Non-plant topic: Anyone know old Berlin?

Discussion in 'Conversations Forum' started by kaspian, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. kaspian

    kaspian Active Member 10 Years

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    Maine coast, USA, zone 5
    I'm seeking fictional locations for a historical novel set, in part, in Berlin.

    Here's the situation: The time is 1938, five years into the Third Reich but over a year before the outbreak of WWII.

    My character is a grand dame of Berlin society, the ageless, aristocratic widow of a Prussian general who hosts, in her large gloomy apartment, a weekly soiree that becomes a magnet for anti-Hitler military officers and other like-minded people, mostly from the traditional upper classes and the artistic and intellectual elite.

    My question: Where in Berlin, exactly, is this apartment?

    The family would have bought the place around the turn of the century, perhaps before. It would be in a district that was fashionable in Wilhelmine times, though it has perhaps declined since. I imagine a view -- perhaps of the Tiergarten, or someplace where the lady can watch young men in brown shirts carrying torches and acting like absolute idiots. I imagine her (or her aging house-"girl") closing the curtains in disgust, withdrawing into a private world of remembered glamour and elegance ... right in the heart of Hitler's capital.

    The ambiance here should be romantic, old-fashioned, perhaps shabbily genteel -- a relic of a bygone era that is still very much alive in my character's mind.

    Any suggestions are most welcome!
  2. togata57

    togata57 Generous Contributor 10 Years

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    Columbus, Ohio
    Fascinating! I would like to recommend a book to you.

    Title: "Lost Europe---Images Of A Vanished World"
    Editors: Jean Loussier, Robin Langley Sommer
    Publisher: Crescent Books (division of Random House), 1997
    ISBN #: 0-517-15965-1

    Each of this book's 9 chapters displays photographs of a specific part of Europe: Chapter 5 shows Germany. The vintage photos are of buildings and city environments no longer extant due to the destruction of the World Wars and subsequent "urban renewal". I think that you would get some ideas for further research from these pages. As I write this I have a copy of the book in front of me, open to the pages showing images of old Berlin:the Leipzigerstrasse; Alexander-, Schloss-, and Potsdamerplatzen. I received this book as a gift, and find it sad, moving, and most interesting. Yes, and romantic as well.--- I hope you will, too!

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