Anika R.
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The KaDeWe Opened 115 Years Ago

The KaDeWe Opened 115 Years Ago

Mar 28, 2022

115 years ago, on March 27th, 1907, the "Kaufhaus des Westens" (KaDeWe), department store of the West, opened in Berlin.

The "Westen" refers to the Western part of Berlin, called "Neuer Westen". The acronym KaDeWe was used from the start.

Adolf Jandorf & Co already had several stores in Berlin but wanted to add a store that geared towards the higher middle class and elites with high quality and luxury items. He used electric lights and had thirteen elevators in the store, as well as a library, hairdressers, a tea salon, a branch of the Deutsche Bank, a photo studio, and an exchange office. The store was a great success, with Berlin residents and foreigners.

In 1927, Jandorf sold his company to Hermann Tietz OHG who expanded the KaDeWe and introduced a gourmet food section. When the finance crisis of 1929, the KaDeWe was also in trouble and required money from the bank. But when the Nazis came into power in 1933, the financial help was withheld because the three CEOs were Jewish. The Hertie GmbH (Hertie comes from Hermann Tietz) was founded and took over the Hermann Tietz OHG while the company owners were 'bought out'. If you want to call buying a 21m business for 1.5m 'buying out'.

Have you ever been to the KaDeWe?

I got the black and white photos below from wikimedia commons, they are from the book "100 Jahre KaDeWe" by Antonia Meiners, you can buy a used copy here: https://tinyurl.com/4kvbjj47

There is also a book with photos from the early days of the KaDeWe: https://amzn.to/3DjYKjt (affiliate link)

KaDeWe in 2016. Photo by Pixikus on pixabay

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