‘Tacheles’ – Yiddish for “straight talking” has been an art house and a nightclub since the Berlin wall came down in Spring 1990. Originally built as a department store in the Jewish part of former East Berlin in Mitte, then subsequently used as a Nazi prison, the future of this cultural paradise is under threat.
Demolition took down parts of the building including the dome and movie theater in 1980, but the rest was saved last minute by an arts group named Künstlerinitative Tacheles. The initiative occupied the building and demanded it was saved as a historic landmark, which was later certified as the structure was still in tact.
As much of the exterior was damaged in WWII, there are huge colourful graffiti-style murals covering almost every space. The inside of Tacheles was used to house the artists and their work, until in 1991 when the housing association was burnt down. Inside now features sculptures and paintings from artists all over the world from Argentina, Britain, Japan, America and many from Germany itself.
Now, the future of Tacheles is unknown because the group that stood in the way of developers may have finally backed down. Tourists are banished from using cameras inside the building; art fans need to move fast. With a hop, skip and a jump over to Berlin, you’ll be there in a flash experiencing the best of Berlin art and culture under one roof. Be sure to sign the petition situated on the top floor to save this special place, but don’t leave it too long.
To join the group Save the Tacheles, go to http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=63977795383
or check out the I Support Tacheles blog at http://isupporttacheles.blogspot.com/
Words by Gina Morris