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Big City Life Under the Open Sky

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Wittenbergplatz Berlin, 1915, Brücke-Museum

In 1902, a train stopped at Wittenbergplatz for the first time. From then on, the so-called trunk line connected the Zoologischer Garten with the Stralauer Tor, nearby today’s Warschauer Straße station. The previously tranquil residential area then developed into a bustling hub of activity. Shortly afterwards, the department store Kaufhaus des Westens, or “KaDeWe” for short, which is still known today for its luxury products – opened its doors on the edge of the square.

As part of the widespread expansion of public transport, plans were made for two additional lines to be added just ten years later, including one heading towards Wilmersdorf. Its construction lasted until 1913 and was not an easy undertaking. The new terminal boasted three parallel platforms and a total of five tracks – something unprecedented and still unparalleled in Berlin today.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner also found this modern building fascinating. In the middle of the First World War, he made a drawing of the newly opened neoclassical station concourse, which today, as then, is surrounded by the traffic of Tauentzienstraße. The artist was not in a good place during this period. He was frightened by the war; he had to abandon his military service training after suffering from physical and psychological afflictions. Strolling through the hustle and bustle of Berlin now offered him a welcome distraction.

Valentina Bay


Wittenbergplatz, 1930, video excerpt from: Straßenbahnfahrt 1930, F Rep. 400 No. 1104, Landesarchiv Berlin

Explore Berlin through the Eyes of the Brücke Artists
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