The Tragic Fame of a Hippo and an Elephant from the Berlin Zoo


During the Second World War, not only the Berlin Zoo but also other zoos across Germany such as the Zoologischen Garten in Düsseldorf and the Dresden Zoo were severely bombed and consequently destroyed. Despite years of existence and many promises of evacuation this did not happen and the animals were not spared. Many died due to injuries and mistreatment or due to hunger, poisoning or thirst and some of the few survivors that were left were put to use in an effort to rebuild what was destroyed, such as the elephants at the Hamburg Zoo. Nonetheless, some of the large and potentially dangerous animals such as panthers, jaguars and gorillas who managed to escape the unfolding inferno had to be chased down the streets and shot dead. It was hellish. In the Berlin Zoo only 91 of almost 4000 animals remained alive by the War’s end, including two lions, two hyenas, an Asian bull elephant, a hippo bull, ten hamadryad’s baboons, a chimpanzee, and a black stork. Here are two examples…

by Guest Author
on March 22nd, 2017
in Stories

Dating in Berlin: How to Unbreak You Heart


photo: Jacob Culp

As one can tell from the drastic shift in the outdoor clothing of many a Berliner (their flamboyant outfits are no longer covered by the oversized black/leopard print furs), spring is almost upon us. Tattoos will soon be exposed, blankets will be thrown on the Mauerpark ground, and you’ll drain Sterni in massive quantities. ‘Tis the season for love, but you’re still hung up on your latest flame? Unbreak your heart following these 5 easy steps.

Michalina by Michalina
on March 15th, 2017
in Stories

The Cutest Comic about the Struggles of the Berlin Winter


It’s March an we almost made it! We suffered through the dreaded Berlin Winter. Well, at least the ones among us that didn’t escape to a warm island like scared chicken! But still the cold season in Berlin is not fully over and if you haven’t lost your mind yet, you could still loose it on the last stretch, even though the fake-Spring has already thrown us a bone or two with a few rays of sunshine.

For those of you who want to maintain their sanity in the final stretch of Winter in Berlin our Blogfabrik colleague Sophia Halamoda, who also brought as the famous Berghain, Bürgeramt and Real Berliner Comics last year, has created a fantastic new comic: A Winter Survival Guide that also explains a lot of the secrets of the grey and cold seasons and how the real Berliner deal with them. Enjoy below (on 2 pages!).

Frank by Frank
on March 6th, 2017
in Stories

Treasure Hunting for the Favorite Books of Berliners


photo: Jule Müller

What books do Berliners like to read? I guess you could easily look up at some sales statistics from Dussmann or other giant book stores, but you would not get a good result. Because we all know that a lot of sold books will have the poor faith of ending up as an unwanted present to somebody who rather scrolls through Instagram in his free time (poor book).

But if you really want to know what books Berliners love to read you have to look around in a special public area: the U- and S-Bahn. Because, either you hate it or love it, but the Berlin subway is definitely a display of Berlin’s variety, showing you the most interesting and sometimes the most horrendous people, attitudes and behaviors Berlin has to offer.

My friends from Blogfabrik Judith Poznan and Jacob Schickler decided to look out for the more interesting kinds of human behavior and instead of asking what beer people on the U8 were spilling on the floor the decided to look into which books Berliners were reading. In her former past Judith was a hot book-shop-employee (which is the soft version of a hot librarian) and is an expert on books. This passion, her editorial skills and Jacob’s love and talent for photography brought them to create the Facebook Page Behind Berlin Books where they regularly share portraits of strangers with their books and their stories.

If you ask me, approaching strangers on the subway and asking them what kind of books they are reading and letting them tell you more about it (under the disguise of a journalistic project of course) is a hell of a flirting tactic, I should definitely include it in my guide How to get to know your U-Bahn Crush.

We collected a couple of shots for you to get a taste for the project after the jump. If you prefer seeing the portraits in real life then join us at their vernissage this week where they will show their favorite snaps and stories.

Claudio by Claudio
on March 6th, 2017
in Stories

A Modest Complaint: Berlin Internet


Photo by Cherie Birkner

I moved to Berlin from New York because of everything Berlin promises: freedom, liberty, affordability, creativity, internationalism, a nice dose of socialism – a real celebration of the artist’s life. It’s the party capital of the world with a burgeoning tech scene, a true city of the 21st century built out of the rubble of 20th century. For such a progressive, young and energized city, then, why do I have such trouble with internet access?

I’m not even talking about the dreaded download fines up to €1000, the IP-spying, the GEMA denials of YouTube videos “not allowed in your country”, as frustrating as these things are. I’m just talking about basic access to the amazing modern utility on our planet: the internet!

Keith by Keith
on February 24th, 2017
in Stories

Holding Out – A short story about a hopeless date

Hannah Lilie074

photo: Eylül Aslan

Dating in Berlin isn’t always easy, but certainly can be a dilemma, as you might have already read here on The cautious approach to each another and one person feeling or interpreting more into the encounter than the other is part of those first acquaintances globally, though. Matthew David Morris wrote a short story about those different expectations when getting to know someone.

by Guest Author
on February 18th, 2017
in Misc., People, Stories

Berlin – A Portrait in Words


Dreams are made of magic, timeless, faraway places, faceless people, and sometimes clouds, beer, and music. Having lived in Berlin for a few months, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to briefly run my fingers over its cloudy grey skin, and dive into the depths of its rainbow colored soul.

About a year ago I moved to Berlin to finish my final semester in university, and it took me on a most overwhelming journey. It felt like being reunited with an old lover after so many years. Only, we hadn’t really met before. And though I was a stranger to this place, it felt strangely familiar from the moment I arrived. It had an air of nostalgia and mystery to it, like most surreal things do. And I wondered if I’d ever get to understand it, and see what lies beneath its many faces.

by Guest Author
on February 15th, 2017
in Misc., Stories

Neukölln Butchery


I’d landed on my feet and hit the ground running. I knew people. My pockets were lined with the contacts of DJs, photographers, film makers and the owners of bars. Before I had even arrived in Berlin I was told that Neukölln was the place to be; and here I was right in the thick of it. Purposefully unpainted, candlelit bars selling mezcal from Oaxaca, trendy vegan cafes which serve coffee in bowls, makeshift pop up galleries, neo-vintage clothes stores with humanitarian ideologies and hipster beards galore, it’s an orgy of artists and underground musicians not wanting to make the mainstream. Weserstraße operates as one of the main arteries. When I told people was staying there they looked at me differently.

by Guest Author
on February 10th, 2017
in Misc., Stories

The Accident – A Short Story about Excitement and Fear


photoChase Elliott ClarkCC

The Accident

In my dreams I am always driving in the reverse gear. The car almost inevitably falls into a pit. And the brakes never seem to work.

Perhaps this stems from my insecurity of never having perfected the art of parallel parking. Or just the undulating shame of once having driven my dad’s car into an unguarded manhole. Episodes like these resurface in my head every time I commit a serious faux pas while driving.

A few weeks back I met with an accident. A minor car accident. Which inflicted a few minutes of amnesia. Or so I thought.

by Guest Author
on February 10th, 2017
in Stories

What does your favorite U-Bahn line say about you?

Warschauer str bahn

photo: Ingolf / cc

Ever since I could apply some of my German understanding into practice, I’ve been impressed with the BVG’s marketing strategy. Their hilarious billboards really embrace the city’s spirit that comprises lots of contrasts, like comely goth girls surrounding an elderly gentleman in an U-Bahn. Images like that are so successful with the public because we all can relate to this distinct image of an underground Berlin train: eerily empty on a Wednesday night, on Friday evening overcrowded to the extent that makes you think of the London Tube, often stinky, always about to become a venue for some busker’s performance. This is where the life happens. Or rather, this is where the life stops – just for the amount of time you need for your commute you can catch a little moment of thought before you’re back on the busy street, heading on to your destination.

After having amused myself with curiously observing the coincidental company I’d see come and go on my U-Bahn rides as well as having absorbed a good deal of the Berlin urban clichees, I’ve come up with this handy little guide to some of our favorite lines and their direct impact on our personalities.

Michalina by Michalina
on February 2nd, 2017
in Stories