Plague to corona in berlin a brief outline of the pandemics in berlin

Corona in Berlin. Around the world. Hardly anyone talks about anything else. So far, 15 people have been infected here. But the fears are great. Hoarding purchases and quarantine fantasies determine everyday life. We went into the archives and looked at which pandemics have hit Berliners in the past. From plague and cholera to Spanish flu and leprosy to Corona.

People have always wanted to protect themselves from contagious diseases by means of masks. In the dark years of the plague just as today. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Public domain; imago images / Hindustan Times

Long before Corona in Berlin the plague raged around 1576 also in the double city Berlin-Colln and the neighboring places. Since the beginning of the century, it has been the fifth plague to strike. In that terrible year died almost 4.000 people. In neighboring Spandau, an outbreak of the pestilence and 575 deaths were reported. Ten years earlier, 1.400 spandauers, at about 3.000 inhabitants, it was just under half of the population.

English sweat

The very contagious and usually fatal disease of mysterious origin hit Hamburg in July 1529, 1.100 people died within 22 days. Other affected cities were Lubeck, Bremen, Konigsberg and Danzig, in Dortmund 497 out of 500 people died of the disease. Whether the English sweat also affected Berlin has not been handed down.


From 1831 to 1873, Berlin was affected by cholera 13 times. Prussia suffered particularly badly from the epidemics of 1848/49, 1852, 1855 and 1866. In 1866, the disease claimed nearly 115.000 lives.

Spanish flu

In the war year of 1918, the infamous Spanish flu also affected the German Reich. Worldwide, 25 to 50 million people died from the disease caused by the virus A/H1N1. By comparison, the First World War claimed 17 million lives. In Berlin the number of death opera amounted to about 40.000.

The SARS pandemic of 2002 and 2003 is considered the first pandemic caused by the SARS-associated coronavirus. It started in southern China and spread around the globe within weeks. The number of victims at that time was 774. There were nine infections in Germany.


There are not many known cases of leprosy in Berlin, but doctors diagnosed the disease in a Berlin woman in January 2012.


In 2018, there were 5 throughout Germany.429 people have been infected with tuberculosis. This corresponds to about 6.5 new cases per 100.000 inhabitants.

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