If you haven’t seen Cabaret yet (the 1972-movie with Liza Minelli and Michael York), then you should definitely do it before visiting Berlin.It’s a great movie, based on the autobiographical novel by Chrstopher Isherwood who lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933. The movie was shot 40 years later, but it still captures the mood of the early 1930s, the clash between the promise of great freedom and the threat of total oppression.
This summer, you have the rare chance to see Cabaret live on stage, in Berlin! It’s playing from July 13 to September 4 2016 at the Tipi, right next to the Chancellery.Check it out!
In 1929 Einstein bought a property in Caputh which is some 40 miles South of Berlin. A young architect (Konrad Wachsmann) fulfilled his wish of a wooden house, functional, yet cozy. It was finished in record time and the family (Einstein, his wife and her two daughters) moved in later that year. He spent three wonderful summers there, picking fruit from the orchard, working, sailing in the nearby lake (even though he could not swim), and of course entertaining many guests, among them Otto Hahn, Heinrich Mann, Käthe Kollwitz, and Max Planck. In 1933, after Hitler’s rise to power, he did not return to Germany. His house was turned into a Jewish Children’s home, but later it was temporarily used by the Wehrmacht. Today, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem owns the majority of the estate. The house can be visited, and surprisingly, much of the interior is still original. There are guided tours in German and in English. Also while you’re in Caputh, you may want to visit the Caputh Castle, built in 1662!
Some 40 miles South of Berlin a former cargo lifter airship hangar (the biggest free-standing hall in the world!! – the Statue of Liberty is only half as tall as the ceiling) has been turned into every child’s and many adult’s dream: a huge water park with many attractions such as slides, sauna, whirl pool, and a real tropical forest. There are sandy beaches, kids playgrounds, several restaurants, and tents to spend the night. The temperature is always around 30 degrees (around 85 degrees F), as is the water temperature. The place is open 24 hours a day/7 days a week!
There used to be a lot of heavy industry in Berlin – not anymore. Many former factories are turned into lofts, warehouses into offices, breweries into community centers, and railroad yards – into parks. Many railway stations were destroyed in the war (such as Anhalter Bahnhof which remains as a ruin to this day), and many miles of railroad tracks were no longer used. So nature took its course. A good example is the Südgelände (Southern compound), a 44-acre park and nature preserve where train tracks are overgrown by trees and where rare vegetation and wildlife not common to urban areas are to be found. This park is not known to many Berliners, let alone tourists, even though it’s one of the city’s greatest treasures.
May 9, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the capitulation of Nazi Germany. The signing was actually done around midnight, which is why the Russians commemorate this day on May 8. The Sovjets had reached Berlin in April of 1945 and many thousand soldiers died taking the German capitol, most of them put to rest in the city. There are many events today and tomorrow to commemorate this special day, but there are several memorials in Berlin that are open all year around. Out of the 5 Sovjet Memorials, two are definitely worth a visit: The Memorial on June 17 with the two original tanks flanking the 6-meter tall statue of a Sovjet soldier, and the Memorial in Treptow park with its 30-meter high statue by the artist Wutchetitch (the same artist who designed the knotted gun in front of the United Nations building in New York). Also, the Russian-German museum in Karlshorst is very interesting and was recently renovated. Also consider a visit to the British War Cemetery in Charlottenburg with its 3576 graves of British, Canadian and Austrialian soldiers. (Why are there no graves of US soldiers? They were all taken home to be burried in the US!)
Berlin does not only have around 175 museums (the most important ones are: the Jewish Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamon, Picture Gallery, and the Historc Museum), there are also around 500 galleries. So for art lovers, a week in Berlin is not enough! But if you get here between April 30 and May 5, you can be part of Gallery Weekend Berlin. Collectors, curators, and artists will come together and explore what’s new in Berlin’s most prominent galleries. Check out this website for details:
The Old National Gallery