If you come to Fassbinder's film from Döblin's novel, you might be wondering, Where did all the avant-garde go? Although Fassbinder's body of work, from the films he made as a teenager to his riotous final work, Querelle , is — in the richest and most probing sense — experimental, Berlin Alexanderplatz , on a cursory viewing, seems like his most straightforward and conventional movie, at least until the epilogue.
Instead of Döblin's literary pyrotechnics, and somewhat flat characters, Fassbinder gives us more vividly real people, heartfelt emotion, and tears oh yes, I cried many times than in any of his other films. No offense to Tolstoy, but he's not the only one who can raise soap opera to the level of art.
Fassbinder understand that the narrative is what holds everything together — characters, emotion, visual and sound style, themes, and Fassbinder's ultimately staggering vision. He refashions the source so that it's comprised of dozens of minute scenes that play out in real time, often with few or no cuts. This timing is not coincidental, since a film reel only holds 10 minutes of footage.
In Hitchcock's dazzling thriller Rope , seemingly made in one continuous shot, he went to ingenious lengths to hide the reality that the camera needs a refill every sixth of an hour.
A skilled dramatist, for both theatre and film, Fassbinder knew precisely how to structure every aspect of a scene, from where to begin and end it, to how it should flow, for maximum impact.
Here, he almost seems to be overcompensating for Döblin's hyperactive narrative, that may be centered on the Alexanderplatz but is, literally, all over the map, not to mention the space-time continuum. Perhaps none of his other screenplays or plays can so easily be encapsulated in just a couple of words. In the outline above , I purposely used the column "Focus on Franz For instance, in part 1, after his release from prison, the theme is Franz's disorientation; part 10 is about him being settled, while part 11 is about him being unsettled; in part 14, a double-length episode, we go from Franz's delirium to rebirth.
Fassbinder provides more structural closure, but no less ambiguity, than Döblin by enwrapping this benighted German everyman in the chaotic swirl of Germany history from the time just after the novel ends, and the Nazis seized control, to an apocalyptic future. But taken as a whole, these discrete although rarely discreet "mini-plays" create an effect that is vastly more than the sum of its parts.
While retaining the sociopolitical and mythic meaning of the novel, Fassbinder increases the effect by raising it to the level of ritual, specifically a purification rite. Like all of those, its purpose is to cleanse and then reintegrate a reborn self, either with society or the individual. In a way, Fassbinder has refined the underlying structure into a Passion of the Everyman, that incorporates Döblin's biblical tropes but then adds to them a dramatic formalism that recalls the inexorable Greek tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides several of which Fassbinder staged.
Fassbinder deviates most from the novel in Franz's delirious visions in the epilogue. He strips away layer after layer not only of the crushed man's self-deceptions but of Döblin's tacit assumptions as well; and in the film's most controversial aspect, Fassbinder lays bear not only his own body of work but perhaps his most hidden and tortured longings.
This extended nigthmare vision at first may seem formless, but it's not. Fassbinder follows Döblin's basic pattern, that alternates scenes of Franz's mental breakdown such as ghosts and talking mice, although he makes the latter mute. However, Fassbinder also clarifies the biblical underpinnings of Döblin by suggesting the Roman Catholic Stations of the Cross, which encapsulate Jesus's final hours.
Like this Via Crucis, Fassbinder divides his film into fourteen parts instead of the novel's nine ; and like Döblin's novel, it includes three "blows," which may parallel the three times that Jesus falls on his way to crucifixion. Fassbinder climaxes his epilogue with a surreally literal crucifixion of Franz, that draws equally on Renaissance art and Pasolini's living tableau parody of it in "La Ricotta" ; Fassbinder ends this scene with both a whimper and a bang, as everything is engulfed in nuclear holocaust, all to the danceable strains of Glenn Miller's "In the Mood" giving Kubrick a run for his Dr.
Strangelove money, with the lugubrious "We'll Meet Again" accompanying armageddon. Although Döblin was still years away from converting to Catholicism, he also may have conceived his novel, on one level, as a purification ritual, drawing on the Jewish traditions with which he was raised, for Franz and, by extension, the modern world.
In the film's epilogue, as we'll see below, Franz's rebirth also allows Fassbinder to depict his own ultimate revelations.
Fassbinder slyly alerts us to his multi-layered bent in the oracular titles he gives the fourteen parts. Although he uses phrases from the novel, they do not correspond with Döblin's more playful ones. Note the basic form of X within Y within Z within As Fassbinder describes it in his screenplay, its 29 shots "are a montage of images of Berlin in the years — The overall impression should be of the kind one would have walking down a street on a Sunday afternoon.
Hearing the same request program pouring out of countless rooms and apartment on all sides; but the effect is far from homey, on the contrary, it feels sinister and eerie. The title is an apt summary of the full text, a paen to the joys of life "Die herrliche Welt! Also like Döblin, Fassbinder employs flashback.
But his focus, reflecting Franz's point of view, is obsessively on one pivotal event: We return to this scene over a dozen times, but always from a different angle, both literally in terms of various camera angles and emotionally as reflected in Franz's face and body, as well as in the reactions of Frau Bast who watches in voyeuristic horror.
Before examining the getaway scene, let's compare how the two artists show the first meeting of Franz and Reinhold; both are from Franz's point of view. Although Fassbinder, at several points, turns up the men's repressed desire to the boiling point and then some , Döblin is more explicit in his description of the first time Franz, at his favorite pub, sees the vulnerably alluring criminal: He was slim, wore a shabby army coat — wonder if he's a communist — and had a long, thin, yellowish face Franz couldn't take his eyes off him.
What sad eyes the fellow has. Probably been doing time [like I did] Reinhold looks at Franz with big, sad eyes CS [close shot] of Franz giving Reinhold and Pums a very odd look Coming after more than fifteen hours is, in context, a scene almost as heartbreaking as the death of Mieze It's the next to last meeting in the 'real world' of Franz and Reinhold, on the police building's stairway.
Going down is Franz, on his way to the asylum, in a strait-jacket; going up, in handcuffs, is Reinhold. The screenplay is as circumspect as at their first meeting: Reinhold "gives [Franz] a long, sad look;" Franz can't speak but "his gaze contains more tenderness than hatred" for the man he loves who's murdered the woman he loves. On screen, with two consummate actors, you may find yourself like Reinhold weeping, in a brilliant and heartfelt directorial addition.
The love of these two men, expressed in such twisted and fatal ways, still dares not speak it's name; but the look they have for each other says it all. Fassbinder uses the phantasmagorical epilogue to continue exploring their relationship in several horrifically ironic scenes, culminating in a boxing ring. This vertiginous background recalls a key motif in the novel, of the world tossing around as if engulfed in a whirlwind Fassbinder repeats the most famous instance, when Franz imagines the roofs of houses shooting up into space, in an intermittent series of monologues.
The crowd is a fascinating component, since it as split as the two men, simultaneously encouraging and mocking. But at last Reinhold and Franz climax their feelings for each other in raw no-holds-barred contact; love as a technical knockout. Now, let's look at the pivotal getaway scene, that divides their relationship, and sets their lives on the course that determines everything that follows.
Fassbinder follows Döblin almost to the letter, including the punctuation of Franz's nervous laughter, but with less dated slangy dialogue.
In the novel, Reinhold sneers, "Watcha laughin' at, you monkey, what's the matter, you crazy or somethin'? Suddenly something flashes over Reinhold Here comes a double literary sucker punch, aimed straight at us. The first insertion, that may be a pastiche by Döblin, is so vivid you could imagine it being painted by the eerily sublime Romantic artist Caspar David Friedrich: In terrible repose you lie.
Your surface does not move, when there is a storm in the forest, and the firs begin to bend, and the spider-webs are torn between the branches, and there is a sound of splitting. The storm does not penetrate you. Immediately following is the second interjection. One of many biblical references, it's a redacted version of Jeremiah The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: Yet the intensity of the prophet's fiery words may also reflect the subtextual passion of Franz and Reinhold.
What Fassbinder adds, to both the novel and his own laconic screenplay, is the unmistakable homoerotic subtext: Throughout the film, and regardless of gender, perspiration is a fetishistic trope for desire; and glistening glittering things become a key metaphor. By the way in which Fassbinder stages and films the scene, he makes us wonder if Reinhold doesn't push Franz out of the speeding car not just to stop their pursuers, but because his own speeding emotional intensity is too much for him to bear.
To underscore this subtext, Fassbinder flashes the same phrase that gave its title to the entire part 6: For all of this narrative density, what makes Fassbinder's version so rich are the characters.
While they are embodiments of Döblin's, Fassbinder intensifies them by focusing on their psychological and emotional complexity. He accomplishes that not only through structuring his script around them, instead of the novel's swirl of fragments, but by casting exceptional actors, many of whom he'd been working with for over a decade in both theatre and film.
As director, he knows how to shape performances while yet allowing his cast the freedom to turn these characters into unforgettable flesh and blood people. In the novel, the narrator is the most vivid characters; in Fassbinder, it's everyone, from Franz, Mieze and Reinhold to peripheral characters like Frau Bast.
What may first strike readers of Döblin is how faithful the film is to the novel's hundreds of incidents yet, paradoxically, how it emerges as a work that is quintessentially Fassbinder's, from psychology and social critique to cinematic technique, all of which unite to embody his incisive vision. What might have caused Fassbinder to have such a strong and enduring connection to Döblin, to the point that throughout his entire life he dreamed, and planned, of making a film worthy of Berlin Alexanderplatz?
Biographically, there were formative experiences that Döblin and Fassbinder also shared. Both were the sons of physician fathers who left their families: Döblin's when he was ten, Fassbinder's when he was five. Fassbinder revealed, in his essay on the novel, that it not only changed his life when he was about 13 or 14, but saved it.
Tormented by the realization that he was gay, it was Döblin's compassionate understanding that moved him to begin accepting himself. As he wrote, it "provided genuine, naked, concrete life support when I was really at risk during puberty He also responded to Döblin's larger healing vision — of understanding, acceptance, and love, regardless of a person's social standing or outsider status or sexual orientation.
You can see this expressed throughout Fassbinder's own works. Whether his play or films, they arguably contain no definitional "villains," just confused, sometimes desperate, but always vulnerable real people. As Fassbinder wrote, Döblin "teaches the reader to see these characters, reduced to mediocrity, with the greatest tenderness, and to love them in the end.
Historically, Fassbinder appreciated how Döblin gave a voice to the millions of down-and-out Germans who yet somehow managed to survive. Fassbinder also saw disturbing parallels between the dying Weimar Republic and the authority-craving populace of , who clamored for the government to take away their freedoms to "stop terrorists" like the Baader-Meinhof Gang dissected by Fassbinder in The Third Generation. Throughout his body of work, Fassbinder selectively but sharply commented on his national history: As Fassbinder pointed out, Döblin's novel bubbled up in countless ways throughout his entire career.
Self-conscious about wearing too many different production caps writer, producer, director, and more , Fassbinder edited his films under the in-joke pseudonym of "Franz Walsch" — the first name for Biberkopf, the second for American director Raoul Walsh White Heat.
Fassbinder named several characters Franz, often connecting them through psychology or story to Döblin's Biberkopf. Plus there are many plot elements, scenes and motifs, throughout his films, that refer directly to the novel. This chronological list, extending from his first picture to his last, is not exhaustive, but it indicates the pervasive influence of the book throughout his career, in ways both large and small:.
Now, let's look at the mechanics of the adaptation, and then at the thematic implications of what Fassbinder removed and added. Of his 43 films, Fassbinder adapted only a few works, not counting his own stage plays.
Although Berlin Alexanderplatz is the most avant-garde of the works he adapted, it's surprisingly notable for its surface naturalism, at least until the hair-raising epilogue. Besides 'straightening out' the narrative line, his most dramatic change is one of emphasis. Fassbinder has an uncanny gift for being able to pinpoint where and how melodrama transforms into human truth.
This had been a subsidiary goal of Fassbinder's since in he turned to revisionist melodrama, as a vehicle for his political and aesthetic goals; but it comes to full fruition in this film. While Döblin's book is steeped in cinema — its major influences, Joyce and Dos Passos, both experimented with literary montage techniques — Fassbinder, if anything, makes it into one of his most theatrical films, with extended scenes that develop in continuous time.
But Fassbinder's relationship to the novel is more intricate than it might first seem, as he simultaneously expands and contracts its narrative, making it more concrete but also, in some ways, more abstract yet resonant. All of Fassbinder's changes to characters are small but not minor, as he humanizes them in ways that Döblin does not. For instance, the novel caricatures Franz's first post-prison lover, "Polish Lina," but as rewritten by Fassbinder and subtly portrayed by Elisabeth Trissenaar title role in The Stationmaster's Wife , we see all of her vulnerabilities; when she shrieks at Franz for cluelessly selling pro-gay literature, it's because she frightened of losing the man she loves rather than some stereotypical homophobia.
The novel and film's most important woman character, and the great female love of Franz's life, is of course Mieze, who follows a long line of previous girlfriends, virtually all of whom Franz "volunteered" to take off Reinhold's hand he loved the conquest but hated commitment. Not all of Döblin's authorial skill can begin to achieve the level of heartbreakingly real pathos in Barbara Sukowa's performance.
For me, hers is the most affecting, but never for a frame cloying, portrayal of a vulnerable character that I've seen in film, with Giulietta Masina coming in close behind with Fellini's La Strada and Nights of Cabiria It will come as no surprise that Fassbinder had Sukowa study Masina's performances, as preparation for her role. Mieze, in both the novel and film, is so compelling because of her depth. She's not all sweetness and light, like a doomed Dickens waif; she can let out with a barbaric yawp, as when she uncovers Franz's plan to have Reinhold watch them have sex.
That pivotal scene is a clear illustration of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's literary study Between Men , in which she exposes how two males will use a "shared" woman to displace their forbidden sexual feelings for each other.
Woody Allen might have summed up their dilemma with the lines from his Manhattan , "I'm both attracted and repelled by the male organ So it doesn't make for good relationships with men. Eva, who loves Franz but can't bear children, wants Mieze to have "their baby.
Eva says, "'Sure, you're queer, Sonia [Mieze's real name]. About Reinhold, Fassbinder makes it even clearer than in the novel that he is not stock villain. Rather it's Berlin, the soulless and soul-crushing city, that is the antagonist for all of the characters; it's what brings out the worst in everyone. Reinhold proves perhaps the most dramatic example of both Döblin and Fassbinder's radically inclusive empathy. In the film, Meck Franz Buchrieser , Franz's best friend, is not only more emotionally layered than in Döblin, he allows Fassbinder to remove an extraneous character.
Now it's Meck instead of the flunky alternately called Oskar or Karl Matter who helps Reinhold hide Mieze's body; this makes Meck's betrayal of Franz, and his remorse, much more affecting. But as with the key Franz and Reinhold relationships, it's all in subtleties of body language, and proximity, as well as lighting and composition.
Frau Bast is barely mentioned in Döblin, but Fassbinder makes her an omnipresent figure, always quietly hovering in the background of Franz's apartment in her boarding house. In a way, she's like the novel's omniscient narrator who, in one of the book's classic scenes, literally 'walks through the walls' of every dwelling in an apartment building and tells us what's going on.
Fassbinder's Frau Bast, on the one hand, is, along with Eva Hanna Schygulla , the warmest and most dependable character in the film. On a metaphorical level, Frau Bast could be read as Fassbinder's sly metaphor for cinema, that most literal and voyeuristic medium. Speaking of Franz's apartment, it is Fassbinder's most important locational change from the novel. There, Franz lives in a series of different apartments, basically one for each new girlfriend. But by combining all of those flats into one, Fassbinder gives it a psychological edge: Franz becomes his cramped apartment; its condition, whether tidy or chaotic, reflecting his inner state.
Also, it becomes increasingly charged with memories, most prominently as the scene of his accidental murder of his girlfriend Ida with Frau Bast watching, of course hence, it's a constant reminder of all that Franz has attempted and, before Mieze, failed at achieving. In a way, the single greatest difference between the novel and film is the narrator. We've already looked at the many, sometimes wildly contradictory, layers that comprise Döblin's alternately snarky and sublime narrator — the persona that selects what we see, and whose multifarious language defines how we perceive it.
Fassbinder's narrator is, ironically, a dramatic contrast to the novel's in his utter lack of drama. Fassbinder uses a monotone for his voice-over narration, as he did in Effi Briest — but Fontane and Döblin are, in more ways than one, worlds apart. Fassbinder's interpretation of this persona is intriguing, not least for its completely deadpan approach to what set Döblin's narrator into one verbal frenzy after another.
Notably, when we do see Fassbinder on screen, briefly in the epilogue — flanked by the two androgynous, punked-out angels Terah and Sarug — he is silent. In Döblin, the narrator is the novel; in Fassbinder, he functions as one more essential note, metaphorically speaking, of the chord that is the sum total of all of the film's parts, from narrative to performance to style.
It might be effective to go for an eclectic melding of Rossini's energetic melodies The Barber of Seville and Alban Berg's evocative formalism Lulu. Fassbinder had a passion for, and vast knowledge of, opera; one can only imagine what he might have done as librettist and director of such a production, not least with the trio for Franz, Mieze, and Reinhold as he hides under Franz's bed part Marriage of Figaro , part Rosenkavalier , part Wozzeck , climaxing with Mieze's coloratura, and then a melting love duet for her and Franz.
Let's take a breather, now that we've scrutinized the screenplay and Fassbinder's complex narrative strategy, and learn the history of how the script became the film. A major source for this section are two fascinating new documentaries, Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz: She edited Berlin Alexanderplatz and Fassbinder's last dozen other pictures, and heads the Fassbinder Foundation. Her two documentaries here, that include recent interviews with all major cast and crew, are an indispensable part of the Criterion Collection box set.
Fassbinder was the most prodigiously busy, as well as gifted, filmmaker of recent decades, often getting up to write his next picture at dawn, then filming his current project all day, and editing all night.
In June , he began shooting Berlin Alexanderplatz ; in September his incendiary political satire The Third Generation hit cinemas some rioting ensued , and in New York The Marriage of Maria Braun made its triumphant premiere, opening the New York Film Festival, then playing at a theatre for 54 consecutive weeks — around the globe, it was his most financially successful film.
In early Fassbinder did the narration for the short film "Last Trip to Harrisburg" released in ; it was co-directed by his actor-friend Udo Kier. In April he wrapped production on Berlin Alexanderplatz , then while it was in post-production, from July through September he shot the lavish Lili Marleen , starring Hanna Schygulla and Giancarlo Giannini. Simultaneously he wrote two scripts: In August the opening part of Berlin Alexanderplatz premiered at the Venice Film Festival; during its controversial broadcast, from October through December, Fassbinder was in pre-production on Lola , starring Barbara Sukowa.
Because of the unprecedented demands of making the largest-scale picture in German television history, requiring thousands of performers and personnel, it was co-financed by Germany's WDR and Bavaria Studios, and Italy's RAI. WDR Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln is a public broadcasting institution based in North Rhine-Westphalia, with its main office in Cologne Köln — Berlin Alexanderplatz was first broadcast through WDR's parent organization ARD Arbeitsgemeinschaft der öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunkanstalten der Bundesrepublik Deutschland — "Consortium of public-law broadcasting institutions of the Federal Republic of Germany" , a joint organization of Germany's regional public-service broadcasters; Bavaria Film Studios, located in Munich's Geiselgasteig district, is Europe's largest movie production facility; and RAI Radiotelevisione Italiana is Italy's leading public service network.
Fassbinder alternated freely between working in theatre, film, and television; about a dozen of his 41 features were made for German TV, including two of his best, Martha and The Stationmaster's Wife. Berlin Alexanderplatz was budgeted at around DEM 12,, There was serendipity in the production schedule, since Fassbinder was able to use the colossal street set, of s Berlin, left over from Ingmar Bergman's The Serpent's Egg. Even with that, the initial estimate for a day shoot had to be trimmed down to days, when the cost of sets went over budget.
Fassbinder, a shrewd producer in his own right, decided he could bring the picture in in just days, which he did. Because of his meticulous planning, in both the screenplay and logistics — and because he had worked closely before with almost every actor and crew member — he was able to shoot six minutes of footage a day.
Incredibly for a film with such intricate camera work, he was able to finish most scenes in just one take. This 'speed shooting' was a technique he had used on many of his films, not only for budgetary reasons but because both he and the cast knew that it could bring out a spontaneity that multiple retakes might inhibit. In the documentary, Barbara Sukowa praises Fassbinder's "sensitivity Fassbinder put a then year-old Juliane Lorenz in charge of editing his epic; she had already cut his previous half-dozen films.
Each day he had her put together a rough cut, as soon as the film was processed, so that it could be reviewed right away. As she says in the documentary she directed, "Fassbinder made the film with total discipline But we didn't find it at all stressful There were no mobile phones or computers.
And it was all analog editing. It was all hand-made. However, Fassbinder took a somewhat different directorial approach with his star, and alter ego, Günter Lamprecht best known to non-German audiences from Wolfgang Petersen 's Das Boot as Captain of the Weser Before his career-defining performance as Franz Biberkopf, Lamprecht had worked with Fassbinder on three pictures: As a youth Lamprecht, born in , trained to make prosthetic devices by day, while doing amateur boxer by night, until he found his true calling at theatrical legend Max Reinhardt's acting school in Berlin.
At that time, Lamprecht now laughs, "I was never able to finish reading Berlin Alexanderplatz! Fassbinder, to elicit the performance he needed from Lamprecht, kept his distance from the actor until they were on set. Afterwards, Lamprecht was delighted to be able to shed the weight he'd had to gain to play the role as defined by Döblin and Fassbinder. One intriguing aspect of watching many, or all, of Fassbinder's films is seeing how he uses each actor to bring a special resonance because of their previous roles.
Almost all of Fassbinder's venerable "stock company" appears in Berlin Alexanderplatz. Originally Fassbinder's longtime collaborator Michael Ballhaus who now shoots all of Martin Scorsese's pictures was to film the epic.
But after shooting a movie with another director, after his previous work with Fassbinder on The Marriage of Maria Braun , he felt he was being "punished. Whatever really happened, Ballhaus quit and Schwarzenberger was hired. The first challenge was to shoot in 16mm, as the budget demanded, and still make the epic look like an epic. But its literally and figuratively dismal first broadcast relegated the film to the vaults, essentially for the next quarter century.
The meticulous, and miraculous, frame by frame restoration took two years, being completed for the twenty-fifth anniversary of Fassbinder's death in It was personally supervised by the original editor, Juliane Lorenz, and cinematographer, Xaver Schwarzenberger. In , Berlin Alexanderplatz had a triumphant revival at film festivals and museums around the world, including Berlin Film Festival and Museum of Modern Art; that fully restored version is what you will see in the Criterion Collection set, along with the documentaries, the version, and more.
At last, Berlin Alexanderplatz exists as Fassbinder envisioned it. And it can be seen as one of his, as well as both television's and cinema's, greatest achievements. Much of its power comes not only from its narrative and performances, that we've looked at above, but in how Fassbinder brilliantly uses visual and aural style to expand its meaning. Paradoxically, Fassbinder was sometimes at his best cinematically when a film seemed most theatrical. We saw that with the stunning compositions and camera movements, at once psychologically penetrating and visually opulent, in Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant , set entirely within one apartment.
As we'll see here, the effect is even more profound in Berlin Alexanderplatz. We've already explored how Fassbinder recast Franz's life, and the plot of Döblin's non-linear novel, into a formal, almost ritualistic, series of minute scenes that play out in real time.
The dramatic intensity is riveting, but so is the more subtle cinematic intensity that comes from the precise coordination of visual and aural elements. Knowing that this was usually achieved in just one take borders on the miraculous. That technical virtuosity is impressive because it reveals not only the characters' psychological states through inflections of image and sound, but also thematic commentary taken to a visceral level.
Here, pictures speak louder than words, even when it's Fassbinder doing the narration. All of these techniques complement, and sometimes counterpoint, each other not only to refract in a new medium the multi-layered density of the original novel, but to go beyond it.
Let's look at some specific way in which Fassbinder uses visual and sound style to make his Berlin Alexanderplatz more than the sum of its parts. Besides Un Chant d'Amour and Fassbinder's own films noted above, you can see Bertolucci's The Conformist shot by Vittorio Storaro and Coppola's The Godfather shot by Gordon Willis , in the autumnal orange, brown, gold and black palette that defines the look of the entire film; the low angle on Pums at his crime lord's desk is a witty homage to the opening scene of The Godfather.
Of course, the artistic 'godfather' of that palette, and use of shadow, is Rembrandt. Fassbinder's depiction of what he calls the "Babylon Street" gives a nod to the doomed 'tower of sexual grotesques' in the early part of Fellini Satyricon , while both look back to their source, the surreal comic horrors of Hieronymus Bosch: But as Fassbinder and cinematographer Schwarzenberger acknowledged, the major cinematic influence was Josef von Sternberg although more in his restrained phase, as with 's Blue Angel , than the deliriously inspired later masterpieces like 's Blonde Venus or 's Scarlet Empress.
Sternberg, working of necessity in black and white, could only put color in his titles; but Fassbinder, lacking our digital means of easily desaturating footage, created a pervasive monochrome effect through careful design. As Schwarzenberger put it, they did "black and white in color" — although 'black and shades of gray in color' is closer to what we see, now that he and editor Lorenz have restored the picture's intended color spectrum. Notably, the film opens, with Franz and the guard at the gate of Tegel, in completely natural color.
But as soon as Franz is 'cast out' of the prison's relative safety, the green, blue and most of the red drain away. On those rare occasions when we do see red — including over-eager lips and, rarely but shockingly, blood — the effect is electrifying, because of the controlled palette as well as the drama.
Another visually striking moment comes during the suggestive scene of Franz and Reinhold chatting each other up in the urinal, soon after they meet: Despite these purposely jarring bursts of red and blue, for most of the film we exist in a world that reflects Franz's, and the other characters', literally dismal lives: Fassbinder, following Döblin, focuses almost exclusively on Berlin's down and out and the few professionals we see, like the catty physicians, are no better.
This shadowy world, with who knows what going on in the darkest corners, looks literally 'dirty,' but not entirely. Subtly swirling in the air we just barely see countless particles of light.
This diffusion effect is achieved by putting a silk stocking over the camera lens and then shooting on a set filled with smoke or fog. But it has emotional impact because, like the use of color, it externalizes the characters' inner psychological states.
Its compositional counterpart is seen in the frequent use of visual indirection: Fassbinder, as in many of his other films, uses queasy shots in mirrors that slightly distort them, or angles through strong geometrical frames, such as windows, doorways, stairwells or various bars from the bird cage to the prison-like rooms at the asylum that trap the characters.
In another stand-out sequence, even more ambitious than the classic shot in Martha with the camera swirling faster and faster around the actors, Fassbinder freezes the action in the subway station, and then gives the camera all of the moves, while it prowls, and all but pounces, on the static men. Much more common are long continuous takes that visually suggest the emotional blockage and tension of the characters, not to mention their obsessiveness, as they stare a little too long at things.
It's as if what little light there is in this world is either murky or radioactive It opens, unforgettably, with a man and woman making love, although what we can't take our eyes off of is the unearthly glitter that covers them.
As Marguerite Duras wrote in her original screenplay, it's like they were "drenched with ashes, rain, dew, or sweat A common inspiration for both may be the poetically ambiguous glitter in Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast — Cocteau may also play a starring, if behind the scenes, role in Fassbinder's mind-bending epilogue.
The shimmering suggests that we are briefly moving into a strange, even spiritual, realm. This seems especially clear when we see the ghostly Mieze covered in the stuff.
But Fassbinder, never mawkish, knows how to add just enough irony to make the effect effective, along the lines of that disco ball he puts in his vision of hell even Dante never envisioned a literal 'disco inferno'. Those brief flips from the natural to supernatural, that explode in the final two hours, indicate a crucial aspect of the entire film, that is even more powerful than in the novel.
Maybe the best in-joke in the film occurs early on, when Franz walks past a theatre. Although Fassbinder doesn't specify it's name in the script, we can see it on the marquee: Yes, another reference to Resnais, here to his inexhaustible labyrinth, Last Year at Marienbad , that may offer a key to Fassbinder's film.
Franz is a man, like Berlin is a city, caught in the middle in many ways: And that liminality is defined by its boundaries. We've seen how Fassbinder uses color and light to express that, now let's see how he uses space and sound to push it even further.
This is a place where nothing is ever settled. Alexanderplatz is constantly under construction like Franz's character, and even like Döblin's novel. Streets are being torn up for a subway station, stores and houses are being torn down to make room for more of the same. But it all seems like frenzied busywork, rather than what Döblin at his most utopian might call a collective building towards a better shared future.
Rarely has construction felt so much like destruction, even when we hear rather than see it, as in Fassbinder's film. One reason that this feels like an "unreal city" to borrow a tag line from The Waste Land is because in a film about a place called Berlin Alexanderplatz, we never actually see it which is starkly different from Döblin, who pointed up every nook, cranny and tattered newspaper.
Paradoxically, we see a lot of what's around the elided title location, but from a perspective that's distorted both psychologically Franz and metaphorically Fassbinder.
This is a world defined by ominous exteriors bits of street, the infernal underground subway station , lifeless interiors the slaughterhouse, the hospital, and asylum are all unnervingly clean, but the 'save a soul' mission is not , and all manner of cages. Ironically, we never see Tegel Prison, but we do see bird and monkey cages, and at last Franz winds up once again behind bars, but it's a place that's anything but comforting: As noted above, Fassbinder reinforces the caged nature of the physical world through camera placement, so that sometimes even a window or aquarium makes you feel like you're doing twenty to life.
Fassbinder uses Franz's apartment to focus the sense of being trapped. By consolidating Franz's half-dozen different abodes, in the novel, into one, you might think it would seem an anchor for him, and the audience; but the opposite happens. Its constant presence is a cumulative reminder of just how trapped Franz is: Ironically, the only place that ever feels relaxed, despite the potential for brawling, is the neighborhood bar, with its kindly paternal barkeeper as in both Döblin and Fassbinder's lives, this is a world absent fathers.
In this unstable world, you can't even hear yourself think — but walls are so thin you can hear what everyone else is doing, and they can hear you. It's not just the permeability of sound that's unsettling, it's the quality of what you hear: Fassbinder underscores the artifice of his Alexanderplatz in the beginning of the epilogue, when he overlays Döblin's cemetery scene the delirious Franz is having conversations with the dead, flanked by the angelic couple with the plywood-thin streets of back-lot Berlin.
Besides these resonant visuals, Berlin Alexanderplatz boasts perhaps the greatest score of any Fassbinder film. Composer Peer Raben, who scored virtually all of Fassbinder's productions on stage and screen, here creates his masterpiece.
The score moves from nervous electronic ticks to lush period-style melodies, and everything in between. Most of the dozens of variations on Franz's theme are played on a bluesy harmonica, that's usually associated with the American South, which is also suggested by the faintest trace of Max Steiner's "Tara's Theme" from Gone With the Wind in Raben's central four-note phrase.
But in fact the harmonica originated in Vienna in the early s, and then gained popularity simultaneously throughout Europe, the UK, and US. It produces its haunting sound as air flows past a vibrating reed held in a frame. Their first big date is also the viewer's first escape from the urban jungle cum cage, to the resort spot of Freienwalde, about thirty miles northeast of Berlin. But ultimately, Freienwalde is no picnic. Freienwalde's disquieting transformation ends along with Mieze's life, in one of Fassbinder's most radical scenes.
When Reinhold almost ritualistically murders Mieze, who seems like a wounded doe surrendering to a wolf — its ambiguity is much richer in the film than the novel where although powerful it feels like a necessary plot point — the forest has become touched by the unrealness that pervades the film: The fog rolls in, on cue, and Fassbinder turns the whole excruciatingly protracted murder scene into a veritable ballet, with a precisely counterpointed almost-dance between predator and prey.
You feel queasy for responding to the beauty in such a heinous crime, but that's exactly what Fassbinder wants: Upon reflection, that unsettling beauty seems a reflection of both Mieze's innocence and, more radically, Reinhold's too: The simple explanation is just that, simple; that it was a crime of passion.
But of course, he's also removing what stands between him and the man he loves, and who loves him, but doing it in a way that guarantees that they will never be able to connect: The Freienwalde woods has more presence, and at least as much resonance, as the title location; and the scene of the film's myriad stylistic and thematic elements coming together. It's a place where the trees become like prison bars, where the romantic mist turns ominous as it bleeds away color and obscures all boundaries, where entranced people move like desultory fish in the film's various aquariums; it's an unreal place where liminality is resolved but only through fatal transformation.
Where what we see on the surface, and how we see it, reflects and refracts what's inside. If you choose to read this film through Resnais, you could imagine this Freienwalde lying somewhere just beyond the elaborate gardens, where shadows are cast the wrong way, of haunted Marienbad.
The Freienwalde scene of Mieze's murder also introduces the resolution of Reinhold's character. The best example of Döblin's radical empathy, that Fassbinder intensifies, is that instead of, say, Reinhold being shot dead by Franz, he's actually allowed to find love By contrast, Döblin's ironic, perhaps even cynical, take on life can be seen in the fate he has in store for Franz: As noted above, Fassbinder resolves, and exposes, Reinhold and Franz's relationship, like Reinhold and Mieze's, through the epilogue's cathartic homoerotic boxing match.
His exceptional actors make them achingly real, much more so than in the novel. And in his film's jaw-dropping epilogue, perhaps the most controversial element in any of his works, Fassbinder brings himself front and center What first comes to mind is: At its most basic level, Fassbinder's riotous epilogue is an adaptation of the also, but not nearly so, surreal final part of the novel.
In terms of the plot, its function is crystal clear: Franz goes insane with grief over losing the one person he could love freely. We see and viscerally feel him work his way through lacerating grief, until he emerges He seems to accept his ground-down status as just another cog in society's wheel, takes a humdrum job, and that may be that — but it's certainly The End of the book.
By mind-bending contrast, Fassbinder's epilogue does much more, and arguably takes the artistic triumph of the previous thirteen parts and then hurls the film, himself, and us into the extreme heights and depths of the sublime — which, by definition, can be exquisite or terrifying, or both. Of course, some viewers find the epilogue sybaritic in the extreme, but it strikes me as being a relentlessly, if sadomasochistically, probing work of internal analysis, with the director's chair doubling as analyst's coach.
Döblin was the practicing therapist, but arguably Fassbinder goes deeper not only into their shared characters — all of whom, living and dead, return here transformed — but himself. In brief, the epilogue seems more self-revelation than self-indulgence.
Some of Fassbinder's strangest moments are actually drawn from the novel, like Franz meeting the spectral Nachum in the novel this was a new character, "a learned professor" , who's euthanised himself while he listened to jazz and having a friend read him Plato's Symposium about love, specifically same-sex love. That incident points to an interpretively useful direction, Plato's mystical realm of Ideal Forms , even as it brings us back to earth by recalling Germany's homophobically penal paragraph , still throwing gay people into prison in Döblin's time and later.
Ideal Forms seems on the mind of Cocteau, whose valedictory Testament of Orpheus is the picture closest to the epilogue even though the symbolic detritus strewn about superficially resembles a film like Syberberg's Parsifal.
Cocteau appears as himself, in some timeless plane of pure imagination, checking in with the characters that he, and Western civilization, had created, and trying to make peace with his obsessions. Cocteau's description of it might also offer a clue to Fassbinder's epilogue: The film disobeys dead rules, paying homage to all who wish to remain free. It brings into play a form of logic that reason does not recognize. Fassbinder has taken Cocteau's approach to its breaking point, mashing Ideal Forms with the Freudian id.
Expressionism, of which Döblin was an influential proponent, tried to externalize the mind, specifically its darkest recesses; here we see Fassbinder's postmodern take. This deconstructive fantasia has proven anything but a dead end, as you can see in such dazzling later works as director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman's Being John Malkovich and Adaptation , although they don't attempt Fassbinder's revisionist national history.
With equal parts symbolism and visceral wit, Fassbinder uses the epilogue to strip away the civilized veneer of his parents' and grandparents' generation. Döblin depicted the disintegrative modern forces that ground people down, and Fassbinder takes it further, showing us how they were ready to embrace the Nazis. Fassbinder doesn't just give us goose-stepping ironic stereotypes, he creates one of his most profound and disturbing images to climax Franz's purgative nightmare vision that comprises most of the epilogue.
We have the crucified Franz, while at his feet lie Joseph and the Virgin Mary, who holds a mini-Franz with a waxen face and swastika armband. It's not a stretch to see the connections Fassbinder is making between the "Satan's brew" of religion, self-deception, mass social control, and fascism.
Besides his cyclonic history of Germany, Fassbinder uses this feature-length coda to scrutinize his own works, and the vision of himself that he embedded there. To take just a couple of examples, the massive pile of bodies in the 'dream slaughterhouse' the screenplay specifies who's there: In his recent global success, The Marriage of Maria Braun , the titular wedding is shot, tongue in cheek, through a blast hole, courtesy of the Allies.
In this epilogue, Fassbinder uses the same composition, but now we see Franz, crawling on the ground among hundreds of live rats, bottoming out in the worst possible way. The mate he's looking for might be Mieze glitteringly angelic in the epilogue or Reinhold now a whip-wielding demon with a tango dancer's hairdo , but it's really himself he still can't find but desperately needs to.
By bringing those seemingly disparate points of reference together, Fassbinder revises, and explodes, the singular meaning of his own past and current work. He wasn't kidding when he famously said that each of his films is a constitutent part of one larger whole: Some are the cellar, others the walls, still others the windows. But I hope that in the end it will be a house. This reflexive visionary roller-coaster ride makes you realize that Fassbinder has been completely frank with us in his title.
This really is his "Epilogue: It's precisely what Fassbinder described, and then some, all grooving to a madly eclectic soundtrack that veers from Kraftwerk to Der Rosenkavalier to Glenn Miller to Elvis Presley. He uses this post-Freudian epilogue to push every aspect of his film — dramatic, thematic, and subtextual — far beyond the breaking point.
It's as if Fassbinder has found a way to transfer his unconscious whole to the screen, with all of its contradictions and obsessions and strangeness and, yes, beauty too.
This is personal filmmaking at its most extreme and dizzyingly subjective. Fassbinder here refracts the characters and themes through his own subconscious, leaving out none of the desires and fears, no matter how transgressive.
Nieztsche's oft-quoted line, from Beyond Good and Evil , seems more apt for Fassbinder's epilogue than at the beginning of, say, a James Cameron movie: Seeing the pit, of longing and fear, through Fassbinder's eyes offers us insight, not only into the usually opaque filmmaker, but into the hidden meanings of the novel that haunted his life. Döblin ends with a rigid, if ironic, sense of closure — as if a god were putting to rest the case of a modern mini Job who didn't measure up, so he's better off being a cog in a wheel, within a wheel, within a wheel.
Fassbinder has recast Franz's 'pilgrim's progress' as a kind of ritual cleansing. Yet when we emerge at the other end of his rabbit hole that would have sent de Sade, let alone Lewis Carroll, off the deep end , it feels strangely, even defiantly, liberating.
We've made it through this harrowing visionary hour experience, that ultimately reveals what everyone, characters and creators alike, had been trying to hide. We've earned the right to feel like we have a new lease, if maybe not full ownership, on life, for as long as we can make it last. The Criterion Collection has released a monumental 7-DVD box set of the fully restored epic, in its definitive visual and aural form, that also includes Phil Jutzi's complete version, and a wealth of filmed and print supplements detailed below.
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You can also use the site map. Background — Döblin's Novel Berlin Alexanderplatz You can jump directly to an analysis of the film, or read the following background information, which briefly covers: So what is this place? Here's a whirlwind tour. Döblin's Berlin Alexanderplatz Like its title location, the novel is something of a hub. Franz age 30 , Nachum and Eliser, Minna. Franz Biberkopf released from prison, befriended by two Orthodox Jews. Expulsion from Eden [Franz 'forced' to leave prison: Rosenthaler Platz central Berlin.
Adam and Eve in Paradise; Greek myth of Orestes. Lina, Uncle Lüders, a widow. First Hammer Blow of Fate: Lüders's betrayal of Franz over the widow. Adam and Eve and the Serpent. Reinhold and his women Fränze, Cilly, Trude.
Franz puts his life back together, but is increasingly obsessed with the criminal Reinhold, who fobs off his old girlfriends on Franz. Adam and Eve driven out of Paradise; Job. Franz in deeper with criminals, Reinhold causes him to lose his right arm during a Pums Gang burglary. Franz recovers under the care of Eva and Herbert; finds Mieze and falls in love even as he becomes her pimp. Franz has a nervous breakdown.
Reinhold, Konrad, the Reaper Death. Whore of Babylon; the Reaper Death; Ecclesiastes. Here is both the original German — even if you are not fluent, you can still sense the force of Döblin's sounds and rhythm German 'w' sounds like English 'v,' 'j' like 'y' — and the Jolas translation: From an article in Der Spiegel about executions here: Built between and to a design by Heinrich Wolff to house the central bank , the Reichsbank became the Finance Ministry and later headquarters of the Central Committee of the East German Communist Party.
Google couldn't explain the error when approached by German mass-circulation daily B. The square had been returned to its current name by 9 p. The square was originally called Reichskanzlerplatz when it was constructed in the early s. The square's name returned to Reichskanzlerplatz from to , when it was given the name of the first federal president of Germany, Theodor Heuss. The Funkturm and Ausstellungshallen in Charlottenburg during the Olympics and today. The Nazi-era reliefs on both sides of the portal entrance.
Joseph Wackerle reichsadler dating Denkmal der nationalen Erhebung. Reichsadler dating from b y Max Esser at Lüdenscheider Weg near Haselhorster dam within a children's playground. German Reich Railways Central Office. Through Gleichschaltung , the Nazis placed the rail network under direct government control on 10 February , adding swastikas to the Hoheitsadler on the railcars. Here, at the back of the central office of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, is the stone emblem- a winged wheel- although the swastika relief at the base has been removed.
The chemist's on Potsdamer Platz in and today. Located on Hermannplatz, where Kreuzberg meets Neukolln, the Karstadt department store was one of the most revolutionary buildings to be constructed in Berlin before the War. Opened in as Europe's biggest department store, it had its own underground station and art deco twin towers that were strikingly reminiscent of a Manhattan skyscraper. Wartime bombs left little of it s original grandeur intact, yet it was promptly rebuilt and is still one of Berlin's most popular department stores.
Petty crime skyrocketed as the inhabitants of Berlin turned to looting as a survival strategy. One of the looters' targets was the huge Karstadt department store on Hermannplatz.
Thousands of people crammed into Karstadt, grabbing everything in sight but especially food and warm clothing. The store supervisors eventually let them get away with whatever food they could find, though they tried to prevent them taking anything else. Bahm Berlin - The Final Reckoning. Only one wing of the original building survives, on the southwest corner as seen in the photo above. There has been a dramatic account of the looting of the Karstadt department store in the Hermannplatz, where queuing shoppers had been blown to pieces during the first artillery bombardment on 21 April.
The explosion was said to have killed many over-eager looters. They needed Karstadt's twin towers as observation posts to watch the Soviet advance on Neuk6lln and the Tempelhof aerodrome The Palast Hotel before and after the war and in its current incarnation.
Two underground statios then and now. Opened as "Hasenheide" in , the name changed to "Kaiser-Friedrich-Platz" in and to "Gardepionierplatz" in In the station received the name Südstern. Frankfurter Tor station is situated under Frankfurter Tor, a large square. Built in it, was first named Petersburger Strasse. After the war it was named Besarinstrasse Besarin was the first Soviet commander of Berlin. In it was again renamed to Frankfurter Tor.
Under the Nazis it had authority over research and development departments in the areas of television engineering, high-frequency technology, cable wide-band transmission, meteorology, and acoustics microphone technology.
Just after the war. The eponymous square is named after Fehrbellin, where in the Battle of Fehrbellin between Brandenburg-Prussia and the Swedish Empire took place. Its horseshoe shape was laid out in and is still surrounded by several administrative buildings of the Nazi era, including the former seat of the German Labour Front finished in , today the Wilmersdorf town hall.
Entschädigungsbehörde in the Wilmersdorf district was built in by the architect Philipp Schaefer as an office complex for the Rudolf Karstadt department store chain; the Nazi-era reliefs are still present. The military train took the soldiers into Charlottenburg Station, which was their introduction to the city, if they were not lucky enough to fly into Gatow. British soldiers in Berlin wore a flash on their sleeve. There were messes all over the British Sector. This was the former Adolf Hitler Platz in Charlottenburg, the name of which was changed to Reichskanzlerplatz until it was realised that Hitler too had been chancellor.
On the other side of the square was the Marlborough Club, where officers could be gentlemen. For the Other Ranks there was the Winston Club. From to , the Schiller T heatre was extensively rebuilt for the city of Berlin by Paul Baumgarten.
A government box was incorporated. The theatre was destroyed in an air strike on 23 November From to , it was rebuilt for the city of Berlin according to plans by the architects Heinz Völker and Rolf Grosse. Site of Reichpost TV Studios - The Nazi eagle remains, dated, above the entrance. Recently uncovered footage, long buried in East German archives, confirms that television's first revolution occurred under the Third Reich.
From to , Berlin studios churned out the world's first regular TV programming, replete with the evening news, street interviews, sports coverage, racial programs, and interviews with Nazi officials. Select audiences, gathered in television parlours across Germany, numbered in the thousands; plans to create a mass viewing public, through the distribution of 10, people's television sets, were upended by World War Two.
German technicians achieved remarkable breakthroughs in televising live events, including near instantaneous broadcasts of the Olympic Games. At the same time, the demand for continuous programming opened up camera opportunities far less controlled, and more candidly revealing, than Third Reich propagandists would have liked an interview with a bumbling Robert Ley is particularly embarrassing. In its stated mission - to imprint the image of the Führer onto every German heart - Nazi television proved a major disappointment.
But its surviving footage - rolls have been found so far offers an intriguing new window onto Hitler's Germany. It carried the names of a joint founders of the KPD who were murdered on 15 January by members of the free corps. Within the month the building was searched and renamed the Horst Wessel-Haus. It had been abandoned some weeks before by the Communist leaders, a number of whom had already gone underground or quietly slipped off to Russia.
The reaction of the public and even of some of the conservatives in the government was one of skepticism. It was obvious that something more sensational must be found to stampede the public before the election took place on March 5. The communist party was outlawed and its members killed or sent to the concentration camps. When the Nazis came to power in , the district was renamed Horst-Wessel-Stadt after the Nazi activist and writer of the Nazi hymn whose slow death, after being shot by communists, in Friedrichshain hospital shown below in was turned into a propaganda event by Joseph Goebbels.
During the war Friedrichshain was actually one of the most badly damaged parts of Berlin, as Allied strategic bombers specifically targeted its industries. As late as the nineties, some buildings still displayed bullet holes from the intense house to house fighting during the Battle of Berlin.
After the war ended, the boundary between the American and Soviet occupation sectors ran between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, with Friedrichshain in the east and Kreuzberg in the west.
Everything went according to schedule. There were no serious disruptions to the rank and file of the 35, SA men marching through the streets. Every Volk which struggles to the fore from utter misery and defeat to cleanse and liberate itself also produces vocalists who are able to put into words what the masses bear in their innermost hearts.
It is thus that the powerful Volksbewegung, the Movement of Germany, has also found the voice able to express what the men in rank feel. With his song, which is sung by millions today, Horst Wessel has erected a monument to himself in ongoing history which shall prevail longer than stone and bronze. Even after centuries have passed, even when not a stone is left standing in this great city of Berlin, one will be mindful of the greatest German liberation movement and its vocalist.
Comrades, raise the flags. Horst Wessel, who lies under this stone, is not dead. Every day and every hour his spirit is with us, marching in our ranks. Donarus The Complete Hitler.
Today the grave at St. Nikolai-Friedhof in Berlin-Friedrichshain is slowly disintegrating. The grave here is shown alternately honoured and desecrated on the 70th anniversary of his murder in The song was first performed at Wessel's funeral. Banned in Germany, it can be heard by clicking here.
The Städtische Krankenhaus am Friedrichshain, the hospital where Horst Wessel succumbed to his injuries and received the status of Nazi martyr in February The Volksbühne and the Kino Babylon in and today. It was at this station that saw Hitler return to Berlin from his crushing defeat of France. As Kershaw described the scene,.
During the Second World War the Anhalter Bahnhof was one of three stations used to deport some 55, Berlin Jews between and , about a third of the city's entire Jewish population as of From the Anhalter alone 9, left, in groups of 50 to at a time using trains. In contrast to other deportations using freight wagons, here the Jews were taken away in ordinary passenger coaches which were coupled up to regular trains departing according to the normal timetable.
All deportations went to Theresienstadt and from there to the death camps. The station after the war. Nearby is what had been one of the largest refuges in Berlin, the Anhalter Bahnhof bunker, completed in , with walls 2. Antony Beevor Berlin: In the station hall spanning two platforms with four tracks was rebuilt in its present plain style.
Heavily damaged during the war as shown here, train service at the station was resumed on 4 November , whilst the reconstruction of the hall continued until Beevor writes of "stories, mainly the product of German paranoia, that Ts were driven into railway tunnels to emerge behind their lines. The only genuine case of an underground tank, however, appears to be that of an unfortunate T driver who failed to spot the entrance of the Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station and charged down the stairs.
Stories of light artillery bumped down station stairs, step by step, and manhandled on to the tracks also owe more to folklore than to fact. RuSHA's staff included many determined and industrious young men who either had medical or some other professional eligibility. The RuSHA began evicting landowners from their homes and settling Germans in their place in mid Possible candidates were screened and interviewed by "race experts and qualifications examiners.
Next door had been where Goebbels as Gauleiter founded the weekly Nazi battle sheet Der Angriff in Also with offices here were the party house management of the Hitler Youth and the Gau-Rundfunkstelle broadcasting site. It is in this paper that one can find the clearest exposition of where Nazism stood on the Weimar Republic. We go into the Reichstag in order to obtain the weapons of democracy We become Reichstag deputies in order to paralyze the Weimar mentality with its own help. The Oberbaum Bridge after the war, and today.
In April the Wehrmacht blew up the middle section of the bridge in an attempt to stop the Red Army from crossing it.
After the war ended, Berlin was divided into four sectors. The Oberbaum Bridge crossed between the American and Soviet sectors. Until the mids, pedestrians, motor vehicles, and the city tramway were able to cross the bridge without difficulty. Border crossing East German checkpoint at the Oberbaum Bridge. Crowds at Oberbaumbrücke after the breach of the Berlin Wall in November When the Berlin Wall was built in the bridge became part of East Berlin's border with West Berlin; as all the waters of the River Spree were in Friedrichshain, the East German fortifications extended to the shoreline on the Kreuzberg side.
Beginning on December 21 , the Oberbaum Bridge was used as a pedestrian border crossing for West Berlin residents only. After the opening of the Wall in , and German reunification the following year, the bridge was restored to its former appearance, albeit with a new steel middle section designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It opened to pedestrians and traffic on November 9 , the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall.