Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin


Wertheim in Leipziger Platz by Joseph Pennel, 1921 (image at the US National Gallery of Art).

Behold Warenhaus Wertheim in Leipziger Platz – famous Berlin department store whose remains were removed after WWII – here on Joseph Pennell´s 1921 lithography.

An interesting fact: the section of the Wertheim´s store visible in this picture was designed by Alfred Messel, the “court architect” of the company. Between 1926-27 it was extended to the left by adding a new building, this time created by Paul Kolb and Eugen Schmoll.

This new section would replace the grand building standing at No. 13 in Pennell´s lithography: between the late 19th century and 1914 the seat of the German Imperial Admiralty Office, the Kaiserliche Admiralität (later Reichsmarineamt). The latter occupied it before moving to a new location at today´s Reichspietschufer (then Königin-Augusta-Straße).

This new location is now better known as Bendlerblock. It gained fame during the Second World War: used by the Wehrmacht as their Supreme Command Office, it was there that the drama of the failed 20th of July Plot, attempted putsch and Hitler´s assassination, reached its peak.

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