Showing posts with label Friedrichstrasse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Friedrichstrasse. Show all posts

More Nazi-era Sites in Central Berlin

Wartime damage across Unter den Linden at Friedrichstraße
Looking across Unter den Linden at Friedrichstraße showing the extensive postwar damage and me at the site in 2020. Three blocks east of the parallel Wilhelmstraße, Friedrichstraße was badly damaged during the war and only partly rebuilt during the division of Berlin. During the Cold War and its division, Friedrichstraße underground station, despite being located in East Berlin, was utilised by two intersecting West Berlin S-Bahn lines and the West Berlin subway line U6. The station served as a transfer point for these lines, and trains stopped there, although all other stations on these lines in East Berlin were sealed-off ghost stations (Geisterbahnhof), where trains passed through under guard without stopping. At Friedrichstraße station, West Berlin passengers could transfer from one platform to another but could not leave the station without the appropriate papers. The section of the station open to West Berlin lines was heavily guarded and was sealed off from the smaller part of it serving as a terminus of the East Berlin S-Bahn and as a station for long-distance trains. The section in West Berlin was partly rebuilt as a residential street; in the late 1960s, the remains of the former Belle-Alliance-Platz at the end of the Friedrichstraße, renamed Mehringplatz, were completely demolished and replaced with a concrete housing and office development designed by Hans Scharoun. Despite its central location, this area remains relatively poor. 
 Bavarian International School trip to Berlin
After the war and during our 2013 Bavarian International School trip on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Reinhardtstraße looking towards Unter den Linden. Friedrichstraße was rebuilt in the 1990s, and at the time it was the city's largest construction project; work continues today north of Friedrichstraße station. A number of well-known architects contributed to the plans, including Jean Nouvel, who designed the Galeries Lafayette department store, Raimund Abraham who contributed the overall design which helped make the street once again became a popular shopping destination, and Philip Johnson, who created the American Business Centre at Checkpoint Charlie. The redevelopment has received mixed reviews.
Bavarian International School students at Friedrichstrasse
Bahnhof Friedrichstraße from Berlin in Bildern, published in 1938, and during my 2020 Bavarian International School history trip.
At the end of January, between 40,ooo and 5o,ooo refugees were arriving in Berlin each day, mainly by train. The capital of the Reich did not welcome its victims. `The Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof has become the transit point of Germany's fate,' an eyewitness wrote. `Each new train that comes in unloads a mass of amorphous suffering on to the platform.' In their misery, they may not have noticed the sign there which proclaimed, `Dogs and Jews are not allowed to use the escalator!' Soon energetic measures were taken by the German Red Cross to push refugees on from the Anhalter Bahnhof as quickly as possible, or to force trains to go round Berlin. The authorities were afraid of `infectious diseases such as typhus' and an epidemic in the capital. Other illnesses that they feared the refugees would spread were dysentery, paratyphus, diphtheria and scarlet fever. 
Beevor (48-49) The Fall of Berlin 1945
Bavarian International School trip
During our 2017 school trip and the same scene immediately after the war; only the two round roofs of the station offer a direct point of comparison. Kershaw writes how Friedrichstraße station had housed, according to Ursula von Kardorff, a young journalist, an ‘underworld’ almost exclusively inhabited by foreigners, including ‘Poles with glances of hatred’, and a ‘mix of peoples such as was probably never to be seen in a German city’. Any outsider was looked at with suspicion, she wrote. The foreign workers were reputedly ‘excellently organised’, with their own agents, weapons and radio equipment. ‘There are 12 million foreign workers in Germany,’ she said in a telling exaggeration perhaps reflecting her own inner concern, ‘an army in itself. Some are calling it the Trojan Horse of the current war.’
Outside Friedrichstraße station at the intersection of Georgenstraße and Friedrichstraße is this bronze statue representing the contrasting fate of children during the Nazi era by architect and sculptor Frank Meisler, who travelled himself with a 1939 children's transport from Berlin-Friedrichstraße to England. Five figures in grey look to one side, symbolising the suffering of those deported to concentration camps to meet an early demise. Two lighter bronze figures gaze in the other direction representing those Jewish children whose lives were saved by the Kindertransport to England.  More than two million children lost their lives from 1933 to 1945 through the tyranny of the Nazis. London stockbroker Nicholas Winton, moved by the fate of Jewish refugees, worked with his fellow Britons to bring the first rescued children to the United Kingdom. These Kindertransporte were an attempt to protect the youngest victims of the Nazi dictatorship.

These rescue missions allowed some ten thousand Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Poland and Czechoslovakia to escape deportation and find refuge in children's homes or with English families in London. It is to be hoped during Brexit negotiations that the Germans remember many such examples of British aid and support to Jews, now recognised as German. The first train left Berlin's Friedrichstraße station with 196 children on board on November 30, 1938.
Beside the statue, seen behind my students, is the entrance to the Friedrichstraße underground station, shown here during the Battle of Berlin, 1945 and from the same view today. Most of the following photographs from the Battle of Berlin date from May 4, 1945 attributed to Soviet propaganda photographer Mark Redkin after five doomed breakout attempts by surrounded German forces and civilians near the Freidrichstrasse U-bahn station. 
Standing at the entrance to the next U-bahn station further down Freidrichstrasse to the north on Johannistrasse, Oranienburger Tor. At the end of this street is the respectable hostel where my 2020 school trip stayed- Heart of Gold. During the last days of the war, thousands of Berliners had sought shelter in such underground stations from the ongoing fighting and air raids including numerous forced labourers. Trains have not been running here for a long time and some of them served as makeshift hospitals whilst people crowded the platforms of the stations. It was here where, from the Friedrichstraße S-Bahn station, one group was driven into the underground tunnel in the direction of Stettiner Bahnhof (now Nordbahnhof) from where the ϟϟ chased them onto the street. One  woman reported how "the artillery fire was roaring at full strength. I staggered forward as if stunned. Hundreds of us were blown to pieces... It didn't want to be night, the burning sky over Berlin was so blood-red." This area was specifically referred to in Elena Moiseyevna Rzhevskaya's Memoirs of a Wartime Interpreter:
 Goebbels’s speech that day contained a summons to all soldiers, to the wounded, to the entire male population of Berlin immediately to join the ranks of the defenders of the city. He declared that anyone who failed to respond to this appeal and did not immediately go to the assembly point, at the Berlin Commissioner’s Office on Johannistrasse near the Friedrichstrasse station, was a despicable swine. Here, next to the station, and in other busy places, Nazis carried out executions to intimidate the public. I myself was confronted by the sight of a hanged German soldier in Berlin when we had just entered the city.
I took this photo of my students from the steps of the Friedrichstadt-Palast towards Weidendammer bridge; note the buildings at the end of the street are unchanged. During the Battle of Berlin, the Weidendammer Bridge was one of the few Spree crossings that had not been destroyed. On the night of May 1, 1945 a Tiger tank from the 11th ϟϟ Panzergrenadier Division Nordland spearheaded an attempt to storm the bridge to allow hundreds of German soldiers and civilians to escape across it. According to Beevor (382), "[w]ord had spread of the breakout and many hundreds of ϟϟ, Wehrmacht soldiers and civilians had assembled. It was a gathering which Soviet troops could not fail to miss. The first mass rush, led by the Tiger tank, took place just after midnight, but although the armoured monster managed to smash through the barrier on the north side of the bridge, they soon ran into very heavy fire in the Ziegelstrasse beyond. An anti-tank round struck the Tiger and many of the civilians and soldiers in its wake were mown down." Although there continues to be debate about the identification of the vehicle in the background- one identified it as a Sd.Kfz.250 mortar half-track “339” from the 11. ϟϟ Panzer-Grendier Division “Nordland”, it is usually identified online as the half-track of ϟϟ-Hauptsturmführer Hans-Gösta Pehrsson, the company commander of 3./SS-Pz-Aufkl-Abt 11. One of the bodies lying around the vehicle is most likely ϟϟ-Hauptsturmführer Pehrsson's dead driver, his fellow Swede ϟϟ-Unterscharführer Ragnar Johansson. The Swedish ϟϟ reconnaissance platoons escape attemt took place the night of May 1. They came under heavy Soviet fire near the Friedrichstraße-Johannisstraße intersection where the driver ϟϟ-Unterscharführer Johansson, who had  ought in the Swedish Volunteer Corps in Finland before he joining the Waffen-ϟϟ, fell outside the halftrack. Pehrsson himself, whilst wounded, managed to escape after having had time to get rid of his uniform jacket and changed into a Wehrmacht one before being taken prisoner. He was eventually sent to a prison camp from which he managed to escape, hiding himself in a flat back in Berlin. He subsequently met another Swedish ϟϟ-man and together made it to the British occupation zone. On June 2, 1945 they embarked on a remarkable trek back to Sweden where ϟϟ volunteers who had returned from the war were not persecuted. Pehrsson had the chance to return to civilian life and found a good job as a salesman and engineer. Pehrsson would die on March 16 1974 aged 63 in Stockholm. 
The body of a dead German soldier next to a Horch 108 on Friedrichstraße shown on the right. This vehicle, like the Sd Kfz 251 armoured personnel carrier, towing a light infantry howitzer, also belonged to the 11th ϟϟ Nordland Division. In the distance to the right the postal vehicle visible from another photo shown below is seen.
 The very young soldier wearing the Luftwaffe camouflage jacket in the photo at right can also be seen in the main photo at far left, beside the half track’s front wheel. His body has been turned over by the Russians and it lays on a MG42 with its breech opened, dislodging a length of spent ammo belt. Beside lays a Volkskopie of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, probably placed there by Soviet TASS press agency photographer Mark Redkin. The other corpses were most likely Swedish ϟϟ volunteers. A chess/checkers board can be discerned discarded amidst the rubble and corpses.
Another photograph taken with my 2020 cohort on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Johanisstrasse. The van above right is a bright red Bergmann Deutsche Reichspost vehicle, which had initially been suggested to be a Mercedes-Benz L1500 which had been the vehicle of choice for the German infantry troops, eventually produced in nearly five thousand units between 1941 and 1943. However thanks to Javier de Luelmo it has been identified. This photo shows the scene out of view beside the postal van above revealing the bodies of ten combatants. A further two more can be just made out on the rubble in front of the van in the upper photo. A lack of dust and debris on the bodies by the van in addition to the gravity-defying posture shown in the rigor mortis in several of them suggests they were not killed here but rather had been gathered to be taken away by the postal van for burial despite the van's flat front tyre. In other words, the van is likely a later arrival, whilst the number of killed near this intersection remains difficult to estimate.
The former Reichsbahnbunker Friedrichstraße on the corner of Albrechtstraße and Reinhardtrasse on February 26 1987, nearly three years before the wall fell and today. The Nazis had it built in 1943 by forced labourers for up to 2, 500 passengers on the Reichsbahn . The building was designed in 1942 by Karl Bonatz, Paul Bonatz's younger brother. The symmetrical and square building is eighteen metres high and has a floor area of 1,000 m². The reinforced concrete walls, up to three metres thick, encompass around 120 rooms on five floors that were designed to accommodate 2,000 people. In early May 1945, the Soviet Red Army occupied the bunker. The neighbouring house and probably also the bunker used the Soviet secret service NKVD as a remand prison until December 1949. Both buildings were taken over by the East German Ministry for State Security in 1950. A further use of the bunker as a prison has not been proven. 
In April 1992 the artist and tenant Werner Vollert turned the bunker into a techno club. It also hosted the Red Cross Club, later renamed the Ex-Kreuz Club, in which fetish and S&M events took place. In 1996, due to another raid  by the authorities after which building requirements that could not be implemented were imposed on the operators, the club closed. In 2001, Nippon Development Corporation GmbH bought the building from the federal government before being acquired by the Wuppertal collector Christian Boros as an exhibition space for contemporary art. As can be seen in the recent photo, he has built a penthouse on the roof of the building .
My students from the Bavarian International School in front of the eagle in the middle of Weidendammer bridge, shown then and now. The crown has been returned just as the imperial palace is being rebuilt. The bridge has played a role in literature several times, as in rich Kästner's Pünktchen and Anton in which “Pünktchen”, the little girl from a wealthy family, begs in torn clothes on the Weidendammer Bridge (in the middle of the entertainment district of the 1920s) and sells matches; across the street, her friend Anton sells shoelaces.
It was over this bridge that Hitler's private secretary and successor as Nazi Party Minister
Bormann carried the last copy of Hitler's testament, and he evidently hoped to use it to justify his claim to a position in Donitz's government when he reached Schleswig-Holstein. Another attack over the bridge was made soon afterwards, using a self-propelled 3omm quadruple flak gun and a half-track. This too was largely a failure. A third attempt was made at around 1 a.m., and a fourth an hour later. Bormann, Stumpfegger, Schwaegermann and Axmann kept together for a time. They followed the railway line to the Lehrterstrasse Bahnhof. There they split up. Bormann and Stumpfegger turned north-eastwards towards the Stettiner Bahnhof. Axmann went the other way, but ran into a Soviet patrol. He turned back and followed Bormann's route. Not long afterwards he came across two bodies. He identified them as Bormann and Stumpfegger, but he did not have time to discover how they had died. Martin Bormann, although not of his own volition, was the only major Nazi Party leader to have faced the bullets of the Bolshevik enemy. All the others - Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler and Goring - took their own lives. 
Beevor (382-383) Berlin

The Admiralspalast (Haus der Presse during Soviet rule) further down at Friedrichstraße 101 in 1949 on the occasion of Stalin's 70th birthday and today behind me in 2021 and with my Bavarian International School class of 2018 showing the profound redevelopment post-unification. It was opened in 1910 and remains one of the few preserved variety venues of the pre-war era in the city. It had originally included a skating rink, a public bath, bowling alleys, a café and a cinema open day and night. 
Hitler watched The Merry Widow here. As the building suffered little damage from the wartime bombing, it was home to the Berlin State Opera until the reconstruction of the opera house in 1955. On April 21-22, 1946 the Social Democratic Party of Germany and the Communist Party of Germany in the Soviet occupation zone held a convention at the Admiralspalast where they merged to become the Socialist Unity Party of Germany. The East German Union of Journalists had its offices inside the Admiralspalast. 
Carl Zuckmayer admired the Russian contribution to the arts at the time. The most prestigious theatre in the Russian Sector was the allied zones Admiralspalast, which had survived the bombing unscathed and now played host to the State Opera. Zuckmayer found the singers less impressive than their counterparts in New York, but on the other hand he was very struck by the talents of the young directors and artists who designed the performances. 
MacDonogh (217-218) After the Reich
More recently, Hitler returned to the Admiralspalast ( which until recently had a Führer's Box specifically built for him) when it staged Germany's first production of Mel Brooks's musical comedy "The Producers."
Friedrichstadt Palast around the turn of the century when it served as a military barracks dating from the 1760s and today. During the Nazi era the theatre was renamed the Theater des Volkes. The dome hanging pins were cut off as they were seen as degenerate art. and late-bourgeois operettas were performed. The theatre was at this time also under the name Palace of 5000 and under the private management Spadonis Marion and Nicola Lupo.The building suffered most in March 1945 due to repeated air attacks. Damage caused the plays to be removed from March until August 1945. Now, led the artists Spadoni and Lupo the house as a palace of the 3000/Theater of 3000 or Palace at the Friedrichstrasse station and Palace Variety.In 1949 the owners abandoned the theatre and the city of Berlin took over the facility, the original name Friedrichstadtpalast got back. The first director was following the expropriation of Gottfried Hermann, he was succeeded in 1961, Wolfgang E. Struck.
When taking school groups I'd previously used Baxpax hostel around the corner at Ziegelstrasse 28. Named after Felix Yurievich Ziegel, Soviet researcher, Doctor of Science and docent of Cosmology at the Moscow Aviation Institute and generally regarded as a founder of Russian ufology, like many streets reflecting the military connections around the area- Artillerienstrasse, Dragonerstrasse, Grenadierstrasse- its original name had been purged and replaced by worthy left-wingers by the East German regime.
Standing in front of the Soviet War memorial in Tiergarten during my first visit inn 2007 and as it appeared during the Cold War when guarded by a Soviet honour guard. In 1945, almost directly after the fall of Berlin, the Soviets erected a monument for the fallen soldiers of the Red Army on the north side of the current Straße des 17. Juni. Situated less than a mile away from the Reichstag, it was built in such short notice that it sat in West Berlin, which belonged to the British, Americans and French. When the wall went up around East Berlin, the monument became inaccessible to the people for whom it was built. According to testimony reported in the outstanding 1995 documentary film On the Desperate Edge of Now, statues of historical military figures from the park were buried by Berlin citizens in the grounds of the nearby Bellevue Palace in order to prevent their destruction by the occupying American forces. They were not recovered until 1993. This is one of several war memorials in Berlin erected by the Soviet Union to commemorate its war dead, particularly the 80,000 soldiers of the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945.  The memorial is located in the Großer Tiergarten, a large public park to the west of the city centre, on the north side of the east-west Straße des 17. Juni in the Tiergarten locality.  This memorial was erected at the end of 1945, within a few months of the capture of the city. The war memorial itself was built to honour Soviet soldiers who fell in the battles against the German army in the Second World War. It was located at the 17 June Street very close to the German parliament - the Reichstag - in what would soon become West-Germany which meant that it was beyond everyday reach for the Soviet Army. 
The area in 1945 showing the memorial standing in a wilderness of ruins, the Tiergarten having been destroyed by incendiary bombs and then stripped of timber for firewood during the last months of the war. Today, it is surrounded by the extensive woodlands of the reconstituted Tiergarten. Although the memorial stood in the British sector of Berlin, its construction was supported by all the Allied powers. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet honour guards from the Soviet sector (East Berlin) were sent to stand watch at the memorial. Built in a style similar to other Soviet World War II monuments once found all over the former Eastern bloc, the memorial takes the form of a curved stoa topped by a large statue of a Soviet soldier. It is set in landscaped gardens and flanked by two Red Army ML-20 152mm gun-howitzer artillery pieces and two T-34 tanks. Behind the memorial is an outdoor museum showing photographs of the memorial's construction and giving a guide to other memorials in the Berlin area. The Soviets built the statue with the soldier's arm in a position to symbolise the Red Army's putting down of the Nazi German state. The memorial was designed by architect Mikhail Gorvits with the monument of the Soviet soldier by sculptors Vladimir Tsigal and Lev Kerbel.  A legend that the memorial was built from stonework taken from the destroyed Reich Chancellery is untrue, but remains popular and persists. Ironically, it was situated at the exact point where Speer had planned his north-south/east-west axis for his planned capital. The material for the monument too aparently came from Hitler's Chancellery, and behind lie today the bodies of 2, 200 soldiers. It was discovered in 1967 that below the Nazis had constructed three motorway tunnels up to 220 metres in length.
The memorial is constructed as an arch with a bronze soldier on top of it. The design actually resembles the Brandenburger Gate which is located only an hundred metres away.
large Cyrillic inscription written underneath the statue reads:
 The last joint parade of the Allied forces in Berlin on May 8, 1946 in front of the memorial and from the same vantage point today. In the centre of the podium, the Allied commandants of Berlin, American Major General F. Keating, Soviet Major General A. G. Kotikov and British Major General E. Nares are shown.
The Soviet War Memorial Tiergarten was provocatively erected on Remembrance Day, 1945, in the hope the British would simply vacate their area and let the Soviets move their zone further into here. Given that the site chosen for the construction of the monument was in the British zone of occupation, permission from the British authorities was required for its construction. At the same time, as follows from the notes that Engineer-Major Beruchan left in his workbook, certain difficulties arose. Marshal Zhukov, whilst giving his consent to the construction of a memorial in the Tiergarten, at the same time proclaimed that he would not go to the British for permission. In this situation, the commander of the 69th military construction detachment of the 23rd UVPS, Major Vladimirov, was instructed to urgently find an interpreter, find out where the British commandant's office was and organise a meeting. On July 26, 1945, the leaders of the 23rd UVPS met with the British military commandant, Major General Line who warmly greeted the Soviet officers, and with sincere gratitude accepted their gift - an album with projects of monuments, the construction of which had already been launched in eleven Polish cities. The general assured that he would apply to the British government for permission to build a monument to Soviet soldiers who fell during the storming of Berlin in the British zone near the Reichstag. Such friendly communication was somewhat overshadowed by an incident caused by an old German translator as part of the Soviet delegation according to Beruchan's notes:
2017 school trip
The British greeted us with smiles, kindly, and praised our heroic Red Army. The short, stout, handsome commandant smiled all the time and smoked his pipe, and suddenly, as if a bomb had exploded, one Englishman said something in the commandant's ear, the commandant changed, lost his smile and began to speak sharply. I saw our old German began to tremble, turn pale. I turn to Vladimirov: what happened? Vladimirov asks the German, the German finally spoke up: the British demand that he leave the commandant's office, they want him to leave immediately. When we found out what was the matter, I asked the commandant if he could speak Armenian, Georgian, Russian, or had their own translator. To everything he answers "no." I say: “The war is over. This German did not fight. You have to have patience. You promised that you would help, so help! "
2021 Bavarian International School trip
The situation was defused by V. G. Vladimirov, who quickly took out a box of "Kazbek" and treated those present with Soviet cigarettes. The negotiations went on calmly and soon all the issues were resolved. The commandant took the general plans, promising to send them with his memorandum and petition to the British command in Frankfurt am Main that day with a messenger on the plane. Immediately the Soviet officers, together with the British colonel, left to inspect the selected construction site, after which the colonel announced that the British side would have no objections to the construction. The very next morning, an oral permission was obtained from the British authorities for the construction of the monument. A document was also issued, signed by General Line, on the provision of assistance from the British troops in Berlin, if the need arise. In addition, the English commandant allocated several buildings near the construction site to accommodate military builders (in all likelihood, one of them was a building located next to the destroyed Kroll Opera). In turn, representatives of the command of the American and French troops reacted with full understanding to the intentions of the Soviet side and expressed their readiness to provide all kinds of assistance. Thus through the British, the leadership of the 23rd UVPS independently and without any bureaucratic delays and endless approvals, managed to build a memorial in the British zone.
From my 2017 class trip and in August 1961 under British guard when the Berlin wall was erected as a sign of communist provocation on West Berlin soil and which had to be protected from West Berliners by valiant British soldiers. This resulted in considerable anger amongst West Berliners and Soviet military vehicles was on many occasions bombarded with stones from angry protesters. In 1970 a neo-Nazi, Ekkehard Weil, shot and severely wounded one of the Soviet honour guards at the monument requiring the bizarre situation where British troops had to protect Soviet troops guarding the monument. On March 8, 1971, a British military tribunal sentenced him to six years in prison for attempted malicious murder. In 2010, the monument was vandalised just before V-E Day celebrations with red graffiti that read "thieves, murderers, rapists", sparking a protest from the Russian embassy in Berlin that accused German authorities of not taking sufficient measures to protect the monument. The German tabloid Bild launched a Bundestag-petition to remove the Soviet tanks from the memorial site as a response to the Crimean crisis in 2014, calling them a "martial war symbol". To be able to visit the memorial it was agreed that Red Army troops had free passage to the memorial on certain days of remembrance.
The memorial is still a site of active commemoration. On the anniversary of VE Day, wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial. It is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also a popular tourist attraction, since it is much closer to the centre of the city than the larger Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park. The memorial is maintained by the City of Berlin. There is a sign next to the monument explaining in English, German and Russian that this is the burial site of some two thousand fallen Soviet soldiers. It is located in the heart of Berlin along one of the major roads with a clear sight of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate, both symbols of the city. Some of the marble used to build it came from the destroyed government buildings nearby, and it is built on a place which Hitler meant to devote to Welthauptstadt Germania. Besides the main inscription, the columns state names of only some dead Heroes of the Soviet Union buried here. It has earned some unflattering nicknames, such as the "Tomb of the Unknown Rapist", from the local population with references to crimes committed by Soviet occupation troops.
Fasanerieallee in Tiergarten with the Victory column in the background post bellum and today. Hitler had planned the complete transformation of Berlin into "Welthauptstadt Germania", or World Capital Germania and Tiergarten was to be a central location in the new city. The Charlottenburger Chaussee, today known as the Straße des 17. Juni, was to be the central line between the east and west, and was widened from 27 to 53 metres, the same width as the current street. The Berlin victory column was also moved to the Grosser Stern, where it remains to this day. The Second World War caused significant damage to the Tiergarten and its various cultural elements. Many statues were destroyed or damaged; some of the statues still need minor repair. After the war, the Tiergarten underwent a sudden, violent change. Much of the wooded area was felled and turned to firewood due to the shortage of coal, and the now empty fields were turned into temporary farmland by order of the British occupational troops in the region; there were around 2,550 plots of land available for growing potatoes and vegetables. However, these two factors caused the once great forest to nearly disappear; only 700 trees survived out of over 200,000 that once lined the parkway, the bodies of water turned silty, every bridge was destroyed, the monuments lie on their sides, badly damaged. Plans to fill the waterways with debris from the war were also suggested, but were prevented by the head of the Berlin Central Office of Environmental Planning, Reinhold Lingner. 
Students standing directly in front during our 2013 trip and after the war.
Before 1953, the street was called Charlottenburger Chaussee, because it ran from the old city centre (Berlin-Mitte) to the borough of Charlottenburg through the Tiergarten. The 1953 name change was made in order to honour an East German uprising and its victims of the Red Army and East German Volkspolizei who shot protesting workers. After Stalin's death many East Berliners began a strike which also caused riots in a vain hope of getting rid of the communists. But the East German police struck back with brutal violence on 17 June 1953. It was made into a paved road in 1799, and owing to Berlin's rapid growth in the 19th century it became a major thoroughfare to the affluent western suburbs. At the outbreak of the Great War in early August 1914, hundreds of thousands of Berliners cheered the military parade, which took place here. At the outbreak of World War Two, no such scenes were ever observed, according to the American journalist and historian William L. Shirer. 

The right shows fifty thousand troops marching past Hitler on his birthday down Charlottenburger Chausee, a part of the Ost-West-Achse (East-West Axis), which during the Nazi period became a triumphal avenue lined with Nazi flags. During the Nazi era, the boulevard was made broader and the old Prussian Victory Column was moved from in front of the Reichstag to the roundabout in the middle of the Tiergarten, where it has remained since 1938.  The Charlottenburger Chaussee was to have formed one aspect of the remodelling of the city of Berlin into the renamed city called Germania, designed by Hitler, Albert Speer, Professor Troost etc. to be the capital of the Reich. In the last weeks of the war, when Berlin's airports were unusable, it was used as a landing strip.
My 2013 cohort at the Memorial to Homosexual Victims in Tiergarten. Paragraph 175 made homosexuality illegal in 1871; it was broadened under Nazism to allow deportation of gay men to concentration camps. 
Homosexuals, were manifestly of no racial value; between 1934 and 1938 the number prosecuted annually under Paragraph 175 of the Reich Criminal Code rose by a factor of ten to 8,000. Since criminality was viewed as hereditary, those who broke the law were also targeted as asocial. The November 1933 Law against Dangerous Habitual Criminals authorized the castration of sexual offenders. 
Ferguson (265) The War of the World
It was only completely revoked in 1994 after German reunification. In 2002, the German government formally pardoned all homosexuals convicted by the Nazis and in 2003 approved the plan for the Berlin memorial. At the memorial's unveiling in May 2009, the International Gay and Lesbian Association (ILGA) issued a statement pointing out the importance of the monument's location: "It is in the centre of the city from where decades ago the policies of extermination of homosexual people along with such groups as Jews, gypsies, Jehovah's witnesses and political dissidents, was conceived and the deadly orders were given." This central placement was an effort to end the traditional peripheralisation of the stories of gay victims of Nazi atrocities, who continued to be persecuted after the war, and who are largely left out of traditional historical accounts of the Holocaust. As Berlin mayor Klaus Wowerit, who happens to be the city's first openly gay mayor, pointed out when the memorial was first opened, the placement of this monument in the centre of Berlin was meant to form a contrast with the Nazis, who were "a society that did not abolish unjust verdicts, but partially continued to implement them; a society which did not acknowledge a group of people as victims, only because they chose another way of life." In fact, my students and I were shocked to find NO plaque or information at all to explain what this ugly monument actually is supposed to be for; one questioned why the government had created an anti-gay monument. One of my students upon first seeing this structure asked in all seriousness why Germans hated gays so much. The following year another student objected to the film perpetually shown within showing two people of the same gender kissing, complaining that the memorial seemed to limit the idea of homosexuality solely on the basis of sex. In fact, even the name itself has attracted anger- when, in 1996 the planning group decided to include lesbians in the memorial with homosexual men and changed its name from "Schwulendenkmal" (Initiative for a memorial to gay men) to Inititiative HomoMonument,"  Joachim Müller, an early supporter of the initiative for the memorial resigned, protesting in a letter yet another capitulation to the non-stop demands of political correctness, calling into question the balance between appeasing the continual demands of the contemporary gay and lesbian community and honouring historical accuracy.
One of my students received an 'A' from the International Baccalaureate for his Extended Essay examining homosexuality in the Third Reich.
Tiergartenstraße 4
Tiergartenstraße 4
 The headquarters of the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Heil- und Anstaltspflege and the site today, taken over by a graffiti- covered husk of rusted metal intended to symbolise something intentionally left vague and meaningless as is so often the case in Germany.
Shortly after the start of the war, Hitler signed an order, backdated to September 1, 1939, authorising the systematic killing of mentally and physically handicapped adults and children. Authorisation to direct the program was given on Hitler’s personal stationary to Philipp Bouhler, head of the Führer’s Chancellery, and Dr. Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal physician. The code-name of this secret program, “Aktion T-4,” derived from the address of the building here on Tiergartenstrasse 4, from which the program was directed. Killings of deformed children had already started before the war. The killings, now extended to adults as well, were conducted by lethal injection or carbon monoxide gassing at several sites disguised as hospitals or nursing homes. These killings marked a further escalation of the eugenic practices that had begun with the Sterilisation Law in 1933.
Ferguson(264-5) writes in 
T4 Aktion
As early as 1935, [Hitler] told a senior Nazi medic that 'if war should break out, he would take up the euthanasia question and implement it'. In fact, he did not even wait for the war. In July 1939 he initiated what became known as the Aktion T-4. It was, he said, 'right that the worthless lives of seriously ill mental patients should be got rid of. Here, as with the persecution of the Jews and Gypsies, the regime encountered little popular resistance and some active support. In a poll of 200 parents of mentally retarded children conducted in Saxony, 73 per cent had answered 'yes' to the question: 'Would you agree to the painless curtailment of the life of your child if experts had established that it was suffering from incurable idiocy?' Some parents actually petitioned Hitler to allow their abnormal children to be killed. Apart from the Catholic Bishop Clemens von Galen, whose sermons against the euthanasia programme in July and August 1941 led to a temporary halt in the killings, only a handful of other individuals openly challenged 'the principle that you can kill "unproductive" human beings'. Others who objected turn out, on closer inspection, merely to have disliked the procedures involved. Some wished for formal legality - a proper decree and public 'sentencing'; others (especially those living near the asylums) simply wanted the killing to be carried out less obtrusively.             
Despite the secrecy of the programme, it was impossible to conceal killing on such a scale, as relatives demanded explanations for the sudden and unexpected deaths of their loved ones. Increasing numbers of complaints and demands for criminal investigations made it necessary to inform the Reich Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of the Interior of Hitler’s secret order which led to Hitler’s decision to end the program on August 24, 1941 after more than 70,000 patients had been killed. Killings especially of handicapped children continued in secret, however, until the end of the war. Under the code-name “Aktion 14 f 13” the killing program was also extended to Jewish inmates of concentration camps in Germany. Many of the T-4 personnel were transferred to occupied Poland where they supplied the technical expertise for the systematic killing by gas of approximately three million Jews in the extermination camps set up for the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question.

 Fascist-era embassies along Tiergartenstraße
Spanish embassy Berlin
The Spanish embassy after the war with the Franco-era eagle replaced today with the current Spanish coat of arms. The building had been constructed from 1938 to 1943 through Speer's Office of the Inspector-General for buildings and which shows a similar style favoured by the Nazis. It reopened in 2003 after the war damage was repaired and its fascist symbols removed. Before the war the Alsen district near the Reichstag and the villa district around St. Matthew's Church south of the Tiergarten Park were very prestigious and preferred sites for diplomatic missions since the nineteenth century. Its buildings were demolished to clear space for Speer's planned North-South Axis, and to compensate the countries for the loss of their real estate, the Nazi regime had seven new embassy buildings built under supervision of the GBI in western parts of the Tiergarten Park area that were not threatened with demolition, which was declared a “diplomatic quarter” in 1937. German architects submitted the design plans, such as Johannes and Walter Krüger for the Spanish embassy and Johann Emil Schaudt for the Danish embassy (today the hotel Das Stue). The two palatial neo-Classicist buildings, with their natural stone facades, form a prestigious unit along Thomas-Dehler-Strasse.
talian embassy BerlinThe Italian embassy after the war and today. The 200-room complex on Tiergartenstrasse was was the first to have been completed in the Tiergarten between 1938 and 1943 as  Hitler's "present" to the Italian dictator and was part of the Nazi leader's grandiose plans to turn Berlin into "Germania", the intended capital of a vast empire. But after the war it remained a near-derelict, bombed-out shell and only one wing of the building was used, as a consular office. "It was the right decision to restore everything and retain the traces of history because we are not trying to be politically correct," said Silvio Fagiolo, the Italian ambassador at the time. "The Berlin embassy is a place of continuity."The Fascist symbol - two stone fasces, a bundle of rods with a projecting axe blade - has been removed from the embassy's lavish reception hall to be put on display in the inner courtyard, directly above a huge bomb shelter. Restored golden birds of prey, Renaissance fireplaces and marble columns inside show that no expense was spared when it came to building what was briefly the embassy of Germany's closest wartime ally. Friedrich Hetzelt, one of Speer's protégés, modelled the embassy on an 18th-century Roman palazzo, which the Nazi leader greatly admired. The Italian and German architects who did the €20 million restoration stopped short of creating a complete replica of the 1943 embassy; the exterior walls remain pockmarked and a bomb-shattered colonnade overlooking the central courtyard has been left a ruin - as testimony to the defeat of Fascism. Yet it still presents an eerie reminder of the days when Berlin was capital of the Third Reich standing next to the renovated embassy of Japan, another wartime ally of Nazi Germany. According to David Irving in his book Göring: A Biography, this was the site of one of Goering's greatest humiliations,
when he saw the fabulous decoration that he coveted, the diamond-studded Collar of the Annunziata, bestowed at the Italian embassy upon his smirking rival [Ribbentrop]. He took it as a deliberate slight and raised hell at every level up to the king of Italy, being mollified only by the award, twelve months later, of the identical Collar in consolation.

Japanese embassy BerlinThe Japanese embassy on the left also maintains its symbols of fascist ideology a reminder of the man-made tsunami it had launched upon humanity beginning in 1931 which required two atomic bombs and countless allied lives and suffering to put an end to. On November 24, 1937 Hitler attended a reception here, given by the Japanese Ambassador Mushakoji in Berlin on the anniversary of the Anti-Comintern Pact. The building itself had been built between 1938–1942 according to plans by Ludwig Moshamer under the supervision of Albert Speer but expected to meet the expectations of the German leadership, resulting in a comparatively sterile classic building style. Above all, the building was to impress with its size; the pillars at the main entrance were a defining style element. Above the cornice , a half-storey attic above the main entrance forms the visual end of the building. In the central visual axis there is a golden chrysanthemum as a symbol of the imperial family. Although the German builder furnished the building with a lot of luxury inside, in fact a large part of the administration took place in bunkers and other air raids during the war.

Japanese embassy Berlin during the war
At that time, part of the Japanese embassy was relocated to the north of the city to the existing estate of the Jewish family Zwillenberg, who had been forced to sell their property. As early as 1943, an aerial bomb destroyed the side wing. Badly damaged, the building was empty for several decades. In the mid-1980s, Germans and Japanese agreed to set up a German-Japanese cultural centre in the dilapidated building. The German monument protection authorities pushed for the historic building to be preserved, but the Japanese found it in a state that could no longer be saved. In order to keep the agreements with the Germans as close as possible, Japan had it rebuilt as identically as possible by Kishō Kurokawa and Tajii Yamaguchi. For its new use as an embassy building, it underwent extensive renovations and additions by the architect Ryohei Amemiya between 1998 and 2000. A complete office wing was newly built and a Japanese garden was laid out. The main entrance was also relocated from Tiergartenstrasse to Hiroshimastrasse, which branches off from it. A golden chrysanthemum, the imperial seal, is still emblazoned above the former main entrance, which is now the entrance to the ambassador's residence. Both architecturally and historically, the Japanese embassy is very similar to the Italian embassy directly opposite.
former Embassy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at Rauchstraße BerlinThe former Embassy of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at Rauchstraße in 1938 and today, where it serves as the offices of the German Council on Foreign Relations (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik, DGAP). The building was completed by 1939 by Werner March, the architect of Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, as the diplomatic mission for the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. The property at Rauchstraße 17 was owned by the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family until 1938. The family was forced to sell the property to the German Reich for 170,000 reichsmarks shortly before they emigrated. The property at Rauchstraße 18 was handed over to the German Reich in accordance with a 1940 expropriation resolution. Until the occupation of Yugoslavia in 1941, Ivo Andric, who would later win the Nobel Prize for Literature, was stationed in the new building as Yugoslav ambassador. Afterwards, the building was used by German Reich and party officials. After Germany’s surrender in 1945, the building was given back to the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav military mission resided in the building until 1953, when it moved to Grunewald. Beginning in 1953, the building housed the Supreme Restitution Court of the Allied Forces in Berlin. On June 29, 1964, the court accepted the Mendelssohn-Bartholdy family’s reimbursement claim and ordered the People’s Republic of Yugoslavia to cede a co-ownership share in the building.

Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule)
Siegessäule 1945
Designed by Heinrich Strack after 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war, by the time it was inaugurated on September 2, 1873 Prussia had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and France in the Franco-Prussian War, giving the statue a new purpose. During the Nazi era Albert Speer's plans for the “ World Capital Germania ” envisaged the north-south axis on the Siegesallee route. As part of the urban redevelopment, the Victory Column on the Großer Stern, surrounded by the monuments of Bismarck, Albrecht von Roons and Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltkes, was to form a "Forum of the Second Reich." In addition, the monuments on Siegesallee were moved from May 1938 to Große Sternallee, which branched off as a pedestrian path south-east of the Großer Stern, and was now called "Neue Siegesallee." At the inauguration of the forum complex on the occasion of the great military parade for Adolf Hitler's 50th birthday on April 20, 1939, the statues of the Siegesallee already lined the Neue Siegesallee. That year the Nazis relocated the pillar to its present location at the Großer Stern, a large intersection on the visual city axis that leads from the former Berliner Stadtschloss through the Brandenburg Gate to the western parts of Berlin. At the same time, the pillar was augmented by another 7.5 metres, giving it its present height of 66.89 metres. The monument survived the war without much damage. Some of the figures were damaged, others have since been lost. The relocation of the monument probably saved it from destruction, as its old site in front of the Reichstag was completely destroyed in the war.
Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) parading in front of the Siegessäule
The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise's) parading in front of the Siegessäule on July 25, 1945.
[B]y by 28 April, troops of the 3rd Shock Army, advancing from the northern districts, were in sight of the Siegessaule column in the Tiergarten. Red Army soldiers nicknamed it the `tall woman' because of the statue of winged victory on the top. The German defenders were now reduced to a strip less than five kilometres in width and fifteen in length. It ran from Alexanderplatz in the east to Charlottenburg and the Reichssportsfeld in the west, from where Artur Axmann's Hitler Youth detachments desperately defended the bridges over the Havel. Weidling's artillery commander, Colonel Wohlermann, gazed around in horror from the gun platform at the top of the vast concrete Zoo flak tower. `One had a panoramic view of the burning, smouldering and smoking great city, a scene which again and again shook one to the core.' Yet General Krebs still pandered to Hitler's belief that Wenck's army was about to arrive from the south-west.
Eiserner Hindenburg
Before the war with the Eiserner Hindenburg in front and after. The monument unfortunately fell within the French section of Berlin, generously given to them when the British realised they were growing bankrupt from the war and required assistance.
The French perpetrated a few acts of childish spite: they mutilated a few inscriptions on the Siegessäule – or Victory Column – in the Tiergarten, which commemorated German triumph in the Franco-German War, and festooned it with French tricolours. In Schwanenwerder they found a fragment of the Tuileries Palace which had been burned down by the Paris Communards in 1871, and removed a high-minded panel that talked of the fate of nations. The Germans themselves did not waste much time on the French – they realised they were second-division conquerors.
Standing in front after an early morning run through the centre of Berlin and as it appeared at the same spot in May 1945 with a T-34/76 tank being driven by victorious Soviet soldiers. The model variants of the T-34 now commonly referred to as T-34/76 were originally just called T-34, M19xx. Only after the appearance of the T-34/85 were they referred to as T-34/76. The first 117 pre-series vehicles were built in 1940 by the Kharkov locomotive factory “Komintern” and one can still see examples in front of the Soviet memorial in Tiergarten shown above this page. 
The appearance of the 34‑ton T‑34 caused much consternation to the German Panzerwaffe. Developed in relative secrecy six years before, its 76mm gun was the largest tank armament (apart from the 15cm KV‑2) then mounted. Its 60% sloping armour was revolutionary in terms of the increased armoured protection it offered against flat trajectory anti‑tank shells, which often simply ricocheted off. Josef Deck, a German artilleryman with Regiment 71 in the central sector, complained that the 37mm standard antitank fire ‘bounced off them like peas’. Adapting the American Christie suspension system, the T‑34, with extra‑wide tracks and a powerful lightweight diesel engine, possessed an enormous relative power‑to‑weight ratio, conferring superior mobility on the Russian vehicles. It was to prove the outstanding tank design of the war, and was a formidable adversary, even in the hands of a novice. Alexander Fadin, a T‑34 commander, remarked: ‘As soon as you start the motor it begins throbbing, and you feel part of this powerful machine. You pick up speed and no obstacle can stop you. Nothing, not even a tree.’ 
  Wehrmacht HQ (Bendler Block)
Bavarian International School students in front of Bedler Block, Berlin My Bavarian International School students during our 2013 class trip. Site of Hitler's speech of February 3, 1933, on "Lebensraum in the east," the Bendler Block is best remembered as the centre of the attempt to overthrow the Nazi regime on July 20, 1944. Located on Stauffenbergstraße (formerly named Bendlerstraße), it was erected in 1914 as the headquarters of several Imperial German Navy (Kaiserliche Marine) offices, it served the Ministry of the Reichswehr after the Great War. Significantly enlarged under Nazi rule, it was used by several departments of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW) from 1938, especially the Oberkommando des Heeres and the Abwehr intelligence agency. The building is notable as the headquarters of a resistance group of Wehrmacht officers who carried out the July 20 plot against Hitler in 1944 only after it was clear the war was over. 
Bavarian International School students in BerlinIn fact, this military resistance has been criticised by historians for failing to act until the war was lost and for pursuing unrealistic nationalist goals. A Gestapo report listed Stauffenberg’s conditions for a negotiated peace allegedly transmitted to England by unnamed emissaries in May 1944 which included restoration of Germany’s 1914 borders, the retention of Austria and the Sudetenland, and continuation of the war, if necessary, in the east against the Soviet Union. As the leaders of the conspiracy were summarily shot in the courtyard, the Bendlerblock also includes the Memorial to the German Resistance. Since 1993, the building complex has served as a secondary seat of the German Federal Ministry of Defence which has tried to restrict access to the Bendlerblock due to its historical significance and lingering sensitivities about Germany's role during the war, and yet filming permission was first granted in 2003 to a TV studio for the filming of Stauffenberg, starring Sebastian Koch. Though awarded with the Deutscher Fernsehpreis, the film was also criticised for factual inaccuracies by Stauffenberg's son Berthold. The Ministry hesitated to grant permission for filming scenes of the Tom Cruise-starred movie Valkyrie about the July 20 Plot, especially a re-enactment of the execution on the original location. However, money talked and filming took place. Director Bryan Singer, currently accused of serious sexual abuse allegations, led the film crew in a minute of silence before filming began, in honour of those who were killed on the site in 1944. 
The building in 1942 and standing in front today. On February 3,  1933, four days after his appointment by Reich President Paul von Hindenburg, Chancellor Hitler sought the support by Reichswehr commander-in-chief General Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, unveiling his political ideology in an extended declamation. Despite the support by new Reichswehr Minister Werner von Blomberg, Hitler's appearance resulted in a grave crisis with the army command and Hammerstein-Equord's resignation in December. He was succeeded by Lieutenant general Werner von Fritsch.  From the mid-1930s onwards, large annexes were erected along Bendlerstraße according to plans designed by Wilhelm Kreis. From 1938 the enlarged "Bendlerblock" again was used by the Seekriegsleitung (Maritime Warfare Command) of the Oberkommando der Marine and the OKW Amt Abwehr. The main building served the General Army Office of the Oberkommando des Heeres (OKH) under General Friedrich Fromm, succeeded by General Friedrich Olbricht in 1940, and still as seat of the commander-in-chief of the German Army (Heer)—since the Blomberg–Fritsch Affair in 1938 Colonel-general Walther von Brauchitsch, from 1941 Hitler himself.  In the early 1940s, the OKH Army Office under the leadership of General Olbricht became the focus of military resistance to the Nazi regime. In October 1943, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was transferred to the General Army Office as chief-of-staff.
Stauffenberg's office with swastikas
It was here that he and Major general Henning von Tresckow secretly modified the Wehrmacht "Operation Valkyrie" plan for the suppression of a possible revolt into a scheme for a coup attempt upon an assassination on Hitler. Stauffenberg's office, now an information centre, still has its swastika motif remaining on the parquet which I'm shown inspecting. Stauffenberg's position gave him direct access to situation briefings in Hitler's Wolf's Lair headquarters in East Prussia. On July 20, 1944, he set the fuse of a bomb there and immediately returned to Berlin.  The bomb went off, but Hitler survived. As the day progressed and the news spread, the conspirators were unable to take control of Germany. The coup instantly collapsed, and Hitler dispatched various forces to round up the plotters and the plot organisers. Stauffenberg, Olbricht, Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, and Lieutenant Werner von Haeften were caught late in the evening and summarily executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendler Block (the War Ministry building) shown here the day after the executions; note the mound of sand left over from construction work in front of which the the condemned men stood before being shot down.
Hitler ultimately oversaw the purge and execution (in some cases, accompanied by show trials) of some five thousand people he believed were implicated in the plot. All were known opponents of the Nazi regime. Many were tortured to death and some hanged by the neck using piano wire. Despite broadly supporting Nazi expansionist aims in the East until it was clear after D-Day that the war was over and they had to save their own necks, Stauffenberg and the other plotters are remembered in modern Germany as heroes of anti-Nazi resistance and today the courtyard in the centre of the Bendler Block is dedicated to the memory of the officers executed here on the night of July 20, 1944. Shirer described the event on page 958 of his Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich:
In the courtyard below in the dim rays of the blackout-hooded headlights of an Army car the four officers were quickly dispatched by a firing squad. Eyewitnesses say there was much tumult and shouting, mostly by the guards, who were in a hurry because of the danger of a bombing attack – British planes had been over Berlin almost every night that summer. Stauffenberg died crying, ”Long live our sacred Germany!”
The bronze memorial in the inner courtyard of the Bendler Block, Young Man with Bound Hands, by Richard Scheibe was unveiled on July 20, 1953 and bears the inscription designed by art historian Edwin Redslob: "You didn't bear the shame, you resisted, you gave the great, eternally awake sign of repentance, sacrificing your hot life for freedom, justice and honour."
The statue was chosen for the poster of the Deutschen Historischen Museums in Berlin's 'Divinely Gifted' exhibition which my class visited to compensate the closure of the museum for years due to renovation. The exhibition highlighted the postwar careers of a select group of artists, academics and curators who rose to prominence with the support of the Nazi regime, provided key propaganda works to bolster Hitler’s dictatorship and were then able to continue their careers virtually unhindered in West Germany including Scheibe. They were placed on a list first compiled on behalf of Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels in August 1944 which ended up including 378 artists, among them 114 sculptors and painters, who were considered “indispensable” and were exempted from military duty and work assignments. In fact, the year after this memorial was inaugurated Scheibe was honoured with the Great Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and in the same year with the Goethe Plaque of the City of Frankfurt am Main; the the only honouree who received both this medal and Hitler's Goethe Medal in 1944. Indeed, the statue Scheibe produced for those killed by the Nazi regime was practically nothing more than a slight variation of the sculptures that he produced for the Nazi regime such as Symbol für die Bereitschaft der Luftwaffe (1937), Zehnkämpfer (1936), Thinker (1937), or Jüngling (1938).
This section of the Bendlerblock around the courtyard where I am standing was where Section of the Bendlerblock around the courtyard where I am standing was where Stauffenberg and the other conspirators were executedStauffenberg and the other conspirators were executed (shown during Zhukov's visit after the war) and now houses the Memorial to the German Resistance which is also used as one of the ceremonial sites where new members of the Wachbataillon of the Bundeswehr take their oaths. Beevor supports Shirer's account in his book D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, describing the
chaos in the Bendlerblock. Generaloberst Fromm, in a doomed attempt to save himself from suspicion, ordered the arrest and instant court martial of four of the other officers involved. He allowed Generaloberst Beck to keep his pistol, provided he used it immediately on himself. Presumably because his hand was shaking, Beck shot himself twice in the head. He grazed his scalp the first time, then inflicted a terrible wound with the second shot. An exasperated Fromm ordered a sergeant, some accounts say an officer, to finish him off.
The four, including Stauffenberg, who tried to take all the responsibility for the attempted assassination on himself, were executed in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock by the light of automobile headlights. A detachment of Remer’s men, who had just arrived, provided the firing squad. When it was Stauffenberg’s turn, illuminated by the headlights, he called out, ‘Long live holy Germany!’ Fromm, as desperate as ever to save himself, gave a grotesque speech over their bodies in praise of Hitler and ended with a triple ‘Sieg Heil! ’
Here members of the ϟϟ and Wehrmacht at the site with me in front of the spot where the plotters were executed. During the Battle of Berlin in the last days of the war in late April and early May 1945, General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, used the Bendlerblock for his command and control, before he proceeded to General Vasily Chuikov and surrendered to the Soviet Red Army at 6:00 a.m. on May 2. Following German reunification, the Federal Minister of Defence's Berlin office was moved to the Bendlerblock.
Zhukov's turn at the end of the war whilst nearby damage from the battle of Berlin left untouched.
The Jewish Synagogue, shown three years after the war and today, was miraculously saved from destruction during Kristallnacht by- it was claimed at the time- the chief of the local Berlion synagoguepolice station, Wilhelm Krutzfeld. When he arrived at the scene, he presented the building charter showing that the synagogue had been opened by Otto von Bismark himself. Mindful of Hitler's admiration of Bismark, the forger of modern-day Germany, the mob dispersed and a fire brigade was able to save the building from destruction.  Since 1993 the training institute of the Landespolizei Schleswig-Holstein bears the name "Landespolizeischule Wilhelm Krützfeld". In fact, Heinz Knobloch had popularised the story that Wilhelm Krützfeld rescued the New Synagogue after having learned about the rescue from the report of an eyewitness, the late Hans Hirschberg. Hirschberg, a boy in 1938, observed the fire with his father, the tailor Siegmund Hirschberg, and recalled that his father and a police officer, who was one of his father's clients and whom Hans assumed to be the head of the police precinct, got into a conversation whilst the police officer was supervising the work of the fire brigade, about their experiences in the same sector of the front during the Great War. When Knobloch did research for his book Der beherzte Reviervorsteher about the rescue of the New Synagogue, he learned that the head of the precinct was Krützfeld and identified him as the officer. But Krützfeld was never conscripted in that war. After Knobloch's book appeared another neighbour, Inge Held, Hirschberg, and Hirschberg's sister in Israel all confirmed that the rescuer was in fact Otto Bellgardt. Senior Lieutenant Wilhelm Krützfeld, head of the local police precinct and Bellgardt's superior, later covered up for him. Berlin's police commissioner Graf Helldorf only verbally reprimanded Krützfeld for doing so and has since often been mistakenly identified as the rescuer of the New Synagogue.
Inside the synagogue in 2017. After the effects of the fire had been removed, the New Synagogue had been able to be used for worship services again until April 1939. The dome had to be overpainted with camouflage paint because of the threat of air raids. After a last service in the little prayer room on January 14, 1943, the Wehrmacht took over the building and set up a uniform camp here. During the night of November 23, 1943, the synagogue suffered serious damage during British air raids during the war. Further damage was added to the building structure, after the war, the ruin was used as a supplier of building materials.  After the end of the war, the few surviving Jews of the city founded a new Jewish community based in the administrative building of the Synagogue in Oranienburger Straße to both create suitable conditions for Jewish life in Berlin and, on the other hand, to prepare the emigration for those who did not wish to remain. In the summer of 1958 the partially destroyed building was destroyed because of the risk of collapse and on the grounds that a reconstruction was not possible. Only the buildings on the street remained - as a memorial against war and fascism. It wasn't until after the fall of the Berlin Wall that the reconstruction started on Oranienburgerstrasse. In May 1995, the reconstructed synagogue was finally completed. Inside is an "historical" black-and-white photo captioned "The New Synagogue in Flames". A closer examination of photography and historical research led Heinz Knobloch to the conclusion that the synagogue in the photo did not correspond to its actual state in 1938 but had been clearly retouched in the post-war period.

The interior in 1866 and after its gutting in 1938.
Bavarian International School students at Berlin synagogue My students in front during our 2017 school trip comparing the postwar damage. 
As late as 1935, the Berlin tourist map issued by the Pharus firm marked the presence of the New Synagogue in Oranienburgerstraße with a miniature depiction of the building, just as it did other key attractions like the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral. Stars of David pinpointed the locations of other synagogues nearby. In the 1936 edition, not only had the building vanished, so too had any indication that synagogues still existed in the area. The physical destruction of the synagogues that was to follow in 1938 was thus preceded by their symbolic disappearance from tourist literature. Yet there is no evidence to suggest that these changes occurred as a result of direct intervention on the part of the regime. Map publishers were instead reacting to the vague command to work in tune with the ideals of National Socialism.
For many the building itself is a place that inspires deep reflection given that the rear of the building has been left as a shell - the majority of the main synagogue is now open to the skies behind a glass screen. The museum inside and its thoughtfully (and admitedly expensively) composed exhibits of a time of Jewish vitality providing an interesting contrast with the architecture and help one to visualise the Jewish community in this district and reminds us of how Berlin's Jewish population in some ways experienced a more liberal and tolerant existence in Berlin than in many other European cities, at least until the 1930s. There were around 160,000 Jews living in Berlin by this time, spread around different parts of the city, and the different communities and synagogues exuded considerable vitality. The area around Oranienburgerstrasse provides some sense of place of Jewish Berlin. However, because the Jewish population was so thoroughly purged during the Holocaust there are now only remnants left.
Plaque on the wall of the building exhorting never to forget. Today the New Synagogue houses the Centrum Judaicum, dedicated to documenting Jewish culture and acting as a bridge between eastern and western European Jewry

Rotes Rathaus
  Rotes Rathaus einst jetzt
Berlin city hall in 1937 during Berlin's 700th anniversary, decked with swastikas. This is the site where Hermann Göring married Emmy Sonneman on April 10, 1935, with Hitler acting as best man.  During the Nazi era, city councilors no longer met in the Rotes Rathaus; its last meeting took place on March 12, 1933. In their hall there were now 45 councillors who were only allowed to exercise advisory functions. From 1934 a state commissioner was assigned to the mayor with both offices passing to the mayor in 1936. From 1934 to 1938 the building was renovated again. The city fathers announced that it would be "adapted to the spirit of the Third Reich". The architect was Richard Ermisch. By removing massive parapets and a new colour scheme, the stairwell was given a lighter design, Max Esser created a fountain for the vestibule at the end of the stairwell and Hanna Cauer's bronze “Olympic Fountain” was installed in front of the town hall in 1936 for the Olympic Games. The first loss from the war was the sacrifice of this bronze fountain in 1940 for the “metal donation of the German people”.
Goebbels Rotes Rathaus
Joseph Goebbels and Julius Lippert, mayor of Berlin, commemorating the 700 years of Berlin parade in front of the town hall on August 15, 1937. Note the flower decoration on the building, whose extension can be seen better in this overview photo of the same location. Lippert had earlier presented Goebbels with the newly donated shield of honour of the imperial capital.
In November 1943, an air raid destroyed the ballroom followed by damage from further air raids in autumn 1944 and on February 3, 1945. On April 22, Soviet artillery fire hit the house, which had been one-third damaged by then. Substance damages the tower and the wing on the road behind the town hall had suffered. The library room burned down on May 12, 1945. As early as the end of May, employees began to repair the house, which was now about 50 percent destroyed. The councillor's hall and the ballroom suffered particularly severe damage. The building was heavily damaged by Anglo-American bombing during the war and was rebuilt to the original plans between 1951 and 1956. The Berlin magistrate, the city council and the mayor therefore had their seat in the new town hall on Parochialstrasse. In 1947 he arranged for the undamaged bronze statues of King Friedrich I and Kaiser Wilhelm I to be removed from the main entrance. The Neues Stadthaus, which survived the bombing and had formerly been the head office of Berlin's municipal fire insurance Feuersozietät in Parochialstraße served as the temporary city hall for the post-war city government for all the sectors of Berlin until September 1948. Following that time, it housed only those of the Soviet sector. The reconstructed Rotes Rathaus, then located in the Soviet sector, served as the town hall of East Berlin, while the Rathaus Schöneberg was seat of the West Berlin Senate. After German reunification, the administration of reunified Berlin officially moved into the Rotes Rathaus on October 1, 1991.
The fiercest fighting broke out in the city's centre on April 29. The Town Hall was assaulted by the 1008th Rifle Regiment (commander Colonel V.N. Borisov) and the 1010th Regiment (commander Colonel M.F. Zagorodsky) of the 266th Rifle Division.
Captain M.V. Bobylev's battalion was set the mission of breaking through to the Town Hall and capturing it jointly with Major M.A. Alexeyev's battalion supported by tanks and self-propelled artillery. Our men were met by such a strong avalanche of fire that further advance along the street was simply impossible.
It was decided to break into the Town Hall through the walls by breaching them with explosives. Under enemy fire, the sappers blew in the walls one by one. The smoke had not had time to disperse before assault groups rushed through the breaches and cleared the building adjacent to the Town Hall from the enemy after hand-to-hand fighting.
Tanks and self-propelled guns were committed to battle. Firing a few shots they smashed the heavy wrought-iron gates of the Town Hall, breaching the walls whilst setting up a smokescreen. The whole building was engulfed in think smoke.
Lieutenant K. Madenov's platoon was the first to break in. Privates N.P. Kondrashev., K.Ye. Kryutchenko, I.F. Kashpurovsky and others acted bravely together with the daring lieutenant. Every room was fought for.
Komsomol organiser of the 1008th Rifle Regiment's 1st Battalion, Junior Lieutenant K.G. Gromov, climbed up on the roof and, having thrown down the Nazi flag on the pavement, hoisted the Red Banner. Konstantin Gromov was granted the title Hero of the Soviet Union for heroism and courage displayed in these battles.       Marshall G. Zhukov, 1974

Alexanderplatz station then now Alexanderplatz station opened on  February 7, 1882. In 1926 the station hall spanning two platforms with four tracks was rebuilt in its present plain style. Heavily damaged during the war as shown here, train service at the station was resumed on November 4, 1945, whilst the reconstruction of the hall continued until 1951. Beevor (348) writes of "stories, mainly the product of German paranoia, that T-34s were driven into railway tunnels to emerge behind their lines. The only genuine case of an underground tank, however, appears to be that of an unfortunate T-34 driver who failed to spot the entrance of the Alexanderplatz U-Bahn station and charged down the stairs. Stories of light artillery bumped down station stairs, step by step, and manhandled on to the tracks also owe more to folklore than to fact."
 Alexanderplatz was the location of the Police Headquarters, or Polizeipräsidium. Built in the late 1800s from the same red brick as the nearby Rathaus, it was a dark and forbidding place, which was known to Berliners as the Zwingburg am Alex – ‘the fortress on Alex’ – or simply as ‘Alex’ After the Nazis came to power, ‘Alex’ soon became a place into which people began to disappear. For all its infamy, ‘Alex’ quickly evolved into a mere holding prison for suspects who were bound for an even more feared location – the Gestapo headquarters on Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. Nevertheless, Moorhouse in his book Berlin at War (235) relates how
officers at Alexanderplatz often had to make do without specialised torture apparatus. One Gestapo officer, for instance, placed pencils between the fingers of an uncooperative suspect, which were then crushed. Another stabbed the bare chest of a prisoner, again using a pencil. Other methods had a grim, almost comedic quality. One interrogator would simply lock recalcitrant suspects in a small cupboard, with the instruction that they were to knock when they were ready to talk.
Alexanderplatz station einst jetzt krieg
NS Lichterfelde
 In 1878 the Kadettenanstalt moved from its cramped buildings in the city to the new buildings here in Lichterfelde-West, where it became the most important institution of its kind until its dissolution in 1920. The cadet centre Lichterfelde quickly became the most important training centre of the German armed forces. Several generations of later top officers in the Prussian and Württemberg armies, the Reichswehr and the Wehrmacht received their training on the spacious grounds of the Kadettenanstalt. The term "Lichterfelder" quickly became synonymous with military elite training. Lichterfelde was thus for the next generation one of the main institutions of the noble officer junior. The courses at the Kadettenanstalt corresponded in content to the training at a Realgymnasium although the ultimate goal was to become an ensign. Those who attended as a pupil or cadet within the so-called Selekta class after successfully completing this training earned a lieutenant officer rank in the army or the Imperial Navy. Because of the importance of the Lichterfelder Hauptkadettenanstalt as a military elite training centre, Germany was forced to abolish the institution after the First World War in the Treaty of Versailles. It was formally dissolved on March 20, 1920, its last remaining cadets were marching from Lichterfelde to the Schlossplatz and handed over the key of the institution in a solemn act to the new government.
The Nazis upon taking power saw the old academy as an ideal location to house and train its own elites and immediately used it as the headquarters of the SA/ϟϟ Stabswache "Hermann Göring", a unit that would ultimately provide many of Germany's best paratroopers.
Nazi LichterfeldeShortly after the so-called seizure of power, the Nazis began the renewed military use of the building of the former Main Cadet Institute. In April 1933, the ϟϟ-Sonderkommando Berlin, which had emerged from the 'Stabswache Berlin', and the police force Wecke, moved into the buildings. The Landespolizeigroup, later renamed 'Landespolizeegruppe Hermann Goering', and the SA-Stabswache, Hermann Goering, drafted in the autumn of 1933, occupied the two western barracks buildings until their removal in December 1934. The ϟϟ building moved into the eastern barracks from which, on November 9, 1933, the Leibstandarte ϟϟ Adolf Hitler emerged. From 1934 it became the sole user of the entire building complex. In memory of the Hauptkadettenanstalt and their young graduates, many of whom honouring those had died in the First World War, Sternstrasse was renamed Kadettenweg in 1934 and a memorial stone to the Cadet Corps erected; Julius Stern was a Jew. In June 1934, during the ostensible Röhm putsch, ϟϟ firing squadrons in cooperation with SD and Gestapo shot numerous people, mostly from the SA leadership. Göring’s old military academy at Lichterfelde would be the main execution site of those SA killed during the so-called 'Night of the Long Knives' in 1934. As Bullock relates in Hitler: A Study in TyrannyHitler at Lichterfelde
Goring, who had been made a general by Hindenburg to his great delight at the end of August 1933, once in power gravitated naturally towards the side of privilege and authority, and was on the worst of terms with the Chief of Staff of the S.A. He began to collect a powerful police force 'for special service', which he kept ready under his own hand at the Lichterfelde Cadet School near Berlin (290)...
In Berlin the executions, directed by Goring and Himmler, began on the night of 29-30 June and continued throughout the Saturday and Sunday. The chief place of execution was the Lichterfelde Cadet School, and once again the principal victims were the leaders of the S.A. (303)
It was Sepp Dietrich who suggested to Hitler that Hitler's personal bodyguard Regiment, the SS Leibstandarte should have the honour of such a site. Thus from 1934 and 1938 the facilities were extensively renovated into a showpiece modern barracks. From 1937 to 1938, new buildings were built for the new function by Karl Reichle and Karl Badberger. Torbauten, farm buildings and magazines as well as a large swimming pool were built according to the most modern aspects of that time. The main entrance was moved to Finckensteinallee. 
Hitler at Lichterfelde
Hitler in 1935 and the site today. On December 17 of that year, Hitler toured the barracks and spent several hours there. In the afternoon, he made a speech to “his loyal soldiers of the Movement.” The Völkischer Beobachter reported as follows:
There was nothing more splendid than an elite such as that which the Leibstandarte represented. The Führer underlined in particular the ϟϟ men’s task of recruiting for the Party. To great applause, he stressed that “no one would bend or sway us; he would have to break us, and then he would see whether he himself might not be broken first.”
At the close of his speech, Hitler emphasised that nothing was more splendid than knowing that the wonderful regiment of the Leibstandarte bore his name.
Finckensteinallee entrance
A view from the redesigned Finckensteinallee entrance. Lichterfelde was entered through this main gate on Finckensteinallee dominated by two-heroic-sized statues of German soldiers in greatcoats and steel helmets. At each corner of the enormous rectangle which made up Lichterfelde were large dormitory blocks, designated "Adolf Hitler", "Horst Wessel", "Hermann Göring" and "Hindenburg". Within the rectangle were the classrooms and instructional facilities; there was a barracks chapel to which civilians from the Lichterfelde-West suburb were admitted on Sundays. Two monumental figures guarded the entrance, the so-called Reichsrottenführer.
Both entrances to the Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool constructed for the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games which are still flanked today with two, four metre- high granite figures symbolising the "German man" and the "German woman" designed by Professor Hass. The pool had a capacity of 1.2 million gallons and measured fifty metres in length by 25 metres in width. The left shows ϟϟ cadets at the entrance in 1941 and the site today which currently serves as an exclusive sport club.