Haus Vaterland, Berlin 1931

Haus Vaterland, Berlin 1931

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In the 1920s and 30s, Berlin was the center of Europe’s film and entertainment business and people came from all over the world to dine, dance and be entertained in the city’s lively restaurants, bars, nightclubs and concert halls.
Though Haus Vaterland translates to Fatherland House, this event space had little to do with patriotic spirit. The six-story building in Potsdamer Platz was converted in 1928 to ‘a pleasure palace,’ featuring a café that could seat 2500, a cinema that could seat 1400, an enormous dance hall and multiple small restaurants.
Some 3,500 people could be accommodated in its elaborately decorated themed dining rooms, each dedicated to cuisine from a different part of the world.
This 1931 menu cover, featuring appropriately-hatted cherubs, highlights the Rhine Terrace, the Lowenbrau beer hall, the Wild West bar, the Turkish Café, the Spanish Bodega and the Italian Osteria.
There was also a Japanese tearoom and a Palmensaal (Palm Hall) dedicated to dancing.
Many of the restaurants were known for their lively cabaret shows and featured some of the best jazz performers and entertainers of the era.The restaurants were serviced by a central kitchen on the top floor connected to the different dining establishments by pneumatic tubes that sent orders up and dumbwaiters that sent food down.
More than a million people visited every year and Haus Vaterland was the flagship of the Kempinski company, founded by wine merchant and restaurateur Berthold Kempinski in 1878.
Kempinski family members were Jewish and in the Nazi era they were forced to sell the property for a pittance and flee the country.
Haus Vaterland continued to function during WWII but in 1943, the building was damaged by British bombing raids and practically obliterated by American bombing raids in 1945.
In 1947, the café section of Haus Vaterland re-opened and became, by all accounts, a hotbed of spying and black marketeering.
It finally closed in 1953, with the building and the land allowed to go to waste. Located adjacent to the Berlin Wall that was constructed in 1961, Haus Vaterland was demolished in 1976.
In 1952, Berthold Kempinski’s grandson Dr Friedreich Unger returned to Berlin from the US and opened the Bristol, the first luxury hotel in the city. This was where President John F Kennedy stayed in 1963 when he famously told the people of Germany ‘Ich bin ein Berliner.’
Kempinski Hotels now operates 77 five-star hotels and residences in 35 countries.
This 1931 menu is from the Lowenbrau, featuring hearty food and beer.

Gallery quality Giclée print on natural white, matte, 100% cotton rag, acid and lignin free archival paper using Epson archival inks. Custom printed with border for matting and framing.

Each order includes a print of the interior menu.

All printed in USA.

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