History of the Lepsiushaus

From 1908 to 1926, the house at 45 Große Weinmeisterstraße, Potsdam was the workplace of human rights activist and theologian Johannes Lepsius. It was from this address that, in the summer of 1916, Lepsius sent out more than 20,500 copies of his Report on the Situation of the Armenian People in Turkey – to deputies in the Reichstag and in the State Diet of Württemburg, to Protestant parsonages throughout Germany, and to the major German daily newspapers. Lepsius did this in defiance of the German imperial government, which, out of respect for its Ottoman allies, considered silence regarding the extermination of the Armenians a national duty, until the end of the world war at least.

The Workshop of Johannes Lepsius

Pfingstberg Wine

What is now the Lepsiushaus Potsdam originally served as a vintner’s house for Friedrich II’s chamberlain, Johann Gottfried Zeising, who from 1772 ran a vineyard of over 14 hectares in the area. The oldest section of the building is a barrel-vaulted cellar. Around 1800, the first extensions were carried out, creating a single-storey residential building with a half-hipped roof. This building’s core is still intact today. Several extensions were built during the first half of the 19th century. These were followed by conversions and demolition of the outbuildings. A two-storey extension, a veranda, and a pergola were added to the northern gable of the house, and the façade was richly decorated. The decorations were partly removed again in the 1930s. The Lepsiushaus Potsdam is a landmark element of the park and residential quarter around the Pfingstberg. The park at Große Weinmeisterstraße 41–45, landscaped in 1872 by Gustav Meyer for the banker Henckel, is one of the most significant horticultural contributions to Potsdam’s parkscape in the period after Friedrich Wilhelm IV und Peter Joseph Lenné.

Beginning in 1772, Johann Gottfried Zeising managed a vineyard and the Weinmeisterhaus, today’s Lepsiushaus.

Newspaper scraps used in wallpapering, prior to the renovation of the Lepsiushaus.

Soviet Restricted Area

After the Second World War, the Soviet army used the building as a cash office until the beginning of the 1990s. The building is now property of the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten. When the Red Army moved out, the building was in a parlous state. The Förderverein Lepsiushaus Potsdam e.V., acquiring funds from the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Brandenburg, the Stiftung Preußische Schlösser und Gärten, the Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz, and the City of Potsdam, as well as through private donations, was able to prevent it falling to utter ruin.

The building has now been refurbished in line with its heritage status, the pre-1945 floor plan restored, and the house is once again available for long-term use by the Lepsiushaus Potsdam e.V..