At the end of 2013, the Hotel Bogota in Berlin-Charlottenburg must close its doors. It leaves behind it 100 years of history in the Berlin art scene.
You could still get a room here for only forty euros, a short walk from the luxurious shops on the Kürfurstendamm. The hotel was built in 1911 and became, over the decades, an important witness of the cultural and political changes in the German capital.
During the Weimar Republic, people like the arts patron Oskar Skaller lived here. He held evening dances in his ground-floor apartment.
The German fashion and portrait photographer Yva (born Else Ernestine Neuländer-Simon) moved here in 1934. She took her first color pictures on the roof of the building. Helmut Neustädter, later Helmut Newton, was her student 1936 to 1938.
Yva, of Jewish origin, was forced to close her studio in 1938. She and her husband were arrested by the Gestapo as they tried to leave for the United States. They were later deported and murdered in 1942. Her archives were destroyed during the bombings.
The Nazi regime took over the building in 1938 and used it for its Reichskulturkammer (Chamber of Culture), led by Hans Hinkel, whose mission was to promote Aryan art and condemn “degenerate” art.
In 1964, Heinz Rewald, who had emigrated to Colombia before Hitler’s rise to power, returned to Berlin and opened the Hotel Bogota on the fourth and fifth floor of the building. He bought the entire building in 1967.
From the 1980s to the 2000s, the hotel housed many artists, René Burri (Room 333), Helmut Newton (Room 418) and Rupert Everett (Room 433).
In 2004, hotel director Joachim Rissman created Photoplatz, a series of photography exhibitions at the hotel, featuring work by artists like Michael Ackermann, Jerry Berndt and Adam Cohen entitled Nacht (2011).
Now in debt, the hotel is being forced to leave the premises. The year 2013 saw many efforts to save it.
On September 22, 2013, a photography auction was held featuring donations from over 90 artists, including Michael Ackerman, René Burri, Stéphane Duroy, Leonard Freed, André Kirchner, Oliver Mark, Rudi Meisel, Vera Mercer, Gerhard Kassner, Ursula Kelm, Robert Newald, Just Loomis, Martin Parr and Beat Presser.
On Sunday, December 8, 55 Berlin photographers, members of the art project KLEISTER and some of them of the collective PARIS BERLIN FOTOGROUP (www.fotoparisberlin.com/blog ) , displayed their pictures of the walls of the fourth floor as a final week-long tribute to the hotel.
On December 15, 2013, the hotel closed.
On February 21, 2014, Auctionata (http://auctionata.com) will hold an online auction of around sixty items taken from the hotel, including the complete room where actor Rupert Everett stayed while in Berlin, and a print of René Burri’s famous portrait of Che Guevara.