Tag Archives: Schöneberg

Famous Berliners: President John F Kennedy (JFK)

John F Kennedy (JFK) Ich Bin Ein Berliner (Associated Press)

Image: Associated Press

He was born in Brookline, Massachusetts and never lived in Berlin but President John F Kennedy is probably the most famous ‘Berliner’.

In a speech on the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg on 26 June 1963 Kennedy declared:

All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

It was a defining moment at the height of Cold War tensions between the USA and the Soviet Union.  A warning from Kennedy to his Soviet counterpart, Nikita Krushchev, that the Americans would not foresake the West Berliners and a show of solidarity for a people adjusting to life in the shadow of the Berlin Wall.

It is probably one of the most iconic moments of 20th century political history.

A plaque on the facade of Rathaus Schöneberg commemorates this significant event.

John F Kennedy (JFK) Plaque at Rathaus Schöneberg Berlin commemorating his "Ich Bin Ein Berliner" speech

Contrary to popular belief Kennedy didn’t make a linguistic faux pax with the words ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’.

It is an oft repeated story that in using these words Kennedy said ‘I am a doughnut (or donut for the Americans).

It’s true that in many parts of Germany a jam filled doughnut is known as a Berliner but in Berlin the doughnuts are known as Pfannkuchen and the citizens are Berliners.

Here’s a video of part of John F Kennedy’s ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ speech for anyone who hasn’t seen it before or those inclined to watch it again.

President John F Kennedy – ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ Speech

Zsa Zsa Burger – Star Quality In Schöneberg

Zsa Zsa Burger Sign in Berlin Schöneberg

I have Chris Lietze of Blog’n’Burger to thank for introducing me to Zsa Zsa Burger.  My first visit to this Schöneberg burger restaurant was for BlognBurger11 and a few days later I was back again for more.

My first time at Zsa Zsa Burger I was tempted by The Silence of The Lambs described on the menu as:

Lamb burger served with red curry dip, the insider’s tip!

A very good burger – lots of meat and a tasty (though for me a little mild) curry sauce – and great chips but I had to go back to try the beef.

So on my second visit, just a few days later, I went for The Breakfast Burger, a beef burger topped with bacon and a fried egg.

Breakfast Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger in Berlin Schöneberg

Again, a very meaty burger and the runny yolk of the egg brought the delight that comes with messy food.  The buns at Zsa Zsa Burger also deserve a special mention.  I had the white sour dough version both times and they were delicious.

The Steak Burger, made with grilled Argentinian rib-eye steak and served with a Teryaki sour cream dip, also came highly recommended by Gilly.

Steak Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger in Berlin Schöneberg

Steak Burger at Zsa Zsa Burger – Photo courtesy of Gilly of Gilly’s Playground – http://blog.gilly.ws

The food at Zsa Zsa Burger is of a very high and consistent standard, the restaurant is smart and comfortable, the service is excellent and when I was there, super-quick despite being full on both occasions.

I followed up both of my visits to Zsa Zsa Burger with cocktails and would recommend both bars – Stagger Lee and Green Door.

Famous Berliners: David Bowie

David Bowie - Where Are We Now? (screenshot from the Official Video)

Photo: Still from ‘David Bowie – Where Are We Now?’

Almost three weeks ago now, on his 66th birthday, David Bowie surprised everyone by releasing a new song – Where Are We Now? – a melancholy tune that reflects on his time living in Berlin in the 1970s.

Following the new single’s release my social media feeds were abuzz with (mainly positive) reactions and Berlin talked of its adoptive son, Bowie.

The feeling that history was made (good and bad) in its streets and the sense of following in the footsteps of others is one of the things that intrigues me about the city and hearing this song prompted me to go out and explore Bowie’s Berlin, something I’d been meaning to do since I arrived more than a year ago.

Many of the buildings where Bowie spent his time are, as you can imagine, non-descript, and some venues have changed name, appearance or no longer exist, but it was interesting to walk where he would have walked all the same.

Bowie’s Flat on Hauptstrasse

Bowie's Flat (Hauptstrasse 155) in Berlin

When David Bowie moved to Berlin in 1976 he found a flat in an Altbau at Hauptstrasse 155 in Schöneberg, which he shared with Iggy Pop.

Neues Ufer (formerly Anderes Ufer)

Neues Ufer (Anderes Ufer) - a Bowie haunt in Berlin

Next door to his former flat, at Hauptstrasse 157, is a café, Neues Ufer, which was known as Anderes Ufer in the days when Bowie and Iggy Pop would spend time there.

Chez Romy Haag

Chez Romy Haag, a nightclub run by the Dutch transsexual born Edouard Frans Verbaarsschott, was at the crossroads of Welserstrasse and Fuggerstrasse.  I haven’t been able to find a precise address so I could only guess which corner having visited.

Hansa Studios

Hansa Studios in Berlin - where David Bowie recorded Low and Heroes

Not far from Potsdamer Platz (written as Potzdamer Platz in the Where Are We Now? video) at Köthener Strasse 38 is Hansa Studios.

It was here in 1977 that Bowie, with Brian Eno, recorded Low and Heroes, two of the albums in what has become known as his Berlin Trilogy (though the third, Lodger was recorded in Switzerland).

It wasn’t until I read the many articles about his new single that I knew that one of his most celebrated songs, Heroes, is about a couple who kiss in the shadow of the Berlin Wall.


Bowie was apparently a fan of SO36, the legendary punk club on Kreuzberg’s Oranienstrasse.

Café Exil

Another former Bowie haunt that I visited but didn’t photograph was the Café Exil (now the restaurant Horváth) which had scaffolding erected for renovations.

Paris Bar

Paris Bar - a Bowie haunt in Berlin

Bowie liked to go to Paris Bar, the restaurant at Kantstrasse 152, when he was feeling extravagant and was in the mood to celebrate.


Ellington Hotel - where the Dschungel - a Bowie haunt in Berlin - was

It was presumably after a visit to Dschungel, another of his favourite hangouts and mentioned in his new song, that Bowie became ‘a man lost in time near KaDeWe’.

Dschungel was around the corner from Berlin’s luxury department store on Nürnberger Strasse (referred to as Nurnberger Strasse in the song) in the basement of what is now the Ellington Hotel, a building with a rich musical history.

The Brücke Museum

Bowie would visit this small museum on the edge of the Grunewald and admire the works of the expressionist painters housed here that provided the inspiration for the cover of Heroes.

I plan to visit the Brücke Museum later this week.

David Bowie Exhibition in Berlin

When the curators at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum were given unprecedented access to the David Bowie Archive in 2013 they put together what became the V&A’s fastest selling exhibition.  Now, the David Bowie exhibition is showing at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin and the event has been tweaked a little to bring items related to Bowie’s time in Berlin into sharper focus.

The exhibition opened on 20 May and will run until 10 August 2014.  You can find more details about the exhibition, buy tickets and get directions to Berlin’s Martin Gropius Bau on the David Bowie exhibition website.

David Bowie Exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau Berlin

David Bowie – Where Are We Now?

If by any chance you haven’t heard the song or reading about Bowie’s time in Berlin means you want to listen again, here it is:

Famous Berliners: The Brothers Grimm

The graves of the Brothers Grimm (Gebrüder Grimm) in the Alter St-Matthäus-Kirchof in Schöneberg in Berlin

I’m currently reading The Brothers Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Grimms Märchen) so Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm seemed like a logical choice to launch a new series of posts on andBerlin – Famous Berliners.

In this series I hope to present some of the characters whose histories have become entwined with the history of the city itself – men and women who have shaped the political, literary or musical development of Berlin or in some way altered the lives of its citizens.

Many of these people, like myself, will not be born and bred Berliners, some may have spent only a little time here but all will have left their mark.

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm only spent the years from 1840 until their deaths in 1859 and 1863 in Berlin, working at the University but their bodies are buried at the Alter St-Matthäus-Kirchof in Schöneberg.

The graves of the Brothers Grimm (Gebrüder Grimm) in the Alter St-Matthäus-Kirchof in Schöneberg Berlin

Grimm’s Fairy Tales have been thrilling and frightening children in equal measure since they were first published as a collection of Children’s and Household Tales in 1812.

Their book was the first time that many of these folklores, that up to that point had been passed down orally from generation to generation, had appeared in print and was therefore responsible for introducing the tales to the wider world.  Amongst the most popular stories they brought us are Cinderella (Ashputtel); Snow White (Snow Drop); Sleeping Beauty (Rose-bud);  Rumpelstiltskin; and Rapunzel.

Whilst they are best known for their fairy tales the Brothers Grimm were academics and their collection of folk stories grew out of their work in Philology, the study of languages, particularly in relation to historical texts.

After the publication of their most well known work the Grimms continued their studies of the German language and Jacob Grimm is credited with Grimm’s Law a set of statements that describe the development of Proto-Germanic from Proto-Indo-European languages.

The Brothers also began work on a German dictionary, which remained unfinished at their deaths.

Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum (Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm Centre) opened in Berlin in 2009 and houses the Central Library of the Humboldt University.  The building is located on Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse and visible from the S-Bahn as it travels between Friedrichstrasse and Hackescher Markt.

Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum - the building named after the Brothers Grimm, authors of Grimm's Fairy Tales, houses the central library of the Humboldt University

Snapshot: Goldener Hirsch (Golden Stag)

The Golden Stag (Goldener Hirsch) against a Berlin winter sky

This statue of a golden stag by the sculptor August Gaul sits atop a column in the centre of the Hirschbrunnen (stag fountain) in Rudolph-Wilde-Park, previously known as Stadtpark Schöneberg, opposite Rathaus Schöneberg (Schöneberg Town Hall).

The fountain was erected in 1912 and the stag is the emblem of the Berlin district of Schöneberg.

Stolpersteine 179

Stolpersteine Berlin 179: In memory of Sigismund Basch, Herta Basch and Heinz Hermann Basch (Keithstrasse 14)

I have added the photos of the Stolpersteine I have seen  in Berlin over the past week to the photo gallery here.

The brass cobbles I saw were memorials to: Sofie von der Wall, Julius von der Wall, Therese von der Wall, Sigismund Basch, Herta Basch and Heinz Hermann Basch (Keithstrasse 14).

If you’d like to know more about the background to these memorials to the victims of National Socialism and the project created by artist Gunter Demnig, read my first post about Stolpersteine.

Photos From My Phone – November

Another new series on andBerlin, Photos From My Phone, is a monthly round up of some of the things I’ve seen and done in Berlin, many of which I won’t have blogged about.

If you follow me on Twitter or Like my page on Facebook you may have seen some of these snaps before.

So here’s a taste of what I got up to in November:

I saw this Street Art with some bears attacking the Fernsehturm by Bimer after brunch with friends at Café Aroma.

Bears vs Fernsehturm - Street Art by Bimer in Berlin

I took a quick snap of the Fernsehturm at night from Alexanderplatz.

The Berlin Fernsehturm (TV Tower) at Night from Alexanderplatz

I saw this graffiti – Wem Gehört die Stadt (Who owns the city) when I went for a burger at Burger de Ville.

Wem Gehört Die Stadt - Graffiti by Unknown Artist in Berlin

I went for some very tasty cocktails at Reingold.

Spirit Bottles at Reingold a cocktail bar in Berlin

A Daiquiri at Reingold in Berlin

And then onto a party at Adam’s (from Travels of Adam) apartment, where I saw this sticker on one of the doors in his building (it translates as sexist shit shit).

Sexistische Kackscheisse (Sexist Shit Shit) - Sticker in a Berlin apartment building

I spotted this picture of the Tempelhofer Berg, a proposed mountain on the site of the Tempelhof Airport whilst enjoying a great night out with friends at Rock n Roll Bingo at White Trash Fast Food.

A picture of the proposed Tempelhofer Berg (Tempelhof Mountain) at White Trash Fast Food

I went to see a friend of a friend, Thimo Sander, play guitar with German band Plan B at Postbahnhof in Berlin.

Thimo Sander playing guitar with Plan B at Postbahnhof in Berlin

Christmas Market season in Berlin started and I went to Schmankerl-Hüttn (twice), an Austrian ski chalet themed bar at the Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz to listen to German Schlager, dance on the benches and drink beer and Jägermeister.

Queueing to go into Schmankerl-Huettn at Winterwelt am Potsdamer Platz in Berlin

I hope there will be another couple of trips to Schmankerl-Hüttn and other great nights out in Berlin on the cards in December.

Stolpersteine 132 – 136

Stolpersteine 134: In memory of Pauline Blumenthal (Veteranenstrasse 10) in BerlinI have updated my Stolpersteine Gallery with photos of the Stolpersteine I saw in Berlin in the past week.

The Stolpersteine were laid in memory of: Maria Leo, Jacques Borchardt, Franziska Borchardt, Helmut Michael Borchardt and Lilli Flora Borchardt (Pallasstrasse 12); Rosa Michaelis, Ludwig Kahn, Meta Kahn (Corner of Linienstrasse & Alte Schönhauser Strasse); Pauline Blumenthal (Veteranenstrasse 10); Henriette Löwenthal, Charlotte Löwenthal, Ingeborg Löwenthal and Leopold Jankel (Torstrasse 148); Leopold Strebinger and Gertrud Wollmann (Tieckstrasse 36).

To read more of the background to these memorials to the victims of National Socialism created by artist Gunter Demnig, check out my first post about Stolpersteine.