Haute Vitrine

PHOTOGRAPHS by LESLIE HOSSACK

Hansel & Gretel in the Zehlendorf SS settlement

Two Houses, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

These houses were built by Hitler’s National Socialist regime for SS officers and their families. They are located in an idyllic forest along the shores of Krumme Lanke, on the west side of Berlin in Zehlendorf.

This setting makes me think of the German fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, recorded by the Brothers Grimm and published in 1812. In the story, the two children are threatened by an evil witch who lives in a charming house deep in the dark woods.

The photograph above shows a typical example of Nazi residential architecture. The tiny houses with steep tile roofs and shuttered windows are scattered about in a natural setting. These detached, semi-detached and terraced houses were allocated to SS officers according to rank.

In his book titled Architecture in Berlin 1933 – 1945, A Guide Through Nazi Berlin, Matthias Donath writes: 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.

Nazi architecture: the Zehlendorf SS settlement

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.


Nazi architecture from Karlshorst to Zehlendorf

Front of Terrace House, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010

 

Back of Terrace House, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

Nazi Germany came to an end with the signing of the unconditional surrender on May 8th 1945. This historic event took place in the Karlshorst district of Berlin, in a building constructed in 1936-1938 by the National Socialist regime. The building initially served as the officers’ mess of the German Armed Forces Pioneer School. (To view photographs of this iconic location, please see the Haute Vitrine posts of November 10th and 11th.)

At the same time that Karlshorst was being built, the Nazis were constructing housing for their SS troops on the other side of Berlin. Zehlendorf is located approximately 30 kilometres west of Karlshorst 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

In his book Berlin 1933-1945, Maik Kopleck describes the Zehlendorf settlement: SS “Comradeship” Housing Development, architect Hans Gerlach. In 1937, the SS started to build 600 houses in the idyllic countryside of nearby Grunewald for members of the “racial elite.” Architect Hans Gerlach agreed his plans with the SS “Central Office for Race and Resettlement.” The houses were to be “simple and true, while display decency and dignity.” The detached and semi-detached and terraced houses, still standing today, were allocated according to rank. All houses today are private property.


Remembrance Day, 11/11/11

Unconditional Surrender, Karlshorst, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

World War I officially ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, with the signing of the Armistice. Remembrance Day is still observed at that time, and this year’s ceremonies will take place today, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 2011.

World War I, The War to End All Wars, was fought from 1914 to 1918. Just over 20 years later in 1939, World War II broke out and lasted almost seven years. Nazi Germany, and the war in Europe, finally came to an end with the signing of an unconditional surrender on May 8th 1945.

This historic event took place in the room shown above. It is located in the Karlshorst district of Berlin, in a building constructed in 1936-1938 by Germany’s National Socialist government. The building initially served as the officers’ mess of the German Armed Forces Pioneer School. After World War II,  it was the seat of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany from 1945-1949. Today it is the German-Russian Museum. www.museum-karlshorst.de


the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

Karlshorst, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

World War I officially ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, with the signing of the Armistice. Remembrance Day is still observed at that time, and this year’s ceremonies will take place tomorrow at the 11th hour, on 11/11/11.

World War I, The War to End All Wars, was fought from 1914 to 1918. Just over 20 years later in 1939, World War II broke out and lasted almost seven years. Nazi Germany, and the war in Europe, finally came to an end with the signing of an unconditional surrender on May 8th 1945.

This historic event took place in the building shown above, which is located in the Karlshorst district of Berlin. It was built in 1936-1938, and served as the officers’ mess of the German Armed Forces Pioneer School. After WW II,  it was the seat of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany from 1945-1949. Today it is the German-Russian Museum.

This photograph was taken in 2010, 65 years after the signing of the instrument of surrender took place in the large ground floor room at the back of the building.

Shortly before midnight on May 8, a second unconditional surrender was signed in the outskirts of Berlin, Germany. The signing ceremony took place in a villa in an eastern suburb of Berlin called Karlshorst. Representatives of the USSR, Great Britain, France, and the United States arrived shortly before midnight. After Soviet Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov opened the ceremony, the German command representatives headed by General Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel were invited into the room, where they signed the final German Act of Unconditional Surrender entering into force at 23:01 Central European Time.  www.veday.info

Haute Vitrine celebrates 100 posts in 100 days

Repetto, Paris 2009

© Leslie Hossack

Since launching my blog Haute Vitrine 100 days ago, I have been asked more than once: “Haute Vitrine? What does it mean? How do you pronounce it?”

Haute Vitrine is French. The word haute sounds like “oat” (as in oatmeal) and it literally means “high.” The word vitrine rhymes with “caffeine.” So Haute Vitrine sounds a bit like the more common phrase Haute Cuisine. For me, Haute Vitrine presents a feast for the eyes in the same way that haute cuisine presents a feast for the palette.

In a related way, haute couture creates a sumptuous experience for the body, with fashions that are made to order from expensive fabrics, and sewn with great attention to detail. Currently, a similar phrase Haute Culture is the title of an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ontario. www.ago.net/haute-culture

The French word vitrine literally means a glass cabinet or showcase used to display precious objects in a shop, museum or home. Vitrine also means a store window. In the early days of street photography in Paris, windows were popular subjects with French photographers including Atget and Brassai.

Shown above is Repetto. This shop window in Paris was the first in my ongoing series of vitrines around the world. Since its inception in Paris in 2009, this body of work has grown to include window reflections in Berlin & London, Jerusalem & Tel Aviv, New York & Las Vegas, Ottawa & Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver. The series is called Haute Vitrine, and my blog was named after it.

Today Haute Vitrine celebrates 100 posts in 100 days.

The Canary, Toronto: another lost icon

The Canary, Toronto 2007

© Leslie Hossack

This photograph was taken just a few months after The Canary closed its doors for the last time in April 2007. Today, nothing is left on the exterior of the building to remind passersby of this well-known Toronto diner, and the interior of the restaurant has been gutted to the walls.

The Canary operated here, at the corner of Cherry and Front Streets, from 1965 until 2007. The restaurant originally opened in 1960 at Dundas and University, where it remained until moving to its second and final location in 1965. The Canary endured for almost half a century, and during all that time it was run by members of the Vlahos family.

Construction of the hybrid building shown in this photograph started in 1859 with the Palace Street School, which was the section on the right. It operated as a school for 45 years and then became the Irvine House Hotel, the Cherry Street Hotel, and various other establishments. Later, General Steel Ware occupied the warehouse addition on the left side of the structure. Eventually, The Canary joined the mix in 1965, occupying the building smack dab in the middle.

The Canary, with its 1960s diner atmosphere and Maple Leafs paraphernalia plastered on the walls, has been a Toronto favourite for a cheap and cheerful breakfast or lunch, drawing everybody from truck drivers to hockey players. www.thestar.com/News/article/198401

In 2007, I photographed more than 30 diners, both vintage and contemporary. These include classics such as The Templeton in Vancouver and lost icons such as The Canary in Toronto. This is a study of retro diners from Atlantic Canada to the Pacific Coast.

Tomorrow Haute Vitrine celebrates 100 posts in 100 days.