Berlin, Alexanderplatz – the novel

28 09 2007

Berlin Alexanderplatz is a novel by Alfred Döblin, published in 1929. It is a story about a small time criminal, Franz Biberkopf, who at the beginning of the book had just got out of prison, his struggle to become a good rehabilitated citizen, and his road back to the underworld. It is situated in the Alexanderplatz district, which was a working class district in 1920s Berlin. It’s really a wonderful book, that besides telling a captivating story, also gives you a very tangible feeling of the time and place.

Döblin was a German expressionist writer. His father, who abandoned the family when Döblin was 10, was Jewish, and he held leftist political views, so when the Nazis came to power, he lived in exile in France, and then in the USA, like many other German intellectuals and writers.

The novel was adapted twice into a movie. The first time was in 1931. The author himself worked on the adaptation, and it was directed by Piel Jutzi. It was 85 minutes long. The second time was in 1980, when Rainer Werner Fassbinder (quite an fascinating character) adapted it to a 15 and a half hours long film. Yes, 15 and a half hours. You read right.

Anyway, I really loved the book, and think it’s very worth reading. If you wish, you can purchase it on Amazon. Just click on the picture to do so.

Belin, Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin

Yitzhak Rabin Strasse

8 09 2007

As we were walking along the 17th June Street towards the Brandenburg Gate, we came across a familiar name on one of the street signs – Yitzhak Rabin, our former prime minister, who was assassinated on November 4th, 1995. I was there, in the demonstration after which he was shot by Yigal Amir, the disgusting fanatical extreme right winged law student, may he burn in hell (if only we Jews believed in hell, that is). It was a great national trauma, and afterwards things have started to go downhill, and never recovered. So I was both glad and sad to see his name there.

Yitzhak Rabin Street. A closer look.

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Strasse des 17. Juni (17th June Street)

6 09 2007

The 17th June Street is the western continuation of Unter den Linden, which runs east-west through Tiergarten. At its eastern end is the Brandenburg Gate, and at the western end is Ernst Reuter Platz in Charlottenburg.

17 Juni Strasse.

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Berlin Must-Sees: Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

28 08 2007

The Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) was the former court cathedral of Prussia’s royal family (the House of Hohenzollern), and was supposed to be the Protestant answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The Cathedral was build according to plans by the architects Julius Carl Raschdorff and Otto Raschdorff, between 1893 and 1905, and of course reconstructed after WW2 (from 1975 to 1993).
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Einstein Jahr

26 08 2007

When we visited Berlin in 2005, we couldn’t help but notice all the big “E”s, the Einstein quotes, and the big sign on the fence of Humboldt University saying: “Hier las Einstein” (Einstein taught here).

Here are two such E’s on Unter den Linden:

Einstein Jahr.

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