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Berliner Häuser
There are stories to tell about more or less every old building in the centre of Berlin. Most of them experienced so many changes: of owners, of functions, of appearance… An interesting example is the building at the corner Torstr / Prenzlauer Allee.

It was built in 1928/29 as a warehouse called “Kreditkaufhaus Jonass” where poor people had the possibility to purchase goods on credit. It is one of the very few remaining examples of the extraordinary architecture style which used to dominate the appearance of the Scheunenviertel at that time.
The owners were Jewish business partners and under Nazi rule their property was taken away by force and not only “arianized” but from 1942 on even used as the headquarter of the Hitler Youth.
After WW2 the East German Communist Party SED took over the building and it became their corridors of power and was soon (ironically in a divided country like Germany at that time..) renamed “Haus der Einheit” (House of Unity).
From 1959 to 1990 it was used as “Institut für Marxismus-Leninismus” and archive of the Communist Party.
After the Berlin Wall came down it was closed and since 1995 it is deserted and decay resumed power over the premises. It was difficult for the community of heirs to find a buyer at a good price. Just a short while ago a British-owned members club called Soho House stepped in. They plan to transform it into an exclusive club with a swimming pool, cinema and fitness centre. Once again access will be for members only…

Foto by M. Stahl

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6 Comments so far

  1. bowleserised (unregistered) on April 24th, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

    Soho House, eh? I’ve been in the London branches of that. Interesting. Very interesting.

  2. William Thirteen (unregistered) on April 25th, 2007 @ 12:57 am

    well Miss B, aren’t you connected! do you hang with the russian oligarchs as well?

  3. dee (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

    coincidence! just took a pic of this building yesterday morning. always wondered about its history.thanks!

  4. Mops (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

    Wonderful, thanks for that. I don’t think it will work however as a private club. It’s simply too big. I bet you they will end up selling day passes to tourists ;-)

  5. Julia (unregistered) on April 26th, 2007 @ 9:33 pm

    Thank you for your comments :)

    It is very big, but i don’t know whether it is too big. That depends on how many members they have.. maybe not as many as the HJ and the SED… ;)

  6. bowleserised (unregistered) on April 27th, 2007 @ 9:09 am

    William, Russian obligarchs are SO naff and common, of course not! And yes, that building does look too big – I mean, London actually has an economy (unlike Berlin) and the London branch is not that big.

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