Bahnhof Friedrichstrasse, Berlin

On the rear of the panel, Van Genk explains what he found so special about the Friedrichsstrasse railway station in Berlin: ‘Before the War, the centre of the Reich’s capital – now the border between West East sector on the lines to Moscow and Leningrad, from Rotterdam Central, Cologne, – Munich, with the local traffic of the Stadtbahn From Berlin (East Station) there is also the connection (sleeper car CCCP) with the Baltic states, the so-called frontier post Baliostocka (in collaboration with WARS) LENINGRAD (south)’. In other words, it is a major international rail junction situated in East Berlin, with connections to both the S-Bahn (urban light rail network of Berlin) and the U-Bahn (the underground railway of West Berlin).

In the middle of the scene, a woman with gold-blonde hair, a shoulder bag and a briefcase is apparently about to descend the stairway that affords connection to the U-Bahn, other lines and the outside world. A man sits reading a newspaper ‘News’ alongside a girl reading an Italian newspaper ‘l’Unita’, an organ of the Italian communist party).

Under the steel arch of the station roof, Van Genk paints a girl washing her hair next to an advertisement for the firm Dralle, a Hamburg-based perfume and soap manufacturer. At the bottom-left corner, a woman is reading the Dutch newspaper De Waarheid. Another woman, further back, practically jumps out of her skin, hat flying, when a locomotive from Frankfurt am Oder roars up behind her with squealing brakes. A girl sucking a lolly and a white dog on a lead recoil similarly. But a woman in a Polish conductress’ uniform stands rigidly next to the descending stairway.

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