Zehlendorf district full of Forests, Lakes, Parks

This week the Berlin Observer begins a series of articles on the places and events in Berlin that are of current and historical interest in an attempt to better acquaint our readers with the "Divided City" in which we live and serve. In this, the first of the series, the district of Zehlendorf will be examined since it is in this district that most of the American facilities are located. The borough of Zehlendorf, an elongated district in the south-westernmost part of West Berlin, encloses many areas that, in the past, were independent of Berlin. Of the borough's 17,438 acres, approximately 10,000 consist of forest, water area, fields, gardens and parks. It has a population of about 100,000 and was created in 1920 by the union of the rural parishes of Zehlendorf, Niko- lassee and Wannsee and the private estates of Dahlem, Kleinglienicke, Pfaueninsel and part of the PotsdamForst. Village on a Hill The old "village" of Dahlem, which now comprises the north-eastern-most part of Zehlendorf, dates back to the 13th Century. The name it bears comes from medieval times when it was called "Dol Hem," meaning village on a hill. The Dahlem- Dorf U-Bahn Station is built in rustic style with a thatched roof as a reminder that where it stands, at Fabeck Strasse and Brumer Strasse, was once the center of the old village. Seat of Academic Freedom Today Dahlem is the seat of the Free University, many institutes of the Technical University, the Max Planck Society, the famed Dahlem Museum, the U. S. Berlin Head-quarters Compound, both American schools and part of the American Community housing area. The Free University was founded in December 1948 as an expression of the democratic forces in West Berlin and as a protest of lovers of academic freedom against the increasing interference with free intellectual growth at the Humboldt University in East Berlin. The main building of the university, designed by the architects F. H. Sobotka and G. Muller, was constructed in 1952-54 from a donation by the Henry Ford Foundation and bears the name of The Henry Ford Building. This building contains the Auditorium Maximum (having a seating capacity of 1,300), several lecture rooms, spacious halls and a library with a bookstore tower. At the Free University there are faculties of medicine, veterinary medicine, economics and social sciences, jurisprudence, philosophy, mathematics and natural science. Birth of the Atomic Age Thirty years ago in Dahlem the door to a new era for man was opened. In 1938, Doctor Otto Hahn, working, for the Kaiser-Wilhelm Chemical Institute, devised a means of splitting the uranium atom, thus paving the way for experiments that led to the harnessing of atomic power. Doctor Hahn worked in collaboration with Fritz Strassman in what is now the Otto-Hahn-Bau on Thielallee 63. The building is today a part of the Free University and a tablet in front of the building commemorates the first splitting of the a t o m . Scientific Research The Max Planck society, a descendant to the Kaiser-Wilhelm Chemical Institute, carries on similar research today. It provides research scientists with a laboratory, equipment and sustenance while they perform their work. The society was originally supported by donations from interested philanthropists. Now the group is supported largely by the Federal Republic of Germany and the city of West Berlin. Max Planck, like Doctor Hahn a Nobel Prize winner for his work in theoretical physics, was the first postwar leader of the society that now bears his name. The Society has over 40 research centers throughout Germany and I each specializes in a different field. Five of these are centered in Dahlem near the Free University. The Otto-Hahn-Bau is the most famous one and deals with cellular physiology, It is engaged in cancer research, in heredity, biology and pathology. Retention of the Old But Dahlem, centuries old, retains much of its old history as well as the relatively recent. West of the Dahlem-Dorf U-Bahn Station lies the old village green (Dorfaue), which now contains a mound adorned by a World War I monument. In the neighborhood of the village green is the former Manor House (Herrenhaus) built by Cuno Hans von Wilmersdorff in 1680 on the walls of a former farmhouse. Since 1949 the house has been occupied by the Veterinary Clinic of the Free University.


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