Look down and remember
The dome of Nollendorfplatz U-Bahn station has been lit in rainbow colours since 2013 as a sign of the neighbourhood’s tolerance and diversity. Right in front of it stands a column erected by the Berlin artist Salomé at the turn of the millennium, a phallic metal pencil in rainbow colours with a pink tip, donated by the landlords of local gay bars. It’s a sign of self-confidence that complements the pink triangle plaque put up at the station in 1982 as a memorial to the times of persecution.
In 1982 a plaque was put up at Nollendorfplatz underground station, with a pink triangle commemorating the persecution and murder of gays and lesbians in the Third Reich. Flowers are often laid in front of it.
There are also Stolpersteine, or stumbling blocks – brass memorial markers set in the pavements outside the houses of people who were deported and murdered by the Nazis. Since 2011, they have also been laid in Schöneberg for homosexual men, such as on Motzstraße at number 9 for Albrecht Krosigk and at number 30 for Otto Hampel.
And in 2019 a mural with a portrait of Walter Degen was sprayed at Bülowstraße 94, commemorating homosexuals interned in concentration camps. The street art is the work of Nils Westergard and is entitled “The UNforgotten”.
Less prominent plaques recall happier times. One of them is on the wall of Nollendorfstraße 17, where Christopher Isherwood lived – one of many foreigners who enjoyed the freedom that Berlin offered in the 1920s. Another is the sign above the organic supermarket at Motzstraße 24, which was the site of the legendary transvestite bar Eldorado in the early 1930s. The Magnus pharmacy at Motzstraße 11 is named after Magnus Hirschfeld, the founder of the homosexual rights movement.