SCHÖNEBERG is an elegant well-heeled suburb that most non-Berliners
heard of first when President Kennedy delivered his speech declaring
solidarity with West Berlin, in front of the Schöneberg Rathaus
(Town Hall) in 1961, concluding with a German phrase meaning "I
am a jam doughnut", instead of "I am a citizen of Berlin", which
is presumeably what he intended.
Hauptstrasse runs through the southern centre of the district.
Its well-appointed villas were built by farmers who had sold their
fields to developers at a good price in the 19th century. Now
the street features an English language cinema, the Odeon, the
imposing baroque Dominikuskirche, and a stretch of bars running
north. Lou Reed, David Bowie and Iggy Pop are sometime denizens
of the cafes and lively clubs of Schöneberg.
northern fringe of the district is south of the Landwehr Canal.
Here, on Wittembergplatz, is KaDeWe - the famous Kaufhaus des
Westens (Store of the West) - with its wonderful delicatessen.
The store was built by a Jewish family and expropriated by the
Nazis. Wittemberg Station itself is worth a look at. Built by
Grenander, architect of many of the city's earliest stations,
it is a fine mock-classical buiding in the shape of a temple.
To the east, round Nollendorfplatz, Berlin's Gay scene is to
be found. This is where Isherwood lived (Nollendorfstrasse 17)
when he was writing his Berlin stories that were turned into the
musical Cabaret. Outside Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station a plaque
commemorates the gay community who were also murdered in the concentration
Across the road, the Theatre on Nollendorfplatz was the home
of Erwin Piscator, a leading director of the 30s who premiered
some of Ernst Toller's work.
South on Winterfeldtplatz one of Berlin's best markets takes
place every Saturday. Organic produce, oriental herbs and spices,
cloth, cheese, you name it, is on display.
To the east, Potsdamer Strasse intersects with Pallasstrasse.
Here was the site of the Sportpalast, the arena where Goebbels
used to address floodlit rallies. Further along Pallasstrasse
another relic of the war comes into view, one of the old flak
towers designed to protect Berlin from air raids during World
War II. Resistant to attempts to blow it up, it remains, incongruously
situated next to a block of seventies flats arching over the road.
South along Potsdamer Strasse a colonnade of pillars, originally
erected in Alexanderplatz, marks the entrance to Kleistpark, and
at the far side of the park, the Kammergericht, the Nazis Supreme
Court, used to hold sessions. Here it was that the conspirators
in the July bomb plot to kill Hitler, were sentenced to death.
Schöneberg is served by the U7 and U4.
TEMPELHOF gets its name from the crusader Knights Templar who
founded a monastery here in the 13th century. They funded the
parish churches of two villages to the south, both dedicated to
the Virgin Mary - Mariendorf and Marienfelde.
A mix of residential and commercial, the district housed the
Ullstein Press, now owned by Springer. The building is impressively
large and is topped by the first reinforced concrete tower in
To the east of the suburb Tempelhof airport stretches towards
Neukölln. Berlin's first airport, it was the site of the Wright
Brothers first flight attempt, but surrounded by dense housing,
and too small to support current demand which has moved to Tegel
in the north and Schönefeld in the south, it restricts now itself
largely to domestic flights. The gigantic marble and stone wings
of the terminal building on Platz der Luftbrücke (Airlift) are
typical of the overscaled architecture of the Nazi period.
Outside the airport a half rainbow of steel represents the Berlin
Airlift when the city was supplied from Frankfurt for a year by
250,000 flights landing at down to 90 second intervals. Tempelhof
is served by the U6 and S-Bahn.
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