When you walk up the stairs to the platforms, you become a traveler, and you’re no longer in Berlin. Munich, Switzerland, Italy, the whole of the south draws you up the gray steps. […] The Anhalter is a romantic station, one for dreamers. The platform ticket costs 10 pfennigs. For that, you can walk the whole time along the platform and marvel at the large sleeping cars with their lowered shutters. The signs with the names of far-away stations are like identity cards for those who sleep behind them.
— Heinz Berggruen, “Bahnhofsgedanken” (1935)
If you see someone tearing up about one of the old stations of Berlin, chances are it’ll be this one. The Anhalter Bahnhof was famed for being Berlin’s portal to far-away destinations in Austria, Hungary, Italy, and beyond. It looked the part, too, conceived in grand style in the late 1870s, when Germany had recently unified, Prussia had given the French a damned good thrashing, and confidence rode high.