Centre of the Neighbourhood

The Kollwitzplatz

In 1862 the "binding land-use plan for the environs of Berlin" became effective. According to this scheme, the government architect James Hobrecht was appointed by the city to design the layout of future streets and squares in the expanding city. The street grid between Schönhauser Allee and Prenzlauer Allee clustered around a triangular "Square H".

Sections of Hobrecht's plan from 1862. At this point neither the Square H nor the nameless streets existed: They were merely plans for the city implementation within a land-use plan.
Sections of Hobrecht's plan from 1862. At this point neither the Square H nor the nameless streets existed: They were merely plans for the city implementation within a land-use plan.

As a consequence of France’s defeat in the French-German war in 1870/71, the regions of Alsace and Lorraine became part of the German Reich, and the new streets in this part of the city plan took their names from places in the annexed territories (Metz, Kolmar, Mühlhausen) or Prussian generals (Fransecky, Tresckow). "Square H" was named after the Alsacian city of Wörth and was designed as a decorative square.

 Käthe Kollwitz lived in a house on the corner of today's Kollwitzstraße and Knaackstraße. This house was later destroyed in the war, and today on the same spot you will find a new building. On its facade hangs a plate commemorating about Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz lived in a house on the corner of today's Kollwitzstraße and Knaackstraße. This house was later destroyed in the war, and today on the same spot you will find a new building. On its facade hangs a plate commemorating about Käthe Kollwitz

Shortly after the end of World War Two, the square was renamed after the artist Käthe Kollwitz, the printmaker and sculptress whose works portrayed social conditions. She had lived on the square, at Weißenburger Straße 35, for over 50 years. In 1961, in her honour a plastic statue by the sculptor Gustav Seitz was erected in the middle of the square. It is now a landmark of the surrounding residential area.

On the South West side of the Kollwitzplatz (“Kollwitz Square”) between Knaackstraße 40 and 42, you will see a black gate with two David shields. Behind this gate begins the so called "Judengang", the next stop on our tour.