After the end of the Second World War and with the Iron Curtain already instaured, and the subsequent division of the city into four sectors, Berlin Steglitz continued its reconstruction work as an essential part of the US occupation zone. But that effort and money went principally to the main artery of the suburb’s life, Schloßstraße and its surrounding area. With streets cleared of rubble stores, grocerys, markets and cinemas reopened and a new commercial life sponsored by the American giant glow on the great avenue that crosses that district from north to south with the red Rathaus building as an a iconic.
In the aerial view of the reconstructed Steglitzer Schloßstraße in the 1950s seen above, it seems like war has ever happened, with clear streets, the majestic Rathaus and the new Volkswagen-pavilion (built in 1951) at left. Notice at right that there is no Hermann-Ehlers-Platz yet.
[A scene in a street market at Steglitz after the war.]
In this silent film footage taken at Steglitz after the end of the war we can see the Rathaus Steglitz from Albrechtstraße with trams and buses running again and finally the street market next to Hermann-Ehlers-Platz, with several scenes showing Berliners’ new life at Schloßstraße. Notice the Albrechtshof-Lichtspiele cinema at Albrechtstraße (01:47) and the Titania-Palast theatre views’ (02:05).
[Video credit: US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Theodor Röckle Collection. ID:3917.]
Much of that American economic support was managed by the High Commission for Occupied Germany - Alliierte Hohe Kommission (AHK). Established in 1948, the US HICOG was created by the victorious Western Allies to supervise and regulate the politic, economic and social directives of the new born West Germany. For example, in 1951 a program of US HICOG was carried out with 8 1/2 million Deutsche marks to deliver food between the population.
[Here we see food distribution in the hall of a Steglitzer Grundschule (a primary school) in November 1950 at Berlin Steglitz.]
However, in the adjacent streets there were still images of destruction until well into the 50s with rubble and ruins, remains of the Bombenkrieg past.
[Two scenes of ruined buildings in Steglitz, probably Markelstraße in 1952.]
[Trümmerfrauen working in Steglitz in an image taken probably in 1952.]
One of the highlights of Steglitz district throughout its Berlin history has been transportation, as we saw in previous posts the world’s first electrified tram line ran through there in 1881. As the rest of the Western zone, it had to restart and rebuild the entire transport and communications network after the war, a very hazardous enterprise not only difficult due to the economic precariousness but also due to the recent tension and division of the capital by the victors.
The Berliner Verkehrs-Gesellschaft (from 1938 known as BVG or Bezeichnung Berliner Verkehrs-Betriebe) was responsible of all tram and omnibus systems, the last was part of the bus network so it carries identical characteristic yellow colour too.
[Taken in 20 August 1948 by Fritz Eschen, this photo captures the first tram running between the districts of Steglitz and Wilmersdorf in Berlin after the war. Note the anti-fascist banner decorating the wagon and the flags of the Four Victorious powers (and the city’s bear flag) on the front.]
[The Siemensbrücke across the Teltowkanal at Siemensstraße in Steglitz was inoperable after been hit by a bomb during July 1944. Until establishment of an electrified alternative route over the Hannemannbrücke / Stindestraße, the BVG´s Oberleitungsbus (Obus) had to be towed by a tower wagon as seen in this image. The air-raids suffered by Berlin on July 1944 were made by RAF Mosquitoes night-intruders, with Bomber Command sending around 25-30 Mosquito bombing aircraft per mission to harass Berliners morale. On April 11, 1945 the BVG closed the A32 line.]
[1963: a Steglitz district trolley-bus at Schloßstraße Ecke Albrechtstraße. The Oberleitungsbus, Obus or O-Bus system in Berlin city began in 1882 (world’s first) with Oberleitungsbus Steglitz running from 1933. This was the fourth on the current urban area of Berlin existing trolley-bus system and the first modern of its kind in the city. Reopened in 1949, the A32 on trolley-bus lasted until 22 March 1965 with the shutdown of all the trolley-bus operations on West Berlin as a result of the rebuilt of the western tangent. In the background can be seen the Rathaus Friedenau tower.]
[A pre-war colour picture taken in 1937 of that same Steglitz trolley-bus from Linie A32 driving around Schloßstraße Ecke Albrechtstraße to the northwest. Note the red “Adler am Rathaus Steglitz” lettering.]
Next, as a conclusion about the history of this Berlin city district during the air-bombings, war period and subsequent years, we share several scenes of the post-war years. Life goes on at Steglitz and after reconstruction Berliners go about their business, and we hope that never again it be known as ‘steht nichts’ - nothing is standing.
[At the corner Albrechtstraße with the old brick building of the Rathaus Steglitz, seen in 1950.]
[Street scene taken by photographer Ernst Hahn of postwar West-Berlin at the Schloßstraße, near Albrechtstraße in 1947, today here stands the Steglitzer Kreisel tower. Note the Bären Stiefel bear-shaped advertisement on top of the nearest car, a Standard Vanguard Estate produced by the Standard Motor Company England, from 1947 to 1963.]
[1947: West-Berlin women waiting at a bus stop at Schloßstraße 89. Notice the Berliner Kindl Bräu located there in the background.]
[Berliners, American GIs and ruined buildings in this photo of a bus stop taken at Steglitz, located at Schloßstraße Ecke Kaiserallee.]
[Peaceful view from 1953 of Ecke Feuerbachstraße/Schloßstraße in Berlin Steglitz-Friedenau. In the foreground we can see a Kaufhaus Leineweber department store. Note the modernist Titania Palast cinema-theatre in the background at left.]
[A nice nightly colour view of the reconstructed Berlin Schloßstraße taken in December 1955. Leineweber GmbH & Co. KG is a clothing manufacturer based in Herford in East Westphalia, which emerged from a garment factory founded in 1888 by Berlin businessman Bernward Leineweber. It was one of the first manufacturers of men’s clothing, which he produced himself and sold in his shop at Oranienstraße in Berlin.]
[Christmas 1955, Schloßstraße, taken in the direction of Rathaus Steglitz, with Leiser store in the background. Leiser is a shoe retailer founded in 1891 in Berlin Oranienstraße. Owned by a Jew family, it was sold 75% to the Bahner family, owners of the Saxon stocking producer Elbeo, in order to avoid expropriation by the Nazis in 1935.]
Sources and Bibliography: