Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
Today´s photo shows one of the best known junctions in the former East Berlin borough of Prenzlauer Berg (now a locality in Pankow) as it was in 1960.
With Kastanienallee to his or her left, the photographer was facing Schönhauser Allee and the U-Bahn station of what until 1990 used to be called “Linie A” (now U2).
Since its opening in 1913 the station itself underwent several name changes, too. What began as Bahnhof “Danziger Straße”, became by the end of 1950 Bahnhof “Dimitroffstraße”: the change resulted from the renaming of Danziger Straße (a generously-sized street to the right of Pappelallee, the street visible on the other side of the viaduct) to Dimitroffstraße.
The new name honoured Georgi Dimitrov, the first Communist leader of the Bulgarian government who in 1933 was accused of participating in the Reichstag Fire Plot and then, after having been arrested and charged, famously acted as his own barrister in court. In what came to be known as the Leipzig Trial, he defended himself against the accusations of the Nazi lawyers and successfully engaged in sharp word-exchanges with one Hermann Göring.
Despite loud (and active!) protests from East Berliners, the name “Dimitroffstraße” for both the street and the U-Bahn station were removed again in the 1990s: on October 3, 1990 the station became Bahnhof “Eberswalder Straße” (after the street hidden behind the buildings on the left side of the picture and leading further to Bernauer Straße).
The invisible road on the right side of the viaduct returned to its original name, Danziger Straße, in 1995: it was even extended onto another street in the borough, Elbinger Straße, which consequently vanished from the map.
With Prenzlauer Berg invaded and conquered by the “latte-macchiato troops from the West”, it is not easy to find old born & bred Prenzlauer Bergers in the crowd. But if you listen carefully, you will know: they never call the U-Bahnhof on the corner of Schönhauser and Kastanien Allee “Eberswalder Straße”. For them it is either “Danziger Straße” or “Dimitroffstraße” but, for obvious reasons, the number of those using the former is dwindling fast.