Who invented it?
It is September 4, 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany has just been founded, and Berlin, the frontline city of the Cold War, is still lacking quite a bit. But one thing is not missing: ideas. So Herta Heuwer makes the best of what's there and mixes up a curry sauce that she will later trademark as "Chillup." "Chillup" fits perfectly with the sausage without intestines that she sells in her snack bar, and customers literally run into her snack bar.
Of course, a good idea is always something many want to have had. But in the case of the currywurst, one thing is pretty much certain: it was Herta Heuwer from Berlin who deserves the honor. This is probably one of the reasons why the Berlin Currywurst is now a protected commodity, officially and properly recognized by the German Patent and Trademark Office.
In Dortmund, Hamburg and elsewhere, however, there will certainly always be someone who sees it differently despite this and without any evidence. We simply see in it the envious recognition for the original Berlin Currywurst - often copied, never equaled and so popular that many would like to adorn themselves with the feathers.
Herta Heuwer was an energetic personality who tried her hand at several professions before making the invention of a lifetime with the currywurst. At 16, she began a commercial apprenticeship, followed by an apprenticeship as a seamstress, attended home economics and cooking classes, and worked as a saleswoman at the already famous KaDeWe department store. After the war ended, she supported the Berlin kitchen help as a volunteer and finally opened her legendary snack bar in Charlottenburg's Kantstraße in 1949 in war-torn Berlin.
The composition of her sauce remains a secret to this day - because she took the recipe for her "chillup" to her grave in 1999, having destroyed all written records of it years earlier. Her death also attracted nationwide attention at the time, with even DER SPIEGEL commemorating the Berlin inventor of the currywurst in an obituary. Since then she has not been forgotten.
In 2003, a commemorative plaque was unveiled by Charlottenburg Mayor Monika Thiemen at the site where she invented the currywurst. The German Currywurst Museum, which has since been closed again, had dedicated a separate room to her - the least that could be done, considering that without her, such a museum would never have existed in the first place.
In her honor, the Berlin State Mint even minted a commemorative medal in 2019 to mark the 70th anniversary of the invention of the Currywurst, on which she is depicted together with two Currywursts. Even Google dedicated the home page of its search engine to her on the occasion of her 100th birthday on June 13, 2013, and published a Currywurst doodle.
The power of the currywurst.
The invention of the currywurst not only brought more enjoyment to the world, but remains a testament to the power of entrepreneurship and the influence that a single person can have. Today, the currywurst is an integral part of snack culture, and not just in Berlin. Herta Heuwer's legacy will hopefully inspire generations to come, and her story is a reminder of the importance of never giving up, even in the face of adversity. An original Berlin currywurst provides the strength to do just that.