During our stay at the Schlosshotel im Grunewald, we took advantage of its proximity to three small museums we’d never found the time to visit.
For lunch in between museums, consider Paulsborn am Grunewaldsee (Hüttenweg 90. Tel. (49) 30-818-1910.), a 19th-century coach house and inn at which Kaiser Wilhelm I entertained hunting parties. Antler chandeliers preside over the vaulted main room, where local families dine on German and Austrian classics. Outside is a shady beer garden.
The idyllic lakeside location of this villa belies its evil history. It was here in 1942 that Nazi leaders assembled to agree on the “Final Solution,” which led directly to the deaths of millions of Jews. Its exhibits detail Jewish life in Europe during the Nazi era, and in the chilling conference room itself, the villa’s former dining room, you can read translations of original meeting minutes around the table.
Am Grossen Wannsee 56-58.
Just down the street from the Wannsee Conference mansion stands an entirely different villa, the lakefront home of impressionist painter Max Liebermann, leader of the Berlin Secession. The colorful flower and vegetable gardens on either side of the house inspired some of Liebermann’s paintings, as Giverny inspired Monet, and you can see depictions of them in the small museum inside. His expressive portraits also merit attention.
The elegant modernist building of the Brücke Museum abuts the Grünewald forest, a 20-minute drive from the Max Liebermann villa. Inside, rotating exhibitions display works of Die Brücke, or “The Bridge,” movement, which led to German Expressionism. Artists such as Emil Nolde and Max Pechstein painted representative, not abstract, works, but they often employed bright, almost fluorescent colors in the manner of the Fauvists. The results are arresting. We happened upon a vibrantly colorful exhibition of Karl Schmidt-Rottluff’s still lifes, portraits and landscapes.