Where did Carl and Marie von Clausewitz live in Berlin?

In 1818, Clausewitz was appointed director of the Allgemeine Kriegsschule (General War College), later called Kriegsakademie (Prussian Military Academy). He served there until 1830. Carl and Marie von Clausewitz now moved in an apartment in the same building.

When historians talk about the Prussian Kriegsakademie, they usually have in mind its later location on Unter den Linden 74 built by the famous architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel.

But in Clausewitz’s time, the War College was situated in a building on the Spree River, just opposite from the Berlin Dom and within a walking distance from the Hohenzollern Palace. The address was Burgstrasse 19.

This building no longer exists and today modern office towers and hip cafes occupy the site. Indeed a friend of mine works there and when I asked him if he knew what used to stand on that site, the answer was “Nothing”. To some extent he was correct. After World War II and for fifty years in the eastern part of divided Berlin, this was indeed an empty lot.

Nowadays, just like in 1820s, Burgstrasse 19 is a very busy address. Back then, as Marie’s friend, Elise von Bernstorff, wrote in her memoirs, one could gaze from Clausewitz’s windows straight into the rooms of palace’s old wing. In 2013, it’s even hard to find the street sign buried under company commercials, restaurants’ signs, and hotel marquees.

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