KaDeWe, a Witness of 20th Century Berlin History

21.08.2013 Livestyle no comments

When KaDeWe (short of “Kaufhaus des Westens”, the “Department Store of the West”) was opened on 1907 Berlin was the capital of the Prussian Empire, a cosmopolitan and crowded city with 800.000 inhabitants, full of museums, theaters and auditoriums, provided with a notable infrastructure it was a rich, proud and happy city.

KaDeWe located in Tauentzienstrasse, near to the fashionable Ku´damm was a symbol of  that spirit, the gold old times: an elegant place to spend time in the beauty salon or the tearoom and to buy tailored dresses or delicatessen and caviar in the famous food court.

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Kadewe, survived the First World War disaster, it was even enlarged in the uncertain times of the Weimar Republic, but as the whole city it was a victim of the Nazi Regime: the jewish owners, the Hertie Group, were forced on 1933 to sell the Department Store due to the boycott of the banks that refused to grant any credit after the implementation of the Nuremberg race laws.

Finally, after some years of Nazi-sympathizer management of Kadewe, on 1943 an American aeroplane crashed into it, the building almost burns to the ground, totally in ruins until 1950, it becomes once a more a metaphor of the city, a terrible one.

 

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The restoration of the KaDeWe, given back to the former Jewish owners, was a symbol of the resurgence of the West Berlin, the new beginning, more distant than just a wall from the other side of the city, it also became a hated monument to consumption in the East berlin.

After the reunification in 1989, the Department Store became the best-known of Germany and the largest one in the European continent with 60,000 square metres of sales floors, nowadays is the third more visited place in Berlin after the Reichstag and the Brandenburger Tor.

 

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Berlin 1900-2013, the hard-wor

Berlín 1900-2013, the hard-working renaissance of the city

 

 

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