Kunsthaus Tacheles

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The Kunsthaus Tacheles on Oranienburger Strasse , 2008

The Kunsthaus Tacheles was an art and event center in the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin district of Mitte . Between 1990 and 2012 it used a part of a former department store that had been saved from demolition.

Origin of name

Tacheles, 1995
Tacheles, 1998
Rear view of the building, 2006
The east wall painted with graffiti , 2008

The idiom “Tacheles talk” (from Hebrew tachlit (תכלית) “goal”, “purpose”; Yiddish term for “plain text”) means: directly speaking the blunt truth; expressing one's opinion without make-up to someone without reserve; Speak plain text; address a sensitive topic; Speak openly and clearly (e.g., "Now talk to me!"). The artist initiative Tacheles , which occupied the house in 1990, gave itself this name because of the problems that freedom of expression brought with it during the GDR era. So many messages in music, film and art had to be hidden ambiguously . Breaking this ambiguity in art was a goal of the artist group. Over time, the name of the group was transferred to the building itself.


Friedrichstrasse Passage

The building erected by Franz Ahrens in 15 months from 1907 to 1908 was opened in 1909 as Friedrichstrasse Passage. It connected Friedrichstrasse with Oranienburger Strasse. After the Kaiserpassage , it was the second largest shopping mall in the city. The construction costs amounted to seven million marks .

The five-story building was made of reinforced concrete . The central hall, in which the bent parts of the passage from Friedrichstrasse and Oranienburger Strasse met, had one of the first domes made of this material. The house can be assigned to the early modern period and contains classical and Gothic influences. The complex had its own pneumatic tube system .

A joint-stock company consisting of several retailers gave the building contract for the passage under the initiator Otto Markiewicz in order to get a market advantage through the common location. The concept provided for the shops not to be strictly separated from one another, but rather to merge with one another and to control them using a central cash desk. As early as August 1908, six months after opening, the Passage department store had to file for bankruptcy. The complex was rented from Wolf Wertheim , who reopened a department store in it in 1909, which he was able to hold until 1914. Before the outbreak of the First World War , however, the building was foreclosed .

How the building was used between 1914 and 1924 is not known. In 1924, in addition to other renovations, a deep cellar (also called "vault" in a later report) was installed and the ceiling height of the passage was lowered to the level of the shops using a steel-glass construction, which completely changed the overall impression of the hall.

House of technology

The building was used by AEG from 1928 and henceforth referred to as the House of Technology by the owner, the Berlin Commerz- und Privatbank . AEG used the premises to present products and advise customers. The previous AEG showroom and sales building at Luisenstrasse 35 was destroyed in a fire on September 15, 1927. The new premises were used with an area of ​​10,500 m² and 20 shop windows.

Use by the National Socialists

At the beginning of the 1930s, the building was increasingly used by NSDAP agencies. In the mid-1930s, the German Labor Front moved into the building with offices for the Kurmark district and also became the owner of the building in 1941. At the same time, the Central Soil Office of the SS also moved there.

In 1943 roof skylights were closed and the corresponding roof turrets were removed because French prisoners of war were to be housed in the attic. During the Battle of Berlin, the National Socialists flooded the second underground cellar, which has been under water ever since. The building suffered damage during the Second World War but could still be used for various purposes.

Use in the GDR era

The house was taken over by the Free German Trade Union Federation (FDGB) in 1948 and weathered over the years. Various retailers and craft businesses moved in temporarily, especially on the Friedrichstrasse side. The German travel agency used the quickly and provisionally restored passage wing and some upper floors. In addition, the building housed an art school, a dog shearing facility , the external trade school and office space from RFT . The vaults in the basement were used by the National People's Army .

The Camera Cinema was initially located in the gate building on Friedrichstrasse, but was no longer able to use this space due to the poor state of construction at the end of the 1950s and then had the former AEG lecture hall expanded in 1958, which was later reopened under the name OTL (Oranienburger Tor Lichtspiele) . During the renovation work, the facade was partially changed and an anteroom was built as a checkout area and the ceiling was converted in favor of a staircase. This formed the entrance area. The cinema hall was also used as a theater hall. After another renovation of the cinema in 1972, it was renamed Camera again.

Partial demolition

The neglected dome in the bend of the passage from Friedrichstrasse to Oranienburger Strasse in August 1980
Tacheles Cafe Zapata
Main staircase in Tacheles, 2007
Open-air exhibition of metal sculptures, 2011

Although the building was only moderately damaged during the Second World War, it was supposed to be demolished on the basis of two statics reports from 1969 and 1977, as despite intensive use it had never been renovated. A new street should run across the site and form a shortcut between Oranienburger Strasse and Friedrichstrasse.

The demolition began in 1980. Two years later, the cinema was closed and the still completely preserved dome was blown up. According to the plan, the part that is still standing today was to be dismantled in April 1990.

Tacheles artists' initiative

Shortly before the scheduled demolition of the still left standing rest of the building was on 13 February 1990 by the artist initiative Tacheles occupied . The occupiers tried to prevent the demolition through negotiations with the Berlin-Mitte building department, which was the legal entity responsible for the complex, and citing the protection of monuments . Nevertheless, according to the city council resolution 150/90, the house was to be blown up on April 10, 1990, whereupon the occupiers submitted an urgency request at the Berlin round table , which could temporarily stop the demolition.

The artist initiative had a new report on the building fabric and statics drawn up. Due to the positive result, the house was initially placed under a preservation order, which was confirmed after a further report from February 18, 1992.

The building was brightly painted and various sculptures were erected from rubble. Due to the differing views of the artists from East and West Germany, a lot of controversy arose at the beginning. In the meantime, the complex that Tacheles e. V. has developed into a permanent and large art, action, event and communication center in Berlin. The building included around 30 artist studios, exhibition areas and sales rooms for contemporary art, the arthouse cinema “High End 54”, the “Panorama Bar” and various event locations such as the Zapata Café and the 400 m² “Blue Salon” in which concerts, readings, exhibitions and performances took place. In the "Cafe Zapata" run by the Tacheles artist and restaurateur Ludwig Eben there was a restaurant from 1990 to 2010. a. Concerts by the Test Department , readings (such as by Howard Marks and Götz Widmann in 2004) as well as events in the open space in front of the Tacheles, in which a park made of metal sculptures was built. The "Golden Hall" encompassed the entire first floor of the Tacheles - here was a stage that was an important venue for the off-theater scene and, above all, for the free contemporary dance scene in Berlin. The artists and institutions that had previously shown performances in the Golden Hall included RA.MM theater , Orphtheater , Theater zum western Stadthirschen , Henry Arnold , Régine Chopinot , Arthur Kuggeleyn , Rike Eckermann, Sebastian Hartmann , Howard Katz, Clint Lutes , Matthias Merkle , Tomi Paasonen, Felix Ruckert , Torsten Sense , Lars-Ole Walburg , Sasha Waltz , Christoph Winkler , wee dance company, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin and Lucky Trimmer. Olivier Putzbach had created a biotope with a pond in the courtyard under the name "Maggies Farm".

Sculptures in the metal workshop, 2011

In 1996 and 1997 politicians, sociologists and architects as well as artists discussed the preservation and future use of the complex in the context of the Metropolis Berlin, high-speed architecture panel. In 1998 the Fundus Group acquired the 1250 m² property for 2.8 million marks (adjusted for purchasing power in today's currency: around 2 million euros). They commissioned the American Andrés Duany with a design for a quarter on Johannishof with a construction volume of an estimated 400 million euros, for which no investors have yet been found.

The Tacheles e. V. subsequently negotiated a rental agreement with the new owner, which was valid until December 31, 2008. A mark (around 50 cents ) per square meter per month was agreed as a symbolic rent payment  . After the old lease expired, a new one could not be negotiated. Since the club could not raise the required compensation of 108,000 euros, it filed for bankruptcy at the end of 2009 . A creditor of the mortgage liens , HSH Nordbank , sought a foreclosure auction in the course of the realization of the area and had a valid eviction title . An auction date was set for April 4, 2011, but was canceled at short notice on that day. On April 5, the catering group left the Tacheles in return for payment of one million euros; The cinema, backyard and ground floor were cleared. 80 artists remained in the building with their studios and metal workshops. A week later, the administrator ordered the construction of a nearly three-meter-high wall that separates the passage from Oranienburger Strasse to the courtyard with the workshops.

On December 8, 2011, about 30 employees of a security company broke into the premises on the 5th floor. The Belarusian artist Alexander Rodin was evicted from the premises, but was unable to take any personal items or his 15 large-format pictures with him. Attorney Michael Schulz, who carried out the evacuation for an unknown client, stated that the evacuation of the 5th floor was legal as no owner could be determined. Rodin himself had stated that he was not the owner of these areas.

On March 22, 2012, the Tacheles was closed to visitors after an eviction attempt by the bailiff . In March 2012, the Berlin Regional Court declared the evacuation of the Tacheles cultural center to be illegal. The court issued an injunction to the official receiver , the rooms of the Tacheles immediately issue again. This happened the day before.

The Kunsthaus Tacheles was finally vacated on the morning of September 4, 2012 at 7 a.m., with only one symbolic-artistic protest.

Some artists and programmers have created an interactive Tacheles 3D online gallery in order to create new rooms for the artists, so that Tacheles can continue to live digitally.

Some of the artists moved to Marzahn on the site of the former lean cattle farm .

Since then, the former Kunsthaus has been empty.

Sale 2014

In September 2014, Anno August Jagdfeld sold the property on which the Tacheles is located to the New York asset management company Perella Weinberg Partners LP (PWR); According to a Bloomberg report, Jagdfeld will use the proceeds to service its liabilities to HSH Nordbank . The development plan stipulates that the Tacheles building, the historic wing of the Friedrichstrasse Passage, will be used for cultural purposes again in the future. An architectural model published by the developer shows that the Kunsthaus is to be flanked by a new building, the eaves height of which is sometimes well above the neighboring buildings. At the laying of the foundation stone in September 2019, it was announced that the Stockholm Photo Museum Fotografiska was planning to use the site - in addition to the development of office space, condominiums and shops - with a museum annex for the reopening in 2022 .


  • Andreas Rost, Annette Gries: Tacheles. Everyday life in chaos. Photo book. Elefanten Press, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-88520-422-3 .
  • Harald Neckelmann: Friedrichstrasse Berlin at the beginning of the 20th century . Berlin Story Verlag, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86368-069-5 .
  • Ines Eck: Tacheles. Destruction of a utopia. eBook. Edition Kunstlandschaft, Berlin 2013.
  • Stefan Schilling: Tacheles - The history of the Kunsthaus in photographs . Edition Braus, Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-86228-147-3 .
  • The Friedrichstrasse Passage in Berlin. In: Journal of Construction . Volume 59, 1909, col. 17–42, plates 5–7. (Digitized version)

Web links

Commons : Kunsthaus Tacheles  - album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. TACHELES - a story. ( Memento of April 8, 2011 in the web archive archive.today ) Section "Talking TACHELES"
  2. Hemp Journal . tape 09/04 , p. 3 .
  3. Sven Becker, Sebastian Erb, Wiebke Hollersen: CAPITAL: Culture against capital . In: Spiegel Online . tape 35 , August 30, 2010 ( spiegel.de [accessed August 28, 2019]).
  4. North Wind Festival
  5. Berliner Morgenpost- Berlin: Tacheles - Is that art or can it go away? April 4, 2011, accessed August 28, 2019 .
  6. ^ Nina Apin: Kunsthaus before the end: Tacheles an der Oranienburger. In: taz.de. January 17, 2008, accessed January 8, 2012 .
  7. Alexandra Kunze: Foreclosure threatens: In Tacheles they play black peter. In: taz.de. February 13, 2009, accessed January 8, 2012 .
  8. Tacheles area is to go under the hammer in 2010. In: Immobilien Zeitung No. 3, January 21, 2010, p. 26.
  9. No foreclosure: eviction of Kunsthaus Tacheles postponed. In: Berliner Morgenpost . April 4, 2011, accessed January 8, 2012 .
  10. ^ Rolf Lautenschläger, Konrad Litschko: The conflict about the Kunsthaus continues: Tacheles is walled up. In: taz .de. April 12, 2011, accessed January 8, 2012 .
  11. Hadija Haruna : Conflict about the Tacheles: eviction from above. In: Tagesspiegel Online . December 8, 2011, accessed January 8, 2012 .
  12. scuffles before the Kunsthaus Tacheles in bailiff's visit .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. berlinonline.de / dapd@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.berlinonline.de  
  13. Landgericht Berlin : Press release: Forced administrator must surrender rooms in Tacheles . March 26, 2012.
  14. Jörn Hasselmann: The clearance of the tile has begun - new start in Neukölln . In: Der Tagesspiegel , September 3, 2012.
  15. ^ 3D Kunsthaus Tacheles Berlin
  16. Stefan Strauss: Tacheles in Marzahn: Off the center. August 8, 2013, accessed August 28, 2019 .
  17. Andrea Beyerlein: Tacheles Areal: New Round in Monopoly. July 1, 2013, accessed August 28, 2019 .
  18. ^ Perella Weinberg Buys Former Squatters' Site in Berlin . From: Bloomberg.com , September 25, 2014, accessed May 29, 2016.
  19. Martina Vetter: It should finally start on the Tacheles area. In: Immobilien Zeitung . March 31, 2016.
  20. ^ Herzog, de Meuron and four Berliners. Start of construction on the Tacheles site in Berlin. In: baunetz.de. April 5, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2016.
  21. dpa: Berlin Kunsthaus Tacheles should reopen in 2022. (No longer available online.) In: Berliner Morgenpost . September 19, 2019, archived from the original on September 23, 2019 ; accessed on July 8, 2020 .
  22. ^ Anselm Lenz: New private district in Berlin: laying the foundation stone before the men . In: The daily newspaper : taz . September 20, 2019, ISSN  0931-9085 ( taz.de [accessed on September 23, 2019]).
  23. Laura Hofmann and Ralf Schönball: Photo gallery from Sweden is to move to the former Kunsthaus Tacheles. In: Der Tagesspiegel . September 11, 2019, accessed September 23, 2019 .

Coordinates: 52 ° 31 '32.7 "  N , 13 ° 23' 19.8"  E