Sunday, June 3, 2018

Elegant Elbe: Berlin 4a (6/3/2018)

Sunday, June 3, 2018
Breakfast buffet at the Hotel LebensQuelle
We noticed that the Berlin Wall (marked
now by a double-row of cobblestones) passed
in front of the Hotel LebensQuelle, which
would have been on the West Berlin side
A building on Axel-Springer-Strasse with a trompe l'oeil
making it look like it had a glass-enclosed setback
After breakfast we met Peter & Beth at their hotel. They wanted to visit the Espionage Museum, and so we followed their GPS, taking a bus down Leipziger Strasse.
Passed the Museum of Communication/Museum für Kommunikation
(founded as postal museum in 1872, moved in 1897 to this 1874 building
that was built as the post office, rebuilt 1950s)
We arrived 45 minutes before the Spy Museum opened, and the others were willing to walk around the block.
The Federal Council/Bundesrat (1904, by
Friedrich Schulze-Kolbitz for the upper chamber of
the Prussian parliament, renovated 1997-2000 for the
Bundesrat, which is similar to the United States Senate)
 At the Square of the 1953 People's Uprising/Platz des Volksaufstandes
von 1953
is a mural (1952, titled Building the Republic,
by Max Lingner) made of hand-painted Meissen tiles,
a masterpiece of Socialist art depicts happy East Germans
Building the Republic mural
(it was more blurry back then; ha ha!) (10/3/1987)
A section of the Building the Republic mural
The glass photo mural depicts unhappy East Germans in a
25,000-strong protest by striking East Berlin workers on
June 6, 1953, who were suppressed by Soviet troops
Ministry of Finance/Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus (built in 18 months
1935-1936, by Ernst Sagebiel as the Ministry of Aviation/
Reichsluftfahrtministerium, headed by Hermann Göring,
renamed in 1992 for the assassinated head of the agency responsible
for returning state-owned enterprises back into private hands)
The Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus is the only Hitler-era building to survive to today.
Trabi World/Welt, where you can drive a Trabant and join a
safari, a guide-led tour of Berlin (KSS)
A section of the Berlin Wall, damaged from people chipping off
chunks for souvenirs, and a look at the foundations of buildings that was
the location of the Nazi Main Security Office/Reichssicherheitshauptamt
The Main Security Office served as the command center for the protection squad/Schutzstaffel/SS under Heinrich Himmler, the secret police/Geheime Staatspolizei/Gestapo with Heinrich Müller, and the Nazi intelligence agency/Sicherheitsdienst/SD.
Through a hole in the wall you can see the glass
building of the Topography of Terror (2008-2010,
by Ursula Wilms), a documentation center with
excavated prison cells in the basement
Martin Gropius Building/Bau (1877-1891, by Martin Gropius and
Heino Schmieden in neo-Renaisssance style, to house a museum
of applied arts, rebuilt 1978-1981); after World War I it served as the
Museum for Prehistory and Early History and the East Asian
Art Collection; now it is an exhibition hall
Martin Gropius Bau with mosaics of allegorical figures
representing cultures of different eras and countries,
and reliefs illustrating various arts and crafts
Martin Gropius Bau statue that for years
faced the Berlin Wall (KSS)
The former lower chamber of the Prussian parliament/Landestag
(1899, by Friedrich Schulze)
In 1933 when the National Socialist party emerged as the strongest party, and Adolf Hitler was named Reich Chancellor, they dissolved the Prussian parliament. The building was used as a People's Court, then an officers' club during World War II. After restoration it was the East German seat of government, then a Stasi listening post. After Reunification it became the parliament for the State of Berlin.
Vattenfall Refrigeration Center mural:
"In use for the coolest city in the world" (KSS)
Part of the Berlin Wall is incorporated in the Ministry of the Environment
DDR “BT 6” Watchtower on Erna-Berger Strasse,
one of the few remaining from the Berlin Wall
1971 Volkswagen Beetle, used for Käfer/Beetle tours in Berlin (KSS)
Daimler Quartier at Potsdamer Platz with the
Office House/Bürohaus (1999, by Renzo Piano) on the
left and Kollhof Tower (1995-1999, by Hans Kollhof)
on the right, known for its Panoramapunkt, with the
fastest elevator in the world to an observation deck
Now back to the German Spy Museum/Deutsches Spionagemuseum (opened 2015). Very multi-media interactive, with displays in glass cases where the text shows up on the glass front, and changes! Everything is in German and English.
Cameras record your entrance into the Spy Museum
Changing graphics on the stairs
keep you informed
Field telephone (circa 1910) connected by wires so that it was easy
to listen in, and a Poppr listening device (developed by Josef Poppr)
could pick up signals from the telephone wires up to 3 km/
nearly 2 miles away
Canteen camera (1888)
Wheel cipher and case, and mirror writing
Using a black light to read a secret message
The Enigma (1918, invented by Arthur Scherbius,
a German engineer), a rotor cipher machine, was
originally for diplomatic and commercial use,
as well as military, and there are many versions
The Proton diving scooter, a model of the Protei-5 diver
propulsion vehicle, was used by Soviet special forces
An "office" you could sweep for bugs
A model of Glienicker Bridge/Brücke, the Bridge of Spies
The "Bulgarian umbrella" that shot tiny metal balls, no larger
than pinheads, filled with the poison ricin, at short range
Spy photo op with a rack full of clothing and props
There was a section on the Information Age becoming the
Disinformation Age, and there were video examples!
We returned to Potsdamer Platz, which was completely destroyed in World War II, and then became a wasteland when the Berlin Wall was built right through the center of the square. There has been major development since Reunification.
On the left is a "light pipe/Lichtrohr" and
to the right is the traffic signal/Ampel,
a replica (1997) of one of the first in Europe
Potsdamer Platz was a busy intersection, requiring up to 11 police officers (with trumpets) to direct traffic. In 1924 this traffic light was installed, with three lights and a clock on each of its five faces. A police officer sat in the raised booth and manually changed the lights. It was designed by architect Jean Krämer, who based it on the American traffic light towers in use at the time. The very first electrically-operated traffic light in the United States was installed in 1914 in Cleveland, OH!
Pedestrians did not always obey the traffic lights, tending to dash across intersections. The first pedestrian traffic light was installed in 1952 in New York, with the words "Walk" and "Don't Walk." The figure used in the pedestrian traffic lights was developed independently throughout the world, but the East German traffic light man/Ampelmann (designed by Karl Peglau) has become iconic. Peglau was a traffic psychologist whose work concerned traffic flow and safety, and he developed the East Ampelmännchen to appear both appealing and large enough for better visibility.
Ampelmännchen lapel pins
In the middle of all the skyscrapers is Haus Huth
(1912), which was known as the last house standing
in Potsdamer Platz after World War II
Haus Huth was acquired by Daimler-Benz in 1990 and included in their redevelopment of the area, Daimler Quartier. Since 1999, Daimler has used the house for their contemporary art exhibit. There was supposed to be an art installation in front of Haus Huth. First of all, the "front" turned out to be the back (opposite the street address side) and the installation was gone leaving only a square pool of water.
Just to show I was not making this up:
Riding Bikes (1998, by Robert Rauschenberg)
Next: Berlin 4b.

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