Berlin - A Square, A Murder and A Famous Communist
The history of the Scheunenviertel
A square in the heart of Berlin, where gangsters, communists, Nazis, prostitutes and Jews once shared the same pavement. This place may appear unassuming – yet its streets have been walked by some of German history's most infamous characters and hold the secrets of the country's past.
A bleak, bitter place, dominated by the monumental Volksbühne theatre – its streets have been walked by some of German history's most infamous characters and the dark secrets of the country's past are written in the pavements and facades.
It was once the ghetto where Eastern Jewish immigrants resided and where gangsters and prostitutes went about their business. But despite its notorious reputation, the so-called Scheunenviertel was also a hub for politics and art. The German Communist Party used the square as their headquarters. Just after Hitler’s rise to power, the neighbourhood became a symbol of Nazi Berlin. Totally destroyed after the war, the area was then occupied by the Soviets. Pictures of Stalin adorned the facades. The German Reunification, which the neighbourhood miraculously survived unscathed, brought with it a new scene. Artists moved into the old houses. Nowadays, the disreputable area is the middle-class hipster neighbourhood of the new Berlin. With an abundance of historical footage, comics and enthralling protagonists, this film unravels the area’s big and small secrets and uncovers the fates of those who inhabited the square over the last century.
"It's a great idea to devote a documentary to this square whose biography is also the biography of this country. Especially as the filmmaker knows how to put the pictures and interviews with witnesses together so that one is swept away by the flow of events - just as it always happened to the people here." OLIVER GEHRS, FRANKFURTER RUDSCHAU
"A silent love letter to a place full of forgotten stories, with fantastic music by Arne Eickenberg. Don't miss it!" TAZ
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Documentary, Germany 2005,
Writer / Director: Britta Wauer
DOP: Kaspar Köpke
Editor: Berthold Baule
Sound: Garip Özdem
Music: Arne Eickenberg
Line Producer: Karsten Aurich
TV Editors: Christian Dezer, Selina Riefenstahl
Producer: Britta Wauer, Britzka Film