Erich and Ullrich

So, my next exciting destination is...


Ullrich supermarket


A supermarket! This isn't just any supermarket, though. According to Jutta Voigt in her book Der Geschmack des Ostens (the taste of the east), if anything was needed for East German state banquets which was only available in the west, this branch of Ullrich, under the railway lines at Zoologischer Garten, was where they came to get it. It's not exactly the first place you'd expect to find someone shopping for a state banquet.

Many western goods were highly prized, either because they were better quality than what was available in the east, or because they were unavailable altogether. When the wall was first opened, many East Berliners flocked to this area of West Berlin, famous for the lavish shops which can be found along the Kurfürstendamm and Tauentzienstraße. Perhaps legendary above all others is Kaufhaus des Westens (Department Store of the West) at the end of Tauentzienstraße by Wittenbergplatz:


Ka De We


This is Germany's largest department store and has been there for over 100 years. The Nazis forced its Jewish owners to sell their shares in the business in the 1930s, then it was damaged in World War II, but it was reclaimed and rebuilt after the war, to become a symbol of West German prosperity. It apparently recorded its greatest sales figures ever in 1989, with many East Berliners making it one of their first stops on their quest to sample a slice of western life.
The name of Kaufhaus des Westens is normally shortened to Ka De We (cunningly, not only just the first two letters of each word, but also the way the letters KDW are pronounced in German), but the banner hanging from it in the picture is calling it Ka De Be - Kaufhaus der Berliner (department store of the berliners), asking passers by where they were when the wall fell with the question "Wo waren Sie am 9. November 1989?"

Another symbol of West Berlin, placed neatly between Ullrich and Ka De We, is the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church...you could translate his name and title as Emperor William if you like) on Breitscheidsplatz. There are quite a few examples of buildings in Berlin where old has been fused together with new and this is definitely one of them.


Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche


Kaiser Wilhelm II built the original church in memory of his grandfather, Kaiser Wilhelm I. It opened in 1906, having taken 15 years to build. It stood until 1943, when it was damaged by bombs. After the war, the decision was taken to build a new church on the spot, but some of the old ruins were kept and incorporated into the design, the new church being designed by Egon Eiermann and completed in 1963. The new parts are made from concrete, glass and steel and, to be honest, I think it looks better at night as a result, when the light shines through from inside and brings colour to its otherwise rather austere dark grey exterior.

U-Bahn: 
Zoologischer Garten (U2, U9)
Wittenbergplatz (U1, U2, U3) - for Ka De We
S-Bahn: 
Zoologischer Garten (S3, S5, S7, S75)
Location: 
Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche
Breitscheidplatz
10789 Berlin
Ullrich supermarket, Zoo
Hardenbergstrasse 25 / Kantstrasse 7
10623 Berlin
Kaufhaus des Westens
Tauentzienstr. 21 - 24
10789 Berlin

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