KREUZBERGED: BERLIN COMPANION

Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin

FROM PICCADILLY TO VATERLAND: THE STORY OF ONE HAUS AND ITS MANY NAMES

Did you know that the legendary Berlin entertainment venue, Haus Vaterland, which used to stand on the corner of Köthener Straße and Stresemannstraße in the old borough of Berlin-Kreuzberg, was designed by the same architect as the equally legendary railway station Anhalter Bahnhof and the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Memorial Church in today’s Breitscheidplatz?

Franz Schwechten’s steel-frame building with a stone-coated facade opened in 1912 not as “Haus Vaterland” (that name was attached to it only later) but as “Haus Potsdam”.

Eventually it housed twelve different cafes, tea-rooms and restaurants as well as a cinema. In 1912 its main venue was named after a famous London street in the City of Westminster, however, quite understandably perhaps, by early autumn 1914 the name “Cafe Piccadilly” became an inconvenient reminder of a common truth: that despite waging war on each other Germany and Great Britain used to be and technically still were closely linked in many different ways.

Haus Potsdam with Cafe Piccadilly in 1913.

German Kaiser Wilhelm II was Queen Victoria’s grandson and first-degree cousin to British King, George V, with whom by August 1914 he was in the state of war (Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, another main player in the World War One drama, was Wilhelm’s cousin of third degree – it find out more about the fascinating family ties within that group visit this page goo.gl/idDNDj).

Haus Vaterland with Kaffee Vaterland in the 1920s.

However, once the war had been declared it became clear that the cafe’s name was, to put it mildly, inappropriate. So out went “Piccadilly”, in came the terribly patriotic-sounding “Cafe Vaterland” (Berlin’s city council famously tried to change the name of Chausseestraße to something less French, too, but eventually decided that “Straße Straße” would have been a bit trop). By mid-1920s the building, whose management was taken over by OHG M. Kempinski & Co. Was commonly known as Haus Vaterland. After the 1929 refurbishment the name became official.

One comment on “FROM PICCADILLY TO VATERLAND: THE STORY OF ONE HAUS AND ITS MANY NAMES

  1. Gary Costello
    December 14, 2017

    Great pictures and a great article. Thank you.

CARE TO COMMENT?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4,862 other followers

Archives

%d bloggers like this: