The villa with an adjacent building constructed in 1907 by Hart & Lesser for the banker Julius Erxleben is undoubtly an unique piece of Berlin history and culture.
As early as 1906, the floor plans and planning schemes of the building are first mentioned in academic publications and journals in order to serve architecture and engineering students as teaching material and inspiration in their alma mater.
Little is known about the inhabitant and actual favorite of the phenomenal building project himself. Only the coat of arms which was especially manufactured for him proves the existence of Julius Erxleben and his family. It states the Latin inscription “Eritis sicut Deus scientes bonum et malum”, an allusion to Goethe`s masterpiece Faust, meaning “You will be like god, recognize the good and evil“.
However, the most popular appearance of the villa best-known by the German population happenened during the 50s. In these times, the building served as a film set, most recently for the very beloved Edgar-Wallace movies, motion pictures which were based on the crime novels by the thriving English novelist, screenwriter, director and playwright Edgar Wallace (1875-1932).
The country in Douglasstraße 28 hosted for a while Renate Franke, better known under her stage name Renate Holm. She had her major breakthrough as an opera singer at the Vienna State Opera in 1961. However, most Berliners will remember her under the conductor Herbert von Karajan, as she performed under his musical direction on every important international opera stage. Renate Holm is currently living in Vienna and she is still active as an artist.