Wilhelmstraße

Hitler's Bunker and Chancellery has its separate entry
Wilhelmstraße as depicted in the final days of the war in the film Der Untergang and during my Bavarian International School class trip in 2020
Walking down Wilhelmstraße and the same spot during the Nazi era, with Hitler's Chancellery seen in the background. Site of the Third Reich's most important ministries and embassies, until 1945, the rhetorical expression Wilhelmstraß was a metonym for the German Reich government , similar to Downing Street. Apart from the Air Ministry, all the major public buildings along Wilhelmstraße were destroyed by Allied bombing during 1944 and early 1945. 
Despite such severe destruction by the Anglo-American air raids and the Battle of Berlin, numerous historic buildings on Wilhelmstraße have been preserved; the Berlin monument list names nineteen sites worthy of protection. Wilhelmstraße as far south as Zimmerstrasse was in the Soviet Zone of occupation, and apart from clearing the rubble from the street little was done to reconstruct the area until the founding of the DDR in 1949 when a large part of the area was built over with prefabricated buildings. The East German regime regarded the former government precinct as a relic of Prussian and Nazi militarism and imperialism, and had all the ruins of the government buildings demolished in the early 1950s. In the late 1950s there were almost no buildings at all along the Wilhelmstraße from Unter den Linden to the Leipziger Strasse. In the 1980s, apartment blocks were built along this section of the street.
On the area of ​​the former Prinz-Albrecht-Palais is the new building of the Topographie des Terrors Foundation which opened in 2010 and tries to present the street with its historical references under the heading of the Wilhelmstraße History Mile. On the initiative of the Berlin House of Representatives, a permanent street exhibition with glass information boards has been erected to show the locations of earlier institutions since the early 1990s. Several new buildings are planned on Wilhelmstraße including the “Palais an den Ministergärten” along Cora-Berliner-Strasse, for which several temporary snack bars are being demolished. 

Wilhelmstraße 62: Reichskolonialamt
Site of the former headquarters of the Reich Colonial office, set up to reclaim the colonies lost through the treaty of Versailles. It was originally created by decree by Kaiser Wilhelm II on May 17, 1907 as a central authority in its own right, managed by a cabinet-level Secretary of State. It had then been physically relocated to this site near Wilhelmplatz, where the Colonial Department of the Foreign Office had resided since 1905. This legislation had represented a complete reorganisation and was a direct response to the nationwide so-called "Hottentot election", after allegations of colonial malfeasance, corruption and brutality as a result of the Herero and Namaqua Genocide in German South-West Africa surfaced in the German media and culminated in the dissolution of the Reichstag parliament. The shake-up subsequently involved extensive and wide-ranging personnel changes in civil service positions in the colonies. 
Between 1893 and 1903, the Herero and Nama people's land and cattle were progressively being taken by German colonists. The Herero and Nama resisted expropriation over the years, but they were disorganised and easily defeated. In 1903, the Herero discovered that they were to be placed in reservations, leaving more room for colonists to own land and prosper. In 1904, the Herero and Nama began a great rebellion that lasted until 1907, ending with the near destruction of the Herero people. According to Frank Chalk and Kurt Jonassohn, "[t]he war against the Herero and Nama was the first in which German imperialism resorted to methods of genocide...." Roughly 80,000 Herero lived in German South West Africa at the beginning of Germany's colonial rule over the area, whilst after their revolt was defeated, they numbered approximately 15,000. According to the 1985 UN Whitaker Report on Genocide, within a period of four years, approximately 65,000 Herero people perished. This was to constitute the first genocide of the 20th century, waged by the Germans against the Ovaherero, the Nama, and the San in German South West Africa (now Namibia). The BBC documentary Namibia – Genocide & the Second Reich explores the Herero/Nama genocide and the circumstances surrounding it. A student examined this topic for his IBDP Extended Essay in History, receiving an 'A'.

The ministry itself was eventually dissolved after the Great War on February 20, 1919 and replaced by the Imperial Colonial Ministry (Reichskolonialministerium) of the Weimar Republic, dealing with settlements and closing-out of affairs of the occupied and lost colonies. The building itself had been demolished in 1938; students are shown on the right during our 2020 class trip beside a sign at the site mentioning the Herero, but without a word about the genocide.

Wilhelmstraße 64: Central Office of the Führer's Deputy
(Rudolf Hess's HQ)

Wilhelmstraße 64 then and standing in front in 2020. Built by Carl Vohl in 1903, the building used to be the liaison office of the Prussian king and the kaiser to the government, housing the Privy Civil Cabinet of the Prussian king and German Emperor. During the Weimar Republic the building served as part of the Prussian Ministry of State. Between 1922 to 1932 Prussian Minister President Otto Braun of the Social Democrat Party lived and worked here. From 1932 to 1933 the president of the Prussian Council of State (and future West German chancellor) Konrad Adenauer, used this as his apartment whilst serving as a Centre Party politician and chief mayor of Cologne. Upon taking power, this is where Hitler put Ribbentrop's office and the Nazis' liaison office, both under the authority of deputy Fuhrer Rudolf Hess who was made responsible for ensuring that all laws, statutes, regulations, promotions and so forth conformed to National Socialist ideology. After 1936 the Nazi leadership moved in and the street facade was simplified, in that the neo-baroque architectural decorations were knocked off. After the war the building's damage was repaired and the building was used as a student residence.  During the DDR era, the "Hanns Eisler" music college used part of the building. Until 1970 the East German State Secretariat for Professional Schools was based here, followed by the East German state publishing house until the demise of the DDR in 1990. When office buildings were needed for the new federal government after the fall of the Wall , the house on Wilhelmstrasse 64 (now renumbered with no. 54) was rebuilt, with remnants of the imperial and Nazi era furnishingswere obtained. The post-war attic was reconstructed and modeled on the historical building. Since 2000 the building has been the Berlin office of today's Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture .

Wilhelmstraße 65: Reichsjustizministerium
Under the Nazis the Prussian Ministry of Justice was merged with the Reich Ministry of Justice and headed by Franz Gürtner who was responsible for coordinating jurisprudence in the Third Reich. Objecting to the illegality of the Gestapo and SA in dealing with prisoners of war, he protested unsuccessfully to Hitler, nevertheless staying on in the cabinet, hoping to reform the establishment from within. Instead, he found himself providing official sanction and legal grounds for a series of criminal actions under the Hitler administration. His successor, Otto Thierack, forwent any pretence of legality and simply began handing undesirable groups over to the ϟϟ having come to an understanding with Heinrich Himmler that certain categories of prisoners were to be, to use their words, "annihilated through work". Lengthy paperwork involved in clemency proceedings for those sentenced to death was greatly shortened and, at his personal instigation, the execution shed at Plötzensee Prison in Berlin was outfitted with eight iron hooks in December 1942 so that several people could be put to death at once by hanging. At the mass executions beginning on September7, 1943, it also happened that some prisoners were hanged "by mistake". Thierack simply covered up these mistakes and demanded that the hangings continue. During the war an air raid in December 1944 destroyed the main building except for the surrounding walls. The building was demolished in 1950 and the property was initially kept free for a passage from Französische Strasse to Wilhelmstrasse. Today the site serves as the embassy of Afghanistan. 

Wilhelmstraße 68: Reichsministerium für Wissenschaft, Erziehung und Volksbildung
The Reich Ministry of Science and Public Education in July, 1943 and the site today. After the Nazis came to power Bernhard Rust, Gauleiter of South Hanover-Braunschweig, was appointed provisionally as Prussian Minister of Education. After responsibility for arts affairs had been transferred to the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, the Rust was appointed Reich Minister for Science, Education and Public Education on May 1, 1934 and tried to bring the school system into line with Nazi ideology whilst discharging those regarded as politically or racially "undesirable" from scientific and research work. The Prussian Ministry of Culture served as the basis of the newly created Reich Ministry, whose officials also dealt with the affairs of the Reich. At the beginning of 1935, the name of the ministry was adapted accordingly and the authority now operated as the Reich and Prussian Ministry for Science, Education and National Education (Reich Ministry of Education or REM). On October 1, 1938, the reference to Prussia was deleted and the Ministry finally renamed the Reich Ministry for Science, Education and National Education. During the war the building complex was destroyed with the exception of the eastern courtyard wing and parts of the connecting passage to the extension. In August 1945, some of its rooms were set aside for the German Central Authority for Public Education. In October 1949 upon the official creation of the DDR, this became the East German Ministry of Public Education. From 1963 until 1989 the ministry was headed by the wife of East Germany's last Head of State, Margot Honecker. From 1970 until the dissolution of East Germany in 1990 it housed the East German Academy of Educational Science. Today it serves as offices for members of the Bundestag.

Wilhelmstraße 70:
Embassy of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
The Palais Strousberg was designed by August Orth for the railway pioneer Bethel Henry Strousberg. Subsequently the building served as British embassy until its destruction in the Second World War. Today in the growing fears of NSA intrusion, it is the subject of German fears that it serves as Britain’s ‘secret listening post in the heart of Berlin.’ 
After the decision in 1991 to move the German seat of government from Bonn to Berlin , the British government decided to build a new embassy building at the historic location. An architecture competition was then announced which was won by Michael Wilford & Partners. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on June 29, 1998. The only street side of the building was given a large opening over two floors, which is intended to provide a symbolic light. The turquoise green roof was constructed by Michael Wilford as a Potemkin construction with a sloping roof; the house actually only has a flat roof. The new embassy building was opened on July 18, 2000 by HM Queen Elizabeth II. With the increased terrorist threat after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the entire embassy area was temporarily closed to public access. Special security controls were later introduced for all visitors. In addition, since 2001, Wilhelmstrasse between Behrenstrasse and Unter den Linden has been completely cordoned off from vehicle traffic. The British embassy building is considered the first privately financed embassy both in Germany and around the world. A German company finances the legation for thirty years with the possibility for an extension. It was discovered in 2013 that a wiretapping system for cellphone, WiFi and other communication data has been operated on the roof since 2000 allowing us to eavesdrop on communications between the Chancellery and the Reichstag.
The British Embassy remains at the same spot as it was during the years of crisis. Photos I took for the site British Imperial Flags. Dr. Lothrop Stoddard in his book Into The Darkness- Nazi Germany Today, published in 1940 during the war, remarked how
[t]he most interesting example of Berlin‟s impassive popular mood was the attitude toward the tightly closed British Embassy which is just around the corner from the Adlon. There it stands, with gilded lions and unicorns upon its portals. I had rather expected that this diplomatic seat of the arch-enemy would attract some attention, especially on a Sunday, when this part of town was thronged with outside visitors. Yet, though I watched closely for some time, I never saw a soul give the building more than a passing glance, much less point to it or demonstrate in any way.  
Between Behrenstrasse and Unter den Linden, Wilhelmstrasse has been closed to motorised through traffic since 2003 to protect the British embassy there , especially from car bombs .
 
Wilhelmstraße 72: Reichsministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaf

Originally this was the site of a palace built in 1735 and obtained by King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia and had been the residence of the Hohenzollern princes until the revolution in 1918. The Reich Ministry for Food and Agriculture (RMEL) from 1919 to 1945. It had been bombed during the war, after which the office became the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forests under the communist authorities. It was finally demolished in 1962 and remained vacant until the mid 1980s when the East Germans began building high-rise apartment blocks.
The grounds of the former palace were chosen to become part of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas)
Wilhelmstraße 74-76: The Foreign Office
  The Foreign Office in 1935 and 1936. Through the Machtergreifung, the personnel policy of the German Foreign Office was subjected to Nazi policy, as was the case with all other Reich ministries. Nevertheless, resistance from the Foreign Service did admittedly emerge, for example Rudolf von Scheli, Ilse Stöbe, Adam von Trott to Solz and Ulrich von Hassell. Nevertheless, in its 2010 report Unabhängige Historikerkommission – Auswärtiges Amt, the "Independent Historical Committee - German Foreign Office" concluded that the Office's employees during the Nazi period were less victims but rather actors of national socialism:  
The Foreign Office was [...] not a hoard of resistance. It was also no retreat of old-ministerial bureaucrats, who, under a bad government, would not abandon their country and simply continue their ministry. There was also no targeted infiltration by national socialists, which was not necessary at all. What was more characteristic of AA was the "self-equalisation.  An antidemocratic and an anti-Semitic consensus prevailed among the officials in the Wilhelmstrasse and the Hitler government. The most aristocratic diplomats represented the traditional upper-class anti-Semitism, which was less radical than the genocidal anti-Semitism of the national socialists. But both wanted to overcome the "plague of peace" of Versailles and make Germany a great power again. There were only differences in the assessment of the risk of war.   
Nothing is left of it today, but the Reich Aviation Ministry can be seen in the background.
In 1939 the office issued a formal statement about the so-called Jewish question as a factor of foreign policy. Among other things,  "[t]he realisation that Judaism in the world will always be the implacable opponent of the Third Reich forces the decision to prevent any strengthening of the Jewish position. A Jewish state [ie: British Palestine] would, however, bring a legal system of international law to world Jewry. "  The research results published in October 2010 by the independent historian commission, convened by the then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in 2005, show that "after the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941, the Foreign Office took the initiative to solve the 'Jewish question' at European level. Eckart Conze (historian and spokesman of the commission) said in a 2010 interview that the Foreign Office "was actively involved in all measures of persecution, deprivation, expulsion and extermination of the Jews from the beginning... The target 'final solution' was already very early recognisable."  
After the end of the war, a number of leading members of the Office in the so-called Wilhelmstraßen process.

Wilhelmstraße 79-80/Voßstraße 96: Reich Ministry of Transport (Reichsverkehrsministerium)
 Its Wilhelmstraße façade then and within the former yard today
Then and now as seen from Voßstraße. It had been built in 1884-86 by Boeckmann architects as a residential building. In 1925 the house was extended and fitted to the neighbouring German Railway Company. Today it is the only house of the old Voßstraße still existing. With the founding of the Ministry of Aviation on May 5, 1933, the Reichsverkehrsministerium lost the jurisdiction over the Department of Aviation. The Department of Motor Transport and Shipping was divided into two separate departments as Erich Klausener became head of the shipping division. After Klausener's assassination during the so-called Röhm-Putsch on June 30, 1934, the division received a new department head with Max Waldeck at the beginning of 1935. In the same year, the two railway divisions were merged after the head of the administrative department had retired. As of March 20, 1935, the Reichsverkehrsminister (Minister of Transport and Transport) was named Reich and Prussian Transport Minister after the corresponding tasks had been taken over from the Prussian Ministry of Transport. Added to this were other transport tasks from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Agriculture.  The Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft was placed under the Act for the Reorganisation of the Reichsbank and the German Reichsbahn Act on January 30, 1937, and received the name "Deutsche Reichsbahn". The Reichsbahn committees were taken over to the ministry as department head in the rank of ministerial directors. Until the end of the Second World War the structure changed only insignificantly. In the operational and construction department E II was the unit 21 "mass transport", which from 1940 was responsible for the organisation and timetable of the special trains for the deportation of Jews from Germany ordered by the ϟϟ. This meant that the Reichsverkehrsministerium was responsible for a substantial part of the Holocaust.

Wilhelmplatz

At the western entrance to the subway station "Kaiserhof" at Berlin, Wilhelmplatz (today station "Mohrenstraße", line U2); built 1908 after a design by Alfred Grenander, destroyed in 1936.
For some years a regular daily meeting had taken place in the Propaganda Ministry on the Wilhelmplatz in Berlin, attended by Goebbels, senior officials of the RMVP and liaison and media staff from other ministries, the Party Chancellery and the Wehrmacht. These press conferences would normally begin at 11.am (although the time could vary from 10.00 am to noon) and lasted for half an hour to forty-five minutes. Goebbels dominated proceedings and the only other regular speaker was the OKW liaison officer who would give a brief account of developments at the front(s). The ministerial conference was very much a platform for Goebbels to perform. The Minister would use the 'conference’ to provide guidelines and detailed instructions for the implementation of German propaganda. It was not intended to offer a dialogue with journalists. As Goebbels widened the scope of his brief during the war the conference expanded from twenty in attendance gradually increasing after the invasion of Russia to fifty or sixty persons.

Wilhelmplatz was built over during the German Democratic Republic era. The Czech Embassy is visible in the foreground of the picture whilst the historic statues have since been reinstated.
A member of the Hitlerjugend on a street sign where Wilhelmstrasse intersects with Wilhelmplatz, and as it appeared after the war.
Taxis lined up in front of the legendary Hotel Kaiserhof in 1938 and the same site today with my students during our Bavarian International School class trip in 2020. On November 22, 1943 the hotel was badly damaged by the RAF during an air-raid on Berlin. The ruins ended up in East Berlin after the division of the city and were later completely torn down and in 1974 the North Korean embassy to East Germany was constructed on the site. When in 2001 its successor state, the Federal Republic of Germany, re-established diplomatic relations with North Korea, the latter's embassy returned to the building. Since 2004, the annex on the south half of the site has been leased to Cityhostel Berlin, which currently pays the North Korean regime an estimated €38,000 per month. It was here on February 26, 1932 in a ceremony that Hitler had himself appointed a Regierungsrat in Brunswick for the period of a week, thus acquiring German citizenship. Fest writes how this was "for years his Berlin headquarters;" Irving adds that "[t]his was where Hitler made his command post whenever he was in Berlin." After having lunch "Hitler read newspapers, brought by an aide each day from a kiosk at the nearby Kaiserhof Hotel. In earlier years he had taken tea in the Kaiserhof: as he entered, the little orchestra would strike up the ‘Donkey Serenade,’ his favourite Hollywood movie tune." On the day Hitler was appointed Chancellor 
at a window of the Kaiserhof, Rohm was keeping an anxious watch on the door from which Hitler must emerge. Shortly after noon a roar went up from the crowd: the Leader was coming. He ran down the steps to his car and in a couple of minutes was back in the Kaiserhof, As he entered the room his lieutenants crowded to greet him. The improbable had happened: Adolf Hitler, the petty official's son from Austria, the down-and-out of the Home for Men, the Meldeganger of the List Regiment, had become Chancellor of the German Reich.
Bullock (250).
A few months later Goebbels would give his speech on ‘The Tasks of the German Theatre’ at the Hotel Kaiserhof on May 8, 1933  during which he lectured the assembled theatre actors and managers on his concept of a militant Nazi culture. ‘I want to protest,’ he said, ‘at the notion that the artist alone has the privilege of being unpolitical... The artist may not merely trail behind, he must seize the banner and march at the head.’ Turning to the Jewish question, he grimly affirmed that there was no need for special legislation to extrude the Jews from the world of German art. ‘I think the German people will themselves gradually eliminate them.’

The bronze statue of Leopold I shown with my students during my 2016 Bavarian International School trip was moved in 2005 to its current location on Wilhelmplatz on the initative of the Berlin Schadow Society which planned to re-erect the statues of the Prussian military near their historical locations. The bronze copies of the Zieten and Anhalt-Dessau monuments were rebuilt in 2003 and 2005 on the subway island on the transverse axis of the former Wilhelmplatz. The remaining four bronze statues were moved to a new location on the neighboring Zietenplatz in September 2009 after its reconstruction, which began in 2005, was completed. Since 2011, the statues as a whole have been a listed building.
The NSDAP leader was often in Berlin, where since February 1931 he regularly stayed in a suite at the legendary Hotel Kaiserhof at 4 Wilhelmplatz (formerly Ziethenplatz), across the street from the Reich Chancellery. The hotel was the first luxury hotel in the city, opened in 1875 and three years later one of the showpieces of the 1878 Congress of Berlin, which took place under the leadership of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Since the early 1920s, the hotel management had sympathized with the right‑wing nationalist forces operating against the Weimar state, so it was no coincidence that the top floor of the hotel turned into the NSDAP’s provisional headquarters.  
Görtemaker,  Eva Braun 
 Directly across the street is this memorial to Georg Elser, who had concealed a time bomb in the Bürgerbräukeller, set to go off during Hitler's speech on 8 November. The bomb exploded, killing seven people and injuring sixty-three, but Hitler escaped unharmed; he had cut his speech short and left about half an hour early. Elser was arrested, imprisoned for 5 ½ years and executed shortly before the end of the war. On November 8, 2011, this seventeen metre-long memorial was inaugurated on the corner of An der Kolonnade street in his memory.

Wilhelmplatz 8-9:
Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda

A Berlin postcard actually promoting the site of Goebbels's Propaganda Ministry and my class of 2021. Shortly after the Reichstag election in March 1933, Hitler presented his cabinet on March 11 with a draft resolution for the establishment of the ministry. Despite the skepticism of some non-Nazi ministers, he prevailed. On March 13, 1933, the Reich President Hindenburg ordered the establishment of a Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. The term “propaganda” (from Latin propagare , “further spread”) was used in a value-neutral manner at the time of its founding. The meaning of the ministry name can be understood today in the sense of "for culture, media and public relations", whereby the boundary between advertising and public relations was already fluid which Goebbels tried to differentiate. The ministry moved here into the Prinz-Karl-Palais on Wilhelmplatz 8/9 in Berlin, which was already used by the now incorporated "United Press Department of the Reich Government". From the spring of 1933, the complex was expanded extensively. Due to the insufficient space there, architect Karl Reichle created spacious extensions between 1934 and 1938. The rear facade of the extant new wing on Mauerstrasse offers a good impression of Nazi state architecture: Conservative modernism and monumental austerity are reflected in the shell limestone facade with its uniform serial pattern. 
My 2021 cohort in front. The Ministry was created shortly after the Nazi "seizure of power"to serve as the central institution of propaganda through Goebbels, who exercised control over all German mass media and cultural workers through his department and the Reich Chamber of Culture established in autumn 1933. On March 25, 1933, Goebbels explained the future function of the Ministry of Propaganda to the directors and directors of the broadcasting companies by declaring that “[t]he ministry has the task of carrying out a spiritual mobilisation in Germany. So it is in the field of the spirit what the Ministry of Defecse is in the field of the guard. [...] the spiritual mobilisation is just as necessary, perhaps even more necessary than the material mobilisation of the people."
From the spring of 1933, the complex was expanded extensively. The neighbouring American embassy in the Kleisthaus was built into the building. The tasks of the ministry are described in an ordinance by Hitler of June 30, 1933 as follows:"The Reich Minister for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda is responsible for all tasks of intellectual influence on the nation, advertising for the state, culture and economy, informing the domestic and foreign public about them and the administration of all institutions serving these purposes."
 Numerous tasks of the Propaganda Ministry overlapped with the areas of competence of other organisations, which were linked by a complex network of personnel and in some cases were also under the direction of Goebbels. As a professional organisation, the Reich Chamber of Culture controlled and monitored cultural workers in the theatre, radio, film and press, among other areas. At party level, there were also three Reichsleiter with media skills, whose areas of responsibility overlapped: the Reich Propaganda Head of the Nazi Party, Joseph Goebbels; the Reichsleiter for the Nazi Party press, Max Amann; and the Nazi Party Press Chief, Otto Dietrich who was the vice president of the Reich Press Chamber which in turn was subordinate to the President of the Reich Chamber of Culture- Joseph Goebbels. Power struggles, personal enmities and mutual dependencies sometimes led to contradicting instructions from the various agencies. At the 1936 Summer Olympics, direct responsibility lay with the Reich Ministry of the Interior , which was responsible for sport. But since Goebbels had already met with Theodor Lewald, the President of the Organising Committee, he was able to contribute accordingly at all levels. The success of the propaganda is still visible through Leni Riefenstahl's film Olympia. There were violent disputes over who was responsible for foreign propaganda, for which the Reich Foreign Ministry claimed general authority. For example, influencing internal reporting in Italy remained completely in the hands of the Foreign Office; diplomatic sensitivity was required when dealing with the Axis partner. Since regulations and prohibitions were inappropriate in relation to a sovereign state, the Office flooded the Italian Ministry of Propaganda with ready-made news from around the world instead - news that was more detailed and timely than the material of the Italian correspondents, and was therefore often used by newspapers and radio. Although Hitler's order of September 8, 1939 clearly defined the leadership role of the Foreign Office in foreign propaganda, Goebbels and his ministry continued to interfere in this area until the end of the war .
The Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda (Reichsministerium für Volksaufklärung und Propaganda – RMVP), was established by a presidential decree, signed on 12 March 1933 and promulgated on the following day, which defined the task of the new ministry as the dissemination of ‘enlightenment and propaganda within the population concerning the policy of the Reich Government and the national reconstruction of the German Fatherland’. In June Hitler was to define the scope of the RMVP in even more general terms, making Goebbels responsible for the ‘spiritual direction of the nation’. Not only did this vague directive provide Goebbels with room to out-manoeuvre his critics within the Party; it also put the seal of legitimacy on what was soon to be the ministry’s wholesale control of the mass-media. Nevertheless, Goebbels was constantly involved in quarrels with ministerial colleagues who resented the encroachment of this new ministry on their old domain.
Standing in front of the site in 2007. Currently serving as the German Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security, this is where Goebbels was in charge of the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (RMVP) was responsible for the content-related control of the press, literature, fine arts, film, theatre, music and broadcasting. After the first ministerial building here was destroyed in the war, a remnant marked by archways remained standing on Wilhelmstrasse.
The part of the building visible here behind my students is the Marschall House, converted by Karl Reichle in 1934 to serve as the entrance area to the Ministry of Propaganda. The walled up archways and windows of today were originally passageways to the main building of the Ministry of Propaganda. The ministry was re-established shortly after the "seizure of power" by the Nazis as the central institution of Nazi propaganda. It was in the Cabinet Hitler under the direction of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who exerted control of all German mass media and cultural workers through his ministry and the Reich Chamber of Culture built in the fall of 1933.
No one who lived in Germany in the Thirties, and who cared about such matters, can ever forget the sickening decline of the cultural standards of a people who had had such high ones for so long a time. This was inevitable, of course, the moment the Nazi leaders decided that the arts, literature, the press, radio and the films must serve exclusively the propaganda purposes of the new regime and its outlandish philosophy. Not a single living German writer of any importance, with the exception of Ernst Juenger and Ernst Wiechert in the earlier years, was published in Germany during the Nazi time. Almost all of them, led by Thomas Mann, emigrated; the few who remained were silent or were silenced. Every manuscript of a book or a play had to be submitted to the Propaganda Ministry before it could be approved for publication or production.
Shirer (214)
In the last weeks of the war, the historic palace was destroyed by an air mine. Its ruins were torn down in 1949 whilst the parts of the building that were built during the Nazi regime were damaged but reconstructed after the war. From 1947 the National Front of the German Democratic Republic, an association of parties and mass organisations of the DDR, moved into this building. With the move of the Ministry for Media Policy into the building of the former Propaganda Ministry, the East German government ensured continuity in the use of the building. Since 1999 the building has been the seat of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

Wilhelmstraße 81-85: Reich Aviation Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium)
As it appeared in the film
Valkyrie and during my 2021 school trip with my Bavarian International School history students. The building also provided the backdrop to the dire 2007 film Mein Führer - Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler (Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler).In 1890 Das Preussische Kriegsministerium at Leipzigerstrasse 5 was enlarged by the construction of an huge extension in Wilhelmstrasse. During the Weimar Republic it contained the offices of the Reich Defence Ministry. In 1933 the newly-formed Reich Aviation Ministry headed by Goering moved into it, at which point he ordered the complex destroyed and a monumental new building designed by Ernst Sagebiel constructed on the site, housing 2000 rooms.
During its construction in 1935, as shown in the 1936 series of Winterhilfswerk and from my 2020 school trip- Moderne Bauten stamps, and a guided tour of various sites, including the Reichsluftfahrtministerium.
Historians have devoted considerable attention to Hitler’s plans for the rebuilding of Berlin, but they have rarely acknowledged their effect on both the face of tourist Berlin and the meaning of a visit to the capital between 1933 and 1945. Yet it is impossible to overestimate the degree to which Berlin’s new buildings – among them, the Reich Chancellery, the Reich Sport Field, the Reich Ministry of Transportation and the Reich Aviation Ministry – became key sights for visitors to the city.
 
Model of the entire complex and site today.  
In May 1933, the newly founded Reich Aviation Ministry took over the entire building complex at the corner of Leipziger Strasse  Wilhelmstrasse, which had been the seat of the Prussian War Ministry until 1918 and, in the Weimar Republic, the seat of the Reichswehr Ministry and the Ministry of Labour. 
On February 2, 1933, the Ordinance on the Reichskommissar for Aviation was issued, ordering a Reichskommissar for the aviation ministry. This was a first step towards establishing an air force. In addition to the army and the navy, it would become a part of the Reichswehr. The Reichskommissar for aviation was responsible for the planning and development of aviation, directly subordinate to the Reichskanzler. To this end, he received from the Reich Ministry of Transportation and the Reich Ministry of the Interior power over all civilian aviation and air defence. To serve as Reichskommissar Hitler appointed the Jagdflieger of the First World War, Nazi politician and Prussian Minister of the Interior Hermann Goering. In January 1935, Goering laid the cornerstone of the new Air Ministry. It would occupy a four-hundred-thousand-square-foot site off the Leipziger Strasse. Hitler personally checked each façade in plaster miniature. Its central longitudinal block and side wings would house four thousand bureaucrats and officers in its twenty-eight hundred rooms. Throughout 1935 the country’s finest architects and sculptors chiselled at heroic reliefs with motifs like “Flag Company,” designed by Professor Arnold Waldschmidt of the Prussian Academy of Fine Arts. The Berliners made smug comments about this extravagance- “Pure and simple, and hang the expense!” was one; “Just humble gold” was another.
David Irving, Göring (216-7)
The Main Hall (Ehrensaal) inside then and now. Three days after Reichskristallnacht in November 1938, Goering held a conference here (now the Euro Hall) wherein it was resolved that a thousand million Reichsmarks would be demanded from German Jews to pay for the damage caused by the pogrom.
“The swine will think twice,” he said, “before they inflict a second murder on us.” But the unthinking and needlessly destructive mode of revenge that Goebbels had selected outraged him. As his limousine made its way through the shards in Berlin the next morning, November 10 he got fighting mad and called a terse meeting of the Nazi party leaders at the Air Ministry building. Walther Darré heard Göring call the pogrom “a bloody outrage.” The field marshal lectured them all on their “lack of discipline.” He reserved his most pained language for Dr. Joseph Goebbels. “I buy most of my works of art from Jewish dealers,” he cried. Goebbels rushed yelping to the Führer’s lunch table but found little sympathy. Hitler had spent the night in Munich issuing orders to stop the outrages and sending out his adjutants to protect Jewish businesses like Bernheimer’s, the antique dealers. Himmler was also furious with Goebbels for having made free with the local SS units to stage the pogrom. 
Irving (341)
The building from the Nazi-era in 2007. The Reich Aviation Ministry remains the only major surviving public building in the Wilhelmstrasse from the Nazi era at Wilhelmstraße 81-85, south of the Leipziger Strasse, a huge edifice built on the orders of Hermann Göring between 1933 and 1936 based on a design by Ernst Sagebiel, who shortly afterwards rebuilt Tempelhof Airport on a similarly gigantic scale. One writer has described it as "in the typical style of National Socialist intimidation architecture." It ran for more than 250 metres along Wilhelmstraße, partly on the site of the former Prussian War Ministry that had dated from 1819, and covered the full length of the block between Prinz-Albrecht-Straße and Leipziger Straße, even running along Leipziger Straße itself to join on to the Prussian Herrenhaus, the former Upper House of the Prussian Parliament. It comprised of a reinforced concrete skeleton with an exterior facing of limestone and travertine (a form of marble). In 1935 all the buildings in the area were demolished and the area expanded through acquisitions up to Prinz-Albrecht-Straße in the south. The gigantic new building with its usable area of ​​56,000 square metres and 2,100 interior rooms was completed at the end of 1936. A labyrinth of corridors with a total length of 6.8 kilometres established the connections in this gigantic ensemble.
 The Reich Aviation Ministry was the first large new building of the new Nazi government. The architect in charge, Prof. Ernst Sagebiel, implemented what Göring demanded when, in his speech on October 12, 1935, Göring said on the inauguration of the new building, he declared that "[w]e are taking over a good piece of Prussian-German tradition from it."  Sagebiel had relief panels with German military leaders attached as facade decorations, but these took a back seat to the actual decoration with swastikas, military symbols such as the Iron Cross and the Pour le Mérite, the highest German order of merit. Göring, a fighter pilot in the First World War, had been the bearer of the Pour le Mérite. Here on the left I stand beside one of the entraces and as it appeared when the offfending symbols were removed after the war and subsequently replaced with cladding. 
Under the Versailles Treaty of June 28, 1919, Germany had been forbidden to rebuild its air forces and its civil aviation was severely hindered. The new regime quickly broke this treaty, first in secret, then publicly with the occupation of the Rhineland in March 1936 and the attack by the Condor Legion on the Basque city of Guernica in April 1937. 
With its seven storeys and total floor area of 112,000 square metres, 2,800 rooms, seven kilometres of corridors, over four thousand windows, seventeen stairways, and with the stone coming from no fewer than fifty quarries, the vast building served the growing bureaucracy of the Luftwaffe, plus Germany’s civil aviation authority which was also located there. Yet it took only eighteen months to build, the army of labourers working double shifts and Sundays. The short construction period of the Reich Aviation Ministry was touted to the public as a "performance show" of the new system. The building complex, built partly as a reinforced concrete, partly as a steel frame structure in a functional aesthetic around several large inner courtyards, enjoyed homogeneous rows of narrow and sharp-edged windows in a strict style overlooking the smooth shell limestone facade. The first thousand rooms were handed over in October 1935 after just eight months' construction. When it had been finally completed, four thousand bureaucrats and their secretaries were employed within its walls. According to Elke Dietrich, “[t]he discipline of the national community is expressed in the discipline of architecture in this building.” In this way, Göring legitimised the New Objectivity style, the application of which until then was described by the Nazis as culturally Bolshevik and soulless; “un-German”.
The enormous building stretches south and west from the corner of Leipziger Strasse and Wilhelmstrasse, at the southern edge of the traditional government quarter. Several sprawling wings, ranging from four to seven stories high, contain two thousand rooms, among them grand halls in which Reich Marshal Göring received, entertained, and overawed visitors. Like Sagebiel's airport, its external appearance is modern in its stark and massive facades but traditional in its stone construction and monumental entrance courts. A Third Reich guidebook pronounced it a "document in stone displaying the reawakened military will and the reestablished military readiness of the new Germany." 
Hitler at the site in 1935 at the main entrance of the Reich Aviation Ministry with its forecourt is on Leipziger Strasse and my 2018 cohort. The Ehrenhof faces Wilhelmstrasse as a parade area, the entrance to which was framed by two Nazi eagles, each holding a laurel wreath with a swastika in their claws . Two inner courtyards laid out with large-format granite slabs with framed lawns and two chestnuts each, a utility courtyard and two garden courtyards with sculptures on the lawns forming the exterior of the gigantic building complex. The lobby inside was adorned with a 25 metre-long stone relief by Arno Waldschmidt glorifying the Wehrmacht entitled “Fahnenkompanie.”  In June 1943 Waldschmidt received the Goethe Medal for Art and Science with express reference to this relief. Waldschmidt “was also the first to bring the Führer’s ideas into the arts”.
This time it's Göring shown during the Tag der Luftwaffe on March 1, 1938. April 21, the anniversary of the death of Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, was officially designated "Day of the German Air Force" in 1936. On this occasion, sixteen streets were solemnly renamed by Nazi party officials with a lot of pomp in honour of aviator heroes of the First World War. The initiator of this renaming was Göring who had replaced the Red Baron as the head of the Baron's Flying Circus. The state commissioner for the capital, Julius Lippert, praised the "... courageous commitment and the deadly fulfillment of duty" of the honored "heroes" whilst the state secretary for aviation, General Milch thanked the surviving aviators of the Great War who helped build the new air force, implicitly referring to Göring, Udet, Loerzer and many others. He also thanked the Hitler who had "after the disgraceful years led Germany out and returned the Wehrmacht to the German people".
The Technical Office of the RLM, which had emerged from a flight technology department in the Heereswaffenamt that existed until 1935, was essentially responsible for the development of new aircraft types by the aviation industry and their production planning. In 1936 Göring appointed the later Colonel General Ernst Udet to head this office and entrusted him with the duties of State Secretary Erhard Milch , who until then had been the main planner and organizer of the armament of the Air Force. Udet was thus responsible for the development and provision of aircraft, weapons and equipment for all parts of the air force. Udet divided the office into thirteen departments, the overview of their responsibilities was lost. After Udet's suicide in November 1941, Erhard Milch took over his duties again.
Compared to similar offices at home and abroad, the RLM was probably no better or worse structured and organised. The excellent personal relationships between Göring and Hitler soon gave the RLM more influence and power than other ministries. Göring used his position at the head of the RLM to find posts for numerous friends or well-deserved Nazi leaders. They were less interested in working in the RLM than in continuing or expanding their political careers.The supply of materials to the Luftwaffe, including aircraft production, was initially organised by the RLM itself and was thus separate from the production of other armaments, for which the Reich Ministry for Armaments and Ammunition , created on March 17, 1940 and led by Fritz Todt, was responsible. After Todt's accidental death, it was managed by Albert Speer from March 1942 . In connection with the transfer of the air armament to Speer and his ministry in June 1944, the RLM was reorganised and tightly organised.  This probably had an impact on the Luftwaffe and the rest of the war. 
The site immediately after the war with Nazi eagle still perched in place, and standing at the site in 2021. Despite its history, the Reich Aviation Ministry was not only a place where the inhuman orders of the Nazi regime were taken and implemented, but also recognised a place of resistance. Here Luftwaffe Lieutenant Harro Schulze-Boysen worked as an assistant officer in the Department “Foreign Air Powers,” evaluating foreign specialist literature. In 1935 he met the government councilor in the Reich Ministry of Economics, Arvid Harnack, who was a secret Communist Party member who had been recruited by the Soviet foreign intelligence service. From this point on, Schulze-Boysen's opposition circle of friends was formed, which from 1941 onwards became part of a leading German resistance fighter as a member of a Berlin anti-fascist resistance group that was later called the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle) by the Abwehr.
Schulze-Boysen was eventually arrested and executed in 1942, as was Harnack and his American-born wife, Mildred Harnack. She had originally been sentenced to six years in prison, but Hitler swiftly cancelled the sentence and ordered a new trial which resulted in a death sentence. She was beheaded by guillotine, and her body was released to Hermann Stieve, anatomy professor at Humboldt University, to be dissected for research. 
As it appeared after the war and my 2021 Bavarian International School students
This building escaped major damage during the war and its large size and intact state in contrast to the rest of Wilhelmstrasse made the building attractive to the new East German government. A dozen ministries were given office space there, and it was renamed the "House of Ministries," which it remained until 1990. As one of the few intact government buildings in central Berlin, it ended up being occupied by the Council of Ministers of the new German Democratic Republic in 1949 which had been founded on October 7, 1949, in the great hall of the former Reich Aviation Ministry, and the building complex became the “House of Ministries”. On October 11th the People's Chamber, together with the Länderkammer, 'elected' Wilhelm Pieck as the first and only President of the DDR with Otto Grotewohl becoming Prime Minister. Here the specialist ministries of the various branches of industry are grouped together; In 1953 there are nine government offices and ministries; by 1989 there were sixteen. The East Germans didn't use the building complex without reflecting on its historical origin and declared its use as a symbol of a new beginning with old, negative history being overwritten by the new one that was now emerging here. According to Willi Stoph at the time, “[t]hrough the initiative of the Communist Party of Germany and in accordance with the decision of the Soviet Military Administration, this building was to be given a new purpose... From now on, people should work in the hundreds of workrooms who work for peaceful construction and for life and who do their part to overcome the serious consequences of the predatory Nazi war in our country."
Given its importance it was at the centre of the popular demonstrations during the workers' uprising of June 17, 1953. Proposals for a plaque remembering the terror bombing planned hereof Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, and Coventry have come to nothing. During the early 1990s, the building served as the headquarters of the Treuhand, the special government agency charged with liquidating East Germany's state-owned economy. (In 1992 it was renamed Detlef-Rohwedder-Haus in honour of the head of the Treuhand who was assassinated by left-wing terrorists.) As the Treuhand's actions directly or indirectly eliminated hundreds of thousands of jobs, it became a hated institution in the eyes of many East Germans. Some of them chose to see the building as the fortresslike command center of an occupying power, the West German capitalists who had supplanted the Soviet Communists. Thus Göring's building, though denazified in the popular mind, remained a place of bureaucrats and autocrats issuing orders from behind their stone walls. For the private contractor hired to renovate the building for the Treuhand, in fact, its identity was uncomplicated. A temporary sign advertised "Berlin's largest office building." Third Reich ministries and agencies left behind many other buildings. Their construction reflected both the growth of central government authority and the desire of leading Nazis to display their power in the most visible and permanent way. After the war, hard-pressed national and municipal authorities on both sides of the Wall understandably chose to see intact buildings as office space rather than as Nazi statements in stone. 
  After the war and today. Ironically, this was the one building in Berlin not bombed from the air. After the war, the building housed the Soviet Military Administration, followed in turn by the National Economic Commission. After the war the building, which was hardly destroyed, was used by the GDR Ministry of Finance as the 'House of Ministries'. The building, which has now been completely renovated and modernised and renamed the ' Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus ', has been the seat of the government since the government moved to BerlinFederal Ministry of Finance. Several designs by Arno Breker for a monumental sculpture on the forecourt to the main entrance of the planned new building complex on Leipziger Strasse have come down to us including a six feet high figure carrying a torch; earlier drafts clearly show that the sculpture with its free arm guides a model-like missile similar to a javelin thrower. On October 7, 1949, the German Democratic Republic was founded in the Great Hall. Up until 1989 the building served as the East German House of the Ministries, with the complex bordering the Berlin Wall (see below). From 1991 to 1995 the building was used by Treuhand Anstalt, the trustee organisation for the privatisation of former East German state enterprises. Since 1999 it has housed the German Ministry of Finance.
The site during the founding of East Germany on October 7, 1949 as delegates of a people’s council gathered in the grand hall. Although badly damaged, the Ministry building was quickly identified by occupying Soviet forces as an essential resource in their postwar administrative infrastructure. By August 1945 sixty-seven offices in the building were already in use, and in the same month an order was issued to ensure that five hundred offices were made ready in the next three months. Half a million reichsmarks was earmarked for that purpose by the municipal authorities, and about eighteen hundred construction workers were employed on the site. The pragmatic adoption of the building by the Soviet authorities was accompanied by the complete erasure of the overt iconography of National Socialism, as bare stone replaced the nationalist and militaristic reliefs. According to atleast one prominent eyewitness, Willi Stoph, the future East German head of state, thebuilding's new administrative purpose under the German Communist Partywould in itself be sufficient to counteract its history. As he put it: "From now on the hundreds of offices will be occupied by people who are working forpeaceful reconstruction and who will be making their contribution to overcoming the grave consequences for our country of Nazi war and aggression." Identified in June 1947 as the home for the Deutsche Wirtschaftskommission, effectively the central Soviet administration for East Germany, the former Aviation Ministry and its surrounding complex of buildings emerged as the natural governmental centre for the newly formed DDR after October 1949. Responsibility for the building, now known as the House of Ministries, was passed in June 1950 to the Ministry for Reconstruction, and it was at this time that the first plans were drawn up for a more overt ideological statement to be written onto the site.

A mural along the building's north loggia commemorates the ceremony that took place within in 1949 which officially established the German Democratic Republic. The building's importance as a centre of government also made it a centre of attention during the East German uprising in 1953; striking workers marched to the House of Ministries to present their demands for economic and political reforms. Not surprisingly, the DDR chose to leave no trace of that day. On the uprising's fortieth anniversary, therefore, the building's new masters dedicated a commemorative plaque. The plaque was mounted on a pillar directly in front of the DDR's mural. The building is thus marked by competing memorials of the DDR rather than any reference to its original use. 
The central Monument in memory of the 1953 Uprising in the East German Democratic Republic is represented by a groundfloor relief, surrounded by a low barrier, created by Wolfgang Rüppel on Leipziger Straße at the corner of Wilhelmstraße in front of the Federal Ministry of Finance and an older wall-mounted plaque on the façade itself. Remarkably, Max Lingner's three- metre by 24-metre long mural "Aufbau der Republik" (Building the Republic) is allowed to remain in situ. (Photos from my 2012 school trip on the anniversary of the uprising). Between the years 1950 and 1953 the monumental painting portrait and landscape painter Lingner in the northeastern pillar precinct replaced Waldschmidt's previous large-format stone relief of marching soldiers of the Wehrmacht with the weaving swastikas incorporating tiles from Meissner porcelain were created. 
Painter, graphic artist and resistance fighter against the Nazis, Linger painted the design in 1950, offering a vision of optimism in the young state as a family idyll, based "Il quarto stato” by Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpredo from the turn of the century. The unity of workers, peasants and intelligentsia, based on a young family, without particular emphasis on uniforms, political symbols and banners with slogans. But politicians and officials of the culture were dissatisfied with the execution and demanded improvements and the version shows, the faces as rigid, the smiles mask-like, and many of the women depicted dressed in FDJ shirts, the children with pioneer scarves, the workers firmly at work. Tiles made of Meißner porcelain - supplied by VEB Max Diestel, Meißen - which were also used on the residential building facades on Stalinallee in the 1950s, refer to the inclusion of local raw materials and traditions and are considered "Heimatkunst" in the German Democratic Republic's art policy. All these measures sought to show the DDR's desire to transform building complexes into ensembles that have a cultural and aesthetic peculiarity.
The image of a restrained new beginning after the war originally conceived by the artist was revised several times at the request of the President of the Council of States, Walter Ulbricht and the Prime Minister, Otto Grotewohl, in order to present an euphoric departure of the working class. Lingner had had to revise it no fewer than five times, so that it ultimately bore little resemblance to the first draft. Originally based on family scenes, the final version has a more sinister look about it, a series of jovial set-pieces with an almost military undertone, people in marching poise and with fixed, uniform smiles on their faces. Lingner hated it (as well as Grotewohl's interference) and refused to look at it when going past. With a degree of irony, the building became the focal point a year later of the Uprising of 1953 in East Germany when, on June 17, 1953 a demonstration took place in front of the building. Today, the "monument to the events of the seventeenth of June nineteen hundred fifty-three", designed by Wolfgang Rüppel serves to commemorate the first demonstration against Soviet rule in the Eastern bloc. It was on June 17, 1953 that a protest march of 2,000 construction workers marched towards the government district to the “House of Ministries” chating Horst Schlafke's slogan “Berliners get in line, we want to be a free people!” Eventually the numbers would swell to 10,000. By the time they arrived those intended to hear their protest were not even there as Grotewohl and high-ranking state officials of the SED moved into the converted former old town house shortly beforehand. The protest turned into an uprising spreading throughout the entire republic only to be bloodily suppressed with the military aid of the Soviet occupation. In West Germany this day was commemorated as the “Day of German Unity” until reunification. 
Ten years later a spectacular escape to the West from the roof by the Holzapfel family succeeded. From a height of 23 metres, they slid down an hundred metre long rope over the wasteland between the east and west of Berlin - under the watchful eyes of Soviet soldiers who actually believed that the State Security was smuggling an agent into West Berlin.

Haus der Flieger ('House of the Aviators')
The Abgeordnetenhaus von Berlin is the state parliament for the German state of Berlin according to the state's constitution. The parliament is based at this building on Niederkirchnerstraße, which until 1934 was the seat of the Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Representatives), the second chamber of the Preußischer Landtag. Goering used it as an officers' club connected to the Air Force on the same block as his own Ministry.
On the evening of March 11, 1938 Göring held a banquet at the Haus der Flieger. He took advantage of the intermissions between the artists’ performances to brief the British Ambassador Henderson and the Czechoslovakian Envoy Mastny on the events in Austria. He did not refrain from giving his word of honour that no like measures were being planned for Czechoslovakia. After midnight in the Chancellery, Hitler accepted the first congratulatory notes on bringing about a turn in the Austrian situation.
Max Domarus (1045) The Complete Hitler
On an empty field between Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse (now renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse), Wilhelmstrasse and Anhalter Strasse is the site where the Gestapo set up its offices its house gaol on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8. In November 1934 the 'Security Service of the Reich ϟϟ Leader' (SD) under Heydrich moved his office here where the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror – the Secret State Police Office with its own “house prison,” the leadership of the ϟϟ and, during the Second World War, the Reich Security Main Office – were located. Here Himmler, Heydrich, Kaltenbrunner and their assistants had their desks and decided "on the persecution of political opponents, the Germanisation of occupied territories in Poland and the Soviet Union, the murder of Soviet prisoners of war and the genocide of the European Jews." This is where the Einsatzgruppen had been assembled and where the Wannsee Conference was prepared. "There is no other site where terror and murder were planned and organised on the same scale."
After the ruins were demolished in the 1950s, the site was used as a driving practice area and as a dump for the Kreuzberg area renovation. The first exhibition on the topography of terror was created for the 750th anniversary of Berlin in 1987 but the plans to erect a memorial on the site of the former headquarters of the Gestapo went back to 1978. The Berlin architecture critic Dieter Hoffmann-Axthelm was one of the first to point out the importance of the former Gestapo site in essays and reports that year. The Topography of Terror is a project in Berlin that has existed since 1987 to document and come to terms with the terror caused by the Nazisy, especially from 1933 to 1945. It includes a permanent exhibition in the new building and an open-air exhibition on the site of the former Prinz-Albrecht-Straße  8 (today Niederkirchnerstraße 8 ) in the Kreuzberg district. This was the sikte of the headquarters of the Secret State Police (Gestapo) in the former arts and crafts school. The Prinz-Albrecht-Palais was in the immediate vicinity of Wilhelmstrasse 102 which had been the headquarters of the ϟϟ Security Service (SD) from 1934 and of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) from 1939. The documentation centre at Niederkirchnerstrasse 8 is one of the state museums in Berlin. The long-standing director of the foundation was the historian Andreas Nachama who retired at the end of November 2019 and was replaced by Andrea Riedle who was previously the deputy head of the memorial at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial.
The new exhibition and documentation centre with the redesigned historic grounds were opened to the public on May 7, 2010 according to a prize-winning design by the architect Ursula Wilms (Heinle, Wischer und Partner, Berlin) and the landscape architect Heinz W. Hallmann (Aachen) on the site of the GESTAPO headquarters on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. The Reich’s Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt- RSHA) – Nazi Germany’s central authority, established on September 27, 1939, with the aim of coordinating the Nazi terror system during the war. It consisted of the former Main Security Police Office (Hauptamt der Sicherheitspolizei) and the Main SD Office (SD-Hauptamt). It brought together and controlled all the SD’s and state’s repressive bodies. Headed by Heydrich, the RSHA answered to Himmler. Following the former's death, the RSHA was run by Himmler personally until 1943 when it was taken over by E. Kaltenbrunner. The RSHA comprised seven departments: personnel, organisation and administration, security services (SD), internal and external affairs, the Gestapo, criminal police, and others. In February 1944 one of the SD departments was put in charge of Abwehr (counter-intelligence). 
Stairway and main hall within the Gestapo HQ showing on the right busts of Goering and Hitler.
With the establishment of the Reich Security Main Office, Heinrich Himmler's advancement of the Nazi apparatus of violence since 1933 reached its climax. The competencies of state organs and branches of the Nazi Party were mixed more and more. Head of the RSHA, which in turn formed an ϟϟ main office, was the head of the Security Police and the SD in the rank of ϟϟ-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich . After his death on June 4, 1942 in Prague as a result of an assassination attempt , Heinrich Himmler initially acted as "Reichsführer ϟϟ and Chief of the German Police" until Ernst Kaltenbrunner became the new head of the RSHA on January 30, 1943 . A close colleague of Heydrich, Walter Schellenberg , had tried in vain to become his successor. After the war, Kaltenbrunner was sentenced to death and executed in the first Nuremberg trial of the main war criminals for his crimes in this capacity. 
The area of ​​responsibility of the RSHA encompassed all "security policy and intelligence matters". This also included the arrests of “politically unreliable” people. The ϟϟ task forces subordinate to the RSHA undertook to fight “all elements hostile to the Reich and German” in the occupied territories. Above all in Poland and later in the Soviet Union, this meant planned massacres of state and cultural representatives of these countries, in particular of Catholic priests and communist functionaries, as well as of Roma and especially of Jews. Hate propaganda was also targeted against the Jewish populationPogroms started . In the Soviet Union, the RSHA directed the so-called "purges" against Soviet communists and Jews. Over 500,000 people fell victim to these actions. In Section IV B 4 of the RSHA, ϟϟ-Obersturmbannführer Adolf Eichmann organized the bureaucratic part of the “ final solution to the Jewish question ” as the personification of the desk offender . The RSHA also had extensive powers domestically and used above all “ protective custody ”, which was not subject to judicial control, to combat political and “racial” opponents (Jews, “Gypsies”). The "Meldungen aus dem Reich" provided detailed reports on the mood of the intensely spied on population.
The buildings that housed the Gestapo and ϟϟ headquarters were largely destroyed by Allied bombing during early 1945 and the ruins demolished after the war. The wall itself was never removed from the site as seen on the left, and the section adjacent to the Topography of Terror site is the second-longest segment still in place (after the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain). It is here after the July Plot of 1944 according to Shirer (966) that,
under hideous torture in the Gestapo dungeon in the Prinz Albrechtstrasse in Berlin Colonel von Hofacker broke down and told of Rommel’s part in the conspiracy. "Tell the people in Berlin they can count on me,” Hofacker quoted the Field Marshal as assuring him. It was a phrase that stuck in Hitler’s mind when he heard of it and which led him to decide that his favourite general, whom he knew to be the most popular one in Germany, must die.
The boundary between the American and Soviet zones of occupation in Berlin ran along the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, so the street soon became a fortified boundary. The Berlin Wall ran along the south side of the street, renamed Niederkirchnerstrasse, from 1961 to 1989 shown here in 1990 and today in 2018 with my students from Bavarian International School. To their right is the Martin Gropius Bau which was a museum in 1945 and which suffered extensive damage during the battle, mainly due to its close proximity to the Gestapo building, which had a large courtyard that opened onto the side of the Bau. At dawn on April 29th 1945, Colonel Antonov’s 301st Soviet Rifle Division assaulted the Gestapo Headquarters and managed to capture it after heavy fighting, pouring thousands of rounds from the windows of the museum into the courtyard. The return fire from the ϟϟ defenders is clearly visible on the side wall and plasterwork of the Bau. An ϟϟ counter attack forced the Soviet troops to withdraw, leaving seven inmates who had survived a massacre of prisoners on April 23rd still confined to their cells. The last two photos show the Bau as it was at the end of the war with the Gestapo building visible on the left and a comparison shot from 2019. The Topography of Terror exhibition now occupies the site of the Gestapo HQ.
Above ran the Berlin wall and on top was the Airforce HQ and later the Federal Ministry of Finance. On August 13, 1961 the construction of the wall began, which would eventually consist of a barrier system over 150 kilometres in length, built to stop the flood of refugees from East to West shown during its construction and during my 2011 class tour of Berlin. A mere two months earlier at an international press conference held on June 15 at the House of Ministries across the road, today serving as the Federal Ministry of Finance, Walter Ulbricht famously declared, “No one has any intention of building a wall!” By the fall of 1961, over 2.6 million people had managed to escape across the border between the two sectors. The 200 metre long remnant of the wall here at Niederkirchnerstrasse marked the border between the districts of Mitte (East) and Kreuzberg (West), separating the two sides of Niederkirchnerstrasse and Zimmerstrasse from one another along their entire length. The border strip here was only a few metres wide, and buildings like the one that now houses the Berlin House of Representatives and today’s Federal Ministry of Finance were integrated into the inner wall.
The building then and what's left the site today. The buildings on the Prinz-Albrecht site were partly destroyed during the war or demolished after the war. In the 1970s, among other things, a building rubble company and an autodrome for driving license-free driving used the area.
At the beginning of the 1980s, several initiatives were launched to build a memorial on the site. In 1987, the Museum Project Topography of Terror was created. On the premises of the former Prinz-Albrecht-Straße 8, now Niederkirchnerstraße 8, the museum strives to document the Nazi terrorist apparatus. The Prinz-Albrecht-Palais was located in the immediate vicinity of Wilhelmstrasse 102, which became the headquarters of the security service (SD) of the ϟϟ from 1934 onwards, and from 1939 onwards also the Reichsicherheitshauptamt (RSHA). The former Hotel Prinz-Albrecht on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 9 was, from 1934 the seat of the "Reichsführung ϟϟ". This building ensemble is today called "Prinz-Albrecht-Gelände" and the documentation centre on Niederkirchnerstraße 8 is one of the state museums in Berlin. Remains of the house prison in the cellar of the secret state police have been preserved and are now under monument protection. They are publicly accessible as part of the exhibition topography of the terror. Between 1933 and 1945, about 15,000 political prisoners were imprisoned and interrogated in prison cells. The prison was infamous for its torture methods and for many detainees through the station to the concentration camps.
The bombed out shell of the Gestapo-ϟϟ headquarters in 1945 which had been defended by Henri Fenet, the surviving 'Charlemagne' battalion commander. On the right one can see the prison cell windows of the Gestapo gaol in the south wing of the building facing the inner courtyard on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse 8, in 1945, temporarily walled up after damage caused by bombs. 
Colonel Antonov's 301st Rifle Division began its assault in earnest at dawn on 29 April, not long after the newly married couple in the Fuhrer bunker had retired. Two of his rifle regiments attacked Gestapo headquarters on the Prinz-Albrechtstrasse, a building which had been heavily damaged in the 3 February air raid. In the now standard tactic, a03mm heavy howitzers were brought forward to blast open a breach at close range. Two battalions stormed in and hoisted a red banner, but the Soviet accounts fail to reveal the fact that after fierce fighting and heavy casualties they were forced to withdraw that evening by a ferocious Waffen SS counter-attack. The Russians had no idea whether any prisoners of the Gestapo remained alive inside. In fact, there were seven left who had been specially spared from the horrendous massacre which had taken place on the night of 23 April. 
Beevor (351)
 
Excavated cells from the basement of the Gestapo headquarters in 1948 and today showing images of political prisoners from the Gestapo archives. This served as an expansion of the Gestapo "house prison" in the basement of the south wing of Prinz-Albrecht-Straße 8, which was established in 1933 with twenty cells and expanded in 1936 by seventeen single cells and a community cell. Somewhat later, the prisoners' residence and waiting room located between the cells was upgraded to an air-raid-proof shelter. Speer had rejected this new development of the site, wanting instead to design the north-south axis not only as a street of ministries and administrative buildings, but to be used for private and commercial buildings. The Nazis' persecution and extermination policy was not only controlled bureaucratically from this area, but the Einsatztruppen were selected for subsequent mass murders of Jews and political opponents - here at this site interrogations and torture took place. Since the in-house prison was designed for only about fifty prisoners, the length of stay of the prisoners was limited- either they died as a result of torture and detention, or they were sent to other prisons and concentration camps.
The excavated cells behind the museum with the Reichsluftfahrtministerium in the background. 
To the rear, the cellars of the Gestapo headquarters in the former (and now destroyed) Prinz- Albrecht-Palais have been unearthed in the last 20 years. The provisional - still! - archaeological site 'houses' the permanent and changing exhibitions of the 'Topography of Terror'. This is a fine exhibition; you do not find crowds here, but always a number of interested people, groups and individuals, who read and study the documents about the Nazi dictatorship in Germany and Europe. Very quiet, very serious. And immediately above the excavations we can see a long stretch of the Berlin Wall, the symbol of the communist dictatorship in Germany and Europe. Today the Wall is very thin because so many people have tried to take home a piece of it; some of the poor remnants have to be protected.
Joachim Schlör (428) Memory in Berlin: a short walk