The Island of Love

To the east of the Stralau peninsula in Lake Rummelsburg lie two small islands: the “Liebesinsel” or Island of Love and “Kratzbuch.” Created by sand deposits from the river, the islands bear traces of the Iron Age. Kratzbruch is the larger but nevertheless consistently the calmer of the two. Until 1920, they belonged to the town of Stralau.

The Island of Love, actually a river isle or sea wall, received this name because lovers would come here to meet, and – a sad story – some would even take their own lives: “most with a letter in their hand that told it all,” as Theodor Fontane once wrote. The name “Diebesinsel” (Thief’s Island) is much less romantic, called as such because it was suspected that stolen and smuggled wares were hidden here.

The early settlers on the islands were, as with Stralau, Slavs. In the course of the local digs in 1878 and 1879, Julius Tübbecke found on a Wendish milling stone, cobble stones, stone axe, fragments of glass and pottery from the early Middle Ages, and bones from a now extinct species of domestic pig.

On the Island of Love stood the “Ernst’sche Haus” restaurant. The Ernst family, to whom the island belonged, ran this popular destination until the Second World War. Anna Ernst was the innkeeper for many years. The composer Paul Lincke, one of her guests, once sang the island’s praise: “It is lovely on the Island of Love…” On Tunnelstraße on the Stralau bank of the river, Oswald Ernst kept a boat-building operation until 1918. From there, one could easily cross over to the Island of Love.

The water sport clubs also made use of both islands, with moorage installed on the Island of Love. And there on the island in 1919, the workers’ sailing club “Segelclub 1919 Stralau” was founded, as was the yacht club “Goodewindon the island of Kratzbruch in 1920. “Goodewind” later assumed ownership of the island.

As with most of the establishments of Stralau, the Ernst’sche Haus was destroyed in the war. All that remained was the basement. Kratzbruch also took a hit in an air raid in 1942, leaving a small lake in the wide depression. In the GDR, the Island of Love was used to store construction materials. Today, it is a protected nature reserve inhabited by bats and beavers.

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