Ka-de-Wa is short for "Kaufhaus des West" in German: “The Western Department Store."
The store was founded in 1905 by the Jewish businessman Alfred Jendorf, inspired by the department stores that were then in the United States. He combined a large number of specialized shops under one roof. It was very luxurious and innovative for those times, so much so that the people of Berlin flocked to it like doves. The entire street where it was built became a commercial street and many businesses gathered around it. There were rare technological innovations in Berlin of those times, such as the fact that the whole building was lit with electricity and had no less than 20 elevators.
Over the next few years, the department changed hands until 1933, when the Nazis came to power and nationalized it. At the request of the Nazi regime and the banks' threats, the Jewish owners, the Titts family, were ‘persuaded’ to transfer control of the company to a businessman of Aryan origin. Thus, for 50,000 marks, the store was bought by businessman Georg Karag from the state.
During World War II, an American bomb crashed into the building. Only in the 1950’s was the building rebuilt and the store reopened. Berliners saw this as a sign of a return to normalcy, since the end of the war.