Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Schleiermacherstrasse seen from Gneisenaustrasse around 1899
Schleiermacherstrasse seen from Gneisenaustrasse around 1899

Schleiermacherstrasse some 112 years later
Schleiermacherstrasse some 112 years later

The street, officially named on December 22, 1875 (you can read more about it in one of the previous posts here) and as such one of the older streets in Kreuzberg 61, was lucky not to have been badly damaged during the WW2 air-raids.

The only victims of incendiary bombs dropped on the city then were the house No. 19 visible here on the corner and the greater part of the Kaserne or the army barracks on the right.

The Distillation or a pub serving home-made Schnapps (strong alcoholic beverage) that used to occupy the ground floor at Schleiermacherstrasse 19 belonged to one Gottfried Schlüter who also lived at the same address. Unfortunately, the name of his pub is unknown as the entries in Berlin directory at the time failed to mention them.

The history of the barracks, on the other hand, is pretty well documented: built in between 1875-1878 for the 2. Garde Dragoner Regiment Kaiserin Alexandra von Rußland (2nd Cavalry Regiment Empress Alexandra of Russia) it served the regiment until it was disbanded in 1918. The cavalry soldiers from that regiment could fine-tune their horsemanship on the Reitbahn (manege) on the other side of Gneisenaustrasse where the small football field and a playground are today.

After the bombed remains of the barracks were removed, the area between Blücherstrasse 26 (the official address of the regiment), Schleiermacherstrasse and Baerwaldstrasse was used by Berliner Stadtreinigungsbetriebe (Berlin Waste Services). Later one part of the plot became a primary school with all necessary facilities, while the fast crumbling but still standing barracks buidlings – the old stables – serve as ateliers for international artists.

In the picture taken in 2012 you can see the sports hall of Reinhardswald-Grundschule where the 2nd regiment used to have its headquarters. The house in Schleiermacherstrasse 19, although not entirely destroyed during the war, must have suffered damages serious enough to make it unusable.

Schleiermacherstrasse in 1953 - the remains of the house at No. 19 standing - the barracks partly as well (image Google Earth)
Schleiermacherstrasse in 1953 – the remains of the house at No. 19 standing – the barracks partly as well (image Google Earth)

According to this picture available through GoogleEarth Gottfried Schlüter´s house was was still standing in 1953. But despite the changes something remains: the Destillerie was reborn as a corner pub known as “Backbord”.


  1. Gary Costello
    December 22, 2016

    Thank you for an interesting article. This is not the first time that the Gniesenaustrasse has cropped up. I think that an investigation into this area is on the cards for the next Berlin trip.

    • notmsparker
      January 23, 2017

      I guess ours is one of those streets you have to have a reason to walk down – you would have used it on your way to the cinema now, though, as there is a short-cut created by opening the former Kaserne road formerly only available to those who worked or lived there.

  2. berlioz1935
    January 23, 2017

    I never ever even entered into Schleiermacherstrasse while living at SW 61. We often walked along Gneisenaustrasse on the way to the “Palladium” cinema in Baerwaldstrasse or the “Badeanstalt”.


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This entry was posted on December 22, 2016 by in Kreuzberg.

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