History - World War II, Berlin

78 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • History - World War II
    by alancollins
  • History - World War II
    by alancollins
  • History - World War II
    by alancollins
  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Womens' protest in the Rosenstraße

    by alancollins Written Sep 18, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Approximately 200 metres away from the Berliner Fernsehturm in Rosenstrasse stands a 3 metre tall rose coloured Litfass column. Most people walking past the column are too busy to stop and read the information but this was the site of a huge protest during the National Socialism era, something which was almost unheard of during this period.
    Until the beginning of 1943 so called privileged Jews, who were mainly men and married to Aryans, were exempt from deportation and the final solution. On 27 February Jews were rounded up all over Germany for deportation. In Berlin approximately 1800 privileged Jews were taken to 2 - 4 Rosenstrasse, an Administration Centre of the Jewish Community to await deportation.
    As word of the arrests spread the wives started to slowly arrive at Rosenstrasse. As the numbers started to grow the wives were threatened by the gun totting SS and Gestapo men and ordered to clear the street or be shot. Though the women would disappear down alleyways they would soon reappear. After a week of protests the men were released. This was the only protest to the deportation of the Jews during the war.
    Towards the end of the war the building at 2 - 4 Rosenstrasse was destroyed by allied bombing. Besides the Litfass column there is a memorial to the women who took part in the demonstration in a small park also in Rosenstrasse. The memorial was created by Ingeborg Hunzinger and was erected in 1995 and it is named Block of Women.
    A film was made of the event which was released in 2003 and called Rosenstrasse,

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Memorial to Polish Soldiers & German Anti-Fascists

    by alancollins Written Sep 18, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    I have been to the Volkspark Friedrichshain a couple of times though usually not making the best use of public transport and walking further than I needed too. This time I had researched things better and simply caught the #200 from Alexanderplatz. My intention was to visit the Memorial to Polish Soldiers and German Anti-Fascists which is located on the northern edge of the park. It was built in 1972 when relations improved between Poland and the GDR. Today it is the main memorial in Germany to Polish soldiers who died during World War 2 as well as a memorial to German resistance to National Socialism. The memorial was rededicated in 1995 to included those left out during the original dedication. The inscription reads, 'For your freedom and ours.'

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    National Socialist Eagle

    by alancollins Written Jul 3, 2013

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    2 more images

    I was once told that only children and dogs look up so that as adults we miss a lot of our world. Every day thousands of adults walk past this building but as they do not look up they miss what is above the front entrance. Perched on the roof above the main entrance is a large Nazi Eagle which is clearly visible from the street. The building was built during the 1930s and was used by the Todt Organisation during WW2. It is now a regional office for the Federal Employment Agency and is a listed building.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Memorial to the Victims of Fascism

    by alancollins Written May 13, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Memorial to the Victims of Fascism
    4 more images

    On the northern edge of the old village green at Lichtenberg stands the parish church which dates back to the 13th century. The green, now named Loeperplatz has one of the first memorials that was erected after WW2 on the southern edge. The simple Memorial to the Victims of Fascism was erected in 1948. It has a plaque on each of the four sides with a simple message. The memorial is topped by a red triangle which was the symbol used by the SS in the concentration camps to denote political prisoners.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    The Forced Labour Camp at Schöneweide

    by alancollins Updated May 9, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    A new exhibition has opened at the Forced Labour Camp at Schöneweide. The exhibition charts the history of the camp, the history of forced labour during the Third Reich and personal accounts of those forced to work. This is a brilliant state of the art exhibition and well worth a visit the same as its related site the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre.
    The Forced Labour Camp at Schöneweide is the last of its kind in Berlin. The reason the buildings still exist was due to the fact that it was built from blocks whereas as the other camps were built from wood. During 1944 there were 420,000 foreign workers in Berlin housed in 3,000 buildings. Some foreign workers worked as servants in private houses and they were housed in those buildings. Thirteen buildings were constructed between 1943 and the end of the war and unlike earlier buildings these were block built due to the now frequent air raids. They were used to house up to 2,160 civilian workers, females prisoners from concentration camps, prisoners of war and forced labour. With approximately 200 prisoners in each block they had to get up early to wash etc due to the lack of facilities. There was a pecking order at the camp with those from western Europe having one day off a week, a small wage and being allowed out of the camp on their day off. Those from eastern Europe had to work seven days a week and not being allowed out of the camp. There were armed SS guards at the camp for security. Workers from the camp had to work in such places the Pertrix battery factory, railway repair yards and the Pierburgs factory which made carburettors and fuel pumps for the military. Pertrix was not a nice place to work due to the harsh conditions. There were no protective clothing and poisonous gases from lead and cadmium. Prisoners from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp were forced to work at Pertrix. As with the concentration camps many deaths occurred due to sickness, no heating, lack of food, the number of hours forced to work and the working conditions. After the war as this area was in the GDR the buildings were put to other civilian uses, including offices, vaccine laboratory, workshops and child care. The camp was rediscovered after reunification but the Documentation Centre was not opened until 2006. A number of buildings have been saved though some are still used by other businesses. Money has been tight but a donation from Pertrix has allowed a new exhibition to be opened on 07 May 2013 and unlike the old exhibits this one has an English translation. Barracks 13 is a slight distance away from the main exhibition site and is the best preserved of the barracks. Visits to Barracks 13 are only by guided tour which have to be arranged in advance, details are available via their website. There are public tours which are published on the website but these are only in German. There is a library for those wishing to carry out research. The exhibition is free including the guided tour of Barracks 13 and the camp is open Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 6pm. There have been attempts to set fire to the camp by Neo-Nazis and signposts to the camp had been turned around. .

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    The Soviet War Memorial, Treptower Park

    by alancollins Updated Mar 31, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Soldier holding child
    4 more images

    This huge Soviet War Memorial and cemetery took 1,200 workers over 3 years to construct and contains the bodies of 5,000 Soviet soldiers who were killed during the battle for Berlin. The focus of the memorial is a 12m tall statue of a soviet soldier with a sword and holding a child, and standing over a broken swastika. Beneath the statue is a room covered in mosaics where wreaths are laid. In front of the statue is a central area lined on both sides with 16 sarcophagi, one for each of the Soviet Republics. The central area contains the remains of 5,000 Soviet soldiers that were killed during the battle for Berlin. In front of the central area are 2 portals in a stylised flag, that are clad in marble taken from the former Reich Chancellery, these are flanked by two statues of kneeling soldiers. This is one of the larger memorials in Berlin covering an area of 10 acres. As part of the agreement when the Soviets left the memorial is now looked after by the German Government and after renovation a few years ago it has been well looked after.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Memorial to victims of Nazi military justice

    by alancollins Updated Mar 18, 2013

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    Close to the Bell Tower at the Olympic Stadium there is a little known memorial to commemorate the victims of Nazi military justice at Murellenberg. The hilly area has been used by the military since the 1840s and included barracks and shooting range, part of it is still used by the police. Most of this has now gone and it is now popular for walks and jogging. Between August 1944 and April 1945 approximately 230 soldiers were executed on the Murellenburg having first been tried at the Reich's War Court mainly for desertion or undermining military force. Most of those that were executed at now buried at Fort Hahneberg, Spandau. On 08 May 2002 a memorial designed by Patrica Pisani inaugurated. The memorial starts close to Waldbühne Concert Venue. It consists of a 700m forest path with 104 traffic mirrors placed along the route with 16 of the mirrors have lasered text of the events that happened.

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Memorial to Johann Georg Elser

    by alancollins Written Feb 16, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    To most people the name Johann Georg Elser is unknown unlike the name Claus von Stauffenberg. Both tried to assassinate Adolf Hitler by setting off bombs and both failed for different reasons. Elser had worked as an engineer and a carpenter and used these skills to make and hide his bomb. Elser opposed National Socialism and did not trust Hitler's claims to want peace. With war breaking out on 01 September 1939 this made Elser more determined to complete his plan.
    Every year on the 08 November Hitler attended the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch in the Bürgerbräukeller, a large beer hall in Munich to give a speech to the surviving veterans of the Putsch. Elser had attended the anniversary speech in 1938 and had judged the security at the hall as poor and decided he would try to assassinate Hitler the following year when he gave his speech. Elser went to Munich weeks before the annual speech and regularly attended the beer hall hiding in the building each night. Each night Elser slowly hollowed out a pillar behind the speaker's rostrum intending to place a bomb inside it. Hitler's speech's were usually long winded affairs that went on for hours. Hitler had intended to fly back to Berlin after the speech but fog caused the flight to be cancelled. Due to the inclement weather Hitler started his speech earlier than usual so he could travel back to Berlin by train. The speech was also much shorter than usual and Hitler left the Beer Hall, 13 minutes before the bomb exploded killing 8 and injuring 63.
    Luck was not on Elser's side and he had already been arrested before the bomb went off as he tried to cross the border into Switzerland. As the parts fell into place and suspicion fell on Elser, he was tortured, confessed and was sent to the Sachsenhausen and then Dachau Concentration Camps. As the war was drawing to a close, Elser was shot dead on 09 April 1945 at Dachau and this was made to look like the results of an air raid.
    As Elser and the assassination attempt, which could have changed the course of history, become more well known several memorials have been erected. One of those was inaugurated on the 08 November 2011 in Wilhelmstraße adjacent to where Hitler's Reich Chancellery once stood . It was designed by Ulrich Klages and the sculpture is a 17 metre high silhouette of Elser and is lit at night giving it an eyrie appearance as you pass it. Close to the sculpture are information boards detailing the assassination attempt.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    The memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe

    by alancollins Written Feb 10, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    The memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism was inaugurated by the German Chancellor and President on 24 October 2012. It is estimated that half million Sinti and Roma died during the holocaust, The memorial was first planned in 1992 but it has taken 20 years to finally completed it due to disagreements over its design by the various associations. The memorial is located in the Tiergarten between the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. There is a circular reflecting pool with a small triangular retractable concrete plinth on which flowers are placed daily. There are broken slabs of stone surrounding the pool. A line of boards given an account of the Chronology of the genocide of the Sinti and Roma. The memorial is open 24 hours a day and was designed by the artist Dani Karavan.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    hochbunker-heckeshorn

    by alancollins Written Feb 8, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Viewed from the car park
    4 more images

    I love to find places that can be seen, walked past but are missed because it is not known they exist. One such place is a huge well preserved Bunker that is close to the House of the Wannsee Conference. I should say at the start that the building is not open to the general public at this present time and can only be view from a distance. The bunker can be seen either from the far corner of the car park used by visitors to the House of the Wannsee Conference or walk further up the road to Am Großen Wannsee 80 to view the other side of the building. A building complex was built between 1938/9 by the architect Eduard Jobst Siedler for the Reich Defence School. The bunker which has 4 metre thick reinforced concrete walls and has 6 floors was completed in 1943. It served as a command post to coordinate the air defence for Berlin and a large area of Germany during WW2. Towards the end of the war the entire command staff of the armed forces moved there from Zossen Wünsdorf. After the end of the war the bunker was used as a telegraph transmitting station and post office by the US Forces. Later on the surrounding buildings were used for a TB Clinic and are now part of the Blood Transfusion Service. The bunker has been used as a mortuary and in the 1985 work was started to convert it as an emergency 600 bed hospital. The work was not completed until 1993 when the cold war had ended. Since then the equipment been given away to previous enemies of the cold war. The Berliner-Unterwelten have access to the bunker but have no plans at present to provide tours and there is information and photos of the bunker on their website but only in German.

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Platform 17 Memorial at Grunewald Station

    by alancollins Updated Aug 25, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Platform 17
    4 more images

    Platform 17 at Grunewald Railway Station is a memorial to the 50,000 Jews from Berlin, who were transported from this station to various concentration camps during World War 2. The 2 platforms have been re-laid with metal grilles, which have cast along the edge the numbers, dates and camps the Jews were sent too.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    WW2 Bunker Tours-Flakturm III

    by alancollins Updated Aug 22, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Flak Tower
    4 more images

    Whilst searching on the internet for bunkers in Berlin I came upon this website that wetted my appetite. Later on I watched a TV program about the numerous tunnels, bunkers, flak towers and buildings that were used as shelters and the new Germania. I was aware of the flak towers that had been constructed for defence during WW2 but that’s where it ended. I therefore made up my mind to visit the remaining flak tower in Berlin. Most people are unaware of its existence because after WW2 the flak tower in Humboldthain Park was partly blown up on the southern side by the French. The explosives only damaged about half the tower and the concern was that if the rest of the building was blown up it would fall on to the railway cutting below blocking the line. Therefore it was decided to cover over the building with debris and earth to hide it. The 3 flak towers formed a triangle to defend the airspace over Berlin. The park was reconstructed and things seemed to settle down over the years. Over the passage of time a new interest has been born into the history of the tower. The tower in Humboldthain Park was the last of the 3 towers to be built in April 1942. It was originally planned to build 6 towers but lack of materials and cost halted the project. Each flak tower had a command post that was located 300 to 500 metres away and they were linked by underground cables. The command posts were also known as L-Towers had powerful radars and range finders on the roofs. The flak tower had a huge twin barrelled anti aircraft gun on each of the 4 corners. The Humboldthain Flak Tower only had 105mm flak guns until late 1943. This information from the command posts was processed and communicated to the roof top of the flak towers and distributed to the four large corner tower mounted Flak 44 128mm twin mounted flak guns, these had a range of 15,000metres. These guns were protected by smaller calibre machine guns. All three pairs of towers were fitted on their lower platforms with various light flak guns generally of the 20mm and 37mm calibre range, primarily for offensive operations that could engage small low flying allied aircraft. All the weapon systems on both flak towers are also capable of fulfilling a defensive role against both ground and airborne targets. The tower had a compliment of 160 men to man the guns. Towards the end of WW2 the towers were used as a shelter by the general public and they could hold thousands of people. All 3 towers survived the war but the rush was on afterwards to destroy them in case they became a symbol to the Nazis.
    I went on a group tour with an enthusiastic English speaking guide, who was happy to answer any questions and processed an excellent knowledge of the history of the tower. A warm coat and sensible footwear are advised. The website gives good directions where to purchase tickets for the tours. Check times & dates for the various tour tours as some are closed during the winter.
    More photos

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    German Resistance Memorial Centre

    by alancollins Updated Aug 19, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    The Bendlerblock was originally built to house the German Naval Offices and it was extended to house the Headquarters of the Wehrmacht during WW2. The story would have ended there, had the courtyard not been used to execute some of the failed conspirators, involved in the plot to kill Hitler on 20th July 1944 including Claus von Stauffenberg. There is a memorial to the executions in the courtyard. The profile of the building has recently been raised after the screening of the film Valkyrie some filming of which took place at the building. On the second floor of the building is an exhibition to the history of German anti Nazi movements. The whole exhibition, which is free to visit, is all in German but audio guides are available for free, an id needs to be left. The first floor is used for special exhibitions that are regularly changed.
    Additional Photos

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Topographie des Terrors

    by alancollins Updated Jul 26, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The new museum
    4 more images

    Topographie des Terrors is on an area of of landscape ground where the Prince Albrecht Palais once stood. This was the HQ of the Gestapo who were the secret police of Nazi Germany. Though their maximum number never exceeded 45,000 (one third the present number of police officers in England & Wales)throughout the war, they were so feared it is often assumed their number was far greater than this. The buildings were bombed at the end of WW2. After 1945 the area was all in ruins and remained that way until the 1960s when the area was razed to the ground. The site was opened in 1987 as the Topographie des Terrors which had an outside exhibition and you could walk around and markers explain what was where. There is a large surviving portion of the Berlin Wall behind the new outdoor exhibition. A new state of the art building and documentation centre was opened on 07 May 2010. The exhibition charts the history of the Gestapo and SD with some individual personal stories of its prisoners with photographs and an English translation. There are also special exhibitions on display. The museum is normally open from 10am to 8pm and admission is free. The building also contains a cafe, toilets and library. One side of the of the old foundations of the building are available to view under a covered walkway which is in a trench. There are information stations around the grounds giving information on the history of the site. One thing most people miss is walking around grounds, There is a pathway with a number of information stations where the different buildings stood. There are some foundation ruins and driveways. There is a mass of information to take in and if you have the time more than one visit is recommended.

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • alancollins's Profile Photo

    Berliner Gruselkabinett

    by alancollins Updated May 26, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Exterior of the bunker
    4 more images

    This building was a huge public air raid shelter during WW2 and is now the Chamber of Horrors. It now contains 3 different exhibitions on 3 floors. There are monsters, skeltons and medieval medicine on the upper floors. The lower floor contains an exhibition of the shelters’ original use during WW2. The upper floors are popular with children and the lower floor with the dads. The building has some unusual opening times so check out their website. The cost of entrance for an adult is 9.50 euros.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Berlin

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

115 travelers online now

Comments

View all Berlin hotels