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Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, to whom this museum owes its existence, was actually born Lothar Berfelde, a boy who felt he was trapped in a girl's body.
A fascination with 19th century culture led Lothar to buy the Mahlsdorf manor house. By the time he was 30 he had opened it up as a museum to the period of German history known as Gründerzeit - the final three decades of the 19th century when France had been defeated in war, Germany had become one nation, and the economy and crafts were booming.
As Charlotte, this enigmatic curator continued to run the museum until fleeing to Sweden in 1997 on the back of a wave of financial worries and neo-Nazi gay hate.
Charlotte died in 2002, during a trip to Berlin, but the museum and its collection is now once again open to the public.
Editor & Berlin Local