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Posts tagged: history

Occupying an entire city block, Haus Vaterland radiated modernism. Like a still from Metropolis, the domed roof of Vaterland was crowned with a Futuristic ring of neon bands. Inside, its five floors were twelve restaurant-“environments” and a separate variety house. The Vaterland issued its own magazine, The Berolina, and could accommodate 6,000 patrons at any given hour.
The twelve dining areas were devoted to international and provincial cultures— mostly fabricated— and appropriate culinary spreads. One could select from Turkish, Bavarian, Spanish, Viennese, Baden, Rheinish, Japanese, North German, Italian, Hungarian, Prussian, or American cuisines. And the amusements were site-specific too. The glittering motto of the Vaterland illuminated the Potsdamer Platz entrance, “Every Nation Under One Roof!”
The theatricalization in Haus Vaterland was extreme. For instance, in the Rhineland Wine Terrace, an artificial river flowed at the edge of a 70-foot panorama of the Rheinish countryside and a castle ruins. Stationed inside the mock fortification stood a student a cappella group, the “Cologne Boys.” For 55 minutes of each hour, the Terrace was bathed in sweet synthetic sunshine; suddenly, on the hour, the music stopped and “the Storm on the Rhine,” a five-minute environmental “event,” started up. First, an ominous cloud-cover darkened the entire room— so dark that partygoers couldn’t even locate the sauerkraut on their plates. Charges of simulated lightning and a huge clap of thunder resounded. Then a mechanically operated rain shower swept across the entire vine-garlanded enclosure. The “Storm” concluded with a blinding sunburst from a battery of electric apparatuses and a cheery rainbow. These five minutes were said to be the best theatre in Berlin.

Mel Gordon, Voluptuous Panic

Occupying an entire city block, Haus Vaterland radiated modernism. Like a still from Metropolis, the domed roof of Vaterland was crowned with a Futuristic ring of neon bands. Inside, its five floors were twelve restaurant-“environments” and a separate variety house. The Vaterland issued its own magazine, The Berolina, and could accommodate 6,000 patrons at any given hour.

The twelve dining areas were devoted to international and provincial cultures— mostly fabricated— and appropriate culinary spreads. One could select from Turkish, Bavarian, Spanish, Viennese, Baden, Rheinish, Japanese, North German, Italian, Hungarian, Prussian, or American cuisines. And the amusements were site-specific too. The glittering motto of the Vaterland illuminated the Potsdamer Platz entrance, “Every Nation Under One Roof!”

The theatricalization in Haus Vaterland was extreme. For instance, in the Rhineland Wine Terrace, an artificial river flowed at the edge of a 70-foot panorama of the Rheinish countryside and a castle ruins. Stationed inside the mock fortification stood a student a cappella group, the “Cologne Boys.” For 55 minutes of each hour, the Terrace was bathed in sweet synthetic sunshine; suddenly, on the hour, the music stopped and “the Storm on the Rhine,” a five-minute environmental “event,” started up. First, an ominous cloud-cover darkened the entire room— so dark that partygoers couldn’t even locate the sauerkraut on their plates. Charges of simulated lightning and a huge clap of thunder resounded. Then a mechanically operated rain shower swept across the entire vine-garlanded enclosure. The “Storm” concluded with a blinding sunburst from a battery of electric apparatuses and a cheery rainbow. These five minutes were said to be the best theatre in Berlin.

Mel Gordon, Voluptuous Panic

German radios of the 1920s. Crystal sets.

Top: police (Schutzpolizei) with radio, 1923; early listener, 1924

Bottom: Telefunken Telefunkon, 1926; Telefunken Arcolette (galena crystal), 1928

Maps of radio stations, transmitters, and their coverage. From 1924, top; and 1927, bottom.

German radio broadcasting was supervised by the Post Office. A listening fee of 2 Reichsmark per receiver paid most subsidies.

The first radio station in Germany, Berlin Radio Hour (Funk-stunde Berlin) was founded in 1923. It was owned by the Reichs-Rundfunk-Gesellschaft until 1926, when the post office (Reichspost) acquired a majority of its shares.

In 1925 the American Jazz musician Sam Wooding came to Berlin for the first time with his famous Chocolate Kiddies Orchestra. They were the first large, fully black Jazz band to perform in most major European cities and had a lasting success with their “Hot Jazz” style. In Berlin their premiere performance was on May 25, 1925 at the Admirals-Palast. During their tours in 1925 and 1926 the band made recordings with VOX andGrammophon. On their fourth visit in 1930 they performed live at the Berliner Rundfunk radio station in a program entitled “Music from America” offering a wide spectrum of music demonstrating the origins of Black Jazz music.
This and the following image show the band on their third visit to Berlin performing at the Ufa-Palast theater in 1928. Their gig was called “Die schwarze Revue” (the Black Revue) and was part of the Ufa stage show. The stage sets were created by Rudi Feld (1896 - 1994) a German film set designer who was head of the Ufapublicity department as of 1926. (x)

Who in all the world goes to Berlin voluntarily? Berlin is a point of transit, where, given compelling reasons, one may end up staying longer.

- Joseph Roth, The Wandering Jews, 1927

Who in all the world goes to Berlin voluntarily? Berlin is a point of transit, where, given compelling reasons, one may end up staying longer.

- Joseph Roth, The Wandering Jews, 1927

Propaganda distribution on trucks, 1924: for the German Communist Party, Alexanderplatz, top; Chancellor Wilhelm Marx, Brandenburg Gate, bottom.

Graf Zeppelin over Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate, Victory Column, and Potsdamer Platz, 1928.

From Wikipedia:

LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (Deutsches Luftschiff Zeppelin #127; Registration: D-LZ 127) was a German-built and -operated, passenger-carrying, hydrogen-filled, rigid airship which operated commercially from 1928 to 1937. It was named after the German pioneer of airships, Ferdinand von Zeppelin, who was a Graf or Count in the German nobility. During its operating life, the airship made 590 flights covering more than a million miles (1.6 million km). It was designed to be operated by a crew of 36 officers and men.

Evolution of Leica cameras. Interchangeable lenses were introduced in 1930.

Top row: Ur-Leica, 1914; Leica I, introduced at the Leipzig spring fair in 1925

Middle: Leica Luxur (late 1920s?); Leica Compur, produced 1926-29

Bottom: Leica I, 1926; Leica II, introduced 1932, the first Leica model with a rangefinder.

In the 1920s, Yiddish was more than just a lingua franca for East European Jewish émigrés; it was also a language of high culture, as demonstrated by a brilliant new book, “Yiddish in Weimar Berlin: At the Crossroads of Diaspora Politics and Culture” (Legenda Books), edited by New York University Yiddish scholar Gennady Estraikh and University of Michigan professor Mikhail Krutikov.
“Yiddish in Weimar Berlin” describes street scenes in the ironically named “Jewish Switzerland,” a slum northeast of Alexanderplatz, which housed arrivals from Poland. Though poverty-stricken, the area boasted theatrical performances by the touring Vilna Troupe, while Yiddish writers clustered at the Romanisches Café, nicknamed the Rakhmonisches (Pity) Café by its regulars to evoke its “poor food and run-down interior.”
Catty jokes as well as sardonic puns were rampant among the writers at the café; Isaac Bashevis Singer once reportedly claimed that if Sholem Asch ever “wrote in a grammatically correct Yiddish, his artistic breath would evaporate.” Hersh Dovid Nomberg, a tubercular Yiddish author and disciple of I. L. Peretz, said that the Romanisches Café was an ideal sanatorium, since the air was so “filled with tobacco smoke that not a single [tuberculosis] bacillus can survive here.”
(Click the image to read the full article!)

In the 1920s, Yiddish was more than just a lingua franca for East European Jewish émigrés; it was also a language of high culture, as demonstrated by a brilliant new book, “Yiddish in Weimar Berlin: At the Crossroads of Diaspora Politics and Culture” (Legenda Books), edited by New York University Yiddish scholar Gennady Estraikh and University of Michigan professor Mikhail Krutikov.

“Yiddish in Weimar Berlin” describes street scenes in the ironically named “Jewish Switzerland,” a slum northeast of Alexanderplatz, which housed arrivals from Poland. Though poverty-stricken, the area boasted theatrical performances by the touring Vilna Troupe, while Yiddish writers clustered at the Romanisches Café, nicknamed the Rakhmonisches (Pity) Café by its regulars to evoke its “poor food and run-down interior.”

Catty jokes as well as sardonic puns were rampant among the writers at the café; Isaac Bashevis Singer once reportedly claimed that if Sholem Asch ever “wrote in a grammatically correct Yiddish, his artistic breath would evaporate.” Hersh Dovid Nomberg, a tubercular Yiddish author and disciple of I. L. Peretz, said that the Romanisches Café was an ideal sanatorium, since the air was so “filled with tobacco smoke that not a single [tuberculosis] bacillus can survive here.”

(Click the image to read the full article!)

Hyperinflation in action: the line for the grocery store, Friedrichstrasse (Berlin), 1922.

Hyperinflation in action: the line for the grocery store, Friedrichstrasse (Berlin), 1922.