Zerstörung am Haus der Schweiz

Here we can see the destroyed roof of the “Haus der Schweiz” and adjacent building at Unter den Linden 22/23 Ecke Friedrichstraße 155 on these two images taken from a video film. This original film-footage filmed on 10 April 1941 recorded the damage taken from the previous night raid by British RAF bombers over Berlin-Mitte, the one which destroyed the Opera building and several others too at Unter den Linden.

[Photo: still from film. Video credit: Worldfilmheritage.].

[Photo: still from film. Video credit: Worldfilmheritage.].

The Swiss House or ‘Schweizerhaus’ would be partly destroyed in 1945 the final Soviet assault to capture the city. Postwar, the DDR government reconstructed the building from 1950 but did not want to mess with Swiss banks. Nevertheless, they used the house for their own purposes.

[Still from film taken from a Russian newsreel following the end of the battle, May 1945. Soviet troops and vehicles (notice the American Jeep) at the ruined Friedrichstraße near Unter den Linden, the Haus der Schweiz can be seen at right.]

[Photo: Russian newsreel. Via Piet Vergiet.]

[Unter den Linden and the Haus der Schweiz in 1946 with burnt out facade and the ruined Café Viktoria at right.]

Photo: Photo12/Collection Bernard Crochet.

[The Friedrichstraße/ Unter den Linden corner in the East Berlin sector in October 1946. Notice splinter damage to the walls and columns of the building.] 

Photo: akg-images (AKG118790).

[1948: the ruins of the Schweizerhaus as a background at Unter den Linden avenue.]

Photo by Walter Schuze/ akg-images (AKG59043).

The junction of these two main streets was heavily rebuilt during the post-war years as we can see in this picture taken in September 1959. The Café Viktoria was demolished and the space left empty during many many years as was the case in several other locations in East Berlin. Note Bhf-Friedrichtraße’s bridge in the background.

Photo: Hailstone, Allan. (2017). Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966. Amberley Publishing.


Sources and Bibliography:

  • Donath, Matthias. (2006). Architecture in Berlin 1933–1945: A Guide Through Nazi Berlin. Lukas Verlag.
  • Hailstone, Allan. (2017). Berlin in the Cold War: 1959 to 1966. Amberley Publishing.
  • Landesarchiv Berlin. LAB, A Rep. 001-02, Nr. 698, Bl. 24 ff., s. a. Nr. 700, Bl. 171 ff.
  • Langbein, Lena (2011). Das “Haus der Schweiz” in Berlin wird 75 Jahre alt. <swissinfo.ch>. 


Previous post >

Using Format