More Nazi Sites in Berlin

Fasanerieallee in Tiergarten with the Victory column in the background post bellum and today. Hitler had planned the complete transformation of Berlin into "Welthauptstadt Germania", or World Capital Germania and Tiergarten was to be a central location in the new city. The Charlottenburger Chaussee, today known as the Straße des 17. Juni, was to be the central line between the east and west, and was widened from 27 to 53 metres, the same width as the current street. The Berlin victory column was also moved to the Grosser Stern, where it remains to this day.  The Second World War caused significant damage to the Tiergarten and its various cultural elements. Many statues were destroyed or damaged; some of the statues still need minor repair. After the war, the Tiergarten underwent a sudden, violent change. Much of the wooded area was felled and turned to firewood due to the shortage of coal, and the now empty fields were turned into temporary farmland by order of the British occupational troops in the region; there were around 2,550 plots of land available for growing potatoes and vegetables. However, these two factors caused the once great forest to nearly disappear; only 700 trees survived out of over 200,000 that once lined the parkway, the bodies of water turned silty, every bridge was destroyed, the monuments lie on their sides, badly damaged. Plans to fill the waterways with debris from the war were also suggested, but were prevented by the head of the Berlin Central Office of Environmental Planning, Reinhold Lingner.  
In 1945, almost directly after the fall of Berlin, the Soviets erected a monument for the fallen soldiers of the Red Army on the north side of the current Straße des 17. Juni. Situated less than a mile away from the Reichstag, it was built in such short notice that it sat in West Berlin, which belonged to the British, Americans and French. When the wall went up around East Berlin, the monument became inaccessible to the people for whom it was built.  According to testimony reported in the outstanding 1995 documentary film On the Desperate Edge of Now, statues of historical military figures from the park were buried by Berlin citizens in the grounds of the nearby Bellevue Palace in order to prevent their destruction by the occupying American forces. They were not recovered until 1993. The Soviet War Memorial (Tiergarten) is one of several war memorials in Berlin erected by the Soviet Union to commemorate its war dead, particularly the 80,000 soldiers of the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945.  The memorial is located in the Großer Tiergarten, a large public park to the west of the city centre, on the north side of the east-west Straße des 17. Juni in the Tiergarten locality.  This memorial was erected at the end of 1945, within a few months of the capture of the city.
Re-imagined then and now

1975, guarded by Red Army troops, and today

Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten was erected on Remembrance Day, 1945, in the hope the British would simply vacate their area and let the Soviets move their zone further into here. Ironically, it was situated at the exact point where Speer had planned his north-south/east-west axis for his planned capital. The material for the monument too came from Hitler's Chancellery, and behind lie today the bodies of 2, 200 soldiers. It was discovered in 1967 that below the Nazis had constructed three motorway tunnels up to 220 metres in length.
From my 2013 class trip. The war memorial itself was built to honour Soviet soldiers who fell in the battles against the German army in the Second World War. It was located at the 17 June Street very close to the German parliament - the Reichstag - in what would soon become West-Germany which meant that it was beyond everyday reach for the Soviet Army. To be able to visit the memorial it was agreed that Red Army troops had free passage to the memorial on certain days of remembrance. Around the time in the early 1960ies when the Berlin Wall was erected the presence of Soviet troops on the streets of Berlin awoke much anger among the West-Berliners and Soviet military vehicles was on many occasions bombarded with stones from angry protesters. In fact, in the 1970s there was the bizarre situation where a Soviet guard of honour had had a pot-shot taken at him from a passing motorist, resulting in British soldiers guarding Soviet guards guarding this monument.
The memorial is constructed as an arch with a bronze soldier on top of it. The design actually resembles the Brandenburger Gate which is located only 100 metres away.
The inscription on the side of the memorial reads:

ETERNAL GLORY TO HEROES WHO FELL IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE GERMAN FASCIST INVADERS FOR THE FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE OF THE SOVIET UNION
 
The area in 1945 and brief footage of the site today. Early photographs show the memorial standing in a wilderness of ruins, the Tiergarten having been destroyed by incendiary bombs and then stripped of timber for firewood during the last months of the war. Today, it is surrounded by the extensive woodlands of the reconstituted Tiergarten. Although the memorial stood in the British sector of Berlin, its construction was supported by all the Allied powers. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet honour guards from the Soviet sector (East Berlin) were sent to stand watch at the memorial. Design Aerial view of the memorial with honour guards, West Berlin, 1983  Built in a style similar to other Soviet World War II monuments once found all over the former Eastern bloc, the memorial takes the form of a curved stoa topped by a large statue of a Soviet soldier. It is set in landscaped gardens and flanked by two Red Army ML-20 152mm gun-howitzer artillery pieces and two T-34 tanks. Behind the memorial is an outdoor museum showing photographs of the memorial's construction and giving a guide to other memorials in the Berlin area. A large Cyrillic inscription is written underneath the soldier statue, which is translated as "Eternal glory to heroes who fell in battle with the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the Soviet Union". The Soviets built the statue with the soldier's arm in a position to symbolise the Red Army's putting down of the Nazi German state.  The memorial was designed by architect Mikhail Gorvits with the monument of the Soviet soldier by sculptors Vladimir Tsigal and Lev Kerbel.  A legend that the memorial was built from stonework taken from the destroyed Reich Chancellery is untrue, but remains popular and persists. 
The memorial is still a site of active commemoration. On the anniversary of VE Day, wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial. It is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also a popular tourist attraction, since it is much closer to the centre of the city than the larger Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park. The memorial is maintained by the City of Berlin. There is a sign next to the monument explaining in English, German and Russian that this is the burial site of some two thousand fallen Soviet soldiers. It is located in the heart of Berlin along one of the major roads with a clear sight of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate, both symbols of the city. Some of the marble used to build it came from the destroyed government buildings nearby, and it is built on a place which Hitler meant to devote to Welthauptstadt Germania. Besides the main inscription, the columns state names of only some dead Heroes of the Soviet Union buried here. It has earned some unflattering nicknames, such as the "Tomb of the Unknown Rapist", from the local population with references to crimes committed by Soviet occupation troops. The monument is built in the British sector of Berlin; after the Berlin wall was erected in 1961, the monument was seen as a sign of communist provocation on West Berlin soil and had to be protected from West Berliners by British soldiers. In 1970 a neo-Nazi, Ekkehard Weil, shot and severely wounded one of the Soviet honour guards at the monument requiring British troops to protect Soviet troops guarding the monument. In 2010, the monument was vandalised just before Victory in Europe Day celebrations with red graffiti that read "thieves, murderers, rapists", sparking a protest from the Russian embassy in Berlin that accused German authorities of not taking sufficient measures to protect the monument. The German tabloid Bild launched a Bundestag-petition to remove the Soviet tanks from the memorial site as a response to the Crimean crisis in 2014, calling them a "martial war symbol".
With the Reichstag in the background. The last two photos are looking towards the Brandenburg Gate today from the memorial, and the same view ten years after the war's end.
Students standing directly in front during our 2013 trip and after the war
The same spot re-imagined through Photoshop
Before 1953, the street was called Charlottenburger Chaussee, because it ran from the old city centre (Berlin-Mitte) to the borough of Charlottenburg through the Tiergarten. The 1953 name change was made in order to honour an East German uprising and its victims of the Red Army and East German Volkspolizei who shot protesting workers. After Stalin's death many East Berliners began a strike which also caused riots in a vain hope of getting rid of the communists. But the East German police struck back with brutal violence on 17 June 1953. It was made into a paved road in 1799, and owing to Berlin's rapid growth in the 19th century it became a major thoroughfare to the affluent western suburbs. At the outbreak of the Great War in early August 1914, hundreds of thousands of Berliners cheered the military parade, which took place here. At the outbreak of World War Two, no such scenes were ever observed, according to the American journalist and historian William L. Shirer. 


The right shows fifty thousand troops marching past Hitler on his birthday down Charlottenburger Chausee, a part of the Ost-West-Achse (East-West Axis), which during the Nazi period became a triumphal avenue lined with Nazi flags. During the Nazi era, the boulevard was made broader and the old Prussian Victory Column was moved from in front of the Reichstag to the roundabout in the middle of the Tiergarten, where it has remained since 1938.  The Charlottenburger Chaussee was to have formed one aspect of the remodelling of the city of Berlin into the renamed city called Germania, designed by Hitler, Albert Speer, Professor Troost etc. to be the capital of the Reich. In the last weeks of the war, when Berlin's airports were unusable, it was used as a landing strip.


Memorial to Homosexual Victims in Tiergarten
 
Paragraph 175 made homosexuality illegal in 1871; it was broadened under Nazism to allow deportation of gay men to concentration camps. 
Homosexuals, were manifestly of no racial value; between 1934 and 1938 the number prosecuted annually under Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code rose by a factor of ten to 8,000. Since criminality was viewed as hereditary, those who broke the law were also targeted as asocial. The November 1933 Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals authorized the castration of sexual offenders. 
Ferguson (265) The War of the World
It was only completely revoked in 1994 after German reunification. In 2002, the German government formally pardoned all homosexuals convicted by the Nazis and in 2003 approved the plan for the Berlin memorial. At the memorial's unveiling in May 2009, the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) issued a statement pointing out the importance of the monument's location: "It is in the centre of the city from where decades ago the policies of extermination of homosexual people along with such groups as Jews, gypsies, Jehovah's witnesses and political dissidents, was conceived and the deadly orders were given." This central placement was an effort to end the traditional peripheralisation of the stories of gay victims of Nazi atrocities, who continued to be persecuted after the war, and who are largely left out of traditional historical accounts of the Holocaust. As Berlin mayor Klaus Wowerit, who happens to be the city's first openly gay mayor, pointed out when the memorial was first opened, the placement of this monument in the centre of Berlin was meant to form a contrast with the Nazis, who were "a society that did not abolish unjust verdicts, but partially continued to implement them; a society which did not acknowledge a group of people as victims, only because they chose another way of life."
In fact, my students and I were shocked to find NO plaque or information at all to explain what this ugly monument actually is supposed to be for; one questioned why the government had created an anti-gay monument.


Tiergartenstraße 4
The headquarters of the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Heil- und Anstaltspflege and the site today, taken over by a graffiti- covered husk of rusted metal intended to symbolise something intentionally left vague and meaningless.
Shortly after the start of the war, Hitler signed an order, backdated to 1 September 1939, authorising the systematic killing of mentally and physically handicapped adults and children. Authorisation to direct the program was given on Hitler’s personal stationary to Philipp Bouhler, head of the Führer’s Chancellery, and Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal physician. The code-name of this secret program, “Aktion T-4,” derived from the address of the building here on Tiergartenstrasse 4, from which the program was directed. Killings of deformed children had already started before the war. The killings, now extended to adults as well, were conducted by lethal injection or carbon monoxide gassing at several sites disguised as hospitals or nursing homes. These killings marked a further escalation of the eugenic practices that had begun with the Sterilisation Law in 1933.
As early as 1935, [Hitler] told a senior Nazi medic that 'if war should break out, he would take up the euthanasia question and implement it'. In fact, he did not even wait for the war. In July 1939 he initiated what became known as the Aktion T-4. It was, he said, 'right that the worthless lives of seriously ill mental patients should be got rid of. Here, as with the persecution of the Jews and Gypsies, the regime encountered little popular resistance and some active support. In a poll of 200 parents of mentally retarded children conducted in Saxony, 73 per cent had answered 'yes' to the question: 'Would you agree to the painless curtailment of the life of your child if experts had established that it was suffering from incurable idiocy?' Some parents actually petitioned Hitler to allow their abnormal children to be killed. Apart from the Catholic Bishop Clemens von Galen, whose sermons against the euthanasia programme in July and August 1941 led to a temporary halt in the killings, only a handful of other individuals openly challenged 'the principle that you can kill "unproductive" human beings'. Others who objected turn out, on closer inspection, merely to have disliked the procedures involved. Some wished for formal legality - a proper decree and public 'sentencing'; others (especially those living near the asylums) simply wanted the killing to be carried out less obtrusively.                
Ferguson(264-5) 

Despite the secrecy of the programme, it was impossible to conceal killing on such a scale, as relatives demanded explanations for the sudden and unexpected deaths of their loved ones. Increasing numbers of complaints and demands for criminal investigations made it necessary to inform the Reich Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior of Hitler’s secret order which led to Hitler’s decision to end the program on 24 August 1941 after more than 70,000 patients had been killed. Killings especially of handicapped children continued in secret, however, until the end of the war. Under the code-name “Aktion 14 f 13” the killing program was also extended to Jewish inmates of concentration camps in Germany. Many of the T-4 personnel were transferred to occupied Poland where they supplied the technical expertise for the systematic killing by gas of approximately three million Jews in the extermination camps set up for the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.

 Fascist-era embassies along Tiergartenstraße
The Spanish embassy which was constructed through Speer's Office of the Inspector-General for buildings and which shows a similar style favoured by the Nazis. It reopened in 2003 after war damage was repaired and fascist symbols removed.
The embassies of Italy and Japan respectively.
The Italian was the first to have been completed in the Tiergarten in 1938. It was rebuilt in the 1990s but kept its fascist symbols. According to David Irving in his book Göring: A Biography, this was the site of one of Goering's greatest humiliations,
when he saw the fabulous decoration that he coveted, the diamond-studded Collar of the Annunziata, bestowed at the Italian embassy upon his smirking rival [Ribbentrop]. He took it as a deliberate slight and raised hell at every level up to the king of Italy, being mollified only by the award, twelve months later, of the identical Collar in consolation.
The Japanese embassy on the left also maintains its symbols of fascist ideology a reminder of the man-made tsunami it had launched upon humanity beginning in 1931 which required two atomic bombs and countless allied lives and suffering to put an end to. On November 24, 1937 Hitler attended a reception here, given by the Japanese Ambassador Mushakoji in Berlin on the anniversary of the Anti-Comintern Pact.
The former Embassy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at Rauchstraße in 1938 and today, where it serves as the offices of the German Council on Foreign Relations (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, DGAP). The building was completed by 1939 by Werner March, the architect of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, as the diplomatic mission for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The property at Rauchstraße 17 was owned by the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family until 1938. The family was forced to sell the property to the German Reich for 170,000 reichsmarks shortly before they emigrated. The property at Rauchstraße 18 was handed over to the German Reich in accordance with a 1940 expropriation resolution. Until the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, Ivo Andric, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was stationed in the new building as Yugoslav ambassador. Afterwards, the building was used by German Reich and party officials. After Germany’s surrender in 1945, the building was given back to the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav military mission resided in the building until 1953, when it moved to Grunewald.  Beginning in 1953, the building housed the Supreme Restitution Court of the Allied Forces in Berlin. On June 29, 1964, the court accepted the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family’s reimbursement claim and ordered the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia to cede a co-ownership share in the building.

Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule)

Designed by Heinrich Strack after 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war, by the time it was inaugurated on September 2, 1873 Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and France in the Franco-Prussian War, giving the statue a new purpose. In 1939 the Nazis relocated the pillar to its present location at the Großer Stern, a large intersection on the visual city axis that leads from the former Berliner Stadtschloss through the Brandenburg Gate to the western parts of Berlin. At the same time, the pillar was augmented by another 7.5 metres, giving it its present height of 66.89 metres. The monument survived the war without much damage. The relocation of the monument probably saved it from destruction, as its old site in front of the Reichstag was completely destroyed in the war.

The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) parading in front of the Siegessäule on July 25, 1945.
[B]y by 28 April, troops of the 3rd Shock Army, advancing from the northern districts, were in sight of the Siegessaule column in the Tiergarten. Red Army soldiers nicknamed it the `tall woman' because of the statue of winged victory on the top. The German defenders were now reduced to a strip less than five kilometres in width and fifteen in length. It ran from Alexanderplatz in the east to Charlottenburg and the Reichssportsfeld in the west, from where Artur Axmann's Hitler Youth detachments desperately defended the bridges over the Havel. Weidling's artillery commander, Colonel Wohlermann, gazed around in horror from the gun platform at the top of the vast concrete Zoo flak tower. `One had a panoramic view of the burning, smouldering and smoking great city, a scene which again and again shook one to the core.' Yet General Krebs still pandered to Hitler's belief that Wenck's army was about to arrive from the south-west.
Beevor (340) 

Before the war with the Eiserner Hindenburg in front and after. The monument fell within the French section of Berlin, generously given to them when the British realised they were growing bankrupt from the war and required assistance.
The French perpetrated a few acts of childish spite: they mutilated a few inscriptions on the Siegessäule – or Victory Column – in the Tiergarten, which commemorated German triumph in the Franco-German War, and festooned it with French tricolours. In Schwanenwerder they found a fragment of the Tuileries Palace which had been burned down by the Paris Communards in 1871, and removed a high-minded panel that talked of the fate of nations. The Germans themselves did not waste much time on the French – they realised they were second-division conquerors.
 
Stephan Braunfels's disturbing Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus located in the government district of Berlin between Adele-Schreiber-Krieger-Straße and Schiffbauerdamm, inaugurated after five years of construction on December 10, 2003 and the site immediately after the war. Braunfels justified his design as part of a "jump over the Spree," being connected to the equally awful Paul-Löbe-Haus from east to west, supposedly symbolising the 'togetherness' of East and West Germany and intended as a counterbalance to the vision of what the Nazis would laud as  Welthauptstadt Germania. The Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus stands to the right and left of the earlier course of the Berlin Wall.

 Wehrmacht HQ (Bendler Block)
 
My Bavarian International Students during our 2012 class trip. Site of Hitler's speech of February 3, 1933, on "Lebensraum in the east," the Bendler Block is best remembered as the centre of the attempt to overthrow the Nazi regime on July 20, 1944. Located on Stauffenbergstraße (formerly named Bendlerstraße), it was erected in 1914 as the headquarters of several Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) offices, it served the Ministry of the Reichswehr after the Great War. Significantly enlarged under Nazi rule, it was used by several departments of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, especially the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Abwehr intelligence agency. The building is notable as the headquarters of a resistance group of Wehrmacht officers who carried out the July 20 plot against Adolf Hitler in 1944 only after it was clear the war was over. 
In fact, this military resistance has been criticised by historians for failing to act until the war was lost and for pursuing unrealistic nationalist goals. A Gestapo report listed Stauffenberg’s conditions for a negotiated peace allegedly transmitted to England by unnamed emissaries in May 1944 which included restoration of Germany’s 1914 borders, the retention of Austria and the Sudetenland, and continuation of the war, if necessary, in the east against the Soviet Union. As the leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot in the courtyard, the Bendlerblock also includes the Memorial to the German Resistance. Since 1993, the building complex has served as a secondary seat of the German Federal Ministry of Defence which has tried to restrict access to the Bendlerblock due to its historical significance and lingering sensitivities about Germany's role during the war, and yet filming permission was first granted in 2003 to a TV studio for the filming of Stauffenberg, starring Sebastian Koch. Though awarded with the Deutscher Fernsehpreis, the film was also criticised for factual inaccuracies by Stauffenberg's son Berthold. The Ministry hesitated to grant permission for filming scenes of the Tom Cruise-starred movie Valkyrie about the July 20 Plot, especially a re-enactment of the execution on the original location. However, money talked and filming took place. Director Bryan Singer, currently accused of serious sexual abuse allegations, led the film crew in a minute of silence before filming began, in honour of those who were killed on the site in 1944. 
The building in 1942 and standing in front today. On February 3,  1933, four days after his appointment by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Hitler sought the support by Reichswehr commander-in-chief General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, unveiling his political ideology in an extended declamation. Despite the support by new Reichswehr Minister Werner von Blomberg, Hitler's appearance resulted in a grave crisis with the army command and Hammerstein-Equord's resignation in December. He was succeeded by Lieutenant general Werner von Fritsch.  From the mid-1930s onwards, large annexes were erected along Bendlerstraße according to plans designed by Wilhelm Kreis. From 1938 the enlarged "Bendlerblock" again was used by the Seekriegsleitung (Maritime Warfare Command) of the Oberkommando der Marine and the OKW Amt Abwehr. The main building served the General Army Office of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) under General Friedrich Fromm, succeeded by General Friedrich Olbricht in 1940, and still as seat of the commander-in-chief of the German Army (Heer)—since the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair in 1938 Colonel-general Walther von Brauchitsch, from 1941 Hitler himself.  In the early 1940s, the OKH Army Office under the leadership of General Olbricht became the focus of military resistance to the Nazi regime. In October 1943, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was transferred to the General Army Office as chief-of-staff.
It was here that he and Major general Henning von Tresckow secretly modified the Wehrmacht "Operation Valkyrie" plan for the suppression of a possible revolt into a scheme for a coup attempt upon an assassination on Hitler. Stauffenberg's office, now an information centre, still has its swastika motif remaining on the parquet which I'm shown inspecting. Stauffenberg's position gave him direct access to situation briefings in Hitler's Wolf's Lair headquarters in East Prussia. On July 20, 1944, he set the fuse of a bomb there and immediately returned to Berlin.  The bomb went off, but Hitler survived. As the day progressed and the news spread, the conspirators were unable to take control of Germany. The coup instantly collapsed, and Hitler dispatched various forces to round up the plotters and the plot organisers. Stauffenberg, Olbricht, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, and Lieutenant Werner von Haeften were caught late in the evening and summarily executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendler Block (the War Ministry building) shown here the day after the executions; note the mound of sand left over from construction work in front of which the the condemned men stood before being shot down.
Hitler ultimately oversaw the purge and execution (in some cases, accompanied by show trials) of some five thousand people he believed were implicated in the plot. All were known opponents of the Nazi regime. Many were tortured to death and some hanged by the neck using piano wire. Despite broadly supporting Nazi expansionist aims in the East until it was clear after D-Day that the war was over and they had to save their own necks, Stauffenberg and the other plotters are remembered in modern Germany as heroes of anti-Nazi resistance and today the courtyard in the centre of the Bendler Block is dedicated to the memory of the officers executed here on the night of July 20, 1944. Shirer described the event on page 958 of his Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich:
In the courtyard below in the dim rays of the blackout-hooded headlights of an Army car the four officers were quickly dispatched by a firing squad. Eyewitnesses say there was much tumult and shouting, mostly by the guards, who were in a hurry because of the danger of a bombing attack – British planes had been over Berlin almost every night that summer. Stauffenberg died crying, ”Long live our sacred Germany!”
This section of the Bendlerblock around the courtyard where I am standing where Stauffenberg and the other conspirators were executed (shown during Zhukov's visit after the war), now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance which is also used as one of the ceremonial sites where new members of the Wachbataillon of the Bundeswehr take their oaths.
Here members of the ϟϟ and Wehrmacht at the site with me in front of the spot where the plotters were executed. During the Battle of Berlin in the last days of the war in late April and early May 1945, General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, used the Bendlerblock for his command and control, before he proceeded to General Vasily Chuikov and surrendered to the Soviet Red Army at 6:00 a.m. on May 2.  Following German reunification, the Federal Minister of Defence's Berlin office was moved to the Bendlerblock.
Zhukov's turn at the end of the war whilst nearby damage from the battle of Berlin left untouched.
Wannsee
 The Wannsee Conference was convened on January 20, 1942 by the second-highest ranking ϟϟ leader Reinhard Heydrich in a luxurious villa taken over by the ϟϟ in the wealthy Berlin suburb of Wannsee. Its purpose was to announce the launching of the “final solution” of the Jewish question in Europe to leading government and party bureaucrats and to secure their cooperation in this project. Historians have not been able to determine with absolute certainty just when Hitler made the decision for systematic genocide. On 31 July 1941, six weeks after the ϟϟ Einsatzgruppen began murdering Soviet Jews in coordination with “Operation Barbarossa,” Heydrich was delegated the task of drawing up plans for “a total solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe”. It seems almost certain that he was given the green light to implement these plans by October 1941, when Jewish emigration was prohibited throughout Europe and preparations for the deportation of German Jews were put into place. Euthanasia “experts” had already been transferred to occupied Poland to set up the facilities for mass killings by poison gas. The ruthless racial and ideological war against the Soviet Union provided the conditions under which a systematic extermination program could be launched without generating wide publicity.
The Conference had originally been called for December 8, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the launching of the Soviet offensive against the German siege of Moscow forced a postponement. The minutes do not openly describe the killing programme, but none of the high-ranking participants from the various government ministries could have been in any doubt what Heydrich meant when he said that the remnant of Jews who survived forced labour would have to be “appropriately dealt with.” Adolf Eichmann, the specialist on the “Jewish question” in the Reich Security Main Office run by Heydrich, provided the population statistics, which overstated the number of Jews in Europe by some two million. Much of the conference was taken up by the question of whether Jews of mixed ancestry (Mischlinge) and Jews in mixed marriages were to be included in the “final solution.” The ϟϟ was forced by considerations of public morale to respect these distinctions in Germany itself. In the occupied areas, however, the Nazis made no exceptions for part-Jews or Jews in mixed marriages.


Site of the Wannsee Conference, a meeting of senior Nazi officials of the Nazi German regime, held on 20 January 1942 to inform senior Nazis and senior Governmental administrators of plans for the "Final solution to the Jewish question."
In the rear, alongside the lake in 1922 and standing in front now
 
Of the fourteen participants invited and sat around this table discussing the logistics of mass murder, eight held doctorates or comparable university degrees.

A tour of the house, left, and scene from the BBC / HBO television film Conspiracy which dramatises the 1942 Wannsee Conference which features Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich, Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann, and Colin Firth as Wilhelm Stuckart.
The start of the 1984 German television production Die Wannseekonferenz which presents the conference in real time. Directed by Heinz Schirk with a disturbing performance of charm and calculation by Dietrich Mattausch as Heydrich, the film is based on records and minutes kept of the conference, spoken by unnervingly convincing actors in carefully reconstructed surroundings and wearing meticulously authentic uniforms. Wannseekonferenz appears the better movie with Conspiracy coming across as a flashy imitation, although watching both films is instructive. Both have the same people attending the conference, but how each attendee is portrayed at the conference is strikingly different. Most of the attendees in Conspiracy (except for Dr. Klopfer) are viewed as flawed intellectuals, but full of grace, charm and manners (which makes a nice stark comparison with what they are discussing). Almost all of the attendees in Die Wannseekonferenz (except for the female secretary) are shown as crude, corrupt pigs that differ with each other only as to how to divide their 'power'. It would be interesting to research the 'real' Major Lange. The crude drunken Major Lange of Die Wannseekonferenz seems more likely to be butchering the Jews of Riga than the soft spoken, charming, well-mannered Major Lange of Conspiracy.
 
Waldhof am Bogensee, former weekend retreat of Josef Goebbels north of Berlin near Lanke. It was a gift to Goebbels from the city of Berlin back in 1936 for his 39th birthday. “What a jewel the house has become, so idyllic, romantic, and peaceful,” he would later write of it, using it as an illicit 'love nest.'
 

Schloss Charlottenburg
 
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin and the only royal residency in the city dating back to the time of the Hohenzollern family. During the Second World War the palace was badly damaged but has since been reconstructed with Andreas Schlüter’s epic Reiterdenkmal des Grossen Kurfürsten (1699), which shows the Great Elector on horseback, also returned to the front courtyard. 
 
The Schlossbruecke across the Spree in Charlottenburg, where the Soviet Second Guards Tank Army forced its way, despite the damage, on April 29, 1945.

Lichterfelde
A reichsadler at the post office on Hindenburgdamm


Lichterfelde Barracks

Göring’s old military academy at Lichterfelde would be the main execution site of those SA killed during the so-called 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1934. As Bullock relates in Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
Goring, who had been made a general by Hindenburg to his great delight at the end of August 1933, once in power gravitated naturally towards the side of privilege and authority, and was on the worst of terms with the Chief of Staff of the S.A. He began to collect a powerful police force 'for special service', which he kept ready under his own hand at the Lichterfelde Cadet School near Berlin (290).
In Berlin the executions, directed by Goring and Himmler, began on the night of 29-30 June and continued throughout the Saturday and Sunday. The chief place of execution was the Lichterfelde Cadet School, and once again the principal victims were the leaders of the S.A. (303)
Hitler in 1935 and the site today. On December 17 of that year, Hitler toured the barracks and spent several hours there. In the afternoon, he made a speech to “his loyal soldiers of the Movement.” The Völkischer Beobachter reported as follows:
There was nothing more splendid than an elite such as that which the Leibstandarte represented. The Führer underlined in particular the ϟϟ men’s task of recruiting for the Party. To great applause, he stressed that “no one would bend or sway us; he would have to break us, and then he would see whether he himself might not be broken first.”
At the close of his speech, Hitler emphasised that nothing was more splendid than knowing that the wonderful regiment of the Leibstandarte bore his name.

A view from the redesigned Finckensteinallee entrance. Two monumental figures guarded the entrance, the so-called Reichsrottenführer. In the centre is when the Americans used the base and as it appears today.
Both entrances to the indoor swimming pool are still flanked today with two, four metre- high granite figures symbolising the "German man" and the "German woman" designed by Professor Hass. The left shows SS cadets at the entrance in 1941 and the site today.
 
Schubertstraße in Lichterfelde, hit by the RAF on the night of January 28/29 1945, after the war and today
 
Another then-and-now comparison: Gossowstraße

Tempelhof aeroport
Left: Hitler and Goering at Flughafen Tempelhof in 1932.
Right: Hess, Hitler and Goering on Tempelhof Field, May Day from the Nazi book Life of a Leader. It was on this occasion that hundreds of thousands had gathered at the Tempelhofer Feld. Goebbels estimated the crowd at one and a half million; the Eher Verlag cited the figure as two million. At 20.00, Hitler delivered a major speech there, expounding once again his old theory that the political and social misery of the German Volk was due solely to its lack of unity. His speech climaxed in the words:
German Volk, you are strong when you are one. German Volk, you are not second-class, even if the world wants you to be a thousand times over. German Volk, forget fourteen years of disintegration and rise up to two thousand years of German history!

A decapitated reichsadler in front of the aeroport with how it originally appeared on the roof with victorious Red Army soldiers, May 1945

The Nazi eagle, shorn of its swastika, still remains.


Among the first projects the Nazis undertook with the reconstruction of Berlin was the planned renovation of Berlin's Tempelhof International Airport, which began in 1934. Tempelhof was dramatically redesigned as the gateway to Europe, and became the forerunner of today's modern airports. Indeed, the airport halls and the neighbouring buildings are still known as the largest built entities worldwide, and Tempelhof has been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports". The building complex was designed to resemble an eagle in flight with semicircular hangars forming the bird's spread wings. A mile long hangar roof was to have been laid in tiers to form a stadium for spectators at air and ground demonstrations. However, although under construction for more than ten years, it was never finished because of the war.
The Nazi enlargement of Berlin's Tempelhof aeroport grandiosely demonstrated their aims at enlarging Germany's influence in Europe. The airport's eagle design clearly conveys that "the Eagle of Germany" would again take to the skies, to fly higher than ever before. Coupled with other Nazi architectural accomplishments, like the 1936 Olympic Stadium, and Nuremberg Zeppelin Tribune, were assuredly profound propaganda victories for the Nazi regime.


The swastikas return to allow Tom Cruise to make his movie Valkyrie


Nearby, Volkssturm along Hermannstrasse. Beevor (302) writes of how
The remnants of his `Norge' and `Danmark' regiments were waiting impatiently by the canal for motor transport, which was having difficulty getting to them through the rubble-blocked streets. Just as the trucks finally arrived, a cry of alarm was heard: `Panzer durchgebrochen!' This cry prompted a surge of `tank fright' even among hardened veterans and a chaotic rush for the vehicles, which presented an easy target for the two T-34s that had broken through. The trucks that got away even had men clinging on to the outsides. As they escaped north up the Hermannstrasse, they saw scrawled on a house wall `SS traitors extending the war!' There was no doubt in their minds as to the culprits: `German Communists at work. Were we going to have to fight against the enemy within as well?
 Treptower Park

The most impressive monument to the Red Army is the vast war memorial and military cemetery in Berlin, built between 1946-1949 to commemorate the 20,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the battle of Berlin in April-May 1945 in the heart of Treptower Park close to the former East Berlin's embassy quarters. In fact, it remains perhaps the only public display of a swastika in Berlin, albeit in the process of being smashed (although it is illegal to display any Nazi symbol here in Germany, even for anti-fascist purposes).
After the end of the Second World War , four Soviet memorial sites were created by the Red Army in the urban area of ​​Berlin honouring about 80,000 Soviet soldiers who had fallen during the conquest of Berlin. These sites are not only monuments to the victory over Germany, but also soldiers' cemeteries and thus Soviet war grave sites in Germany . The central monument is this, the complex in Treptow Park. The memorial in the Schönholzer Heide ( Pankow ), the memorial in the Tiergarten and the memorial at Bucher castle grounds were also built . 
A contest had been organised by the Soviet Command for the design of the memorial in Berlin-Treptow, to which 33 drafts were submitted. From June 1946, the proposal of a Soviet creator collective, designed by the architect Jakov S. Belopolski, the sculptor Yevgeny Wuchetich, the painter Alexander A. Gorpenko, and the engineer Sarra S. Walerius, was implemented. The sculptures and reliefs were manufactured in 1948 by the Lauchhammer art foundry. The memorial was built on the site of a large play and sports meadow in the area of ​​the "New Lake", which was created during the Berlin trade exhibition of 1896 and completed in May 1949.  In October 2003, the statue of the Red Army soldier was restored in a workshop on Rügen , brought back to Berlin via ship and has been on its base since May 4, 2004.
The entrance, 200 metres long and 100 metres wide leads to six bronze-cast wreaths measuring around ten metres in diameter.Beside the pathways friezes have been erected with reliefs displaying war scenes and historical moments. On each of these is a quote from Stalin.
The construction of the monument was marked by the beginning of the Cold War. Although there was a lack of living space in post-war Germany and the construction sector had almost come to a standstill due to the lack of planning, labour and material shortages, Soviet propaganda demands took priority over housing construction. This site was to express two ideas: on the one hand, an appreciation of Soviet occupation power so that the scale of the area should be "a witness of the greatness and the insuperable power of Soviet power." East German politicians like Otto Grotewohl, on the other hand, saw in the memorial on May 8, 1949, the fourth anniversary of the end of the war, a sign of gratitude to the Soviet army as a liberator. In the following decades, the Treptow site was at times completely superimposed on mass events and state rituals of the DDR. In 1985, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, the representatives of the DDR's youth movement organised a torchlight procession at the Treptow Memorial. There, they represented the "oath of youth of the DDR".  In the time of the invasion on 28 December 1989 strangers smeared the stone carcass and the base of the crypt with anti-Soviet slogans. The SED-PDS suspected that the perpetrators would come from the right-wing extremist scene and organised a mass demonstration on January 3, 1990, involving 250,000 citizens of the DDR. On this occasion, Gregor Gysi , party chairman, demanded "constitutional protection" for the site; historian Stefan Wolle therefore considers it possible that Stasi employees were behind the vandalism, fearing their positions upon re-unification.  The Soviet war memorials were an important point of negotiation on the Russian side for the two-plus-four treaties on German reunification. The Federal Republic therefore committed itself in 1992 in the agreement of December 16, 1992 between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Russian Federation on war grave security to ensure its existence permanently, and to maintain and repair it. Any changes in monuments require the approval of the Russian Federation.  In 1994, the military ceremonial was held for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the DDR at the Soviet Memorial. Since 1995 a memorial service has been held every year on the 9th of May with flowers and wreaths, including the "Union of Antifascists Treptow e. V." The event is under the motto "Day of Liberation" and corresponds with the day of the Victory , the Russian holiday. On May 9, 2015, about 10,000 people visited the memorial to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war.

The most spectacular element of the memorial is towering up in the rear end of the park on a grassy hill. It is a mausoleum on which a ten to twelve metre high bronze statue is placed depicting a bareheaded, heroic, Soviet soldier wielding a sword and standing on a smashed swastika, into which the sword is deeply cut. On his left arm he is carrying a child while staring out over the plaza. This sculpture, "Der Erreer" by Jewgeni Wuchetich, stands on a double conical base 12 metres high and weighing 70 tonnes.   The statue rises above a walk-in pavilion built on a hill. In the dome of the pavilion is a mosaic with a circulating Russian inscription and a German translation. This mosaic was one of the first important orders in the post-war period for the August Wagner company which combined workshops for mosaic and glass painting in Berlin-Neukölln . The hill itself is modelled after a "Kurgan" (mediæval, Slavic tombs on the Don plain), often found in Soviet memorials such as those at Volgograd, Smolensk, Minsk, Kiev, Odessa and Donetsk. On top marks the outstanding endpoint of the 10-hectare complex.  The sculptor himself emphasised in several interviews that the representation of the soldier with a child saved had a purely symbolic meaning and not a precise incident. However, in the DDR the narrative of sergeant Nikolay Ivanovich Massov, who had brought a little girl near the Potsdamer bridge to safety on April 30, 1945 during the storming of the Reichskanzlei, was widely circulated. In his honour, a memorial plaque was erected on this bridge over the Landwehrkanal and for a long time he was regarded as the model of the Treptow soldier. The model for the bronze figure was the Soviet soldier Ivan Odartschenko. Another version claims that the monument is modelled on the heroic deed of the Soviet soldier and former worker of the Minsker Radiowerkes T. A. Lukyanovich, who paid for the salvation of a little girl in Berlin with his life. The source for this version is the book Berlin 896 km by Soviet journalist and writer Boris Polewoi.
 

I'm standing beside one of sixteen white sarcophagi of limestone that stand along the outer boundary of the field leading to the statue. This one shows Lenin on a red banner that flies behind the Soviet Red Army. The side has a quote embossed in gold by Stalin. These sarcophagi are marked on the two longitudinal sides with reliefs from the history of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Peoples, bearing quotations from Joseph Stalin in Russian on the left and in German on the right. The individual sarcophagi have specific themes: the attack by the Germans, the destruction and suffering in the Soviet Union, the sacrifice and abandonment of the Soviet people and support of the army, the suffering of the army, victory, and heroic death. 
Fort Hahneberg
 
Fort Hahneberg was completed in 1886 and put to use two years later as one of four forts to defend Berlin on the west side. It ended up being the only one built. The Reichsadler above the entry remains when it was used during the Third Reich. 
 
Fort Hahneberg was used as the hideout forest for the Inglorious Basterds. As an aside, the title of the movie has to have the swastika removed because the display of Nazi iconography is illegal in Germany. The "Offizielle deutsche Website" has been censored too. Under the German law there ARE exceptions which allow the use of "unconstitutional symbols" for artistic and educational purposes but Universal Pictures obviously didn't find it worth the effort.

Schöneweide
During the Nazi era, Niederschöneweide developed quickly into an important location for the armaments production thanks to its metal and chemical industry. A new building was built for Hasselwerderstraße in the Hasselwerderstraße, where, among other things, the departments of inheritance and race care, infant care, Schularzt and Schulzahnklinik were housed. At the end of the Sedanstraße (today: Bruno-Bürgel-Weg), a building was built for the SA-Stand 5 "Horst Wessel", which at the same time served as an HJ-Heim for Niederschöneweide. In 1933, the crossing area in front of Schöneweide train station was redesigned and the main road system was expanded. Because of the intensified consignments from 1941 personnel shortages in the factories arose. In order to maintain production, more and more forced labourers were employed. In 1943 Albert Speer erected a barrack camp for more than 2,000 forced labourers between the Britzer, Sedan and Grimaustrae. The barrack camp is now under monument protection. A partial area of ​​this was made available to the public in the summer of 2006 as a documentation centre for Nazi forced labour under the sponsor "Topography of Terror". On April 16, 1945 the last great battle of the Second World War in Europe began around Berlin. On April 24, just after German rear groups had blown the Kaisersteg and the Treskow Bridge, Niederschöneweide was in the hands of the 8th Garde Army of the First Belarusian Front.
The last well-preserved former Nazi forced labour camp is located in Schöneweide, located at Britzer Straße 5, Berlin-Schöneweide. In the Second World War it served as one of the more than 3,000 mass housing sites dispersed throughout the city for forced labourers. The camp was ordered to be built for 2,000 workers by the “General Building Inspector for the Reich capital” (Generalbauinspektor für die Reichshauptstadt) in close proximity to large armament industries. It included 13 stone barracks for housing. Civil forced labourers and forced labourers of various nationalities, Italian military internees as well as female concentration camp prisoners lived here. A well-preserved residential barrack referred to as ”Barrack 13” has been open for tours since the end of August 2010. In 2000 a compensation program was set up to help out the 2.3 million surviving forced labourers, which is probably both too little and too late.

Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen
The camp was used between 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in 1945, and then used by Russians in the Soviet Occupation Zone as an NKVD camp until 1950. It now operates as a museum.  The camp was established in 1936. It was located 22 miles north of Berlin, which gave it a primary position among the German concentration camps: the administrative centre of all concentration camps was located in Oranienburg, and Sachsenhausen became a training centre for Schutzstaffel (SS) officers (who would often be sent to oversee other camps afterwards). Originally planned to accommodate six thousand inmates, Sachsenhausen generally had a population of between ten and fifteen thousand, rising to about thirty-five thousand in the final months of the war. The blocks were arranged in a fanlike configuration in a semicircle around the Appellplatz, which had a radius of about a hundred meters. The camp as a whole therefore was similar to an isosceles triangle: at the base, the semicircle of the parade ground, then the blocks in four concentric rings, and at the apex the nursery and pigpen. Executions took place at Sachsenhausen, especially of Soviet prisoners of war. Among the prisoners, there was a "hierarchy": at the top, criminals (rapists, murderers), then Communists (red triangles), then homosexuals (pink triangles), Jehovah's Witnesses (purple triangles), and Jews (yellow triangles). During the earlier stages of the camp's existence the executions were done in a trench, either by shooting or by hanging. A large task force of prisoners was used from the camp to work in nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer's vision of rebuilding Berlin. Sachsenhausen was originally not intended as an extermination camp—instead, the systematic murder was conducted in camps to the east. In 1942 large numbers of Jewish inmates were relocated to Auschwitz. However the construction of a gas chamber and ovens by camp-commandant Anton Kaindl in March 1943 facilitated the means to kill larger numbers of prisoners.

Main entrance. The Main gate or Guard Tower "A", with its 8mm Maxim machine gun, the type used by the Germans in the trenches of World War I, housed the offices of the camp administration. On the front entrance gates to Sachsenhausen is the infamous slogan Arbeit Macht Frei ("work makes (you) free"). About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. In Sachsenhausen,
some 6,500 were confined at the outbreak of the war. Shortly thereafter, in September 1939, 900 Polish and stateless Jews from the Berlin area were taken to the camp; at the beginning of November, 500 Poles were interned. At the end of that month, 1,200 Czech students were added, and approximately 17,000 persons, mainly Polish nationals, were admitted as in- mates in the period from March to September 1940. Despite the high number of new inmates, the camp population here too stabilized at the level of roughly 10,000 prisoners. That was because of the high mortality rate as well as the transfer of large numbers of Poles to Flossenbürg, Dachau, Neuengamme (in the Bergedorf section of southeastern Hamburg), and Groß-Rosen.
Sofsky (35)
Observation points then and now; since the torching of a barracks by neo-Nazis, security cameras have been installed throughout the site.

The mortuary and infirmary, showing the autopsy table.

The Russians, accompanied by Polish soldiers, chanced upon Sachsenhausen concentration camp as they moved to invest Berlin. The camp was in Oranienburg, and the fall of that former royal borough brought it home to Hitler that his days were numbered. There were just 5,000 prisoners left in Sachsenhausen of a population that had reached 50,000. The rest had been taken on 'death marches.’
(58) After the Reich - The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
More and more Berliners had been taking the risk of listening to the BBC on the wireless and even dared to discuss its news. But power cuts were now creating a more effective censorship of foreign broadcasts than the police state had ever achieved. London had little idea of the great Soviet offensive, but its announcement that Sachsenhausen- Oranienburg concentration camp had been liberated just north of Berlin gave a good idea of Red Army progress and its intention to encircle the city. The indication of the horrors found there was also another reminder of the vengeance which Berlin faced. This did not stop most Berliners from convincing themselves that the concentration camp stories must be enemy propaganda.

This communist memorial on the left remembers only political prisoners (hence the red triangles), and only those imprisoned by the Nazis as opposed to the Soviets who used the camp for an additional five years. A mass grave from that time was found in 1990. The prisoners on this memorial, far from appearing emaciated, are made to look superhuman in their resolve in a fascist stance the Nazis themselves would have approved of.

Stalin's son Yakov Dzhugashvili served as an artillery officer in the Red Army and was captured on 16 July 1941 in the early stages of the German invasion of USSR at the Battle of Smolensk. The Germans later offered to exchange Yakov for Friedrich Paulus, the German Field Marshal captured by the Soviets after the Battle of Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying "I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant". According to some sources, there was another proposition as well, that Hitler wanted to exchange Yakov for his nephew Leo Raubal; this proposition was not accepted either. Until recently, it was not clear when and how he died. According to the official German account, Dzhugashvili died by running into an electric fence in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held. Some have contended that Yakov committed suicide at the camp, whilst others have suggested that he was murdered. Currently, declassified files show that Dzhugashvili was shot by a guard for refusing to obey orders. Whilst Dzhugashvili was walking around the camp he was ordered back to the barracks under the threat of being shot. Dzhugashvili refused and shouted, "Shoot!" The guard shot him in the head.
Inside the ruins of the crematorium. The first crematorium at Sachsenhausen was built at Station Z in April 1940 and construction on the new crematorium began on January 31, 1942; it was completed and opened for use on May 29, 1942. It had two rooms where Russian POWs, who were Communist Commissars, were executed with a shot to the neck.
Station Z included a Genickschußanlage, a shooting pit, a gas chamber, and a multiple gallows with block and tackle. The structures had been kept low intentionally so as to block visibility and prevent anyone from looking in over the wall. The first provisional gas chambers in Birkenau were outside the camp, set up in former farmhouses. But the modern crematoria were built in close proximity to the camp. They were surrounded by barbed-wire fences and shielded from view by barriers of willow trees. Flower beds lent the facilities an innocuous air. The zones of death were disguised areas beyond the round of everyday camp routine. No one had access to them except the Sonderkommandos—the corpse carriers and oven stokers. The zone of death was taboo, a place of mystery where the power to kill could unfold unhindered.
 In 1953, the crematorium building was deliberately blown up by the East German government, and today nothing is left except the ruins of the ovens. When the former Sachsenhausen camp was made into a Memorial Site in 1961, the brick wall separating the Industrial Yard from the camp was moved so that Station Z could be located inside the memorial.
At the UFA film studios with students. Universum Film AG began as a major German film company headquartered in Babelsberg, producing and distributing motion pictures from 1917 through to the end of the Second World War. In 1925, financial pressures compelled UFA to enter into distribution agreements with American studios Paramount and MGM to form Parufamet. UFA's weekly newsreels continued to contain reference to the Paramount deal as shown on the left until 1940, at which point Die Deutsche Wochenschau ("The German Weekly Review") was consolidated and used as an instrument of Nazi propaganda.  In March 1927, Alfred Hugenberg, an influential German media entrepreneur and later Minister of the Economy, Agriculture and Nutrition in Hitler's cabinet, purchased UFA and transferred it to the Nazi Party in 1933. Under the Nazis UFA experienced a new commercial boom, not least due to the regime's protectionist measures which freed the company from bothersome domestic and foreign competition. Additionally, the Nazi regime also provided UFA with new sales markets, as well as placing distribution outlets in such "neutral" countries as the United States. This economic boom made it possible to further expand the so-called "star system," which had already been developed in the silent film era; its highest paid UFA stars during the Nazi era were Hans Albers and Zarah Leander with Veit Harlan its highest-earning director. 
Hitler and Goebbels visiting UFA's Neubabelsberg studios in 1935 during the making of the film "Barcarole." As a result of the nationalist German spirit that already dominated the company, UFA was perfectly suited to serve the goals of National Socialist propaganda in film. Hugenberg had been named Reich Minister of Economics immediately following the Nazi takeover of January 30, 1933, and made UFA openly available for Joseph Goebbels' propaganda machine, even though Hugenberg was removed from his post shortly thereafter (June 1933) under pressure from Hitler. In an act of anticipatory obedience to the Nazi regime, UFA management fired several Jewish employees on March 29, 1933. In the summer of 1933, the Nazi regime created the Film Chamber of the Reich, which adopted regulations officially excluding Jewish filmmakers from all German studios. In 1942, as a result of the Nazi policy of "forcible coordination" known as the Gleichschaltung, UFA and all of its competitors, including Tobis, Terra, Bavaria Film and Wien-Film, were bundled together with foreign film production companies Nazi-controlled to form the super-corporation UFA-Film GmbH (Ufi), with headquarters in Berlin.