TODAY IN BERLIN: KARSTADT AM HERMANNPLATZ RETURNS

KREUZBERGED: BERLIN COMPANION

#OTD 1951 Berlin celebrated the re-opening of one of the city’s most popular department stores: Karstadt am Hermannplatz.

When the splendid 1929 building, designed by Philipp Schaefer and modelled on the American skyscrapers of the time, was blown up on April 15, 1945 by the SS troops – Division Nordland (mostly French volunteers) led by SS Brigadenführer Gustav Krukenberg – to prevent it from being captured and occupied by the fast approaching Red Army, the nearly 72,000 m² of space were turned over 55,000 m³ of rubble.

Karstadt after blowing up by SS in 1945.

Despite this, late in July 1945 the store re-opened again offering a very basic but badly needed range of products. The least damaged rooms were turned into makeshift sales points and used as such until 1951 when Alfred Busse’s new Karstadt building opened its doors to crowds of curious customers. At that point however, Karstadt…

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