Goebbels supposedly gifted the Villa in the Kurfürstenstraße to his secret Mistress Henny Porten, a then-famous movie actress. Then, after Henny moved out, it was rumored to harbor an illegal SS officer’s casino. And, of course, Henny also died here, impoverished.
Such stories are common knowledge for anyone who nowadays visits the „Einstein“, for countless myths surround the stately house.
In 1878, the sewing machine factory owner Gustav Rossmann commissioned a villa in the en-vogue neo-renaissance style, which would survive two World Wars unscathed.
In the 1920s, the Jewish private banker Georg Blumenfeld and his wife Lucia Margarete bought the house, which would later be used as a secret gambling club for the high society of the Weimar Republic: aristocrats, intellectuals, the rich, famous lawyers and numerous stars.
When the National Socialists took power in 1933, the club was publicly busted; Blumenfeld and his wife were disowned and finally driven into taking their own lives. Soon after their ousting, a Nazi agency moved into the premises and remained there until 1945.
More that 300 air raids transform the metropolis into a sea of debris, but the villa is one of the few buildings in the Kurfürstenstraße to survive. After the war, its fate should remain undecided for a long time until, to the day 100 years after the laying of the first stone, the Einstein opened in 1978 with the aim of creating a true Viennese-style coffee house in Berlin. Even though its location at the eastern front of the western world seems to be precarious, the Austrian Uschi Bachauer and her colleagues manage to revive Berlin’s coffee house culture and create just the right mixture of apple strudel and avantgarde.
Today, the Einstein is world-renowned for its excellent cuisine, home-made pastries and coffee, as of course for its singular location and interiors. Two memorial paving stones have been laid at the entrance to commemorate the Blumenfelds and their fate.
Learn more about the changeful history of the house and coffee house culture as well in the book “Café Einstein Stammhaus – die Geschichte des Berliner Kaffeehauses”, available at our café.