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
Wilhelmstraße, 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 communist DDR 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new building of the Topographie des Terrors Foundation which opened in 2010 and tries to present the street with its historical references under the heading of the Wilhelmstraße History Mile.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 7 September 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 (short: 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)
Aerial photo of the Memorial site designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineers Buro Happold and consisting of a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 stelae arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.
My students in 2016 standing among the stelae which vary in height from eight feet to just under sixteen feet and three feet wide, supposedly designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere; a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. A 2005 copy of the Foundation for the Memorial's official English tourist pamphlet, however, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman did not use any symbolism. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. They are found underground- not marked prominently, not easy to find, and not integral to the display.
Richard Brody in The New Yorker argues that without knowing beforehand, 
it would be impossible to know what the structure is meant to commemorate; there’s nothing about these concrete slabs that signifies any of the words of the title, except, perhaps, “memorial”—insofar as some of them, depending on their height, may resemble either headstones or sarcophagi. So it’s something to do with death. And as for the title itself—which murdered Jews? When? Where? Does the list include Rosa Luxemburg, who was killed in Berlin by rightist thugs in 1919, or the foreign minister Walther Rathenau, also killed here by rightist thugs, in 1922? Or Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam, who died in Soviet captivity? Or, pardon my sarcasm, Claude Lanzmann’s uncle, who was killed in Paris by his jealous mistress?
The title doesn’t say “Holocaust” or “Shoah”; in other words, it doesn’t say anything about who did the murdering or why—there’s nothing along the lines of “by Germany under Hitler’s regime,” and the vagueness is disturbing. Of course, the information is familiar, and few visitors would be unaware of it, but the assumption of this familiarity—the failure to mention it at the country’s main memorial for the Jews killed in the Holocaust—separates the victims from their killers and leaches the moral element from the historical event, shunting it to the category of a natural catastrophe. The reduction of responsibility to an embarrassing, tacit fact that “everybody knows” is the first step on the road to forgetting.

Incredibly, the company employed to produce anti-graffiti coating for the blocks was Degussa, a big German chemical company, which once owned Degesch- the firm that produced the Zyklon B used to gas Jews in concentration camps! On October 14, 2003 the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger published articles noting that the Degussa company was involved in the construction of the memorial, producing the anti-graffiti substance Protectosil used to cover the stelae; the company had been involved in various ways in the Nazi persecution of the Jews. A subsidiary company of Degussa, Degesch, had even produced the Zyklon B gas used to poison people in the gas chambers. Indeed it transpired that it was not by coincidence that the involvement of Degussa had been publicised in Switzerland, because another company that had bid to produce the anti-graffiti substance was located there. Further, the foundation managing the construction had known about Degussa's involvement for at least a year but had not done anything to stop it. It also transpired that another Degussa subsidiary, Woermann Bauchemie GmbH, had already poured the foundation for the stelae. In the course of the discussions about what to do, which lasted until November 13, most Jewish organisations including the Central Council of Jews in Germany spoke out against working with Degussa. Regardless, that same day the decision was made to continue working with the company. As German-Jewish journalist, author, and TV personality Henryk M. Broder said, "the Jews don't need this memorial, and they are not prepared to declare a pig sty kosher."
Easyjet was forced to apologise after fashion photographs shot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were published in its in-flight magazine. In the pictures, models pose in designer clothes among the concrete blocks of the "Field of Stelae". The budget airline said it was unaware of the images until they appeared in the magazine, which is published by a company called INK whose relationship with Easyjet was under review. For its part, INK issued a statement on its website which actually claimed that its intention "was to encourage passengers to visit for themselves."
  Men cruising for men at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Note the man bottom left who stripped off. Despite, this, Grindr's CEO Joel Simkhai has publicly declared himself to be "deeply moved" by how his clients "take part in the memory of the holocaust."

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 Second World 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 (Reichsbahn Company) was placed under the Act for the Reorganisation of the Reichsbank and the German Reichsbahn Act (Reichsbahn-Gesellschaft) 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 organization 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

Right shows a Berlin postcard actually promoting the site
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 Wilhelmplatz8/9 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.
 
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. As of 2001 the building has housed the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.
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)
During and after the war, the three arched windows at the front are still recognisable amidst the ruins.

Wilhelmstraße 81-85: Reich Aviation Ministry (Reichsluftfahrtministerium)
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 - 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.  
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 building provided the backdrop to the film Valkyrie
As well as to the 2007 film Mein Führer - Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler (Mein Führer: The Truly Truest Truth About Adolf Hitler), the centre photo showing perhaps incongruously the flags of the EU and German state.
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). 
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 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. This building escaped major damage during the war. 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. As such it was at the centre of the popular demonstrations during the workers' uprising of June 17, 1953.

Hitler at the site in 1935 on the left...
... and Göring during the Tag der Luftwaffe on March 1, 1938. During numerous school trips to the site.
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 13 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 organized. 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 Second World War.
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." After the war its large size and intact statein contrast to the rest of Wilhelmstrassemade 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. In it was held the ceremony in 1949 officially establishing the German Democratic Republic. Proposals for a plaque remembering the terror bombing planned hereof Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, and Coventryhave 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 Second World 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. They show as an idea an aufgesockelte, about six feet high figure whose Gewandsaum as by a gust of wind lifted back swings to a wing-like shape. She is carrying a torch. In addition, the drafts clearly show that the sculpture with its free arm guides a model-like missile - similar to a javelin thrower.
 
During the war. 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. 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 DDR 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 GDDR 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. The groundfloor monument, in Leipziger Straße at the corner of Wilhelmstraße in front of the Federal Ministry of Finance (officially named the Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus) 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). After the war, the slightly damaged building of the RLM was initially used by the Soviet military administration (SMAD). Later, the German Economic Commission (DWK) and then the State Plank Commission and the Economics Council of the DDR obtained parts of the building. It served as the meeting place of the German People's Council, which on October 7, 1949 founded the DDR by establishing the constitution and established itself as a provisional Volkskammer. After the establishment of the DDR, various trade ministries of the economy were accommodated in the complex. The building was now officially designated as the House of Ministries.
Between the years 1950 and 1953 the monumental painting portrait and landscape painter Lingner in the northeastern pillar precinct replaced the previous large-format stone relief of marching soldiers of the Wehrmacht with the weaving hook crosses of the sculptor Arnold Waldschmidt shown above incorporating tiles from Meissner porcelain were created. 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 had 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.

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."
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 National Socialism in Germany, 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. 
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 , SD and RSHA centres.
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.
Plan of the site from a 1938 map beside an aerial photo of the area from 1954
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