Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Schöneberg, Berlin

Back in the 1920's Berlin was the Gay Capital of Europe.  The world's first gay magazine even began in Berlin back in 1896.  The Schöneberg district, near Nollendorfplatz, has long been the gay district of Berlin.  Long before the Castro in San Francisco or Dupont Circle in Washington, DC, Schöneberg was the first gay village.

Today it's mostly filled with bars, restaurants, cafe's, and shops but there are are few historical sights to be found.

The Eldorado was a popular drag bar back in the 1920s and Marlene Dietrich was a regular here.

The Mangus pharmacy is named after Magnus Hirschfeld, who's Institute for the Science of Sexuality, was the world's first gay-rights organisation that lobbied for legal representation. 

In 1982, a plaque was put up at the Nollendorfplatz underground station to commemorate the murder of gays and lesbians during the Third Reich.

In a nearby park I also came across an AIDS memorial.

There are also stolpersteine, stumbling stones, to remember people who were deported and murdered by the Nazis.

On the lighter side, at Nollendorfstaße 17, there's a memorial plaque on the house that Christopher Isherwood lived from 1929 to 1933.  His novel Goodbye to Berlin inspired the musical Cabaret. I  had to get a selfie of me in front of the building holding my copy of Christopher and His Kind.

In 2011, Christopher and His Kind was released as a film.  Great film and highly recommended.  You can actually find the entire film on YouTube but here's the movie trailer.

Nollendorfplatz is even home to Berlin's only gay Christmas market.

Here's a short video from DW's Meet the Germans series that talks about the status LGBT affairs in Germany.


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