Nazi architecture: the Zehlendorf SS settlement

by Leslie Hossack

Semi-Detached House, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

The mammoth neo-classical architecture that Albert Speer hoped to realize in the Berlin city centre had little impact on daily construction in the Third Reich. Most of the residential buildings and settlements … were given a more traditional form. The buildings had steep tile roofs; the windows could be closed with shutters. The appearance of half-timbered construction gave the houses a local flare. A typical example of this is the Zehlendorf SS settlement built in 1938 – 1940 in Berlin that now bears the name Waldsiedlung Krumme Lanke.                                                                                             – Matthias Donath, Architecture in Berlin 1933 – 1945, A Guide Through Nazi Berlin

The Nazis built housing for their SS troops on the west side of Berlin in Zehlendorf, on the shores of Krumme Lanke. The SS or Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron or defence corps) was a major paramilitary organization under Hitler and the Nazi Party. Built upon the Nazi ideology, the SS was responsible for many of the crimes against humanity during WW II. After 1945, the SS was banned in Germany, along with the Nazi Party, as a criminal organization. wikipedia.org/wiki/Schutzstaffel

The photograph above shows a typical example of what Matthias Donath refers to as a traditional residential settlement, consisting of houses with steep tile roofs and shuttered windows. These detached, semi-detached and terraced houses were allocated to SS officers according to rank.

To see examples of what Donath refers to as the mammoth neo-classical architecture that Albert Speer hoped to construct for Hitler’s  new world capital Germania, please see my previous posts of the 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium and Tempelhof Airport.


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