"Wandering The City #3 - Anhalter Bahnhof" Anhalter Bahnhof - Railway Terminus Tip by johngayton

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I was sort of heading in the general direction of Potsdamer Platz from the Tempodrom when I came across this intrigueing remnant of something. I had no idea what it was going to be about but I assumed it must have some historical significance and so I took these couple of pics.

I've now found out that this is the preserved main entrance to the former Anhalter railway station which was built in 1880. The station at that time was proclaimed to be the largest in "Continental" Europe, word "Continental" being significant as London's St Pancras, which had opened a few years earlier, was in fact much larger.

Up until the Second World War this was one of the busiest stations in the city. Despite being heavily bombed during the war it was reopened in 1947 but its location in West Berlin rendered it redundant as most of the lines into it came from the Soviet-controlled East. In 1952 the GDR rerouted the lines to the Ostbahnhof and so the Anhalter mainline station was closed.

Demolition commenced on the former station in 1960 but local outcry forced the authorities to preserve is entranceway which features statues by prominent sculptors of the day: Die Weltverkehr (The Traffic of the World) by Emil Hundrieser above the trainshed, and Nacht und Tag (Night and Day) by Ludwig Brunow, either side of the clock face above the portico.

The ruin also serves as a memorial to the deportation by train of Berlin's older Jewish residents to the SS-run transit camp of Theresienstadt. This was propogandised as a "resettlement village" and the Jews taken there through Anhalter Bahnhof boarded carriages attached to scheduled trains and were allowed to take their portable belongings.

However the reality was that Theresienstadt was no more than a transit camp for most on their way to the Eastern death camps such as Auschwitz.

First website below is a brief article on Theresienstadt . The second is a train enthusiast's short history of the Anhalter station.

Address: Askanischer Platz 6, 10963 Berlin
Directions: Opposite the S-bahn station Anhalter, not far from Potsdamer Platz.
othercontact: www.sinfin.net/railways/world/an
Website: http://www1.yadvashem.org/yv/en/holocaust/about/03/terezin.asp?WT.mc_id=wiki

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jul 7, 2013
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