SCHÖNEBERG (Tempelhof)

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.

KaDeWeThe 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 camps.

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 Germany.

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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