Allied Kommandatura

Beginning in 1945, the Allied Kommandatura wielded supreme state power over Greater Berlin. Following the first two meetings of the victorious powers in the Soviet headquarters in Berlin- Karlshorst, the powers agreed to set up a permanent location for this control body in an administrative building in the district of Dahlem – thus right in the heart of the American sector.

Inside the building, each occupying power had access to its own office space for their respective commander and his numerous staff and translators. The chairmanship of the meetings rotated monthly. In the first post-war years, the Kommandatura’s activity was of central importance when it came to the initial reconstruction of the city and the restoration of public life. Allied committees conferred over questions regarding the supply of Berlin with food, medicine, energy, and living space, and developed regulations for the mayor and the municipal authorities. Upon the founding of the two German states in 1949, the Kommandatura no longer exercised many of these powers. Aside from consultative activity, it usually restricted itself to formal monitoring tasks.

At this point, the Kommandatura only acted on a tripartite basis, after the Soviet Union halted its activity in the Allied Kommandatura shortly before the start of the Berlin Blockade in 1948. At its final meeting on October 2, 1990, on the eve of German reunification, the Allied Kommandatura dissolved itself.

The site

While this neoclassical building from 1926/27 suffered damage during the Berlin air raids in the Second World War, the Americans soon repaired it after confiscating the property in 1945. In early 1991, the building returned to its pre-war owner, the Association of Public Fire Insurance Carriers, which in subsequent years restored the building to its original state. Over the following years, the building was comprehensively renovated. It thus saw the return of its original hipped roof structure, after the Americans had erected a flat roof over it due to war damage. The commanders‘ great meeting hall, including its eight-meter-long conference table made of redwood with silver fittings and inlays, was also restored. The Presidents of the Free University have maintained their official office here since 1994.

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