With the war in Ukraine on everyone’s mind, isn’t it time to brush up on your knowledge about the country – its history and culture? Here’s your guide to the Ukrainian people and institutions who have left their mark on the Berlin cityscape.
1. Visit the residence of philosopher, linguist and literary critic Alexander Potebnja, set off on a year-long journey to Berlin and a number of Slavic countries in 1862. During his time here, Potebnja attended lectures at the University of Berlin.
Dorotheenstraße 76, Mitte
2. One of Ukraine’s canon writers and an activist to boot: a plaque dedicated to Lesya Ukrainka commemorates her time spent being treated at a Berlin hospital in 1899. The plaque was installed in 2010 by the Central Association of Ukrainians in Germany.
Johannisstraße 11, Mitte
3. Actor and writer Alexander Granach moved to Berlin at age 16 from the Austro-Hungarian region of Galicia – now Ukraine. Forced to flee because of his Jewish heritage, first to the Soviet Union and shortly after to the US in 1938, his time in Berlin is now commemorated with a plaque.
Heiligendammer Straße 17a, Charlottenburg
4. The Embassy of the Ukrainian People’s Republic, former embassy of Ukraine in Berlin, closed in 1923 upon Germany’s recognition of the Soviet Union as a country.
Ludwig-Erhard-Ufer (Spreebogenpark), Mitte
5. Visit the grave of Mykola Porsh, former Ambassador to Ukraine and member of the Central Council. Porsche also served as the Ambassador of the Ukrainian People’s Republic from 1919 – 1920. He died in 1944.
Berlin-Tegel Russian Orthodox Cemetery, Wittestraße 37, Reinickendorf
6. Following a coup d’etat toppling, Pavlo Skoropadsky briefly enjoyed the position of Hetman of Ukraine, aka, the head of state. This rank was short-lived: Skoropadsky was forced to abdicate just eight months into his tenure, fleeing with his family to Berlin in 1919. You can still visit his former residence near Wannsee.
Fröaufstraße 4, Friedenau
7. Yakiv Orenshtain was a Jewish publisher from Kolomyia who also served as a diplomatic advisor at the embassy of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. In 1919, he opened the Ukrainian publishing house Ukrainska Nakladnya, which he operated until 1932.
Kurfürstenstraße 83, Charlottenburg
8. Known for his books featuring Ukrainian settings and themes, Joseph Roth was born in Galicia and moved to Berlin in 1920. A plaque on the Ku’damm commemorates the Jewish writer and journalist’s time in Berlin – he left permanently in 1933 when Hitler was elected Chancellor.
Kurfürstendamm 14/15, Charlottenburg
9. Active between 1921 and 1926, the Ukrainske Slovo publishing house printed some of Berlin’s most prominent publications, like newspaper Ukrainske Slovo (Ukrainian Word), journal Litopys polityky i pysmenstva (Chronicle of Politics and Writing), and the Ukrainske Slovo books series.
Hauptstraße 11, Schöneberg
10. Oleksandr Dovzhenko is known as a Ukrainian film director and writer, but he also acted as an Ambassador in Berlin in the early 1920s. Take a stroll past his house if you fancy.
Bismarckstraße 69, Charlottenburg
11. Catch a film at Cinema Arsenal, named after Oleksandr Dovzhenko’s 1929 film Arsenal and commonly accepted as one of Ukraine’s most outstanding expressionist films.
Potsdamer Straße 2, Mitte
12. Take a walk past the former residence of Volodymyr Vynnychenko, who served as head of the Ukrainian government twice, nevermind that his total tenure was still less than two years. He arrived in Berlin in 1921 and lived here throughout the 20s.
Cecilienstraße 6, Zehlendorf
13. The House of the Trident served as an exile centre for Ukrainians between the world wars. It has served as the location for various Ukrainian public and state organisations, including the Ukrainian Press Service and the Union of Ukrainian Officers.
Mecklenburgische Straße 73, Charlottenburg
14. Memorial plaque commemorating opera singer Joseph Schmidt’s (1904–1942) place of residence. Schmidt was a world-famous opera singer of Jewish descent from Bukovyna (then Austria-Hungary, now Ukraine). He came to Berlin in 1925 to study at the Königliche Musikschule.
Nürnberger Straße 68, Charlottenburg
15. Ukrainian Scientific Institute (1926–1945) was founded on the initiative of Hetman Pavlo Skoropadskyi. It disseminated information about Ukraine and its culture among German scholars and Ukrainian students and scholars in Germany. To this day, the Institute has left a considerable academic legacy.
Breite Straße 36, Mitte
16. Place of residence of historian Dmytro Doroshenko. Doroshenko (1882–1951) was a historian, publicist, literary critic and politician. He was the first director of the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Berlin and author of over 1,000 academic papers on the history of Ukraine, as well as the cultural and church history in Ukraine.
Bleibtreustraße 44, Charlottenburg
17. The church where the priest Petro Verhun (1890–1957) practiced. Verhun was a missionary priest of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Germany. In order to support his community until last days of the war, he stayed in Berlin until 1945. On 22 June 1945 he was arrested by Soviet military services and brought to Siberia violently, where he died in 1957. He was beatified in 2001.
St. Josefsheim Church, Pappelallee 60/61, Prenzlauer Berg
18. Place of residence of intellectual Victor Petrov (1894–1969, literary pseudonym: Viktor Domontovych). A writer, philosopher, literary critic, historian, and archaeologist, ‘Petrov was also a researcher at the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Berlin between 1944–1945. Beside that he was working in this time for the Soviet secret service.
Kleiststraße 3, Schöneberg
19. Memorial plaque commemorating a forced labourer from Ukraine. The family of Alois E. lived with their four children in the house on Wartenburgstraße 17. In 1942, the labour office provided them with a forced worker, Raisa, who had to take care of the household. Raisa returned home in the summer of 1945. From 1939 to 1945 thousands of forced labourers from Eastern Europe worked in private homes, families, or industry in Berlin, as in all of Germany. In total, 20 million people were deported to Germany and the occupied territories. At least 2.5 million of them were from the territory of present-day Ukraine.
Wartenburgstraße 17, Kreuzberg
20. Place of residence of intellectual Bohdan Osadchuk (1920– 2011). Osadchuk was a publicist, political scientist and journalist. He studied at the Universität zu Berlin between 1941–1944 and worked at the Otto Suhr-Institut of the Freie University of Berlin from 1966. He worked for several Ukrainian, Polish and German newspapers.
Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science of Freie Universität Berlin, Ihnestraße 22, Dahlem
21. The memorial commemorating the Chornobyl nuclear disaster on 26 April 1986 was established on 4 March 1990, with the support of Grünes Netzwerk Arche. The plaque was unveiled on the occasion of the disaster’s tenth anniversary.
Klosterstraße 73a, Mitte
22. Embassy of Ukraine in the Federal Republic of Germany is the diplomatic representation of Ukraine in Germany. Beside that, different events are held here including public lectures of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society.
Albrechtstraße 26, Mitte
23. Ukrainian Greek Catholic Parish of St. Nicholas. Service is held every Sunday at 10am.
Roman Catholic St. Johannes Evangelist Church, Waldstraße 11, Treptow-Köpenick
24. Community of St. Andrew the First Apostle of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine in Berlin. It has been operating in Berlin since 2015. Divine service is held every Sunday at 10am.
Village Church Hermsdorf, Almutstraße 2, Reinickendorf
25. When Ukrainian sculptor Yuliy Synkebich was invited to participate in the 2nd Berlin Sculptor Symposum, he took the opportunity to dedicate a monument to Chernobyl. Depicting images of a mother on her knees and a man surrounded by leaves intended to protect, you can still find the sculpture, along with 10 of the 14 contest entries, in Fennpfuhlpark.
This guide was compiled on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence by CineMova – Ukrainian Film Community Berlin e.V. and the German-Ukrainian Academic Society e.V. Content conception: Oleksandra Bienert, Dr. Olesia Lazarenko.
With the participation of: Polina Atvi, Mariya Goncharenko-Schubert, Svitlana Heleta-Finn, Tim Schubert, Elmar Schulte. Layout: Arina Yanovych. Supported by the German-Ukraikian Academic Society. 1st edition. August 2021.