Monday, April 15, 2013

Anhalter Bahnhof & Air-raid shelter (Kreuzberg)

The Anhalter Bahnhof was the Berlin terminus of a line begun on 1839 as far as Jüterbog (the inaugural train being hauled by the very first Borsig locomotive), and extended to Dessau, Köthen and beyond at later dates. Passing through the historical state of Anhalt, it became known as the "Anhalt line" and this in turn gave the Berlin terminus its name. It quickly developed into a network that carried train services to and from Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main and Munich.
The Anhalter Bahnhof destined to be Berlin's biggest and finest station, so in 1872, architect Franz Heinrich Schwechten designed the vast new station that would also be the biggest in Germany with the name “Gateway to the South,” with services via Dresden not only to Prague and Vienna, but to places as far away as Rome, Naples and Athens.

During World War II the Anhalter Bahnhof was one of three stations used to deport some 55,000 Berlin Jews between 1941 and 1945, about a third of the city's entire Jewish population (as of 1933). In contrast to other deportations using freight wagons, here the Jews were taken away in ordinary passenger coaches which were coupled up to regular trains departing according to the normal timetable. All deportations went to Theresienstadt in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, and from there to the death camps.

Meanwhile, during World War II the Anhalter Bahnhof, like most of Berlin, was devastated by British and American bombs and Soviet artillery shells.
After lying derelict for more than eight years, apparently with some rusting tracks and signals still in situ, demolition was begun on August 1960. The demolition is visible in the documentary film Berlin Babylon.

A small piece of the main entrance is still visible today, in the emptyness left by the station there's a soccer field and on the other side the Tempodrom.
On one side of the area, there's a air-raid shelter, which serves today as a haunted house and bunker museum.

More infos: WIKI

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