If you go back to Fotostrasse archives you’ll see that we love to see old videos of Berlin. This short one from Berlin in 1936 is no exception since it shows how beautiful the city used to be and focus on the changes that were happening to the German capital during the time it was governed by the Nazi party.
The video starts with a shot of Strasse des 17. Juni covered in Nazi banners. Back then this street was known as Charlottenburger Chaussee since it connects Mitte with the neighborhood of Charlottenburg. It also shows the new placement of the Victory Column since it was moved from its original spot in front of the Reichstag, to have a more prominent space in Hitler’s new Berlin. From there it goes to show the Brandenburger Tor and the Reichstag with it’s old dome.
I love to see that there is a special part of the video focused on the new developed Berliner Funkturm, the former broadcasting center of the German capital. Just the year before, the first regular television program in the world was broadcast from there and this is just one of the examples of how important the tower used to be.
From there the video goes back to the center of Berlin and shows how Unter Der Linden used to look like back in 1936. With a focus on the military presence in the most famous avenue Berlin has and the Berliner Schloss, that is being rebuilt right now. It also shows the Museum Island with a large number of people walking and driving around.
Alexanderplatz appears in the video as well and it can be seen in all its former glory. Before the Second World War and before the area was redeveloped by the Soviet Forces in the city. You can recognize some of the buildings around it but it’s pretty simple to see that most of the square would never be the same.
There is a dancing scene in this short movie from Berlin in 1936 and it happens on top of Karstadt Hermannplatz, in Neukölln. The shop was one of the most beautiful buildings in Berlin and was placed in a neighborhood known for its bars and nightlife. Today, only a small part of the building is original but you can go to the last floor and see a model of how Karstadt used to look like before the war.
It’s great as well to see how modern the public transportation system used to look like. Even back in the thirties, Berlin was a city that was getting ready for the future.
There is, also, a shot of the Berliner Zoo filled with exotic animals. But the scene after is more interesting to me since it shows a lake around Berlin filled with men and women with small bathing suits enjoying the water and the sun. Something that looks way more modern than the American movies that I remember watching from the same era.
Overall, this movie shows a Berlin that was more advanced than most cities in the world. A city that was being developed to become even greater but didn’t see that the future would become dark really soon. In less than 10 years, Berlin would lay in ruins, something that it’s still being developed and changed today.