Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
The former Sturmlokal (regular meeting point in a pub or restaurant) of the SA Assault Division 27 was known before the war as “Wiener Garten”. The house survived the war practically untouched and the former Nazi pub is today a Turkish restaurant, “Mercan”.
Sturm is short for Sturmabteilung or Assault Division, a paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party, also known as “Brownshirts”. Their main task was protecting the Nazi rallies and marches but what they really became (in-)famous for was first and foremost intimidating and assaulting both Jewish citizens and members of the parties competing against the Nazis for power: KPD and SPD.
This particular group or Sturm had their headquarters in Wiener Strasse 10, some 100 metres away from the place where Goebbels was attacked on September 22nd, 1929 (read about it in the following post).
The “Wiener Garten”, a traditionally working up to middle-class restaurant was taken over by the Nazis in 1929 and as such became the target of many attacks from the neighbouring communist and socialist groups.
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, however, the competition was swiftly done away with. The place itself played a significant role in the extermination of the opposition: in March 1933 it was turned into a torture chamber (its cellar was “re-furbished” especially for that purpose) and many of the people who were present in Spreewaldplatz during Goebbels´ speech that day in 1929 became its prisoners.
One of them, Reinhold Gläser from Sorauer Strasse 18 (today´s Wrangelkiez), who was a member of SPD and then KPD and a supporter of several other left-wing groups and organisations, will die two months after such a “stay” in the Wiener Garten as a result of the abuse he suffered there. He was 43.
And he was only one of many.