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“House of Dreams”: the series shows the 1920s in Berlin – and they weren’t just golden

scene off "house of dreams"

Vicky and Harry are going through tough times together in the “House of Dreams” series.

© RTL / XFilme Creative Pool / Stefan Erhard

“House of Dreams” is the new history series on RTL+. It’s about the history of the Jonass department store in Berlin – and all kinds of feelings off the counter.

The “House of Dreams” doesn’t just tell a complicated love story. The twelve-part series shows how women lived a hundred years ago and what social expectations there were.

Berlin, 1928: Young Vicky Mahler (Naemi Florez) comes from the countryside to the big city and hopes for a better life there. She only has one suitcase with her and wants to stay with her friend Doris. But the suitcase is immediately stolen from her – and Doris, who according to her letters is married to a rich man with marble floors, actually lives in the poor Scheunenviertel. Tragically, it must be called alive, as shortly before the two can meet, Doris kills himself.

The stunned Vicky finds shelter with dancer Elsie Schön (Amy Benkenstein), she lives in a room with three other women. The four share a bed and work shifts: Elsie and Vicky are allowed to have the bed during the day, the other two sleep at night. The two roam together through dance bars, where Vicky not only gets to know the bustling city life, but also the pianist Harry (Ludwig Simon). However, when she learns his last name, their two fates are already inextricably linked.

As the episodes progress, the story of the Jonass department store on 1 Torstraße in Berlin, where Elsie and Vicky eventually start as saleswomen, gains importance. And that really existed: it was the first credit department store. For the first time it was possible to pay in installments, making it possible for poorer people to buy a hat before they had the money for it. For Vicky and many others it will be the “house of dreams”. For the series, it is the focal point where all the characters in different constellations come together and reunite.

“House of Dreams”: The Series Is Based On True Events

The Jewish owners of the Jonass were later expropriated. After the National Socialists came to power, the building was the headquarters of the Hitler Youth and later the central committee of the SED. A moving story already told in the novel “Torstraße 1” by author Sybil Volks, which serves as a template for the series. And should certainly provide enough material for further seasons.

The series clearly shows the “Golden Twenties” and that they weren’t gold for everyone. With subjects such as anti-Semitism, abortion, emancipation, poverty and class differences, many subjects are touched upon, but not always explored in depth. The storytelling style is reminiscent of the successful ZDF production “Ku’Damm”, which follows the fate of the Schöllack dance school and its owners and is therefore a must for fans of “Ku’Damm”. But everyone else can look forward to entertaining entertainment without too much kitsch.

Because always, just before it starts to get too cheesy or too serious, the plot takes an interesting turn that isn’t always predictable.

The series “House of Dreams” can be streamed on RTL+ from September 18, 2022.

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