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“… when the path passes the old plane tree, the hurried step slows down. Then the tree nymph whispers so loudly, and suddenly the world of the day before yesterday and yesterday is there again. As if it had never died. As if the gruesome today was nothing more than a bad, dark dream.”

Margarete Caemmerer 1923


The photo by Eberhard Schröter shows the condition in 2020. The Kaiser-Platane stands on the sidewalk next to Potsdamer Straße at the level of the underground parking entrance to the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. © Eberhard Schröter

The Kaiser-Platane stands somewhat forlornly on the hard shoulder of Potsdamer Strasse at the junction with Scharoun Strasse. It is said that it was planted around 1858 on the occasion of the wedding of the later Emperor Frederick III and his wife, the British Princess Victoria. At that time, the Tiergarten district was under construction and the newly laid Viktoriastrasse and Margaretenstrasse intersected at this spot. The imposing tree survived the bombing and the demolition of the district. It was to be cut down for the construction of the relief road, as it was standing in the way. After protests from the residents, it was spared. After Potsdamer Strasse was relocated again at the end of the 1990s, the Kaiser-Platane now stands next to the roadway in the direction of Potsdamer Platz in front of the property of the Staatsbibliothek (State Library).


In this photo by Rolf Koehler from September 20, 1966, the construction progress at the Kulturforum becomes clear. The Philharmonie has been open for 3 years, the Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) is under construction. In the meantime, the Kaiser-Platane is enclosed by the two multi-lane carriageways of the new Potsdamer Strasse on the central reservation. © bpk / Rolf Koehler


Friedrich Seidenstücker documents with this photo the condition around 1960. The Kaiser-Platane survived the bombing without damage. The two residential buildings still standing in the background were demolished around 1968. © bpk / Friedrich Seidenstücker


The photograph from 1937 shows the villa designed by Friedrich Hitzig at Viktoriastrasse 9, corner Margaretenstrasse. The Kaiser-Platane can be seen in the crop at the right edge of the picture. Hitzig had already saved the tree from being cut down once before during the construction of the square in the late 1850s. © bpk