Sophienstraße – Willy-Brandt-Platz

Police directorate around 1930; Gernsbacher Tor before its demolition in 1821

Baden-Baden had been surrounded by a town wall since the 13th century. At the Römerplatz, the road led from Murgtal through the Gernsbacher Tor into the town. At the beginning of the 1830s, in the up-and-coming world-famous spa, a promenade, named after the Grand Duchess Sophie von Baden, leading around the town was created on the backfilled town moat. Along the representative boulevard, planted with chestnuts, a closed urban development emerged, following the direction of the town wall.

The east side of the square which is named after former German Chancellor and Nobel Peace Prize winner Willy Brandt, is bordered by a government administration building and court house which was built in the style of a Tuscany town palace of the early Renaissance in 1842 / 1843. The plans were provided by the architect Friedrich Theodor Fischer (1803 – 1867), head of the highest building inspection Karlsruhe. The police directorate Baden-Baden was located here from 1924 to 1971. The former purpose of the building, which was expanded in 2008, is indicated by the two female statues which frame the entrance portal: the personification of Lustitia / justice (li.) and Lex / Law (re.).

Since 1985, the centre of the square has been adorned with a classical fountain designed by Friedrich Schinkel. At the south entrance to the Willy-Brand-Platz, a memorial stone commemorates the persecution of the Jews in the time of National Socialism. On the morning of 10th November, after the Reichspogromnacht, the Jewish men who had been arrested had to form a line outside the police directorate which led through the town up to the synagogue.

© Stadtmuseum/-archiv Baden-Baden