Uncle Tom’s hut in Berlin

Photo Catherine Gras

Harriet Beecher’s novel Stove, published in the mid-nineteenth century, has no apparent connection to Berlin. And yet … there is a housing estate with that name in Berlin and that’s where I’m taking you for this post.

At the end of the 19th century, in a district in the south west of the city, towards Grünewald, a “Beer Garten” opened and small huts were built to provide shelter for consumers. For this reason, the place was named Onkel Tom Hütte.

A few decades later, Bruno Taut, a city architect, was to build a modernist housing estate not far from there, which was to take this name. The Beergarten has since disappeared, but there remains a neighbourhood in the middle of the greenery. A neighbourhood full of colour and modernist design.

IIt dates from the 20’s, with the Neuen Bauen movement that you will find in other posts I wrote (Britz, Schillerpark …). This housing estate is not classified as a UNESCO site like others in Berlin, but it is still worth a visit.

There are regular calls for the district to change its name and get rid of the colonialist heritage attached to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. How long will this controversy last? … will a name change take place? To be continued…

Where to find it: https://goo.gl/maps/RdJmKwVzMaZB4Npx8

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