Old Berlin city plan covers

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How I became involved with my hobby

Railways- also one of my hobbies.  
The Berlin Wall between Treptow and Neukölln

My name is Mirko. I was born in 1968 and live in Berlin. I grew up in the East Berlin urban district of Treptow, which was directly situated at the Berlin Wall and neighbouring the West Berlin districts Kreuzberg and Neukölln. Later I lived in Friedrichshain, and, when I became desperate for a change of air, I set up home in the green outskirts near Spandau. There, however, I was soon bored and consequently moved to the Prenslauer Berg where I am presently at home.

Berlin was and is for me a fascinating city with many mysteries. The eventful history of Berlin, especially the destructions during World War II and its division afterwards, has been so impressive that one can almost “smell” the history of years. With a mixture of curiosity as well as sadness I perceive Berlin these days as a somewhat damaged city eternally and ruthlessly hunting for its title of cosmopolitan city.

Some new buildings turn out well, but many others look rather awful. But, perhaps it is this mixture of old and new that makes Berlin so interesting.
Like many other children of my time, I had become curious about the Berlin Wall, which marked my immediate neighbourhood. When I looked out of my window at the “other” side, I could see variously coloured houses, old churches, traffic lights and even a few people on their balconies. During night, when the wind was right, I heard the squeals of the elevated railway, I could even get the scent of a nearby chocolate factory and, unfortunately, many times the gnats from the concealed Landwehrkanal bit me all over my body. The knowledge never to be able to get across, to get beyond the Wall, had, at that time, stimulated my fantasy. But, as it was, it would have been easier for me to fly with the cosmonauts* through the universe than to saunter 100 meters westward from my house entrance.

My imagination, however, was really fuelled by the great white patch in East Berlin city maps, which I had noticed. West Berlin was completely erased, i.e. there was no colour. Anything that concerned the so-called enemy was to disappear from the consciousness of the East German citizens. A symbol of the S-Bahn and a few green flecks (presumably parks) were drawn in. But since I was curious and absolutely had to know why the old rusty street car tracks led directly into the Wall, and where they ran behind it and from where the nearby tooting of the invisible steamship behind our house came I decided to go in search of a complete city map. I found my first whole city map in the Ford Taunus of my uncle from the West, and henceforth guarded it like a treasure.

Little by little I was able to add more maps to this first square city atlas. So my hobby came into existence and the present project is dedicated to it. My collection contains about twenty-five maps of Berlin, which I will gradually scan and publish here. You can assist my collection to grow. For that please send me a brief E-mail . In case you cannot part with your map, but still want to support the Project, simply send me your scanned material. You can also use my Upload-Service .

Since many maps lack the year of publishing I decided some years ago to publish them in order to determine the exact data. Now I hope that people interested in Berlin will visit my site and communicate their information regarding the plans’ ages in the Forum. Perhaps someone can give me any clue as to the age of the presented maps.

Many thanks for the support of the Project go to:

  •  Michael from Mönchengladbach vom www.landkartenindex.de for the Shell-City map and the worthwhile tips.
  •  Gisbert from Berlin for the Schwarz-map
  •  Andreas from Berlin for the 3 lent Plans (one of this)
  •  Antje from Potsdam for the excellent translation

I enjoy thumbing through photograph books about Berlin. The contrasts of historic and current city views fascinate me. Looking at the photographs, one understands how much Berlin has suffered under the wounds of the wars and the partition. The pictures reveal the beauty and harmony of the pre-war houses, churches and other buildings. Apart from that Berlin hides many underground buildings, unused tunnels and other secret things. All the interesting books about Berlin that I could find are listed here.

P.S. It is typical of me that at one time (after a beer or two) I commented that: If Berlin's U-Bahn-smell was packaged in boxes, I would purchase it!

* Cosmonauts = East / Astronauts = West

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