KaDeWe — by Fabio Periera ’07

The lighting of the entrance foyer; the seven consecutive floors of perfectly arranged goods; the scrumptious scents of haute cuisine; the eclectic mix of people from all walks of modern German life. Welcome to Das Kaufhaus Des Westens (Department Store of the West), better known as KaDeWe, pronounced kah-day-vay.

It didn’t take long living in Berlin to become introduced to KaDeWe; everyone knows what it is and where it is. In a city of so many department stores, I had to wonder, what makes KaDeWe so special?

I found my answer not through the doors on Tautzienstrasse, but through the doors of history. Shopping isn’t always taken seriously, but this originally Jewish institution — which survived economic depression, two world wars, and Aryanization to become the symbol of West Germany’s economic miracle — deserves to be treated seriously.

And so I did. And, yes, I shopped a little too.