friday, our pick would be the lecture and the historic tour with Beate Winzer at 5PM. Insights Into Forced Labour in the Area during the 3rd Reich should be an obligatory tour for all Kreuzbergs. It is still hard to imagine that practically every street of the borough was a slave territory under Hitler´s rule and that almost every business active in this neighbourhood during the war profited, directly or indirectly, from the slave labour of the Reich´s prisoners. Meeting point for this tour is the wonderful old portal of Anhalter Bahnhof in Stresemannstrasse.

The festivities come to an end on Saturday and, as always in Kreuzberg, they do so with a bang. The Hornstrasse Fest will begin at 3PM around Christuskirche in Hornstrasse and will provide enough live music to last us the whole winter. There will be choirs singing, bands performing, singers-songwriters presenting their skills and all that in a “open-for-all, multigenerational, organic, intercultural and barrier-free” atmosphere as promised by the organisers.

AND it is in Kreuzberg:-)

To see the full programme of KiezKulturWoche in Kreuzberg please follow the link.


  1. berlioz1935
    Sep 5, 2013

    I’m sorry I can’t be there for all this. When I was a boy we had a competition to design the coat of arms. Needless to say I did not win. Apropos slave labour, In early spring 1945, just before the Red Army arrived, hundreds of Ukrainian young women were going for walks in the Viktoria Park. They were the most beautiful group of females I have ever seen. The Bergmann Kiez was a battleground between the Nazis and the Communist during the early Thirties. There is a lot of history to remember. I wonder whether anybody remembers our Bürgermeister Kreßmann. He was very innovative and did anything for the borough to improve the postwar conditions.

    • notmsparker
      Sep 5, 2013

      Many people remember Kreßmann! Or know about him. I, for once, am immensely grateful to him for Prinzenbad:-)

      • berlioz1935
        Sep 5, 2013

        He really put Kreuzberg on the map. 1947 / 47 (?) he started a Christmas Market along Mehringdamm from the Telefunkenhaus along the footpath in front of the Finanzamt. That action alone gave people hope again.

        • notmsparker
          Sep 5, 2013

          Do you happen to have any photos of that event? I´d be so grateful!

          • berlioz1935
            Sep 6, 2013

            Oh, no. I wonder who had a camera in those days. He also started what he called “Grauer Markt” in opposition to the black market operating everywhere.. At the same location people where allowed to have stalls where they could sell goods legally..

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