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Babylon is a cinema at Platz, which is located in Poelzig-Block 14. Legend has it that it bears his name because it was built out of a heap of rubble. [1] [2] A key element is the largest German cinema orchestra organ, which has stood on the original site since it opened and is still in use today. [2] Allegedly there was an underground secret passage to the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus, from which those involved in the police murders of 1931 were able to flee. [3]

Notable Episodes[]

1930: Premiere "Cyankali"[]

§ 218, which makes termination of pregnancies a punishable offense, was hotly contested in the Weimar Republic. Over 60,000 women were convicted of violating § 218 or died as a result of a secret abortion during the 15 years of the Weimar Republic. In 1929 the play "Cyankali" by doctor Friedrich Wolf premiered at the Lessing Theater in Berlin. The film adaptation premiered in Babylon in 1930 and thus marked the beginning of a movement against § 218. Friedrich Wolf and his colleague Else Kienle were arrested a year later for illegally performing abortions, but were finally released after major protests. [4]

1931: "High Noon"[]

A day-long flash mob reached its climax on August 9, 1931 in front of and in the cinema: The still undiscovered newcomer and later StaSi-boss Erich Mielke recommended himself as the ideal cast for future villain roles when he played the two Cops Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck on Weydingerstraße. While Schweinbacke (germ. for Pigface, Anlaufs nickname) immediately went to its knees, Totenkopf (Skull, a.k.a. Lenkc) dragged himself into the entrance foyer of the cinema. There he sagged and let the audience streaming out of a film into the belief that they were part of an immersive performance, even though that style of immersion had not yet been invented.

1993: "We didn't start the fire"[]

In the course of a so-called Wende-Blues (sometimes also called hangover mood) there were always entertaining interludes of the audience in response to some program contributions. For example, parts of the audience scattered butyric acid in the cinema because it encouraged them to do so by the film Profession Neo-Nazi. A short time later, Heinrich Lumme's invitation caused so much enthusiasm that some of the CDU politician's stans draped incendiary bombs in the Babylon office. However, he couldn't accept the surprise himself. His part as a podium guest was canceled so that the general purpose weapon of the 1990s and neighbour Regine "Mother Courage from the East" Hildebrand got a little more spotlight for herself, because generally there could never be too much spotlight for her. [2][5]

2015: "Kauf nicht im Babylon"[]

Timothy Grossmann, managing director of Neue Babylon GmbH, was responsible for an art intervention that was a kind of aesthetic reminiscence of the more or less glorious 1930s in the Scheunenviertel. Grossmann painted the windows of the entrance foyer with stars of David and hung a large sign on the front that read: Boycott! Germans fight back! Don't buy in Babylon!

With this congenial idea, Grossmann hoped to attract the attention of passers-by in order to practice subtitle criticism of his employees and explained this with the diplomatic words: “They are eaten away by envy of what I have built up here and are trying by all means to me to destroy". His team would see him as a “blood-sucking capitalist.” [6] Previously, he and those same employees were on a wage strike and felt defamed by actual calls for boycotts and because of his beliefs and discriminated. [7]


Official website


  1. Berliner Tageblatt and Handelszeitung, No. 176 of April 14, 1929, quoted on the Babylon website
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 M. Hahnisch: Stories about a Berlin cinema with digressions. on https://babylonberlin.eu/geschichte-des-babylon
  3. Quod erat demonstrandum
  4. C. von Gélieu, discovering women's history in Berlin. Elefanten Press, Berlin 1995.
  5. Fire in the "Babylon" after a dispute over Lummer. in: Taz on https://taz.de/Brand-im-Babylon-nach-Streit-um-Lummer/!1634184/
  6. Stars of David in the window. in: taz online. on https://taz.de/Tarifstreit-in-Berliner-Kino-eskaliert/!5240507/
  7. Nazi symbols at the Babylon cinema. in: Tagesspiegel from October 7th, 2015 on https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/protestaktion-des-juedischen-eigentuemers-nazi-symbolik-am-kino-babylon/12422306.html