Rosa Luxemburg Platz

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Rosa Luxemburg Platz: a square with a bloody story

Rosa Luxemburg Platz has a very bloody history. In the twenties of the last century the communist party had their headquarters at the square of Rosa Luxemburg Platz. They often fought with the Nazis in this area. Police officers kept a keen eye on both sides, which were the key ingredients for a major row.

rosa luxemburg platz met volksbuhne

Rosa Luxemburg Platz in Berlin Mitte

The communist party truly hated the policemen around Rosa Luxemburg Platz and decided a few should be killed. Teenager Erich Mielke, later in life the minister for ‘Staatssicherheit’ (State Security), was ready to do his dirty part. Together with a communist friend he shot police captain Paul Anlauf, nickname ‘Schweinebacke’ and Franz Lenck, in front of the entrance of the Babylon cinema. Right after the assassination he fled to Russia.

When the Nazi’s and Hitler came into power in Berlin in 1933, the square got a different name. The Nazi’s came up with Horst Wessel Platz, after their martyr Horst Wessel. He was a Nazi party activist and SA Sturmfuhrer(assault leader of the paramilitary Nazi organization) in Friedrichshain. He lived at the Karl Marx Allee with his hooker girlfriend and was shot in the face in 1930 by a local communist and died in a nearby hospital. Many Nazi’s came to his funeral. But Horst Wessel probably became a bigger hero after his violent death. He was commemorated in books and films where they glorified his life. When the Nazi’s came into power in 1933, they sang the Horst Wessel song at his grave. Wessel wrote the lyrics of this song and his Fahne Hoch (Flags high) soon became their national anthem. To honor his memory, the Nazi’s renamed the square, after him. Even Friedrichshain got his name. But not everybody was impressed with Horst Wessel. After the funeral communists wrote ‘ A final Heil Hitler to the Pimp Horst Wessel’ on the graveyard wall.

After the war the grave of Horst Wessel was in East Berlin territory, which meant it the glorification days were definitely over. His memorial and remains were destroyed and Horst Wessel Platz got a new name: Rosa Luxemburg Platz. Mielke returned from Russia and he became the new minister of State Security.

After the Wende Mielke was prosecuted for killing Anlauf and Lenck. He got sentenced to six years in prison, but was released sooner due to a bad health.

view on Rosa Luxemburg Platz

view on Rosa Luxemburg Platz

Today, Rosa Luxemburg Platz is not as bloody anymore. Around the square you can find a lot of nice shops and restaurants. You can buy expensive designer hats, glamorous clothes and tickle your tastebuds at the various restaurants around Rosa Luxemburg Platz. The fighting days are over and killer instincts died. Villains with guns don’t roam this area and the nearby Scheunenviertel anymore. The only blood that flows near Rosa Luxemburg Platz is on the stage of the Volksbuhne. So if you long for a bit of well acted violence, rage and madness you should check out the famous and very good theater on this square. The actors of the Volksbuhne know how to hit each other in their excellent plays.

More Mitte on Place to be:

scheunenviertel berlinScheunenviertel

The Scheunenviertel is gallery heaven. After the fall of the Berlin Wall many artists moved to this area and that is still visible. Kunsthaus Tacheles was one of the most famous galleries of the area. The Scheunenviertel still has a lot of galleries. Many art galleries can be found in the August Strasse, Oranienburgerstrasse and Rosenthaler Strasse.

tranenpalastTranenpalast

Imagine what it is like to be separated by a brutal wall for decades. The Berlin Wall ran straight through the lifes of Berlin families and friends. A lot of people entered and left East Berlin by train. The place where Berliners met and said goodbye soon got a new name: Tranenpalast. Because of the many tears (tranen) that flowed here.

brug met zeemeermannen unter den lindenUnter den Linden

Unter den Linden was build to make visitors look in awe at the buildings. It was set up to show that Berlin was no longer a village, but a big city. The street was filled with landmarks by the Berlin royalty. If you walk along Unter den Linden you will stare at the Schlossplatz, Altes Palais, the Princessinenpalais and Kronprinzenpalais.

invalidenfriedhof met berlijnse muurInvalidenfriedhof

A cemetery where the Berlin Wall ran through and battles of life and death took place. The Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin is a beautiful 18th century graveyard with graves of marshals and officers. Invalidenfriedhof seems to be peaceful and quiet, but that changed in 1961 when the Berlin Wall was erected right at this graveyard.

alexAlexanderplatz

Alexanderplatz, or Alex as it is called by Berliners, is one of the most popular squares. This has a lot to do with the weird shiny marble on a large stick, better known as the famous landmark, the Fernsehturm. But not all. Alexanderplatz is also popular among Berliners, just for the square. During the golden twenties Alex was the place to be.

uitzicht vanaf Berliner Dom op FernsehturmFernsehturm

The Fernsehturm, build in 1969, is Berlin’s most famous landmark. The GDR-government was very proud of the Fernsehturm, but not so pleased with it when the sun was shining. When the sun is shining on the tower, a radiant cross appears on the Fernsehturm. Berliners call this ‘the Popes revench’ because the GDR-government was very anti-religion.

checkpoint charlieCheckpoint Charlie

You can still feel the awkwardness and fear of the Cold War at Checkpoint Charlie. It was the main checkpoint to cross the border between West and East Berlin for foreigners during the Cold War. Some Berliners tried to flee the city through Checkpoint Charlie and died there cold and alone.

 

reichstag berlinBundestag

The Bundestag is the stage where democracy failed poorly and rose out of it’s ashes again, after the Cold War. When the Bundestag was built in 1894, democracy was on the verge of collapse. No one knew how to govern the country because there was hardly any experience with governing Germany.

brandenburger tor berlijnBrandenburger Tor

The Brandenburger Tor at the end of Unter den Linden became the symbol of reunited Germany and Berlin. Between 1961-1989 the Berlin Wall surrounded the Brandenburger Tor. East Berlin was on one side – a couple of meters further was West Berlin. It was quite tragic, especially because the Brandenburger Tor had originally been the representation of triumph.

charite berlinCharite

Berlin life starts at Charite. A lot of Berliners are born in this remarkable building with red bricks. Charite is one of the best known and prettiest hospitals of Berlin. But Frederic the first didn’t build it in 1710 to celebrate new life, but out of fear for the upcoming plague.

 

DI.MoozeFriedrichstrasse

The Friedrichstrasse is the perfect street to gawp and aw at the prestigious windowsills full of expensive cars, clothes and interesting books. Friedrichstrasse was bombed to pieces in World War two, but soon became a show off street again. You will find bookparadise Dussmann here, as well as glamorous Galerie Lafayette, luxurious hotels and restaurants.

joods monument in de sneeuwHolocaust Monument

At the Holocaust Monument architect Peter Eisenman depicted the horrors that victims of the Holocaust experienced. The Holocaust Monument is a maze of grey concrete. It shows us how terribly organized the brutal acts during the Second World War were. The maze looks just as organized as the brutal Nazi’s.

Humboldthaven Humboldthafen Humboldthafen

The Humboldthafen shows how dynamic Berlin is. What used to be no-man’s-land, now turns into an area with modern architecture. In the Cold War Humboldthafen was quite a sinister place. The first victim of the Berlin Wall fell at Humboldthafen. Gunter Litfin tried to swim from East to West but the GDR guards shot him. He didn’t survive the bullet rain.

neue synagoge berlinNew Synagogue

Policemen carefully walk around the New Synagogue of Berlin. Quite understandable if you know what happened to the Jewish community of Berlin during the Second World war. The few Jewish buildings that survived the war are cherished. Now, the new synagogue shines in the sunlight.

 

 

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