The Berlin S-Bahn has been a political pawn for decades; it reflects the ups and downs of 20th-century German history. There is nothing comparable anywhere else.

The Nazi dictatorship abused the S-Bahn at the 1936 Olympics to present its advantages and from 1939 to keep the armaments industry running. IDuring the last days of WWII the S-Bahn became the front line .

In four decades of Cold war between 1945 und 1990, the S-Bahn was the link between East and West - "one service for two systems" - operationally, tech-nically, personally; under the anachro-nistic name "Deutsche Reichsbahn". Nowhere else can the absurdity of divi-sion and cooperation be conveyed so closely as with the history of the S-Bahn.

After the reunification of Berlin in 1990, the reconstruction and the joining to-gether of the divided routes became an important symbol for the two halves of the city growing together again.


Even the technical and operational problems of recent years can be inter-preted as a reflection of social influ-ences because of the exaggerated pri-vatization campaign that caused them.