Berlin Friedrichstraße


Leica SL (Typ 601) | Leica Summicron-M 2/35mm ASPH. | f/2 | 1/30s | ISO 800

Leica SL (Typ 601) | Leica Summicron-M 2/35mm ASPH. | f/2 | 1/30s | ISO 800

When I have to stay overnight in Berlin, I usually stay in a very nice hotel close to “Bahnhof Friedrichstraße” train station. I was always fascinated by the architecture and the maze of underpasses and small alleys in that station. It’s extremely confusing. But normally you rush through a train station, you don’t have time to take photographs – or better: you don’t take your time to make them. This time, I was so amazed by the light in the small overpass that crosses Friedrichstraße and connects to the U-Bahn station that I quickly checked into the hotel and went back with my camera and took a few photographs and then edited them right away on my iPad during dinner with Lightroom Mobile. I increasingly like the ability to work on the photographs right away – when they are still fresh in your memory.

Later on today I was then reading a bit about the history of “Bahnhof Friedrichstraße”. I knew a little bit about it, that it was one of the train stations that basically got cut in half and truncated East and West Berlin after the Berlin Wall was built in August 1961. I also faintly remembered that it was one of the biggest gateways for East German Stasi (East German State Police) spies to get into West Berlin. In September 1967 alone 1,700 of those spies crossed the border at Bahnhof Friedrichstraße. That’s a couple dozen per day. One of the reasons why the train station was so heavily frequented was because it was extremely hard to oversee and observe. So it was not only used by Eastern spies but also by Western RAF terrorists to get more or less undiscovered to their Stasi contacts in East Berlin.

When you wander through the train station today you can still see and appreciate why it was such a great place for the Cold War spy business – even I get still lost here sometimes.


When I was a little kid we had a stone elephant on the playground in our neighbourhood in Dresden. I don’t know how many hours I spent with my play-buddies on and in that creature, hiding out in its small nests or simply using it as what it really was: a slide :). That was 30-ish years ago…

Last week I was strolling through a park (Palmengarten) in Leipzig with friends – and I couldn’t believe it when I saw the exact same slide again as if it had been forgotten to dismantle. In Dresden they are all gone as far as I can tell, but the City of Leipzig seemed to be keen to keep that gem from my childhood. Kudos to Leipzig :).

Leipziger Buchmesse / Buchtipp: “Das Unbegreifliche der Katzenwege”

Für die Katzenfreunde und Leseratten unter euch habe ich einen Tipp fürs (verlängerte) Wochenende: Auf der Leipziger Buchmesse, die von heute (12. März) bis zum Sonntag stattfindet, wird auch der neue Erzählband des Dresdner Autors Willi Hetze, “Das Unbegreifliche der Katzenwege” vorgestellt.

Den Stand seines Verlages “Dresdner Buchverlag” findet ihr in Halle 4, Stand D102.

Und hier geht’s zum Buch bei Amazon:




For my job I regularly travel to Berlin. Usually I’m spending the night there rather than giving me the stress of going in and out in one day. I tend not to consider it a waste of time but instead make best use of it. So I usually try and explore some new areas in Berlin where I have not been before (and take my camera with me).

This time the meeting I was going to attend was in the vicinity of Oranienburger Straße. Since I had heard that it is supposed to be a very lively area I decided to book myself into a hotel in the very heart of this street. I quickly checked in at the hotel and then took my camera and went out for a walk and dinner.

IHigh End 54mmediately when I came out of the hotel I noticed a huge building right next to my hotel that looked as if it was never rebuilt since its destruction in World War II. And it was all covered in graffiti. There were also some very old signs of supposedly a movie theater from 2011 as if time had been frozen.

I later found out that the building was called “Tacheles” (German for “straight talking”) and had been occupied since the breakdown of East Germany in 1989 by artists and other young people who just wanted to withstand mainstream and express their own ways of living and culture. The movie theater that still shows the sign of the movie “Anatomie Titus” was an integral part of this community called “High End 54”.

In 2013, however, the City of Berlin decided to finally and completely evict all the premises. As it stands today neither the City of Berlin nor any private investor has funds or interest to rebuild the “Tachales” and make good use of it. So the former stronghold of culture and expression of freedom continues to rotten but at least provides a nice backdrop for photography.



Not the greatest shot, but I had a nice chat with the couple. It was his birthday, and he thought the best gift to himself would be a trip to Dresden – where he spent most of his childhood. He and his wife were just sitting at the banks of the river Elbe enjoying the gorgeous view like he once did when he was a child.

Der „günstige Günther“

Dresdner Milliardär will altes Kaufhaus wiedereröffnen und sich einen Lebenstraum erfüllen

Noch sieht man die alten Zeichen des letzten Räumungsverkaufes im traditionsreichen Kaufhaus „Günther“. Zum letzten Male klingelte hier die Kasse vor 3 Jahren. Nun verfällt dieses historische Gebäude in Dresden-Zschachwitz immer mehr. Was tun, dachte sich auch der Milliardär Gütter und kaufte erst mal ein – für schlappe 268.000 Euro.

„Es war witzig. Ich fuhr bei einem Motorradausflug daran vorbei und alles schien in dem Moment genau richtig. Ich musste es einfach kaufen!“

Laut Gütter folgt bald die Sanierung des Komplexes und dann soll für das nahegelegene Prohliser Viertel eine günstige Einkaufsmöglichkeit geboten werden mit qualitativer Ware aus dem Umland. Gütter orientiert sich dabei an einem bewährten Modell aus den USA, bei welchem Bio-Produkte von lokalen Bauern und Produzenten günstig an Geringverdiener verkauft werden.

Für den Milliardär „Günther“, wie er von den besten Freunden liebevoll genannt wird,  ist es eine Art neue Aufgabe und die Antwort auf eine Lebensfrage.

„Ich habe mich immer gefragt, was man vor der eigenen Haustür sozial-gesellschaftlich verändern kann, ohne nach Afrika reisen zu müssen.“

Noch ist unklar, wann genau der „Günther“ wiedereröffnet. Geplant ist der Herbst 2011. Fest steht, es wird der „günstige Günther“ werden. Die Dresdner dürfen sich also freuen.

Eine Halbwahrheit von Martin Grötzschel