The DGAP’s Headquarters

Since 1999, the DGAP’s main headquarters has been at Rauchstraße 17/18 in Berlin's Tiergarten neighborhood, not far from the government district and in close proximity to a number of diplomatic missions.

This space serves as the venue for the majority of the DGAP’s programs, which annually include more than 200 podium discussions, conferences, and meetings. Meanwhile, the Council's regional forums allow the DGAP to remain active with additional events held throughout Germany.

The History of the Building

The property at Rauchstraße 17 was owned by the prominent Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family until 1938, when family members were forced to sell the property to the Third Reich for 170,000 reichsmarks, shortly before emigrating, first to Switzerland and later to England. The family's villa was demolished, and a larger building site was created by adding adjoining properties. 

The Rauchstraße building was designed as the diplomatic mission for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1938-39 by Werner March, the architect of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Today, it is a designated historic landmark. An annex to the main building was built on the property at Rauchstraße 18, after this was appropriated by the German Reich on the basis of a 1940 expropriation resolution. 

Architect Albert Speer’s grand scheme for the National Socialist “Capital City of Germania” envisioned the relocation of a number of foreign diplomatic missions away from the government district and toward southern Tiergarten, which in 1937 was declared the embassy district. Construction began on twelve embassy buildings. During this period, the properties at Rauchstraße 17 and 18, as well as Drakestraße 4, were consolidated in order to build the Embassy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.

An extensive online encyclopedia entry (in German) on the property can be found here.

The Mendelssohn Bartholdy villa of 1925-26, in 1938 Corner of Rauchstraße and Drakestraße

Until the German occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, the writer and diplomat Ivo Andric (1892-1975) was stationed in the new building as Yugoslav ambassador. (Andric would later win the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature). The building was subsequently used by Third Reich and Nazi party officials. After Germany’s surrender in 1945, it was restituted to the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav military mission resided in the building until 1953, when it moved to the Berlin neighborhood of Grunewald.

Beginning in 1953, the building housed the Supreme Restitution Court of the Allied Forces in Berlin. On June 29, 1964, the court accepted the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family’s claim for reimbursement ordered the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia to cede a co-ownership share in the building.

In 1975, the state of Berlin bought the property for 2.5 million deutschmarks from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and incorporated it into the estate of the Minister of Justice. In the summer of 1988, three compensation proceedings were pending with the Supreme Restitution Court before it abandoned its work.

In 1995, the German Council on Foreign Relations completed an agreement to buy the property from the city-state of Berlin. The DGAP opened the building at Rauchstraße 17/18 as a branch office the same year. The final move took place in 1999.

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