Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Frank Ebert

Schöneberg Town Hall

After World War II, Berlin became a focal point in the conflict between the communist East and the democratic West. In 1948 this resulted in the city being divided into two administrative sectors. The West Berlin senate and parliament set up their headquarters in Schöneberg Town Hall, with the square outside the town hall becoming a site for important political rallies. It was here that US President John F. Kennedy held his famous Berlin speech on 26 June 1963. The Liberty Bell in the tower – a gift from the USA – commemorates the will to defend democracy and human rights.

After the Berlin Wall fell, 20,000 people came to a rally on the square on 10 November 1989 – both supporters and opponents of German unity. The speakers were the former West Berlin mayor Willy Brandt (SPD), the current mayor Walter Momper (SPD), the West German foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FDP) and chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU). The crowd booed Kohl during his speech; many people saw him as a chancellor whose time was up. The East German freedom movement, however, paved the way for his role as ‘Chancellor of Unity’.

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