Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
On January 4th, 1892 the first regular edition of the first mass-market newspaper in Germany, “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung” hits the newsstands in Berlin. The weekly became an immediate sensation – it was after all the first German paper to be offered without a subscription. At the price of 10 Pfennig per issue, combined with an excellent quality of each copy achieved thanks to the use of the latest technologies, it changed the German press market for ever.
The cover of the first edition of the “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung” – the original spelling of the word illustrirte will not be changed until 1941! – featured a group picture of an officer corps of a tragically sunken ship. The combination of novelty and death worked its magic and the paper sold brilliantly that day. From 1901 the weekly published photos not only on the front page but also inside each edition – a technical accomplishment on par with today´s availability of video materials through our smartphones.
By the early 1930s the paper was printed in 2 million copies per week but soon after the Nazis´ coming to power, its owners, the Ullsteins, were removed from the board of directors – like all other traditional Berlin press houses with Jewish owners also Ullstein Verlag, one of the key media publishers on the market, became “Aryanised”. After WWII it was sold to Axel Springer Verlag in whose hands it remains until today.
Since March 1984 all Sunday editions of the “Berliner Morgenpost”, Axel Springer´s flagship daily in Berlin, include an insert under the old title “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung”. Excellent photos are still its chief ingredient.