Culture

The Berliner Schloss (the Berlin Palace)

The Berliner Schloss (Berlin Palace) is a showpiece building at the center of Berlin. It was a Prussian royal residence for hundreds of years before being transformed for a few decades into the imperial residence during the German Empire. Erased from the map for 30 years after the Second World War, the Palace was the site of a DDR monolith in the 1970s and 1980s. The Berliner Schloss is enjoying yet another rebirth, this time as a museum honoring Berlin’s many connections to the world outside of Germany and Europe.

The Long Shadow of Aryanization

In 1933, Hermann Tietz & Co., one of the largest department store firms in Germany, was forcibly expropriated from its Jewish owners as part of the Nazi policy of Aryanization. It was renamed Hertie, and remained one of Germany's largest retailers until it was purchased in 1994. The heirs of Georg Karg, who took over the firm from its rightful owners in 1933, set up a foundation in his honor shortly after his death.

Dong Xuan Center

The Dong Xuan Center is located in the Lichtenberg neighborhood in Berlin. It is tucked away inside an old warehouse and factory complex, and is housed in several corrugated metal and tin-roof buildings. This being Germany, the roofs are covered in solar panels. According to Stil in Berlin, the rest of the complex is slated to be converted into an Asian Culture House, a Markthalle, and several other things.

Each building consists of a long central hallway, with various vendors - ranging from hair salon supply shops to grocery stores to belt stores - occupying space on either side of the hallway. At both ends of the hallway there are poster boards with help wanted ads, neighborhood events, and plain old advertisements. My brother, recently returned from living in Southeast Asia, said it was just the type of place a traveler might find while strolling through Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.