Tel Aviv Comes To Town Ku'Damm Shop­ping Spree

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For some peo­ple, the Cur­ry­wurst is more than just a sausage: It's a be­lief, a reli­gion, some­thing to live for. Ber­lin­ers are of­ten caught de­bat­ing the best place to get a Cur­ry­wurst. Curry 36? Konnopke Im­biss? Zan­der? What­ever the an­swer, you can’t call your­self a true devo­tee if you haven’t gone on a pil­grim­age to Kantstr.

101, where in 1949 Im­biss owner Herta Heuwer first mixed Worcestershire sauce and curry pow­der ob­tained from Bri­tish sol­diers to in­vent Cur­ry­wurst sauce. Her cre­ation be­came so suc­cess­ful among con­struc­tion work­ers in de­stroyed Ber­lin that by 1951, she was sell­ing 10,000 serv­ings per week. To­day, a sign on the façade of Kantstr. 101 pays homage to Heuwer and her in­ven­tion.


Af­ter WWII, be­ing a po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent of the so­cial­ist sys­tem was a danger­ous ac­tiv­ity in East Ber­lin: You were sent to pri­son, ei­ther in Pots­dam or in Ber­lin Ho­hen­schön­hausen. The

Pots­dam Soviet Jail (www.gedenkstaet­teleis­tikow­strasse.de, Tue–Sun 2–6 pm), which re­cently opened to the public as a me­mo­rial and mu­seum, de­tained many Ger­mans sus­pected of spy­ing for the US, UK, or France, as well as KGB traitors. In­mates were con­fined in to­tal iso­la­tion from the out­side world, and some were later sent to gu­lags in Siberia or spe­cial camps such as Sach­sen­hausen, north of Ber­lin. The Stasi Pri­son at Ho­hen­schön­hausen (www.stiftung-hsh. de) was in­stead meant for or­di­nary cit­i­zens ar­rested by the Stasi for try­ing to es­cape, watch­ing West­ern TV, or sim­ply talk­ing to peo­ple per­ceived as po­lit­i­cal op­po­nents. The re­stricted sur­round­ing area was con­ve­niently left off of East Ber­lin maps, which ex­plains the gen­eral lack of knowl­edge of the pri­son’s ex­is­tence in its time.


Roger Wa­ters’ per­for­mance of Pink Floyd’s

The Wall in 1990, eight months af­ter the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, was a record-break­ing con­cert, to­talling nearly 500,000 at­ten­dees. The con­cert took place on the no-man’s land be­tween Pots­damer Platz and

Bran­den­burg Gate. Be­fore the event, the area was swept for land mines and,

sur­pris­ingly, an SS bunker from WWII was found in­stead. A sec­tion of the Ber­lin Wall was used as a se­cu­rity fence for the con­cert.


If you're look­ing for au­then­tic re­minders of the Cold War, stay away from Check­point Char­lie. Sure, the Benet­ton-style pho­to­graphs of the US and Rus­sian sol­diers are lo­cated on the very spot where the old cross­ing used to be, but ev­ery­thing about this tourist site is ar­ti­fi­cial: The Wall is no longer there, the build­ings sur­round­ing the spot are com­pletely new, and the guard­house that ap­pears in thou­sands of tourists' pho­to­graphs is fake. The real one still ex­ists and lives peace­fully in the court­yard of the lit­tle-known Al­lied Forces

Mu­seum, in the for­mer “US Army sub­urb” of Zehlen­dorf. This small mu­seum, housed in­side an old Amer­i­can movie theater, tells the story of the US, French, and Bri­tish pres­ence in Ber­lin, and also ex­plores re­la­tion­ships be­tween the mil­i­tary pres­ence and the lo­cal pop­u­la­tion. Next to the (real) Check­point Char­lie guard­house in the court­yard are a

Rosi­nen­bomber, one of the air­planes used dur­ing the 1948 Ber­lin Block­ade; a Bri­tish Army train; and an orig­i­nal watch­tower placed be­hind a small seg­ment of the Wall.


On a cold Jan­uary morn­ing in 1942, while look­ing out the win­dow at one of Ber­lin’s most gor­geous views, 15 high-rank­ing SS of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing Adolf Eich­mann, sat down to­gether in what be­came known as the Wannsee Con­fer­ence. Their meet­ing ended with the sign­ing of “The Fi­nal So­lu­tion to the Jewish Ques­tion,” one of the most hor­ri­fy­ing doc­u­ments in his­tory: The dec­la­ra­tion out­lined the plan to sys­tem­at­i­cally mur­der all the Jews of Europe. In an at­tempt to try and con­ceal his in­volve­ment, the mas­ter­mind be­hind the “Fi­nal So­lu­tion,” Adolf Hitler, did not phys­i­cally par­tic­i­pate in the con­fer­ence. Built in 1915, the Wannsee villa was sold twice be­fore fall­ing into the hands of the SS, and is now a mu­seum re­count­ing the event and its atro­cious con­se­quences (www.ghwk.de).


There were 14 bor­der cross­ings be­tween West Ber­lin and the GDR, each with its own pur­pose. Some, like Check­point Char­lie, were meant for diplo­mats and Al­lied forces, while oth­ers were in­tended for West Ger­man cit­i­zens cross­ing on foot. The Friedrich­straße sta­tion was used by West Ger­mans ar­riv­ing by S-Bahn, and a cou­ple cross­ings were meant for Al­lied mil­i­tary li­ai­son mis­sions – in other words, for the ex­change of cap­tured spies. One of th­ese bor­der cross­ings was the pic­turesque

Glienicke Bridge over the Havel, which dur­ing the Cold War wit­nessed four fa­mous swaps of 11 Soviet spies in re­turn for 29 US and West­ern agents.


US pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein

Ber­liner” speech was de­liv­ered in 1963 from the bal­cony of Rathaus Schöneberg, then the seat of West Ber­lin’s se­nate. The square in front of the Rathaus, re­named John-F.Kennedy-Platz fol­low­ing the pres­i­dent’s as­sas­si­na­tion, was a com­mon meet­ing point for protests against Soviet in­flu­ence. Visit on a Sun­day to shop at the weekly flea mar­ket, or on a week­day to see and try out the in­ge­nious pater­nos­ter el­e­va­tor fit­ted in the build­ing in the early 1900s. Not rec­om­mended for claus­tro­pho­bics.


Lo­cated in Char­lot­ten­burg, the late19th-cen­tury Plötzensee Pri­son saw the ex­e­cu­tion of nearly 3000 in­mates dur­ing the Nazi regime. Pris­on­ers were charged lodg­ing fees for the days spent in im­pris­on­ment, and their fam­i­lies were sent a bill for the ex­e­cu­tion. Among those killed were Ger­mans in­volved in re­sis­tance or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the Red Orches­tra and those tied to the 20 July Plot, along with po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers from Cze­choslo­vakia, Poland, and France. A me­mo­rial stands at the ex­e­cu­tion shed, where gal­lows were set up to hang mem­bers of the Red Orches­tra.


Dur­ing the Holo­caust, some brave Ger­mans risked their lives to save Jews from de­por­ta­tion. One such hero was Otto Weidt, a fac­tory owner who em­ployed blind and deaf Jews to pre­vent their im­me­di­ate ar­rest. Weidt, vis­ually im­paired him­self and some­what of a rebel, fre­quently hid work­ers in con­cealed rooms in his work­shop or sent packages to his de­ported em­ploy­ees. A

mu­seum ded­i­cated to Weidt and the work­shop for the blind stands at the orig­i­nal site of the fac­tory in one of the court­yards at Hack­escher Markt.


With to­day's al­pha­bet soup of let­ters, the Ber­lin trans­port sys­tem can get quite con­fus­ing. Shortly be­fore the fall of the Wall, West Ber­lin­ers also had to deal with an­other mode of trans­porta­tion: the M-Bahn. This mag­netic train was the sec­ond of its kind in the world, but it didn’t last long: When the Wall came down, the re­con­nec­tion of the pre­vi­ously sev­ered U2 line ren­dered it re­dun­dant, so its few sta­tions were shut down and dis­man­tled.


Lovers of des­o­late, aban­doned places, re­joice! You've come to the right place. To cap­ture the strange beauty of Ber­lin’s his­toric build­ings, drive down south to Check­point Bravo in Wannsee. The

Au­to­bahn bor­der cross­ing once in the hands of the US army is now a me­mo­rial site, but its ghostly feel and retro look are the de­light of ev­ery pho­tog­ra­pher.

Rosi­nen­bomber at the Al­lied Forces Mu­seum

Glienicker Brücke, the "bridge of spies"

Sign from East Ger­many and the Ber­lin Wall

Ber­liner Cur­ry­wurst and the Bran­den­burg Gate

At the Sach­sen­hausen con­cen­tra­tion camp in Oranien­burg, 35km north of Ber­lin, an old sign reads: "Neu­tral zone: tres­passers will be shot im­me­di­ately and

with­out prior no­tice."

A Ber­lin Wall watch­tower, a relic of

the Cold War era

The Haus der Wannsee Kon­ferenz, where Nazi of­fi­cers signed the

"Fi­nal So­lu­tion"

The Ber­lin Wall

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