Nazi Sites on Unter den Linden and Friedrichstraße

From Berlin in Bildern published in 1938. Unter den Linden is a boulevard in the centre of Berlin that runs from the City Palace to the Brandenburg Gate, named after the lime trees that lined the grassed pedestrian mall on the median and the two broad carriageways and links numerous Berlin sights and landmarks. Shortly after the "Machtergreifung," the Nazis began in 1934 to widen these lanes with the intention of making the boulevard part of the 50 kilometre long east-west axis for the intended world capital city Germania. The construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 marked the street in the Volksmund as the "most representative cul-de-sac in the world". After German reunification, the Brandenburg Gate was closed for motor vehicle traffic although the road nevertheless developed into a motor road.  Between the summer of 1945 and about 1948, the many destroyed palaces and buildings had to be demolished, so a rubble railway was laid along the boulevard, and numerous volunteers were involved. In the course of the subsequent reconstruction, the first new building from 1949 to 1951 was the Embassy of the Soviet Union, an example of Stalinist architecture and a symbol of the political affinity of the then newly-founded DDR with the Soviet Union. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the building is the Embassy of the Russian Federation.  After the initial reconstruction and use as an exhibition venue, the heavily damaged Berlin city palace was blown up in 1950. By the end of the 1960s most of the historic buildings had been rebuilt in the eastern part of the street, with the exception of the Old Commandant, which was reconstructed in 2003. The Palace of the Republic was built on the Spree-side of the palace and a new building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DDR was built along the Spree Canal.  
"Banner Over Berlin- A Bright, Sunshiny Day, With Unter Den Linden in Gala Dress. By far the most conspicuous is Germany's swastika-emblazoned flag. The Zeughaus (Armory) at right, begun in 1694, is now a military museum and Hall of Fame. It holds Hindenburg's death mask and busts of famous warriors and statesmen, as well as weapons, armour, and uniforms from the Middle Ages to the World War. Here, too, is Napoleon's hat, found near Waterloo! [with me beside it today]" 
From a February 1937 National Geographic article in titled "Changing Berlin.
The right shows the street after the war when the road was almost completely destroyed by the air raids of the Allies and the Battle of Berlin. One of the few still usable buildings was the Römischer Hof.
Here in front of Humboldt Universität, Berlin’s oldest university where Marx and Engels studied and the Brothers Grimm and Albert Einstein taught, was the site of a symbolic act of ominous significance when, on May 10, 1933, its students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of "un-German" books, presaging an era of state censorship and control of culture. Opernplatz (now Bebelplatz) was thus the site of the first big official Nazi book- burning in May 1933. Within the square surrounded by the baroque Alte Königliche Bibliothek, now part of the university, theState Opera, built in 1743 and the domed St Hedwigskirche, partly modelled on Rome’s Pantheon and Berlin’s only Catholic church until 1854 is a simple but poignant memorial by Micha Ullmann consisting of an underground library with empty bookshelves which commemorates this event. It was here on April 6, 1933, the Main Office for Press and Propaganda of the German Student Association (Deutsche Studentenschaft) proclaimed a nationwide "Action against the Un-German Spirit", to climax in a literary purge or "cleansing" ("Säuberung") by fire. Local chapters were to supply the press with releases and commissioned articles, sponsor well-known Nazi figures to speak at public gatherings, and negotiate for radio broadcast time. On April 8 the students association also drafted its Twelve Theses, deliberately evoking Martin Luther; the theses declared and outlined a "pure" national language and culture. Placards publicised the theses, which attacked "Jewish intellectualism", asserted the need to "purify" German language and literature, and demanded that universities be centres of German nationalism. The students described the "action" as a response to a worldwide Jewish "smear campaign" against Germany and an affirmation of traditional German values.
Then on the night of May 10, in most university towns, nationalist students marched in torchlight parades "against the un-German spirit." The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, rectors, and student leaders to address the participants and spectators. At the meeting places, students threw the pillaged and unwanted books into the bonfires with great joyous ceremony, band-playing, songs, "fire oaths," and incantations.
Not all book burnings took place on May 10, as the German Student Association had planned. Some were postponed a few days because of rain. Others, based on local chapter preference, took place on June 21, the summer solstice, a traditional date of celebration. Nonetheless, in 34 university towns across Germany the "Action against the un-German Spirit" was a success, enlisting widespread newspaper coverage. And in some places, notably Berlin, radio broadcasts brought the speeches, songs, and ceremonial incantations "live" to countless German listeners.

In front of the the Royal Library, now the seat of the Faculty of Law, is this memorial by Micha Ullmann. When viewed at an angle, one can see empty shelves capable of holding 20,000 books. When viewed from above, all one sees is their own reflection. Both views are meant to remind us of the events that transpired and the people responsible for them.

In 1821, Heinrich Heine, a German poet of Jewish origin, had written in his play Almansor:
"Wo Bücher brennen, da brennen bald auch Menschen."
(Where they burn books, people will be burned last.)
Across the street is the statue of Hermann von Helmholtz in front of the main building of the university, the entrance of which is little changed from the time it was the setting for a Nazi rally.
 At about midnight a torchlight parade of thousands of students ended at a square on Unter den Linden opposite the University of Berlin. Torches were put to a huge pile of books that had been gathered there, and as the flames enveloped them more books were thrown on the fire until some twenty thousand had been consumed. Similar scenes took place in several other cities. The book burning had begun. Many of the books tossed into the flames in Berlin that night by the joyous students under the approving eye of Dr. Goebbels had been written by authors of world reputation. They included, among German writers, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Lion Feuchtwanger, Jakob Wassermann, Arnold and Stefan Zweig, Erich Maria Remarque, Walther Rathenau, Albert Einstein, Alfred Kerr and Hugo Preuss, the last named being the scholar who had drafted the Weimar Constitution. But not only the works of dozens of German writers were burned. A good many foreign authors were also included: Jack London, Upton Sinclair, Helen Keller, Margaret Sanger, H. G. Wells, Havelock Ellis, Arthur Schnitzler, Freud, Gide, Zola, Proust. In the words of a student proclamation, any book was condemned to the flames ”which acts subversively on our future or strikes at the root of German thought, the German home and the driving forces of our people.” Dr. Goebbels, the new Propaganda Minister, who from now on was to put German culture into a Nazi strait jacket, addressed the students as the burning books turned to ashes. ”The soul of the German people can again express itself. These flames not only illuminate the final end of an old era; they also light up the new.”
 Shirer (213-214)
St. Hedwig's Cathedral at the back of Bebelplatz, built in the 18th century as the first Catholic church in Prussia by permission of King Frederick II. Lichtenberg was later jailed by the Nazis and died on the way to the concentration camp at Dachau. 
It was here after Reichskristallnacht that Father Bernhard Lichtenberg, a canon of the cathedral chapter of St Hedwig since 1931, publicly prayed for the Jews at Vespers services. In addition, he protested in person to Nazi officials the arrest and killing of the sick and mentally ill as well as the persecution of the Jews. At first, the Nazis dismissed the priest as a nuisance. Father Lichtenberg was warned that he was in danger of being arrested for his activities, but he continued nonetheless. Deploring the regime of concentration camps like that of Dachau, he organized demonstrations against them outside certain camps.  In 1942, Lichtenberg protested against the euthanasia programme by way of a letter to the chief physician of the Reich
I, as a human being, a Christian, a priest, and a German, demand of you, Chief Physician of the Reich, that you answer for the crimes that have been perpetrated at your bidding, and with your consent, and which will call forth the vengeance of the Lord on the heads of the German people.
  Lichtenberg was arrested and condemned to prison. Because he was considered incorrigible, he was sent to the Dachau concentration camp, but collapsed and died whilst in transit, on November 5, 1943. His tomb is situated here in the crypt after his remains were transferred in 1965. 

The cathedral burned out completely in 1943 during air raids on Berlin and was reconstructed from 1952 up to 1963.
Behind is the Gendarmenmarkt, the site of the Konzerthaus and the French and German Cathedrals, all of which were left in ruins after the war.
Comparing the site today during my 2016 class trip from the steps of the Deutscher Dom with that shown in the 1938 book Berlin in Bildern would not indicate such damage given the extensive reconstruction that has taken place since the war. In 1936 the Nazis removed the ornamental gardens in front of the theatre and replaced them with the square stones still seen today. The square was then used as a parade square for propaganda rallies.
On the right is the Französischer Dom, shown on fire after bombing in 1944.
The Französischer Dom, situated across from the Deutscher Dom, was heavily damaged in the war and eventually re-built from 1977 to 1981. Here schwimmwagen are shown displaying the insignia of the 11th ϟϟ Panzergrenadier Division "Nordland", and the tactical marking of a motorised divisional headquarters. Also known as Kampfverband Waräger or Germanische-Freiwilligen-Division, the Nordland was a Waffen-ϟϟ division recruited from foreign populations which had seen action in the Independent State of Croatia and on the Eastern Front during the war. By April 27 the remnants of Nordland were pushed back into the central government district (Zitadelle sector) in Defence sector Z. ϟϟ-Brigadeführer Gustav Krukenberg's Nordland headquarters was a carriage in the Stadtmitte U-Bahn station. Thereafter, the troops in the government district were pushed back into the Reichstag and Reich Chancellery. What was eventually left of the Nordland Division under Krukenberg fought hard in that area but Soviet artillery and anti-tank guns were too strong. The Nordland's last Tiger was knocked out attempting to cross the Weidendammer Bridge before hostilities officially ended on May 2 by order of Helmuth Weidling, Kommandant of the Defence Area Berlin and General of Artillery.
Just in front is the statue of Friedrich the Great, unveiled in 1851 and which managed to survive the war due to the protective sand-filled house constructed to deflect the bombs. It had been removed to the gardens of Sans Souci in Potsdam by the disapproving DDR authorities, only to be returned a few feet east in 1980.

Neue Wache
My students in front during our 2018 class trip and as it appeared on April 20, 1939 for Hitler's 50th birthday with the 1.Kompanie ϟϟ Adolf Hitler en guarde. 

Built under Prussian King Frederick William III as a guard house for the king's guard and as a memorial for the victims of the liberation wars and the Napoleonic wars, it first opened on September 18, 1818 on the occasion of the visit of Tsar Alexander of Russia by the Alexander Regiment. The Neue Wache served until 1918 as the main and royal guard. In 1931, Heinrich Tessenow transformed the building into a memorial for the fallen soldiers of the Great War. After heavy damage in the Second World War, the building was restored in 1955, and in 1960 it was redesigned as a memorial to the victims of fascism and militarism. Until German reunification in 1990, two soldiers of the guard regiment of Friedrich Engels stood as guard of honour in front during the day. Every Wednesday and Saturday, at 2:30 pm, an honorary formation of the "Wachau" under the "Unter den Linden in Berlin" was launched.  Since Memorial Day in 1993, the Neue Wache has served as the central memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for the victims of war and tyranny. On Memorial Day the guard battalion is given an honorary guard for the building.
Lecturing my students during our 2018 class trip inside and from the same angles on March 12, 1933 when Hindenburg and Hitler marked Volkstrauertag and a year later on February 25 for Heldengedenktag in which are shown von Neurath, Count Schwerin-Krosigk, Lippert, Frick, Schmidt, Admiral Raeder, Hitler, von Papen, Goebbels, von Hindenburg, Goering, von Blomberg and von Fritsch.
Originally built as a guardhouse for the troops of the Crown Prince of Prussia, the building has been used as a war memorial since 1931. The Nazis used it as an Hall of Fame for Heroes.
As it appeared in 1945 and during my 2011 and 2016 school tours
 The exterior and interior of the building after the war. The former iron-wrought wreath is now on display at the Deutsches Historisches Museum. 
Inside, during the war and today where it has a memorial to the Victims of Fascism and Militarism located directly under the building's oculus, exposing it to the elements to further represent the suffering of civilians during the war. The memorial itself with its Christian-like pieta of mother and dead son would hardly seem appropriate to non-Christian victims.
Koselleck argued that a national symbol of hope in the form of a Pieta — based on depictions of Mary mourning Jesus — must inevitably symbolize the Christian message of salvation. Thus the memorial represents "the very rupture that divides Christians from Jews. Or should the (surviving) Jews be obliged to recognize the dead son as their saviour?" And not only Jews were implicitly excluded from the memorial; so were the women who died in World War II. The portrayal of a mother mourning her dead son was appropriate memorial for World War I, when most of those who died were soldiers, but after a second war in which millions of women were themselves killed in bombing, mass executions, and gas chambers, "the surviving mother cannot be the central figure of our central memorial."

In 1828 and today with the Zeughaus behind
The Zeughaus is the oldest surviving building on Unter den Linden and dates from the Baroque period. It was built as a weaponry arsenal and today houses the German Historical Museum. Whilst the Zeughaus played a minor role in the public consciousness in the Weimar Republic with its collection reorganised according to scientific criteria in order to no longer be regarded as a "patriotic-military edifice, under the Nazis it hosted a large exhibition on the role of Germany in the First World War. Hitler held his annual speech in March on Armed Forces Day. On March 21, 1943, Rudolf-Christoph Freiherr von Gersdorff wanted to blow up with Hitler during a tour of an exhibition. As an instrument of war propaganda, the Zeughaus remained open until September 1944. During  the war parts of the collections were removed and by the end the building suffered heavy damage from bombs and shells. The façades were perforated several times, the attic burnt out, and a large part of the sculptures burnt in the fires. The rebuilding of the building began in 1948 and lasted until 1967. Initially, it was intended to be used as a "House of Culture" and restored in its original form without the alterations and alterations of the 19th century. After the building fabric quickly turned out to be considerably worse than expected, the complete rebuilding of the Zeughaus began in 1950 when its interior was replaced by a steel and concrete construction and only the exterior walls preserved. It was also decided in 1950 to accommodate the Museum of German History (MfDG); founded by the Central Committee of the SED, it was intended to convey the Marxist-Leninist history. In September 1990 immediately before German reunification, it was dissolved by the last DDR government. After several years of renovation work, the Zeughaus has been used by the German Historical Museum since 2003.
The courtyard then and now. Located next to the Neue Wache, the former Armoury is now the National History Museum. It was where Baron Rudolf-Christoph von Gersdorff attempted to assassinate Hitler when he, Goering, Himmler and Keitel were due to be present at the Heroes’ Memorial Day (Heldengedenktag) ceremonies on March 21 1943 at the Zeughaus. Here was an opportunity to get not only the Führer but his chief associates. As Colonel Freiherr von Gersdorff, chief of intelligence on Kluge’s staff, later said, ”This was a chance which would never recur.” He had been selected to handle the bomb, and this time it would have to be a suicidal mission where the colonel would conceal in his overcoat pockets two bombs, set the fuses, stay as close to Hitler during the ceremony as possible and blow the Fuehrer and his entourage as well as himself up. On the evening of March 20 he met with Schlabrendorff in his room at the Eden Hotel in Berlin. Schlabrendorff had brought two bombs with ten-minute fuses. But because of the near-freezing temperature in the glassed-over courtyard of the Zeughaus it might take from fifteen to twenty minutes before the weapons exploded. 
Once again, astonishing luck had accompanied Hitler. The depressed and shocked mood following Stalingrad had probably also offered the best possible psychological moment for a coup against him. A successful undertaking at that time might, despite the recently announced ‘Unconditional Surrender’ strategy of the Allies, have stood a chance of splitting them. The removal of the Nazi leadership and offer of capitulation in the west that Tresckow intended would at any rate have placed the western Allies with a quandary about whether to respond to peace-feelers. 
Kershaw (822) Hitler

Hitler speaking in the Zeughaus courtyard March 1941 and me at the site today, minus the staircase. It was in this courtyard that Hitler, after his speech, was scheduled to spend half an hour examining an exhibition of captured Russian war trophies which Gersdorff’s staff had arranged. It was the only place where the colonel could get close enough to the Fuehrer to kill him. Gersdorff later recounted what happened:
The next day I carried in each of my overcoat pockets a bomb with a ten-minute fuse. I intended to stay as close to Hitler as I could, so that he at least would be blown to pieces by the explosion. When Hitler... entered the exhibitional hall, Schmundt came across to me and said that only eight or ten minutes were to be spent on inspecting the exhibits. So the possibility of carrying out the assassination no longer existed, since even if the temperature had been normal the fuse needed at least ten minutes. This last-minute change of schedule, which was typical of Hitler’s subtle security methods, had once again saved him his life.

The Kaiser Friedrich Museum (now Bodemuseum). During the war the building suffered the least damage on the Museum Island, but it did not get an emergency roof until 1951. After the war in 1945, the city administration had all references to former rulers expunged and eventually on March 1, 1956 Johannes R. Becher, the Minister of Cultural Affairs of the DDR, solemnly gave the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum the name Bode-Museum. The Egyptian Museum with its collection of Papyrus, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History, a picture gallery, a collection of sculptures and the coin cabinet were temporarily housed here. The museum appears as a playable level in the WWII video game Sniper Elite V2 shown right.
Propaganda Minister Goebbels and Hitler speaking on the steps of the Altes Museum in 1938 and my students from Bavarian International School 80 years later. Albert Wolff's Löwenkämpfer, a copy of which can be found at the Philadelphia Museum of Art,remains. The Lustgarten ("Pleasure Garden") is in central Berlin, next to the Dom and had often been used as a parade ground and site for mass rallies. During the Weimar Republic, it was frequently used for political demonstrations with frequent rallies held by Socialists and Communists. In August 1921, 500,000 people demonstrated against right-wing extremist violence. After the murder of Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau in June 1922, 250,000 protested in the Lustgarten.
In fact, Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf (381) that
In Berlin, after the War, I was present at a mass-demonstration of Marxists in front of the Royal Palace and in the Lustgarten. A sea of red flags, red armlets and red flowers was in itself sufficient to give that huge assembly of about 120,000 persons an outward appearance of strength. I was now able to feel and understand how easily the man in the street succumbs to the hypnotic magic of such a grandiose piece of theatrical presentation.
William Shirer records in Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich (3) that
On Sunday, January 29, a hundred thousand workers crowded into the Lustgarten in the centre of Berlin to demonstrate their opposition to making Hitler Chancellor. One of their leaders attempted to get in touch with General von Hammerstein to propose joint action by the Army and organised labour should Hitler be named to head a new government. Once before, at the time of the Kapp putsch in 1920, a general strike had saved the Republic after the government had fled the capital.
In February, 1933, 200,000 people demonstrated against Hitler: shortly afterwards public opposition to the regime was banned. Under the Nazis, the Lustgarten was converted into a site for mass rallies. In 1934, it was paved over and Hitler would address mass rallies of up to a million people there. By the end of the war, the Lustgarten was a bomb-pitted wasteland. The German Democratic Republic left Hitler's paving in place, but planted lime trees around the parade ground to reduce its militaristic appearance. The whole area was renamed Marx-Engels-Platz. The City Palace was demolished and later replaced by the modernist Palace of the Republic on part of the site.

Hitler returning the salutes of officers and soldiers during a military parade on June 6, 1939 in honour of the Condor Legion, after service fighting in support of General Franco and his Nationalist forces in the Spanish Civil War and my students during our 2018 class trip.

During my history class's 2013 and 2017 trips to Berlin with the altes museum behind
Shockingly, the museum was allowed to be covered in swastikas for a forgettable 'parody'- Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth about Adolf Hitler, 2007. As Gertrud Koch, a cinema studies professor at the Free University of Berlin warns, "[t]he danger is that the whole picture of the Third Reich becomes more and more blurred, and the horror gets lost."

The planned extension to the museum by the Nazis

Albert Speer had chosen the Pergamon Altar as a model, shown during the Third Reich and me in front t0day.  The first Pergamon Museum structure opened on Museum Island in 1906. The centerpiece of its collection was the reconstructed Great Altar. After only six years the museum was razed to prepare the ground for a new, grander Pergamon Museum. World War I and the economic and political chaos that followed delayed the opening of that new museum until 1930; it was not completed until 1936. This museum housed the sculpture and architecture from the great excavations in Asia Minor, as well as the Near Eastern and other collections. Ironically, this architectural nostalgia for Hellenism was to have one more dubious manifestation in the Hellenic- inspired architecture of the Third Reich.
The altar at the time of the Olympics, after the war and in June 2002 when protesters occupied the site in memory of the anniversary of the massacre of Distomo, Greece to demand compensation for the victims of German war crimes. 
Outside the museum and as it appeared in 1945. During the wartime air raids on Berlin, the Pergamon Museum was hit hard. Many exhibits were moved to safe places and the monumental pieces were partially walled. In 1945 much of the Exposita was transported by the Red Army for a large victory museum Stalin to Moscow and Leningrad. In 1954, the first hall of the antique department was re-opened with the Miletsaal, and in 1955 the Hellenistic Hall, which was altered by Elisabeth Rohde, inter alia by the transfer of the Hephaistion mosaic. In 1957 and 1958 the Soviet Union returned a large part of its holdings to East Germany. The Pergamon altar was largely rebuilt by Carl Blümel and Elisabeth Rohde in the staging of 1930 whilst the German Museum, however, was not re-established. The collections that were once shown in it were mostly in the Gemäldegalerie and in the Sculpture Collection in West Berlin in the Museum Center Berlin-Dahlem. Other spoils were burned in the Flakbunker Friedrichshain or remain, illegal under international law, in the depots of the Pushkin Museum in Moscow and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The return of these spolis, including the famous treasure of Priam, was agreed in 1990 by the Federal Republic and Russia, but has so far been prevented by the Russian Parliament and museum directors in Moscow.
When the Nazis assumed power in 1933, Ludwig Justi was appointed director of the National Gallery followed by Eberhard Hanfstaengl, who held the post until 1937 during which time he planned further museum reconstructions and had several reconstruction works carried out. His successor was Paul Ortwin Rave, who remained director of the museum until 1950. When the Second World War began in September 1939, the National Gallery was closed. During the war the National Gallery building was heavily damaged by bombing, bombardment and ground-fighting. It has not been clarified to date which art works were destroyed during this time and which reached the Soviet Union as booty. Already in 1945 there were first efforts to get money for the reconstruction of the building of the National Gallery. Justi took over as head of the former state museums in 1946 as general manager. In 1948 the reconstruction began and by the following year parts of the building of the Museum Island were first made accessible to the public in the National Gallery.

After the war, a debate broke out in Germany over whether to rebuild exact copies of old buildings or to radically depart from pre-war Germany with many feeling that exact reproductions were tantamount to acting as if the war had never happen. Others felt that radical modernism ignored centuries of pre-war German history. Some projects, like the Neues Museum in Berlin, pictured here after a 1943 bombing raid and today, managed to find the balance between those two views. The museum today thus combines elements of the original building with modern accents. It preserves the ravages of war and pollution, providing an impressive fusion of the old and the new and simultaneously celebrating both ruins and contemporary construction. 
Then and now from the same vantage point
 Opening of the “Soviet Paradise” ("Sowjetparadies") exhibit on May 8, 1942, an exhibition and a propaganda film organised by the Reichspropagandaleitung of the NSDAP and displayed from May 8 to June 21, 1942. Its goal was to show "poverty, misery, depravity and need" in the Soviet Union and to justify the war against the Soviet Union. According to official information, 1.3 million people visited the show.  On May 18 a Jewish-Communist resistance group called "Baum-Group" organised an arson, that only caused little damage. At least 33 people were executed. A short propaganda film was created to supplement the exhibition.
The Stadtschloß, serving as the principal winter residence of the Hohenzollerns, was damaged by Allied bombing in the war . Although possible to repair at great expense, the palace was demolished in 1950 by the German Democratic Republic authorities, despite West German protests. Following the reunification of Germany, it was decided to rebuild the Stadtschloß which, as seen in my class's photograph on the right for comparison, is still ongoing as of 2013. In both photographs can be seen in the foreground the granite bowl with its diameter of twenty feet which was created by Christian Gottlieb Cantian in the late 1820s out of a single glacial boulder. It had been commissioned for the Altes Museum's courtyard  but ended up being too large to fit inside the museum forcing Schinkel to create the base for it to stand permanently in the lustgarten.
Berlin's preservationists saw the proposed reconstruction of the royal palace as a clear case of the falsification of history. For them, and for other opponents, the project amounted to a declaration that the entire existence of East Germany had been some kind of aberration, not worthy of mention and best wiped from the urban tableau. Meeting at the old State Library just down Unter den Linden while the canvas façade was going up, many of them scorned the effort to erase authentic traces of one history in order to re-create a different one. For the preservationists, the proper course of action was to keep the Palace of the Republic, an authentic, existing monument... It was, after all, the site of the GDR's historic decision to join the Federal Republic in 1990. One of the leading Christian Democrats in the Berlin legislature immediately denounced any protection for this "architectural monstrosity" as an expression of "historical ignorance." (Ignorance of which history? Note that both sides make this charge.)
It was from the palace that Karl Liebknecht heralded a ‘‘free socialist Republic’’ on November 9 (Philipp Scheidemann had already proclaimed ‘‘the German Republic’’ from the Reichstag) before helping to found the Spartacus League two days later.
It appears that this was a target of Marinus van der Lubbe days before he set fire to the Reichstag with the dire historical consequences. A report of this fire was published on February 27, 1933:
  It has only now become known that a small fire broke out on Saturday in an office room on the fifth floor of the Berliner Schloss, which was quickly put out by a fireman stationed on the premises. The origin of the fire is not yet fully explained. But it is thought to have been an act of incendiarism. One hour before the fire started, the caretaker had made his round through the Schloss and had even passed through the room. At the time there was nothing suspicious to be seen. Soon afterwards the room was in flames. Investigation showed that there was a burning firelighter on the window-sill, and another under the window and also on the steam pipes.  The police investigation has not yet been concluded.

Berlin Cathedral
Less than a week after becoming chancellor, Hitler came here to attend a funeral service for SA Sturmführer Maikowski and Senior Police Officer Zauritz, both of whom had been shot in political riots following the torchlight procession of January 30 1933 that commemorated Hitler's appointment as chancellor:
The perfection of Nazi ritual culminated in the State funeral of Maikowski and Zauritz on Sunday. Maikowski was what we should call a gangster; he was the member of Storm troop 33, notorious for its “toughness”; he had confessed to the murder of a Communist in “ self-defence.” He had been amnestied during the Schleicher regime and was shot by a Communist on his return from the Nazi Torchlight procession on January 30th. In the same Nazi-Communist scuffle a policeman, Zauritz, was mortally wounded; the available evidence suggests that a Nazi, not a Communist, was responsible for his death. With their extraordinary flair for the dramatic exploitation of social emotion, the Nazis decreed that there should be a double State funeral, although only Ebert, Stresemann and Muller have been honoured in this way since 1918... The Protestant Church of Germany, disestablished by the Revolution, has long had Nazi sympathies, but never before has she so completely sealed her submission to Hitlerism. Only it seemed strange that Christ should hang upon a cross above Maikowski — Odin, or even Loki, would have looked less out of place. Lastly came Monarchy to woo Hitlerism; the Crown Prince, mounting the altar steps to add his to the piles of wreaths, took care to be the most prominent individual inside the cathedral. And the crowds at last went home, satisfied that “Germany is awake.”
Taken from The New Statesman, February 1958

It was also here that Göring held his wedding ceremony to Emmy Sonnemann: 
Thirty thousand troops lined the route as he drove past in an open car awash with narcissus and tulips. Associated Press correspondent Louis P. Lochner wrote to his daughter: “You had the feeling that an emperor was marrying.” “A visitor to Berlin,” echoed the British ambassador, sitting in the diplomatic gallery facing the floodlit marble altar, “might well have thought . . . that he had stumbled upon preparations for a royal wedding.” Insensible to Nazi party feelings, Göring had insisted on a religious ceremony (although he granted the Reich bishop, Müller, only five minutes for his sermon). The wedding album shows Hitler standing bareheaded behind him in the cathedral, his postman’s hat nonchalantly upended on the floor beside him, his hands clasped in their familiar station below his belt- buckle. Göring’s hair was neatly smoothed back, a broad sash dividing the areas of saucer-sized medals covering his chest. As the newlyweds emerged from the cathedral, two hundred planes flew overhead, followed by two storks released by an irreverent Richthofen Squadron veteran. 

Irving (223)
Hitler in front of the Dom during the 1932 national election and after the war with two members of the Red Army; during our 2016 school trip.
The Berliner Dom festooned with swastikas with a giant maypole in front from private photographs taken by a Norwegian tourist in 1937 and me at the site in 2011. 
In the Götterdämmerung of the Third Reich the Germans threw everything and the kitchen sink into the final battle, including two Great War era British Mark V tanks hauled out of the Altes Museum and used for the city's defence shown here and during my 2011 Bavarian International School trip. The results were predictable. Historians believe they weren't captured during the Great War, but actually captured during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. During the Russian Civil War, the British supplied the anti-Bolshevik forces with arms, including the latest in tank technology. The Bolsheviks captured these tanks and put them in a museum celebrating their victory, and when the Germans invaded they captured the museum and hauled the tanks out and brought them to their own museum in Berlin. Then in 1945 they were once again used against the Bolsheviks. 
A more mundane explanation might be the fact that after the French capitulation leaving the British to fight fascism alone, the Armistice Carriage that served both to mark Germany's Great War humiliation and which later was used by Hitler to accept the French surrender. Perhaps other Great War-era relics were displayed here. As of yet, no identification of the serial number visible on one of the tanks has been achieved.
During the war the cathedral had been bombed by the Allies and badly damaged. In 1940 the blast waves of RAF bombing blew part of the windows away. On May 24, 1944 a bomb of combustible liquids entered the roof lantern of the dome. The fire could not be extinguished at that unreachable section of the dome forcing the lantern to burn out and collapse onto the main floor. Between 1949 and 1953 a provisional roof was installed to protect what remained and reconstruction started in 1975. The restoration of the interior was begun in 1984 and in 1993 the church reopened. During reconstruction, the original design was modified into a simpler, shorter form.
Standing in front of the Berlin State Opera (Staatsoper). During the Third Reich, members of Jewish origin were dismissed from the ensemble. Many German musicians associated with the opera went into exile, including the conductors Otto Klemperer and Fritz Busch. During the Third Reich, Robert Heger, Herbert von Karajan and Johannes Schüler were the "Staatskapellmeister".
Hitler gave spoke here a number of times- on January 3 1935, he addressed the German Leadership beginning with a long version of the “party narrative,” enumerated his own achievements, and then, ostensibly close to tears, confessed that he would not be able to continue the work of reconstructing Germany unless all of the leaders of the Party, the State and the Wehrmacht represented a single unit devoted to no one else but him. As on the earlier occasion of the Strasser crisis, Hitler had apparently publicly threatened to commit suicide. In any case, the speech accomplished its purpose, due in no small part to the fact that Hitler had placed the necessity for an en-bloc effort within the context of the approaching Saar plebiscite. His performance was greeted with thunderous applause as Rudolf Hess, who chaired the rally, subsequently gave the floor to Göring, who—again, just as during the Strasser crisis— expressed the unanimity of all present in moving words. Particular emphasis was put on the fact that he was speaking as a “high-ranking National Socialist leader and at the same time as a Reichswehr General and a Member of the Reich Cabinet”—thus personifying the synthesis of all “German leaders” present—when he read his “Address of Gratitude and Devotion.”
Hitler’s birthday that year [1944], his fifty-fifth, had the usual trappings and ceremonials. Goebbels had Berlin emblazoned with banners and a new slogan of resounding pathos: ‘Our walls broke, but our hearts didn’t.’ The State Opera house on Unter den Linden was festively decorated for the usual celebration, attended by dignitaries from state, party, and Wehrmacht. Goebbels portrayed Hitler’s historic achievements. The Berlin Philharmonia, conducted by Hans Knappertsbusch, played Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony. But the mood among the Nazi faithful at such events was contrived. Goebbels was well aware from reports from the regional Propaganda Offices that the popular mood was ‘very critical and sceptical’, and that ‘the depression in the broad masses’ had reached ‘worrying levels’.
Kershaw (799) Hitler
After the war and today. 
 On the evening of  12 April [1945], the Berlin Philharmonic gave its last performance. Albert Speer, who organized it, had invited Grand Admiral Donitz and also Hitler's adjutant, Colonel von Below. The hall was properly lit for the occasion, despite the electricity cuts. `The concert took us back to another world,' wrote Below. The programme included Beethoven's Violin Concerto, Bruckner's 8th Symphony - (Speer later claimed that this was his warning signal to the orchestra to escape Berlin immediately after the performance to avoid being drafted into the Volkssturm) - and the finale to Wagner's Gotterdlimmerung. Even if Wagner did not bring the audience back to present reality, the moment of escapism did not last long. It is said that, after the performance, the Nazi Party had organised Hitler Youth members to stand in uniform with baskets of cyanide capsules and offer them to members of the audience as they left.
View of Berlin from atop the Rotes Rathaus on the left in 1905, 1922, 1987 and today, and how it appeared in from the February 1937 National Geographic issue entitled "Changing Berlin."  

Russian Embassy

In 1938 and with students in 2011. In 1837 Tsar Nicholas I bought the building which housed the embassy and served as the Royal residence of the Tsar and his family. It was vacant during the Great War after which it reopened as the embassy of the newly-formed Soviet Union. After Operation Barbarossa the ϟϟ sealed off the building and Soviet citizens in Berlin were exchanged for staff members of the Reich embassy in Moscow. During the war it then served as the Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories under Alfred Rosenberg. Gauleiter Dr. Meyer and Reich Office Director Dr. Leibbrandt from the ministry attended the Wannsee Conference in January 1942; later that year the building was bombed. After the war the USSR built a new building on the site and moved its embassy into it in 1952.
Incidentally, it was near this site on the afternoon of May 7 1866 that Ferdinand Cohen-Blind shot Bismarck twice from behind after the latter had just reported to King Wilhelm and was walking home. Bismarck spun around and grabbed his attacker, who was able to fire three more shots before soldiers from the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Guards rushed up and took him into custody. Bismarck continued on his way home. Later that night, he allowed the King's physician, Gustav von Lauer, to examine him. Lauer noted that the first three bullets had only grazed Bismarck's body and the last two had ricocheted off the ribs and had caused no major injuries. Some sources claim that Bismarck was saved because he had worn a bulletproof vest.

German soldiers across the road in 1945 and as the embassy appears today.
The Lenin bust on the Behrenstrasse side of the embassy has recently been removed

Alte Kommandantur

The Berlin Garrison and headquarters of Lt. General and Berlin City Commandant, Paul von Hase, later executed for his role in the failed July Plot and after the failure of the assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler, was sentenced to death by the People's Court and executed on August 8, 1944, in Plötzensee prison.
Towards the end of the Second World War bombs struck the building and by 1955 it was demolished and the site used for the DDR's foreign ministry, built along the Spree Canal. This building was demolished in 1995. Behind the schloß dome can be seen being rebuilt. The building was heavily damaged during the war and destroyed in order to make room for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DDR. In 1995, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of East Germany itself was demolished in order to recreate the Werderscher Markt area. This has become extremely controversial:
Missing landmarks have reappeared at either end of Unter den Linden, from the commercial ventures of the Adlon Hotel on Pariser Platz to Bertelsmann’s Berlin offices behind the newly recreated façades of the Alte Kommandantur Haus. The latter proudly flaunts the address Unter den Linden 1 on its bogus neo-Renaissance front while its sleek modern glass and steel interior literally pops out behind. Bertelsmann, masquerading as a nineteenth-century aristocratic mansion, will soon be joined by the Schloss and, just a bit to the south, a few hundred feet along the Spree canal, by Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Bauakademie, the architecture school he designed in the 1830s. Of all the projects realised and proposed, this last is the most debated among Berlin’s architects, who hold out faith that somehow its reconstruction can escape the prevailing sense of ersatz luxury and Disneyfication of Berlin’s historical centre that the Adlon and Bertelsmann ventures exude.
The Berlin Journal, Spring 2005
Looking across Unter den Linden at Friedrichstraße showing the extensive postwar damage. Three blocks east of the parallel Wilhelmstraße, Friedrichstraße was badly damaged during the war and only partly rebuilt during the division of Berlin. During the Cold War and its division, Friedrichstraße underground station, despite being located in East Berlin, was utilised by two intersecting West Berlin S-Bahn lines and the West Berlin subway line U6. The station served as a transfer point for these lines, and trains stopped there, although all other stations on these lines in East Berlin were sealed-off ghost stations (Geisterbahnhof), where trains passed through under guard without stopping. At Friedrichstraße station, West Berlin passengers could transfer from one platform to another but could not leave the station without the appropriate papers. The section of the station open to West Berlin lines was heavily guarded and was sealed off from the smaller part of it serving as a terminus of the East Berlin S-Bahn and as a station for long-distance trains. The section in West Berlin was partly rebuilt as a residential street; in the late 1960s, the remains of the former Belle-Alliance-Platz at the end of the Friedrichstraße, renamed Mehringplatz, were completely demolished and replaced with a concrete housing and office development designed by Hans Scharoun. Despite its central location, this area remains relatively poor. 
After the war and during our 2013 Bavarian International School trip on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Reinhardtstraße looking towards Unter den Linden

Bahnhof Friedrichstraße from Berlin in Bildern, published in 1938, and today.
At the end of January, between 40,ooo and 5o,ooo refugees were arriving in Berlin each day, mainly by train. The capital of the Reich did not welcome its victims. `The Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof has become the transit point of Germany's fate,' an eyewitness wrote. `Each new train that comes in unloads a mass of amorphous suffering on to the platform.' In their misery, they may not have noticed the sign there which proclaimed, `Dogs and Jews are not allowed to use the escalator!' Soon energetic measures were taken by the German Red Cross to push refugees on from the Anhalter Bahnhof as quickly as possible, or to force trains to go round Berlin. The authorities were afraid of `infectious diseases such as typhus' and an epidemic in the capital. Other illnesses that they feared the refugees would spread were dysentery, paratyphus, diphtheria and scarlet fever. 
Beevor (48-49) The Fall of Berlin 1945
Moritz during our 2017 school trip and the same scene immediately after the war; only the two round roofs of the station offer a direct point of comparison.  Kershaw writes how Friedrichstraße station had housed, according to Ursula von Kardorff, a young journalist, an ‘underworld’ almost exclusively inhabited by foreigners, including ‘Poles with glances of hatred’, and a ‘mix of peoples such as was probably never to be seen in a German city’. Any outsider was looked at with suspicion, she wrote. The foreign workers were reputedly ‘excellently organized’, with their own agents, weapons and radio equipment. ‘There are 12 million foreign workers in Germany,’ she said in a telling exaggeration perhaps reflecting her own inner concern, ‘an army in itself. Some are calling it the Trojan Horse of the current war.’
Outside Friedrichstraße station at the intersection of Georgenstraße and Friedrichstraße is this bronze statue representing the contrasting fate of children during the Nazi era by architect and sculptor Frank Meisler, who travelled himself with a 1939 children's transport from Berlin-Friedrichstraße to England. Five figures in grey look to one side, symbolising the suffering of those deported to concentration camps to meet an early demise. Two lighter bronze figures gaze in the other direction representing those Jewish children whose lives were saved by the Kindertransport to England.  More than two million children lost their lives from 1933 to 1945 through the tyranny of the Nazis. London stockbroker Nicholas Winton, moved by the fate of Jewish refugees, worked with his fellow Britons to bring the first rescued children to the United Kingdom. These Kindertransporte were an attempt to protect the youngest victims of the Nazi dictatorship. These rescue missions allowed some 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia to escape deportation and find refuge in children's homes or with English families in London. It is to be hoped during Brexit negotiations that the Germans remember many such examples of British aid and support. The first train left Berlin's Friedrichstraße station with 196 children on board on November 30, 1938. Looking towards Weidendammer bridge; note the buildings at the end of the street are unchanged. During the Battle of Berlin, the Weidendammer Bridge was one of the few Spree crossings that had not been destroyed. On the night of May 1, 1945 a Tiger tank from the 11th ϟϟ Panzergrenadier Division Nordland spearheaded an attempt to storm the bridge to allow hundreds of German soldiers and civilians to escape across it. According to Beevor (382), "[w]ord had spread of the breakout and many hundreds of ϟϟ, Wehrmacht soldiers and civilians had assembled. It was a gathering which Soviet troops could not fail to miss. The first mass rush, led by the Tiger tank, took place just after midnight, but although the armoured monster managed to smash through the barrier on the north side of the bridge, they soon ran into very heavy fire in the Ziegelstrasse beyond. An anti-tank round struck the Tiger and many of the civilians and soldiers in its wake were mown down."
My students from the Bavarian International School in front of the eagle in the middle of Weidendammer bridge, shown then and now. The crown has been returned just as the imperial palace is being rebuilt.
It was over this bridge that Hitler's private secretary and successor as Nazi Party Minister
Bormann carried the last copy of Hitler's testament, and he evidently hoped to use it to justify his claim to a position in Donitz's government when he reached Schleswig-Holstein. Another attack over the bridge was made soon afterwards, using a self-propelled 3omm quadruple flak gun and a half-track. This too was largely a failure. A third attempt was made at around 1 a.m., and a fourth an hour later. Bormann, Stumpfegger, Schwaegermann and Axmann kept together for a time. They followed the railway line to the Lehrterstrasse Bahnhof. There they split up. Bormann and Stumpfegger turned north-eastwards towards the Stettiner Bahnhof. Axmann went the other way, but ran into a Soviet patrol. He turned back and followed Bormann's route. Not long afterwards he came across two bodies. He identified them as Bormann and Stumpfegger, but he did not have time to discover how they had died. Martin Bormann, although not of his own volition, was the only major Nazi Party leader to have faced the bullets of the Bolshevik enemy. All the others - Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and Goring - took their own lives.  

Beevor (382-383) Berlin
The Admiralspalast (Haus der Presse during Soviet rule) further down at Friedrichstraße 101 in 1949 on the occasion of Stalin's 70th birthday and today, with Hitler making a reappearance. It was opened in 1910 and remains one of the few preserved variety venues of the pre-war era in the city. It had originally included a skating rink, a public bath, bowling alleys, a café and a cinema open day and night. 
Hitler watched The Merry Widow here. As the building suffered little damage from the wartime bombing, it was home to the Berlin State Opera until the reconstruction of the opera house in 1955. On April 21-22, 1946 the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Communist Party of Germany in the Soviet occupation zone held a convention at the Admiralspalast where they merged to become the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. The DDR Union of Journalists had its offices inside the Admiralspalast. 
Carl Zuckmayer admired the Russian contribution to the arts at the time. The most prestigious theatre in the Russian Sector was the allied zones Admiralspalast, which had survived the bombing unscathed and now played host to the State Opera. Zuckmayer found the singers less impressive than their counterparts in New York, but on the other hand he was very struck by the talents of the young directors and artists who designed the performances. 
MacDonogh (217-218) After the Reich
More recently, Hitler returned to the Admiralspalast ( which until recently had a Führer's Box specifically built for him) when it staged Germany's first production of Mel Brooks's musical comedy "The Producers."
Friedrichstadt Palast around the turn of the century when it served as a military barracks dating from the 1760s and today. When taking school groups I've tended to use Baxpax hostel around the corner at Ziegelstrasse 28. Named after Felix Yurievich Ziegel, Soviet researcher, Doctor of Science and docent of Cosmology at the Moscow Aviation Institute and generally regarded as a founder of Russian ufology, like many streets reflecting the military connections around the area- Artillerienstrasse, Dragonerstrasse, Grenadierstrasse- its original name had been purged and replaced by worthy left-wingers by the DDR regime.
Looking up Friedrichstrasse towards the entrance to Oranienburger Tor station with me in front.