Martin Luther King in Berlin Mitte
Grand visit of an American civil rights activist!
Martin Luther King's speech and his visit to Berlin
One year after his renowned "I have a dream" speech, civil rights activist and Baptist minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to West Berlin on an invitation of its mayor Willy Brandt. 20.000 people from West Berlin gathered at Waldbühne (woodland stage). Due to the courage of the general superintendent Gerhard Schmitt, King could preach his sermon in East Berlin, too. On the evening of September 13, 1964, US civil rights activist Martin Luther King unexpectedly appeared in this part of Berlin. Early in the morning, a young man was shot by GDR border guards while attempting to escape across the wall into the western part of Berlin. He was rescued by American soldiers and West Berlin police officers who pulled him with a rope to the west part of Berlin. Hence, 3.000 people gathered at the St. Marienkirche (St. Mary's Church) and at the Sophienkirche to listen to his encouraging sermon which marked the words: "Here on either side of the Wall are God's children and no man-made barrier can obliterate that fact".
Discover Martin Luther Kind during a City Tour through Berlin
Discover Berlin through a Berlin tour and visit the places where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his time in September 1964. You can explore the places on your own and read the QR codes with your mobile phone or tablet. It is also possible to book a guided tour: The educational project King-Code is offering "King-Tours" either by foot or bike during which pupils and students are presenting exclusive research results and stories of Martin Luther King's visit in Berlin.
Martin Luther King's Berlin visit to the hospice near "Bahnhof Friedrichstraße"
After delivering a sermon at the Sophienkirche, Martin Luther King Jr. and his companion pastor Ralph Zorn arrived at the Christian hospice (today's Hotel Albrechtshof) at Albrechtstraße 8 at approximately 10 p.m. After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the hospice became a meeting point for ecclesial dignitaries and a vast number of families separated due to the German partition.Thus, on the evening of September 13 in 1964, the American civil rights activist and Baptist minister Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. met with respected church representatives at the restaurant of the hospice in order to discuss problems of Christian life in the divided city. During the meeting the attendants inscribed their names in the visitors' bookout. Only to mention a few of them: Gerneral Superintendent of East Berlin Gerhard Schmitt, Berlin City Mission director Gerhard Brennecke and Praeses of the Berlin-Brandenburg synod Fritz Figur.
Martin Luther King Chapel
At the basement of Hotel Albrechtshof, a chapel named after the civil rights activist has been constructed in order to bear Martin Luther King Jr. in remembrance. Every day of the week a service is held from 8:15 to 8:30 at the Martin Luther Chapel where a Berlin City Mission missionary reads a bible verse for interested guests (not only in-house) accompanyed by common prayer and singing.
History of Hotel Albrechtshof
... a house with over 100 years of experience and tradition!
The present Hotel Albrechtshof was opened in 1910 as HOSPIZ at Friedrichstrasse station and has existed in its present size since 1913.
It owes its foundation at that time to the support of wealthy friends of the Berlin City Mission, which still owns it today.
The founders wanted his return to help finance the missionary and charitable work of the city mission, true to the motto: prosperity helps welfare.
The hospice soon became one of the most prestigious buildings in central Berlin, which was popular with business people and, above all, families passing through and women travelling alone.
In the period that followed it had an eventful and moving history: During the Hitler era, meetings of the Reichsbruderrat der illegalen Bek Bekennende Kirchen took place here. In the last months of the Second World War, it housed the Eye Clinic of the Charité and a pharmaceutical trade.
During the SED regime it was the meeting place of countless families separated by the German division.
As one of two houses not subject to state regulation, it was also the guarantor for the organisation of national and international church conferences - in this context, highly respected church representatives repeatedly visited our house, including the American Baptist preacher and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, whose name today bears the devotional chapel in the basement.
Celebrating 100 years of Hotel Albrechtshof!
The publication commemorating the 100th anniversary of Hotel Albrechtshof can be purchased for 10.95 Euros at our reception or by telephone +49 (0)30 30886-331.
Anecdote from the past
From the Archive of the Berlin Stadtmission
Interpretation by the Director of the City Mission Damrath (around 1950), once available in the "staff library of the Berlin City Mission", but now in the friendly greeting
Archive of the Berlin City Mission