Showing posts with label Karlshorst. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karlshorst. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Berlin (2)

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
From the turn of the century
and immediately after the war. Completed in 1895 by architect Franz Schwechten as a 'gift' to Germans from Kaiser Wilhelm II, serving as a memorial to his grandfather Wilhelm I. Its bells, made from bronze from guns captured in the Franco-Prussian War, fell victim to material shortages during the war when four of the five bells were removed from the tower on January 7, 1943 and melted down again for war purposes. Only the smallest bell remained for the congregation. When the church was destroyed, this bell was badly damaged and in 1949 it was delivered to the Schilling bell foundry in Apolda , where it was once cast. The church itself was substantially destroyed during a bombing raid in 1943 when, during the night of November 22-23 the church building caught fire during a British air raid, causing the roof structure over the nave to collapse and the top of the main tower to snap off. The Nazi leadership promised the community that after the war the destroyed Memorial Church would be rebuilt just as large and magnificent. In contrast, the victorious powers of the Second World War found this plan relatively difficult; the building also reflected Wilhelmine-German national pride. In the post-war period the ruins were left to decay for the time being. It wasn't until 1956 that demolition of the choir, which was in danger of collapsing, began. Several different options for the church's redevelopment were considered, including the construction of a new church made from glass in the old church's ruins, and also its complete demolition and replacement with a new structure.
Eventually it was decided to leave the ruined tower as a
memorial to the futility of war, (or specifically to remember Germans killed in British retaliatory bombings) and create a new church around it with a breathtakingly ugly building next to it for some reason. The new church was consecrated on May 25, 1962 - the same day as the new Coventry Cathedral.
On Breitscheidplatz, its eastern terminus, the landmark Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche stands quiet and dignified amid the roar. Allied bombs left only the husk of the west tower intact; it now contains the Gedenkhalle (Memorial Hall) whose original ceiling mosaics and marble reliefs hint at the church’s pre-war opulence. The adjacent octagonal hall of worship, added in 1961, has intensely midnight-blue windows and a giant golden Jesus floating above the altar. On November 14, 1940 the Germans obliterated the city centre of Coventry including its Gothic cathedral from the 14th and 15th century. Already in January 1941 the people of Coventry held mass again in the burnt out church, having rebuilt an altar from rubble, and using charcoaled beams as the holy cross and made a cross with three hand-forged nails they found in the rubble. On January 7, 1989, on the occasion of the inauguration of the Memorial Hall, the Nail Cross of Coventry was given to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche as a gift where it remains as a reminder of peace and reconciliation.
 July 19, 1945 and standing in front and inside, next to the Cross of Coventry which has a prominent place in the Memorial Hall of Gedächtniskirche. The former entrance hall of the old building was converted into a room commemorating the events and destruction of the Second World War on January 7, 1987 on the occasion of Berlin's 750th anniversary. One of the central exhibits here is the Coventry Cross of Nails as a symbol of reconciliation. The nails from which it was formed are from burnt roof beams of Coventry Cathedral , which was destroyed in German air raids on November 14, 1940 and also deliberately preserved as a ruin.
At the dedication ceremony on September 1, 1895, the eve of the Day of Sedan, and my students in 2018. In fact, at the time of its dedication the entrance hall in the lower section had not yet been completed; that part of the church was not opened and consecrated until February 22, 1906.
Goebbels, writing the article “Rund um die Gedächtniskirche,” for the January 23, 1928 edition of Der Angriff, described the area in which
[i]n the middle of this turmoil of the metropolis the Gedächtniskirche stretches its narrow steeples up into the grey evening. It is alien in this noisy life. Like an anachronism left behind, it mourns between the cafés and cabarets, condescends to the automobiles humming around its stony body, and calmly announces the hour to the sin of corruption.  Walking around it are many people who perhaps have never gazed up at its towers. There is the snobby flaneur in a fur coat and patent leather; the worldly lady, garçon from head to toe with a monocle and smoking cigarette, taps on high heels across its walkways and disappears into one of the thousands of abodes of delirium and drugs that cast their screaming lights seductively into the evening air.  That is Berlin West: The heart turned to stone of this city. Here in the niches and corners of cafés, in the cabarets and bars, in the Soviet theatres and mezzanines, the spirit of the asphalt democracy is piled high. Here the politics of sixty-million diligent Germans is conducted. Here one gives and receives the latest market and theatre tips. Here one trades in politics, pictures, stocks, love, film, theatre, government, and the general welfare. The Gedächtniskirche is never lonely. Day plunges suddenly into night and night becomes day without there having been a moment of silence around it.  The eternal repetition of corruption and decay, of failing ingenuity and genuine creative power, of inner emptiness and despair, with the patina of a Zeitgeist sunk to the level of the most repulsive pseudoculture: that is what parades its essence, what does its mischief all around the Gedächtniskirche.
 Return of Evil to Merkel's Germany  
Comparing the scene during the Christmas market of 1929 only two months after the Wall Street Crash and 2016 after yet another example of terror with the church providing the latest backdrop for Merkel-era terrorism caused the summary acceptance of a million immigrants, many men of fighting age, she allowed to enter the country, mostly without any screening or background checks. In this case the perpetrator was Anis Amri, an asylum seeker from Tunisia. It wasn't until four days after he had hijacked an HGV and killed the driver before turning lights off and driving the stolen lorry into shoppers at a Christmas market at 40mph killing twelve and injuring 48 that he was finally killed in a shootout with police near Milan in Italy. On December 19, 2016 at 20:02 the terrorist ploughed a len truck through the  Christmas market, causing  the deadliest terrorist attack in Germany since an attack at Oktoberfest in Munich in 1980, which killed thirteen people and injured 211 others. The truck came from the direction of Hardenbergstraße, drove about 160 feet through the market, and destroyed several stalls before turning back onto Budapester Straße and coming to a stop level with the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. Several witnesses saw the driver leave the truck and flee towards Tiergarten. One witness, Łukasz Urban, ran after him. He was found dead in the passenger seat of the truck cab having been stabbed and shot in the head with a small-calibre firearm. 

Plötzensee Gaol (Strafgefängnis Plötzensee)
Less than two weeks after Col. Stauffenberg’s bomb had nearly killed Hitler, eight of his principal co-conspirators stood show trials at the Volksgerichtshof before Roland Freisler. The outcome, of course, was foreordained as orders had come down from on high to make the deaths as degrading as possible; this batch, convicted August 7-8, was hanged naked that same day here at Berlin’s Plotzensee Prison on thin cord and suspended from meathooks whilst the cameras rolled. From what I have managed to read, the executioner went out of his way to make the ordeal as degrading as possible, a task he apparently relished. The resulting film was delivered to Hitler’s bomb-damaged Polish outpost for his amusement, and used as a warning to army officers forced to watch.
The eight killed in this way were Robert Bernardis, Albrecht von Hagen, Paul von Hase, Erich Hoepner, Friedrich Karl Klausing, Helmuth Stieff, Erwin von Witzleben and Peter Graf Yorck von Wartenburg. Hundreds more would follow, both at Plotzensee and throughout the Reich where persons distantly connected to the plotters and various miscellaneous resistance figures were swept up in the purge.
The prison was built between 1869 and 1879 near Lake Plötzensee in Charlottenburg off Saatwinkler Damm. During the Nazi era, over 2,500 people were executed including members of the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle), Kreisau Circle (those accused of the plot against Hitler's life on 20 July 1944 at the Wolfsschanze), Czechoslovakian resistance fighters, and various others declared to be 'enemies of the state' by the Volksgerichtshof ("People's Court").  
At the entrance has been built this memorial wall "[t]o the Victims of Hitler's Dictatorship of the Years 1933–1945."  Kershaw describes in Hitler:
Once the verdicts had been pronounced, the condemned men were taken off, many of them to Plötzensee Prison in Berlin. On Hitler’s instructions they were denied any last rites or pastoral care (though this callous order was at least partially bypassed in practice). The normal mode of execution for civilian capital offences in the Third Reich was beheading. But Hitler had reportedly ordered that he wanted those behind the conspiracy of 20 July 1944 ‘hanged, hung up like meat- carcasses’. In the small, single-storey execution room, with whitewashed walls, divided by a black curtain, hooks, indeed like meat-hooks, had been placed on a rail just below the ceiling. Usually, the only light in the room came from two windows, dimly revealing a frequently used guillotine. Now, however, certainly for the first groups of conspirators being led to their doom, the executions were to be filmed and photographed, and the macabre scene was illuminated with bright lights, like a film studio. On a small table in the corner of the room stood a table with a bottle of cognac – for the executioners, not to steady the nerves of the victims. The condemned men were led in, handcuffed and wearing prison trousers. There were no last words, no comfort from a priest or pastor; nothing but the black humour of the hangman. Eye-witness accounts speak of the steadfastness and dignity of those executed. The hanging was carried out within twenty seconds of the prisoner entering the room. Death was not, however, immediate. Sometimes it came quickly; in other cases, the agony was slow – lasting more than twenty minutes. In an added gratuitous obscenity, some of the condemned men had their trousers pulled down by their executioners before they died. And all the time the camera whirred. The photographs and grisly film were taken to Führer Headquarters. Speer later reported seeing a pile of such photographs lying on Hitler’s map-table when he visited the Wolf’s Lair on 18 August. ϟϟ-men and some civilians, he added, went into a viewing of the executions in the cinema that evening, though they were not joined by any members of the Wehrmacht. Whether Hitler saw the film of the executions is uncertain; the testimony is contradictory.
Once inside Plötzensee, the prisoners were allowed only time to change into prison garb. One by one, in accordance with prison drill procedures, they crossed the courtyard in wooden shoes, under the ever-present gaze of a camera, and entered the execution chamber through a black curtain. Here, too, a camera recorded their every step as they arrived and were led to the back of the chamber to stand under hooks attached to a girder running across the ceiling. Floodlights brilliantly illuminated the scene. A few observers were standing around: the public prosecutor, prison officials, photographers. The executioners removed the prisoners handcuffs, placed short, thin nooses around their necks, and stripped them to the waist. At a signal, they hoisted each man aloft and let him down on the tightened noose, slowly in some cases, more quickly in others. Before the prisoner's death throes were over, his trousers were ripped off him... Every detail was recorded on film, from the first wild struggle for breath to the final twitches.
Hitler had already "eagerly devoured" the arrest reports, information on new groups of suspects, and the statements recorded by interrogators. Now, on the very night of the first trials and executions, the film of the proceedings arrived at the Wolf's Lair for the amusement of the Führer and his guests. The putsch, he announced to his assembled retinue, was "perhaps the best thing that could have happened for our future." He could not get enough of watching his foes go to their doom. Days later, photographs of the condemned men dangling from hooks still lay about the great map table in his bunker. As his horizons shrank on all sides, Hitler took great satisfaction from this, his last great triumph.
Fest (302-3) Plotting Hitler's Death: The Story of the German Resistance
 The execution chamber at Plötzensee Prison showing the guillotine that was used to behead most victims until the sheer number of executions during the Third Reich made it impractical. Today there is a memorial inside the gaol commemorating those executed by the Nazis, dedicated on September 14, 1952. All that remains now is the execution shed, a small brick building with two rooms, where the victims were either hanged or beheaded. Cadavers of the condemned would be delivered to the anatomical institute at Humboldt University to be used for dissection under supervision of Professor Stieve.
(translated by Pete26 at Axis History Forum)
The severed head fell into the basket, eyes wide open. Because the body was not strapped to the guillotine bench, the body could move freely after decapitation. The torso reared up, the legs twitched and threw off the wooden clogs. The blood spurted out of the severed neck in a high arc into the drain.
In this place of execution, everything represented the power and glory of the Nazi state. The executioner and his three assistants in black suits, the prosecutor and pastor in back robes, the clerks in green uniforms, the prison doctor in a white coat, the guests in uniform. On the table were two candles in tall candle holders. At this place of death ruled law and order, and each step was determined by the protocol. For the guests there were tickets and a note: "At the execution site the German greeting [Hitler salute] is to be avoided." The condemned were expected to behave according to the protocol too: "Calm and composed." Only rarely did the condemned fight back. According to protestant pastor Hermann Schrader, "I remember no one who has cried, screamed, or resisted."
From the command "Executioner, do your duty" to "Mr Prosecutor, the verdict is enforced", it took only twenty to 25 seconds in peacetime, and during the war only seven or even four seconds, to carry out the execution. For every execution, an A5 form had to be filled out. Many of the  over three thousand executed here are left with not even a photograph. The oldest victim was a worker 83 years old, the youngest just seventeen. Forty one couples were executed here and they were not even allowed to say last words to each other. Mothers, who gave birth whilst in prison, were not spared. A total of 250 women were beheaded.
An old shoemaker cut the hair of the condemned short the night before the execution to expose the neck for the blade. The old man did his duty without emotion and with some kind of satisfaction. For each police sergeant who led the condemned from the cell block to the execution shed, there was a reward of eight cigarettes per person. The executioner's assistants  would deposit two corpses into one coffin; each twenty centimetres shorter than usual and sprinkled with sawdust to soak up the blood. The guillotine was eventually dismantled and delivered to the administration of the Soviet occupation zone shortly after the war.

 The Charlottenburger Tor then and now. During the course of the Nazi Welthauptstadt Germania plans, Hitler's chief architect Albert Speer in 1937 ordered the Charlottenburger Chaussee road widened to a "East-West-Axis" to an alignment width of fifty metres by April 1939 as part of the Nazi expansion programme of the capital. The greatest difficulty involved the renovation of the Charlottenburg Bridge. Speer had demanded that the 1.5 metre high span which had been increased in 1904 in order to achieve greater clearance for ships under the Charlottenburg Bridge, should be removed. The gate, which was previously a breaking point in the line of sight, would now no longer serve that purpose. The tram in the east-west axis was also sacrificed to the line of sight, as above all the overhead line was perceived as annoying.In order to meet Speer's requirements as well as the demands of the Reich Waterways Administration for an improvement in the passage conditions under the Charlottenburg Bridge, the old Charlottenburg arched bridge was removed and replaced by a new building which was limited to a height of 95 centimetres, which was the absolute minimum of the construction technology at that time. A passage height of 3.30 metres and a width of 25 metres could be achieved for shipping. In order to be able to accommodate the required lane widths, the new bridge was made ten metres wider to the south than the previous structure. It had a clearance height of 3.56 metres to support the excursion boats. The construction of the new bridge, including the removal of the ramps, could only be accomplished by dismantling the entire Charlottenburg Gate. The repositioning was then carried out at a distance of 33 metres between the columned halls, which made it possible to pass through the two 14.50 metre wide carriageways and the four meter wide median. In order to achieve an architectural unity of the new bridge with the gate, the parapets were made of tuff stone and the bridge structure was clad with sandstone. Bernhard Schaede, the architect of the gate, was involved in this work as a manager. Street lights designed by Speer were installed along the entire east-west axis for the street lighting which are still seen in places today. There was a further need for electricity from the lighting of the festive decorations of the street, which were taken into account during the expansion. Nine underground network and switching stations were installed to supply these systems with power. One of them was built in the immediate vicinity of the northern portico of the Charlottenburg Gate. The access to the maintenance staircase in the gate also served as access to this network and switching station. As part of the festive decoration of the street, the Nazis repurposed the gate as a flag holder. Oversized swastika flags were hung between the pillars and across the road on the front sides of the columned halls on appropriate occasions. Above shows Canadian troops from Les Fusiliers Mont-Royal on July 14, 1945 under the pompous five metre high bronze statue of Friedrich I which had accompanied his wife Sophie Charlotte on the other side of the gate. On the stone pillars facing the street were originally two bronze sculptures created by the sculptor Georg Wrba, the loss of which has damaged the overall appearance of the building since 1945. The northern figure represented a woman riding a stag with a veil blowing over her head; the southern figure shows a man riding a horse with a shield and sword in his hand. The Zentralblatt der Bauverwaltung commented on the two bronze sculptures with the words "It is not easy to untangle these intertwined bodies, and it is even more difficult to find their meaning"
Haus der Jugend
The Haus der Jugend at Reinickendorfer Straße 55 on Nauener Platz
The former Haus der Reichsjugendführung, originally opened in 1928 as a department store, became under the Nazis the headquarters for the Reich Youth Leadership, established after the Nazi seizure of power in March 1933, in order to guarantee the ideological orientation of the German youth and thus to secure the future rule of the Nazis. he Reich Youth Leader stood at the head of the Hitler Youth. Baldur von Schirach was the first Reich Youth Leader, eventually replaced on August 8, 1940 by his deputy Artur Axmann. Tasks of the Reich Youth Leadership were the Gleichschaltung the existing youth associations, the political and ideological indoctrination of German youth with the aim of educating convinced National Socialists and the control and suppression of deviant from the Nazi ideal youth cultures.  After the seizure of power, the Nazi regime tolerated no other youth associations in addition to the Hitler Youth. The other groups were dissolved, unless they volunteered. One of the largest of these groups was the "Bündische Jugend" - a collective term for youth groups influenced by the youth movement in the 1920s. The young people came mainly from bourgeois classes. Common to the groups was the idea of self-determination ("youth educates youth"), as well as joint actions such as hiking and camping, playing music and singing. A strong bond to home and nature showed in particular the two dominant directions, the Wandervogelbewegung and the Boy Scouts.
After the war the building was seized by the Communist regime until 1956 where it was then used to house the Communist Party archives and the Central Committee’s Historical Institution. Renamed the  Zentralausschusses der SPD and nationalised, after the forced union of the political parties KPD and SED in 1946 it was turned into the main quarter of the SED party leadership and from then on called the "Haus der Einheit”- note the portrait of Stalin above the entrance. The first and only President of East Germany, Wilhelm Pieck, as well as Prime Minister Otto Grotewohl had their offices here. This was also where the Stalinist party model for the SED was worked on, where the party was “cleansed” from critics and where politically justified death penalties were pronounced against regime opponents. Another event defining the history of this building were the protests on June 17 in 1953, when protesters from the national uprising gathered mainly here as well as in front of the “Haus der Ministerien.” After German reunification the building was legally returned to the descendents of its original owners, but has remained derelict until now where it is has been renamed Soho House, located at Torstraße 1 on the corner of Prenzlauer Allee. Ironically given its 'socialist' past, it's now a private members’ club with forty bedrooms set over eight floors along with a spa and gym, rooftop pool, restaurants, bars, a screening room and a private dining area.
Children playing on a Pz.kpfw.-Bodenturm Panther turret in 1945 from Hans-Christian Adam's Berlin: Portrait of a City and the same building behind today.
As the the war inevitably began to turn against the Germans, the Wehrmacht desperately came to the decision to employ use Panther tank turrets as improvised fortifications as seen here, even though the Panther itself was still being produced as the main medium German battle tank. Initially, these turrets used were from standard production models leaving the Allies to conclude that either "the [Panther] chassis is not too satisfactory or that its production has been hindered by our air attacks." As it turned out this was in fact now a standard German fortification. Although the first installations captured by the Allies mounted standard Panther tank turrets (primarily from the older Ausf. D, but also the later Ausf. A turret) purpose built turrets were also encountered. These turrets were simplified versions of the standard production model with the main visible difference being that they were fitted with a flat hatch rather than a cupola added to the turret roof being constructed using a 40 mm plate as opposed to 16 mm given that the emplaced turrets were more vulnerable to artillery fire. Once the turret had opened fire it had effectively highlighted its location to enemy artillery and therefore needed to be able to withstand the inevitable barrage. German tests showed that the additional armour meant that the turret could withstand a hit from a 150 mm artillery shell. Such fortifications were not improvisations but specially developed as seen from the fact that they were mounted on purpose built shelters.
Located on Hermannplatz, where Kreuzberg meets Neukolln, the Karstadt department store was one of the most revolutionary buildings to be constructed in Berlin before the war. Opened in 1929 as Europe's biggest department store over nine floors with a total of around 72,000 square metres of usable space, it had its own underground station and 56 metre-high art deco twin towers that were strikingly reminiscent of a Manhattan skyscraper. Wartime bombs left little of its original grandeur intact, yet it was promptly rebuilt and is still one of Berlin's most popular department stores. The ϟϟ used its twin towers as an observation post as four separate Soviet armies entered the city. In the Battle of Berlin, Hermannplatz became a focal point of the final battles of the war. Cornelius Ryan would write how, in the afternoon of April 25, “the huge department store blew up. The ϟϟ blew it up in order not to let the Russian hands fall into the hands of the 29 million marks it had stored in the cellar. There were several deaths." 
Only one wing of the original building survives, on the southwest corner as seen in the photo above.
Petty crime skyrocketed as the inhabitants of Berlin turned to looting as a survival strategy. One of the looters' targets was the huge Karstadt department store on Hermannplatz. Thousands of people crammed into Karstadt, grabbing everything in sight but especially food and warm clothing. The store supervisors eventually let them get away with whatever food they could find, though they tried to prevent them taking anything else. Later, after driving the remaining civilians out, the ϟϟ, rumoured to have had 29 million marks' worth of supplies in the basement, dynamited the store to prevent the Russians from appropriating its contents.
Standing at the site in 2011
There has been a dramatic account of the looting of the Karstadt department store in the Hermannplatz, where queuing shoppers had been blown to pieces during the first artillery bombardment on 21 April. According to this story, ϟϟ troops allowed civilians to take what they wanted before they blew the place up. The explosion was said to have killed many over-eager looters. But in fact when the ϟϟ Nordland Division took over the store several days later, they did not want to blow it up. They needed Karstadt's twin towers as observation posts to watch the Soviet advance on Neuk6lln and the Tempelhof aerodrome [...] The twin towers of the Karstadt department store provided excellent observation posts for watching the advance of four Soviet armies - the 5th Shock Army from Treptow Park, the 8th Guards Army and the 1st Guards Tank Army from Neukolln and Konev's 3rd Guards Tank Army from Mariendorf.
A Sturmgeschütz III (StuG III), Germany's most-produced armoured fighting vehicle during the war, waiting on Invalidenstrasse for the Red Army to arrive.
When General Krebs had finally returned to the bunker that afternoon with General Chuikov’s demand for unconditional surrender Hitler’s party secretary had decided that his only chance for survival lay in joining the mass exodus. His group attempted to follow a German tank, but according to Kempka, who was with him, it received a direct hit from a Russian shell and Bormann was almost certainly killed. Artur Axmann, the Hitler Youth leader, who had deserted his battalion of boys at the Pichelsdorf Bridge to save his neck, was also present and later deposed that he had seen Bormann’s body lying under the bridge where the Invalidenstrasse crosses the railroad tracks. There was moonlight on his face and Axmann could see no sign of wounds. His presumption was that Bormann had swallowed his capsule of poison when he saw that his chances of getting through the Russian lines were nil. 
  An IS-2 heavy tank (the IS for “Iosif Stalin”), dubbed the “Tank of the Victory," at Proskauerstraße during the advance down Frankfurterallee- a triumphal arch would later be set up in Frankfurterallee which was later to become one of the showpieces of Stalinist architecture. The IS-2 was the first production model and mounted a long-barrel 122-mm gun and was in service until the late 1960s. The tank saw combat late in the war in small numbers, notably against Tiger I, Tiger II tanks and Elefant tank destroyers. The Battle of Berlin saw scores of IS-2s employed to destroying entire buildings thanks to their powerful HE rounds in support of the 7th separate Guards (104th, 105th and 106th tank regiments), the 11th Heavy Tank Brigade’s 334th Regiment, the 351st, 396th, 394th regiments from various units and the 362nd and 399th regiments from the 1st Guards Tank Army, the 347th from the 2nd Guards Tank Army, all part of the 1st Belorussian Front, and the 383rd and 384th regiments of the 3rd Guards Tank Army (1st Ukrainian front). They would be tactically arranged into small units of five IS-2s supported by a company of assault infantry, including sappers and flame-throwers. Despite its sloped 4.72 inch thick frontal armour at an angle of 60° and massive 14.8 inch main gun, the  shortcuts taken would prove real issues on the long run, starting with the gun itself, slow to reload and with bulky two-piece naval ammunition. Perhaps it shouldn't be too surprising that the Red Army suffered a a considerable loss of tanks by this stage of the war despite it being the "finishing blow". Leaving out the frontier battles which are otherwise misleading given the high numbers of abandoned vehicles, the Battle of Berlin was in terms of tank losses per time the third most costly operation of the Red Army in the war, losing roughly 87 tanks per diem, 1,997 in toto.
 Soviet troops with PPSh-41 submachine guns entering the Frankfurter Allee station during the climactic Battle of Berlin on April 28, 1945 and my students during our 2020 school trip. The sign reads: “Public air raid shelters are situated in Frankfurter Allee 113.” At the time this subway station was in the area of urban fortification ring in the defence sector number 2. Berlin, Germany. Nevertheless whilst in the north and east of Berlin the Soviets they encountered fierce resistance from the Flak towers in Humboldthain and Friedrichshain, such sectors as that on Frankfurter Allee in the east saw surprisingly weak resistance. That said, as one American writer, Eddie Gilmore of the Associated Press, who was amongst the first group of correspondents allowed to spend more than 24 hours in the smashed metropolis, wrote on June 9, 1945: "[t]he capital of the Third Reich is a heap of gaunt, burned-out, flame-seared buildings. It is a desert of a hundred thousand dunes made up of brick and powdered masonry. Over this hangs the pungent stench of death . . . It is impossible to exaggerate in describing the destruction . . . Downtown Berlin looks like no thing man could have contrived. Riding down the famous Frankfurter Allee, I did not see a single building where you could have set up a business of even selling apples."
The  former Reichspostministerium on Leipziger Straße. Under the Nazis it had authority over research and development departments in the areas of television engineering, high-frequency technology, cable (wide-band) transmission, meteorology, and acoustics (microphone technology). In 1942, the armed postal security service was subsumed into the ϟϟ; this was just one more step in the national socialisation of the Deutsche Reichspost. After war the Federal Ministry of Post and Telecommunications in West Germany as well as the East German Ministry of Postal and Telecommunications took over the tasks for postal services. Fritz Kölle's eight-metre wide 'Adler' ('Eagle'), dating 1937, was placed on the façade of the entrance to the Reichspostministerium. The building itself was built between 1871 and 1874; its architect was Carl Schwatlo, who was responsible for numerous buildings for the post office. At the opening, Kaiser Wilhelm I gave an appreciative judgement: “Good! A pure and simply worthy style!" From 1893 to 1897 the building was further expanded according to plans by architects Ernst Hake, Otto Techow and Franz Ahrens and turned into the Reichspostmuseum. Since 1895 there has been an almost six metre-high sculpture by Ernst Wenck on the roof above the main entrance - giants encompassing the globe as an allegory of the global importance of post and telecommunications. In the Berlin vernacular, the massive building was jokingly known as the Post Coliseum or Stephan Circus after the postmaster general. The building remained closed during the war. As a result of the Allied air raids from 1943 and intensive house-to-house fighting during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945, the building suffered severe damage so that by the end of the war only the surrounding walls were left.
After the war the ruins were in the Soviet sector of Berlin. When a small postal museum was to be opened in the Urania building in West Berlin in 1966 - a new Bundespostmuseum was established in Frankfurt am Main in 1958 - work began on the old location on Leipziger Strasse. The result was initially a stamp exhibition in a very limited space in the same year. In April 1960, the Postal Museum was reopened with a permanent exhibition on the development of postal and telecommunications in departments on the history of the postal system, telegraphy and telephony, and radio and television with devices, models and equipment. The exhibition area was expanded in the following years. The building was made a listed building in 1977 and a decade later with a view to the 750th anniversary of Berlin in 1987, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the ruling SED party decided in 1981 to completely rebuild the old Reichspostmuseum and to reopen it as the East German Postal Museum. However, work according to plans by the architect Klaus Niebergall was delayed, and in 1987 only part of the planned exhibition space was available. The remaining construction work was only completed in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with the reconstruction of the atrium.
Fehrbellinerplatz just after the war in the Wilmersdorf district. Otto Firle designed the five-story steel frame construction faced with limestone at the eastern end of Fehrbelliner Platz for a life insurance company; it can be seen in the background with its roof destroyed. It had been dedicated in 1936. In order to maximise the use of its frontage facing the square, the narrow sides of the long curved building jutted out over the pavements, extending all the way to the street. The sharp-edged window-framing, between which raised stone slabs create an ornamental net structure, lessen to some extent the monotony of the rows of windows on the expansive facade. The relief sculptures by Waldemar Raemisch still exist facing Hohenzollerndamm, whereas the architectural ornamentation by Arno Breker at the opposite end was removed. The foyer of the building was inspired by art deco. It presently houses Berlin's Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment.
Entschädigungsbehörde in the Wilmersdorf district was built in 1935-36 by the architect Philipp Schaefer as an office complex for the Rudolf Karstadt department store chain; the Nazi-era reliefs are still present. Its horseshoe shape was laid out in 1934 and is still surrounded by several administrative buildings of the Nazi era, including the former seat of the German Labour Front finished in 1943, today the Wilmersdorf town hall. It remains among the most impressive architectural ensembles of the Nazi period. In 1913 the area used for allotment community gardens and an athletic field was connected to the public transportation network through the construction of an U-bahn station. In the mid-1920s the square was further upgraded when Preussen Park was established. In 1934, various large companies planned new buildings there, and a public architectural competition was conducted to create a large, uniform square. Otto Firle's winning overall development plan for the square was largely completed. Aligned in an horseshoe shape, the buildings relate to each other through their design and height, opening up toward the park in the north.
What's now Rathaus Wilmersdorf at Fehrbelliner Platz 4 was the site of the first British HQ from 1945 to 1953-  'Lancaster House' - which had earlier served as the the former centre of Nazi military administration. It was built by Helmut Remmelmann 1941 and 1943 as the last extension to the existing DAF administration building on Fehrbelliner Platz. It was the last Nazi-era building built on Fehrbellinerplatz on a previously-used sports field and was to have served as the headquarters of the German Labour Front. In fact, after completion, the DAF headquarters did not move into the building as planned, but was used by a Wehrmacht administrative office of the Army High Command until the end of the war. The design of the semicircular shape of the Fehrbelliner Platz, which opens onto Preußenpark, goes back to a design by Otto Firle. As concrete and steel were already allocated elsewhere at the time the building was built, it was traditionally designed as masonry with a plastered facade. It is the only building of its kind on Fehrbelliner Platz. The architect, Helmut Remmelmann, worked in the design department at DAF and the curved front of the building completes the semicircular development on Hohenzollerndamm. The main entrance initially leads into the round, column-flanked courtyard in classical style. The floor plan of the building resembles a keyhole with the round courtyard as the head and a larger farm yard. To achieve a representative impression, the ground floor was designed with horizontal, dark-coloured plaster strips as a base. Parts of the architecture, especially the courtyard, were actually based on the police headquarters built in Copenhagen between 1919 and 1924 by the Danish architect Hack Kampmann. Since it was originally planned for a different purpose, it is one of the few town halls in Berlin, such as those in Wedding or Marzahn, without a town hall tower. Beneath was an underground bunker with 1809 shelters which was probably created during the construction of the building. 
From 1945 to 1953 it was the headquarters of the British occupying forces and renamed "Lancaster House."
The military train took the soldiers into Charlottenburg Station, which was their introduction to the city, if they were not lucky enough to fly into Gatow. British soldiers in Berlin wore a flash on their sleeve. It was a black circle rimmed with red – ‘septic arsehole’ they called it. British Control Commission’s headquarters in Berlin was in ‘Lancaster House’ on the Fehrbelliner Platz. George Clare described it as a ‘concave-shaped grey, concrete edifice’ in the style of Albert Speer. Under the British Control Commission there were detachments in each of the boroughs under British control, together with a barracks and an officers’ mess. There were messes all over the British Sector. When George Clare reappeared in officer’s garb on his second tour of duty, he was assigned to one on the Breitenbach Platz which was large and lacked social cachet, and resembled a Lyons Corner House. British Military Government was a large yellow building on the Theodor Heuss Platz. This was the former Adolf Hitler Platz in Charlottenburg, the name of which was changed to Reichskanzlerplatz until it was realised that Hitler too had been chancellor. On the other side of the square was the Marlborough Club, where officers could be gentlemen. For the Other Ranks there was the Winston Club.
From June 1921 to July 1, 1932, this building served as the second venue of the Prussian State Theatre in Berlin, which had its main venue in the theatre on Gendarmenmarkt. In May 1933 it was subordinated to Prussian Prime Minister Hermann Göring as the Prussian Theatre of Youth within the Prussian State Theatre, but on December 2, 1933 it was transferred to the city of Berlin with a ceremony and a performance of Schiller's Wilhelm Tell. From 1937 to 1938 Paul Baumgarten's house was extensively rebuilt for the city of Berlin. Baumgarten simplified the facade and the auditorium considerably and changed the face of the theatre with reference to the New Objectivity of the 1920s, but also in line with the prevailing monumental architectural taste of thee Nazis . A “government box” was incorporated with the sculptors Paul Scheurich and Karl Nocke as well as the painter Albert Birkle involved in the renovation. It reopened with Schiller's Kabale und Liebe in 1938, the house became the Schiller Theatre of the Reich capital Berlin. The director was the actor Heinrich George under the pseudonym Heinrich Schmitz. According to Berta Drews, his wife, the theatre was firebombed in September 1943 with the stage roof falling into the auditorium. During an air raid on November 23 of the same year the building was completely destroyed. From 1950 to 1951, it was rebuilt for the city of Berlin according to plans by the architects Heinz Völker and Rolf Grosse.
Wittenbergplatz, then and now. Roger Moorhouse (85) writes how 
The primary indicators of the shortages were the rows of empty shelves that were often to be seen in Berlin’s shops. Though this was a problem throughout the city, it was perhaps most remarkable in the expensive department stores in the city centre. As well as a shortage of foodstuffs, Berlin suffered serious shortages of just about everything else, from material goods to consumables and toys. One shopper, for instance, complained after searching for two hours to find something of use in the elite Ka-De-We store on Wittenberg Platz: ‘That big barn is empty’, he said. ‘It is a feat of skill to get rid of fifty pfennigs on all seven floors.’
Berlin at War
 Samariterstraße and Rigaerstraße in Friedrichshain in 1945 and today, still recognisable. When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the district was renamed Horst-Wessel-Stadt after the Nazi activist and writer of the Nazi hymn whose slow death, after being shot by communists, in Friedrichshain hospital (shown below) in 1930 was turned into a propaganda event by Joseph Goebbels. During the war Friedrichshain was actually one of the most badly damaged parts of Berlin, as Allied strategic bombers specifically targeted its industries. As late as the nineties, some buildings still displayed bullet holes from the intense house to house fighting during the Battle of Berlin. After the war ended, the boundary between the American and Soviet occupation sectors ran between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, with Friedrichshain in the east and Kreuzberg in the west. This became a sealed border between East and West Berlin when the Berlin Wall was built in 1961.
Horst Wessel's grave on January 22, 1933 with Hitler and Goebbels attending and its decrepit state today. Today the grave at St. Nikolai-Friedhof in Berlin-Friedrichshain is slowly disintegrating. The grave here is shown alternately honoured and desecrated on the 70th anniversary of his murder in 2010.
Hitler had planned a major demonstration for the 22nd of January in memory of the late Kampfhed (fight song) composer and SA Sturmführer Horst Wessel, which was to impress upon the Reich capital that his fighting formations, the SA and the ϟϟ, were so strong and fear-inspiring that they could march unhindered through the ‘red’ quarters of Berlin, past the Karl Liebknecht Haus (the Communist headquarters) and across the Bülowplatz.
Hitler speaking at the site
Everything went according to schedule. There were no serious disruptions to the rank and file of the 35,000 SA men marching through the streets. Following the parade, a memorial ceremony was held at Horst Wessel’s grave at the Nikolai Cemetery, where Hitler made the following remarks:
Every Volk which struggles to the fore from utter misery and defeat to cleanse and liberate itself also produces vocalists who are able to put into words what the masses bear in their innermost hearts. It is thus that the powerful Volksbewegung, the Movement of Germany, has also found the voice able to express what the men in rank feel. With his song, which is sung by millions today, Horst Wessel has erected a monument to himself in ongoing history which shall prevail longer than stone and bronze.
Even after centuries have passed, even when not a stone is left standing in this great city of Berlin, one will be mindful of the greatest German liberation movement and its vocalist.
Comrades, raise the flags. Horst Wessel, who lies under this stone, is not dead. Every day and every hour his spirit is with us, marching in our ranks. 
Donarus (219-220) The Complete Hitler
Wessel's song, the melody of which was possibly taken from Etienne Nicolas Méhul's opera Joseph or from the naval song Königsberg-Lied, became the co-national anthem of Germany along with the first stanza of Deutschlandlied. The song was first performed at Wessel's funeral. Banned in Germany, it can be heard by clicking here.
ThecStädtische Krankenhaus am Friedrichshain, the hospital where Horst Wessel succumbed to his injuries after considerable pain for five weeks on February 23, 1930 and received the status of Nazi martyr. When the Nazis took power, it was renamed in October 1933 the Horst-Wessel-Krankenhaus.
According to the hospital's director who had personally operated on Horst Wessel and melodramatically describes the victim,
Above the corner of the mouth is the entrance hole, the upper jaw is injured, one sees bone splinters and a bullet fragment in the cheek. The bullet passed through the tongue and stopped in the throat in front of the second cervical vertebra, an extremely dangerous location. We fought against the condition of weakness with the usual means, and the patient initially recovered quite tolerably. But I still had the impression of a seriously ill man, who bravely, almost stubbornly, rebelled against his miserable state.On January 17 Horst Wessel could again speak and drink fluids, only the hearing in the left ear was still very weak. At the end of January an improvement was noticeable, but we did not know whether the cervical vertebra had been injured by the bullet fragment in the throat. I attempted to approach the bullet in the throat with a probe.
Wessel leading SA troops in Nuremberg train station
But I had to cease immediately, for the patient collapsed lifeless on the table in front of me. That was the first sign that the illness proceeded pitilessly. On February 11 the condition was very serious. Fever attacks occurred more and more frequently. On February 13 an improvement of the general condition was noticeable. Bullet fragments and bone splinters broke through, and we thought: maybe we’ll make it after all. But the pains at the cervical vertebra, of which he complained, were very ominous to me. For if this bone was injured, the patient was irretrievably lost. Even the slightest penetration into this life essential area had to lead to a gradual decline, to blood poisoning.From February 15 onward the condition worsened more and more and his strength receded. On February 19 the condition worsened. The patient is very restless and the pains became even more tormenting.On February 20 shivering fits set in.On February 21 the patient became more yellow, and others symptoms of a general blood poisoning shown themselves.On February 22 it was a certainty to us that despite all efforts the second cervical vertebra was injured and the patient could no longer be saved. On February 23, at around six-thirty in the morning he quickly passed away.

 In fact, had Wessel received prompt medical treatment, his  life might have been saved. But he refused to use the services of the nearest doctor, because he was a Jew, which meant it was some time before he was taken to the Freidrichshain Hospital.

Himmler, Heydrich, Daluege, and Adolf Hühnlein at a memorial ceremony on German Police Day at Horst Wessel Platz on January 16, 1937
The picture painted by Himmler and leading ϟϟ functionaries of the police, and above all of the Gestapo, was sometimes underlined by such threatening gestures, but sometimes by the assurance that normal citizens had nothing to fear, that they would be treated fairly and justly and, moreover, that the pursuit of opponents was being carried out in accordance with purely objective considerations. Himmler summed up this ambivalent public representation in his speech on the occasion of the 1937 German Police Day in the following formula: "tough and implacable where necessary, understanding and generous where possible."
Longerich (209) Heinrich Himmler: A Life 

On the same square was the Karl Liebknecht house, party headquarters of the German Communist Party (KPD) between 1926 and 1933, shown here in 1932. It was the first new building built on the square in 1912, serving as an office and commercial building, which the KPD acquired in 1926 to set up its headquarters, the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus. It carried the names of a joint founders of the KPD who were murdered on January 15, 1919 by members of the free corps. The building itself was built in 1910 on behalf of the manufacturer Rudolph Werth as an office building in the then Scheunenviertel. After the Communist Party acquired the house in November 1926, it was named after Karl Liebknecht - the co-founder of the KPD murdered in January 1919 in the course of the November Revolution. Before 1926 the party had its seat on the Hackescher Markt on Rosenthalerstraße. After it was acquired by the KPD it served as the office the Central Committee of the KPD, the KPD district leadership Berlin-Brandenburg-Lausitz-Grenzmark, the editorial offices of the KPD newspaper The Red Flag, a bookstore, the Central Committee of the Communist Youth Association of Germany, a shop for uniforms of the Red Front Fighter Association and a printing house. During that time it was the party leadership offices of Ernst Thalmann, Wilhelm Pieck, Walter Ulbricht and Herbert Wehner. Here too artists such as John Heartfield and Max Gebhard had their studios. On August 9, 1931 KPD members murdered two police officers in the immediate vicinity of the house. These murders on Bülowplatz resulted in the several-day occupation and an unsuccessful search of the party headquarters by the police.
Nazis marching past on the way to a memorial for the death of Horst Wessel 1933. The Political Police raided the Karl Liebknecht House again in February 1933 and it was finally closed on February 26.
On February 24, Goering’s police raided the Karl Liebknecht Haus, the Communist headquarters in Berlin. It had been abandoned some weeks before by the Communist leaders, a number of whom had already gone underground or quietly slipped off to Russia. But piles of propaganda pamphlets had been left in the cellar and these were enough to enable Goering to announce in an official communique that the seized ”documents” proved that the Communists were about to launch the revolution. The reaction of the public and even of some of the conservatives in the government was one of skepticism. It was obvious that something more sensational must be found to stampede the public before the election took place on March 5.
The SA occupied the building on 8 March 1933 and renamed it Horst-Wessel- Haus . It used it until the summer of 1933 as a "wild" concentration camp for the terrorisation of Nazi opponents. The communist party was outlawed and its members killed or sent to the concentration camps. The Gestapo found during a search on November 15, 1933 two hiding places in the building, which had remained undetected in the previous searches. In addition to two light machine guns, they contained sixteen additional firearms with ammunition as well as a large number of files of the party leadership with information on officials such as CVs, addresses and usage. The findings were probably based on information from the arrested Alfred Kattner , who had belonged to Thälmann's inner circle. In 1935 the new entrance hall was designed as a memorial room for Wessel. As of January 1937, the Horst-Wessel-Haus was the seat of the SA group Berlin-Brandenburg.
During the Battle of Berlin at the end of the war, the building was partially destroyed although the load-bearing structure of the building remained essentially intact. In December 1947 the Soviet occupying power handed over the confiscated building of the 1946 founded by the KPD "foundation society". The official renaming was made by resolution of July 31, 1947. From the end of the war until then, it was called Liebknechtplatz. From 1949 it was rebuilt on the decision of the SED leadership with minor façade alterations and extended by one floor with the work largely completed on Josef Stalin's 71st birthday in December 1950. Initially, the building was occupied by the central offices of the SED, whose leadership was held in the nearby "House of Unity", and later by the "Institute for Marxism-Leninism at the Central Committee of the SED" as an office and guesthouse. The headquarters of the Party of Democratic Socialism (PDS), later Die Linke, took its seat in the Karl-Liebknecht-Haus on the corner of Weydingerstraße and Kleine Alexanderstraße. In front of the building close to the main entrance are three different memorial plaques, two of which date from the DDR era and highlight the communist past of the house including  a commemorative plaque for former KPD chairman Thälmann and another proclaiming Karl Liebknecht House was where "In this building in the years 1926 to 1933 the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Germany worked."  In addition, a commemorative plaque for the left victims of Stalinist terror at the Karl Liebknecht House was unveiled on December 17, 2013 which reads "To the honourable memory of thousands of German communists, anti-fascists and anti-fascists who were arbitrarily persecuted, deprived of their rights, deported to prison camps, exiled for decades and murdered in the Soviet Union between the 1930s and the 1950s."  In a further commemoration, a representative room in the house bears the name Rosa-Luxemburg-Saal.
The Volksbühne on the then-Horst-Wessel-Platz in a Nazi-era postcard and today. It was built from 1913 to 1914 according to plans by the architect Oskar Kaufmann in the Scheunenviertel on what was then Bülowplatz. It was the first theatre in Berlin to present itself in the modern style and was designed for around 2000 people. The opening took place on December 30, 1914. During the 1920s it staged satire evenings, choruses and political reviews on behalf of the communist party. During the Nazi era the theatre on Horst-Wessel-Platz was renamed the the Volksbühne.
On August 9, 1931 Erich Mielke- future head of the East German Stasi- and Erich Ziemer, members of the KPD's Kippenberger apparatus, murdered police captains Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck not far from the Babylon cinema. The perpetrators fled to the Soviet Union. The Prussian police officer corps commissioned a memorial for Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck in 1934 which was created by the sculptor Hans Dammann. The bronze figure group was dismantled and melted down during the Second World War as part of the "metal donation of the German people." A commentator for the British Union of Fascists in the organisation's newsletter Blackshirt for January 30, 1937 wrote how he had been particularly impressed by the way the the People’s Stage put on plays at affordable prices. During the war many buildings were destroyed around the square. To remove rubble, a rubble train was used on Berlin's inner city streets which was pulled by small locomotives. Between 1948 and 1950 there was a locomotive shed directly in front of the Volksbühne. The war damage to the surrounding buildings around Poelzig was repaired, but the shop extensions at the acute angles were removed. At the beginning of 1950, Erich Mielke, who had meanwhile become State Secretary in the East German Ministry for State Security, finally had the pedestal of the memorial for the shot police removed. The Volksbühne was reopened on April 21, 1954 with Schiller's “Wilhelm Tell” directed by Fritz Wisten . 
The Kino Babylon in 1929 and today. It dates from 1927 to 1929 when Hans Poelzig designed eight blocks on the Bülowplatz (today's Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz) for a block development on behalf of the client Alfred Schrobsdorff. The completed blocks contained 170 apartments and eighty shops. The block in which the Babylon is located, has the shape of a right triangle. The entrance to the cinema is located at Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30. After being destroyed in the war, the Babylon block is the only completely preserved ensemble from the overall design by Poelzig. On April 11, 1929 the Babylon opened as
a silent movie theatre. There was an orchestra pit and a cinema organ for the musical accompaniment of the films. During its post-war renovation in 1948 the orchestra pit was closed and the organ dismantled. The projectionist, Rudolf Lunau, belonged to an illegal resistance cell of the KPD from 1933 until his arrest in 1934 during which time secret resistance meetings were held in the projection room, where he also hid opponents of the regime in hiding. After the end of the Second World War , the Babylon was reopened as a premiere theater on May 18, 1948 under the direction of the Sovexportfilm agency in Germany.
Horst Wessel Platz is now Rosa Luxemburg Platz
The artist Hans Haacke created sixty dark concrete beams in the pavements and lanes on the square displaying quotations and fragments from Rosa Luxemburg's writings. In order to counter the risk of slipping emanating from these stone slabs, parts of the monument were relocated in November 2007. In 2010, the residential and commercial building L40 was inaugurated on the north-western edge of the square employing a completely alien design contemptuously disregarding the environment around it leaving the public and those having to live in its vicinity classifying the building as a faceless black blob. A small, tree-planted area bordering the square to the south was created after the houses standing there were destroyed in during the war and their ruins were cleared. The city of Berlin sold this area in 2016 to Suhrkamp-Verlag whihhad a new building built with a floor area of ​​3,000 square metres as its publishing headquarters. In connection with these activities, there was criticism from local residents who did not feel they were adequately informed about the project which didn't stop the company from moving into the building at the end of August 2019.
Berlin patrol and Nazi auxiliary police in a search of the Jewish quarter in Grenadierstraße and Dragonerstraße in the spring of 1933. The right shows another street in the Scheunenviertel down the Grenadier Schendelgasse towards the Schonhauserstrasse. Scheunenviertel refers to a neighbourhood of Mitte in the centre of Berlin to the north of the medieval Altberlin area, east of the Rosenthaler Straße and Hackescher Markt. Until the Second World War it was regarded as a slum district and had a substantial Jewish population with a high proportion of migrants from Eastern Europe. Since then the core of the neighbourhood is the triangular Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, former Bülowplatz, where on August 9, 1931 the Communist and later Stasi Executive Erich Mielke shot two police officers. Mielke fled to Moscow shortly afterwards and did not face trial for the murders until 1992. Although Scheunenviertel is often used as a synonym for Berlin's Jewish quarter, Jewish cultural and commercial life was rather centred on the neighbouring Spandauer Vorstadt, where the New Synagogue and other Jewish establishments are located.

 The Europahaus in 1936 (as the Europa Palast), post-war and today, the Deutschlandhaus, on today's Stresemannstraße. Architect Otto Firle had designed the Europahaus in the New Objectivity style with construction beginning in the late 1920s with completion in 1931. It consisted of a 920 foot long facade along Stresemannstraße although had been planned not as one monolithic building, but a group of individual but linked structures, of which the name Europahaus really applied only to the tall central section. A lower northern section contained a large ballroom - the Europa Tanz Pavillion. The main tower-block contained 11 storeys with ground-level storefronts and offices above; with a roof "garden" facility making for a 12th floor. As it was much higher than any of the surrounding buildings at the time, rooftop patrons enjoyed particularly stunning views of the city. Service structures and illuminated signage rose above this level. The building was best known for its large neon signs for Odol mouthwash and Allianz insurance companies which was a great attraction in the city at the time. The former was mounted on a tower erected in 1935, which brought the total height of the building to about 160 feet.
After the war and today
A more recent neon sign for the Blaupunkt company, which was on the facade of the Europahaus until 2005, is now owned by the Museum of Letters in Berlin. After 1933 the central office block was taken over by the Nazis who had the neon signs removed and occupied it with numerous affiliated organisations, particularly the Reich Ministry of Labour. The building sustained considerable damage during the Allied bombing raids but was not completely destroyed. Although the northernmost section containing the ballroom was subsequently demolished, the remainder was renovated, and spent the next few decades occupied by various offices. The postwar restoration converted the roof-garden facility into a more enclosed 12th storey, as well as altering other details of the structure, and did not recreate the famous illuminated signage. From 1998 to 2000 the building underwent a thorough restoration, and after German unification became home to several German government agencies and other office concerns. The top four floors houses the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, whilst elsewhere can be found Water and Navigation Management, the Federal Centre for Political Education, a department of the Robert Koch Institute, the Institute for Town Construction of the German Academy for Town Construction and Regional Planning, and the Alliance for Democracy and Tolerance organisation. The office that received donations towards the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was also housed here.

Gasthaus Zum Nußbaum
The 1st Fallschirm-Panzer Division Hermann Göring in front of the Gasthaus Zum Nußbaum. The division during its service in Italy, committed a number of war crimes, and, together with the 16th ϟϟ Panzergrenadier Division Reichsführer-ϟϟ, was disproportionately involved in massacres of the civilian population, both divisions accounting for approximately one-third of all civilians killed in war crimes in Italy. The Nußbaum itself was a traditional tavern at Fischerstraße 21 in Alt-Kölln, which now exists as a replica in the Nikolaiviertel, one of the oldest areas in Berlin. The original and current restaurant owes its name to the walnut tree in front of it. This was the site of a mythic political battle for Berlin in the spring of 1929, when Horst Wessel and his Sturmbatallion 5 stormed this building and declared the Communist stronghold of Fischerkietz, to be under SA control and free of the "Red Menace." This took place only a few months before he was shot and killed by the communists giving the Nazi Party a great propaganda tool by turning him into their most famous martyr. 
 Berlin was a very large city, much like London or New York. These were times when each city had many newspapers. And a goodly number of these were sensationalist sheets. A prominent feature in some of these was normally Red- Brown brawls. But it was rare to find anyone who had actually seen a street fight. One American, who had lived in both New York and Berlin compared Germany’s capital to the urban United States. Dr. Margaret Mueslum said, “It’s the same here [New York] because you hear of fighting in Harlem, but one doesn’t see it in on Seventy-second Street.” Berlin street fighting, as in New York, stayed within boundaries. The socialists were acutely aware of the borders of their districts and did not cross them. The Communists were less aware, but still did not venture far from home base. The Nazis tried to move into borderline areas and encroach on Red districts, street by street. But all the action remained far away from the more comfortable and removed middle and upper classes. 
The walnut tree which originally stood at Fischerstraße 21 was destroyed in an allied bombing attack in 1943. 

Anhalter Bahnhof
In front of the Anhalter station and as it appeared during a march of SA. It was at this station that saw Hitler return to Berlin from his crushing defeat of France. As Kershaw described the scene,
[t]he reception awaiting Hitler in Berlin when his train pulled into the Anhalter-Bahnhof at three o’clock on 6 July surpassed even the homecomings after the great pre-war triumphs like the Anschluß. Many in the crowds had been standing for six hours as the dull morning gave way to the brilliant sunshine of the afternoon. The streets were strewn with flowers all the way from the station to the Reich Chancellery. Hundreds of thousands cheered themselves hoarse. Hitler, lauded by Keitel as ‘the greatest warlord of all time’, was called out time after time on to the balcony to soak up the wild adulation of the masses. ‘If an increase in feeling for Adolf Hitler was still possible, it has become reality with the day of the return to Berlin,’ commented one report from the provinces. In the face of such ‘greatness’, ran another, ‘all pettiness and grumbling are silenced’. Even opponents of the regime found it hard to resist the victory mood. Workers in the armaments factories pressed to be allowed to join the army. People thought final victory was around the corner. Only Britain stood in the way.
The station shown on the right after the war, showing the extent of the damage. During the war the Anhalter Bahnhof was one of three stations used to deport some 55,000 Berlin Jews between 1941 and 1945, about a third of the city's entire Jewish population (as of 1933). From the Anhalter alone 9,600 left, in groups of fifty to 100 at a time using 116 trains. In contrast to other deportations using freight wagons, here the Jews were taken away in ordinary passenger coaches which were coupled up to regular trains departing according to the normal timetable. All deportations went to Theresienstadt and from there to the death camps.
Der Angriff
Next door had been where Goebbels as Gauleiter founded the weekly Nazi battle sheet Der Angriff in 1930. Also with offices here were the party house management of the Hitler Youth and the Gau-Rundfunkstelle broadcasting site. 
Goebbels, whether the party was under ban for short periods or not, began to spread the party message through Der Angriff (“The Attack”) where he simply put his stump speeches on paper. It is in this paper that one can find the clearest exposition of where Nazism stood on the Weimar Republic. In Goebbels’ thinking: “We are an anti-parliamentary party and we reject for good reason the Weimar Republic.... We go into the Reichstag in order to obtain the weapons of democracy.... We become Reichstag deputies in order to paralyze the Weimar mentality with its own help.” 

Nearby is what had been one of the largest refuges in Berlin, the Anhalter Bahnhof bunker, completed in 1943, with walls 2.10 metres in thickness next to the main station. Here my students are visiting the Hitler exhibition in 2021 where the room where he committed suicide was recreated.
Built in ferro-concrete, with three storeys above ground and two below, its walls were up to four and a half metres thick. Pine seats and tables had been provided by the authorities, as well as emergency supplies of tinned sardines, but neither lasted long when both fuel and food were in such short supply. The Anhalter bunker's great advantage was its direct link to the U-Bahn tunnels, even though the trains were not running. People could walk the five kilometres to the Nordbahnhof, without ever being exposed.
The conditions in the bunker became appalling, with up to 12,000 people crammed into 3,6oo square metres. The crush was so great that nobody could have reached the lavatory even if it had been open. One woman described how she spent six days on the same step. For hygienic Germans, it was a great ordeal, but with water supplies cut, drinking water was a far higher priority. There was a pump which still worked outside the station, and young women near the entrance took the risk of running with a pail to fetch water. Many were killed, because the station was a prime target for Soviet artillery. But those who made it back alive earned eternal gratitude from those too weak to fetch it for themselves, or they bartered sips for food from those who lacked the courage to run the gauntlet themselves.
Antony Beevor (280-281) Berlin: The Downfall 1945
The bunker today is now the home of the Berlin Story Museum which has a reconstruction of Hitler’s living and work rooms from the “Führerbunker”- here I am standing in front. According to Antony Beevor himself, to reconstruct Hitler's bunker is beyond parody and as unconscionable as a concentration camp theme park, but he cannot see even the most obtuse neo-Nazis treating such a crass piece of commercialism as a sacred place, though it would certainly appeal to those of a morbid disposition.The exhibit has been criticised by the Topography of Terror museum as showmanship, with its spokesman Kay-Uwe von Damaros proclaiming that "[w]e explain history, document it, and stick to the facts. That is why we cannot support such productions; sensationalism isn't our thing" going on to denounce it “ as a kind of Disneyland approach trying to create an effect.” The recreated study features a painting of Frederick the Great on the wall, a photo of Hitler's mother and a small statue of a German shepherd on the desk, a grandfather clock, and a single oxygen tank in the corner to alleviate the Hitler’s fears of asphyxiation, according to the exhibit’s curator Wieland Giebel. 


   Oberbaum Bridge
The Oberbaum Bridge after the war, and today. In April 1945 the Wehrmacht blew up the middle section of the bridge in an attempt to stop the Red Army from crossing it. After the war ended, Berlin was divided into four sectors. The Oberbaum Bridge crossed between the American and Soviet sectors. Until the mid-1950s, pedestrians, motor vehicles, and the city tramway were able to cross the bridge without difficulty. Border crossing East German checkpoint at the Oberbaum Bridge. Crowds at Oberbaumbrücke after the breach of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. When the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 the bridge became part of East Berlin's border with West Berlin; as all the waters of the River Spree were in Friedrichshain, the East German fortifications extended to the shoreline on the Kreuzberg side. The West Berlin U-Bahn line was forced to terminate at Schlesisches Tor. Beginning on December 21 1963, the Oberbaum Bridge was used as a pedestrian border crossing for West Berlin residents only. After the opening of the Wall in 1989, and German reunification the following year, the bridge was restored to its former appearance, albeit with a new steel middle section designed by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. It opened to pedestrians and traffic on November 9 1994, the fifth anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall.
Bülowstraße U-Bahn station in the Schöneberg district when it opened in 1902 on the western branch of the Stammstrecke, Berlin's first U-Bahn line, and as it appears today, slightly rebuilt after the war. Like the eponymous street, the station is named after the Prussian general Friedrich Wilhelm Freiherr von Bülow. Thomas Cook actually promoted tours after 1928 around the site focusing on the lesbian tourist trade. According to Mel Gordon in his book Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, 
Precisely at midnight, special coach buses picked up kinky sightseers at each of the major Berlin hotels and delivered them to the “Toppkeller” and other late‑night sapphic emporiums in the Berlin West, near Bülowstrasse. For straight British couples, in particular, these anthropological excursions were the memorable high point of their Continental revelry.
The building shown during the Battle of Berlin in a staged photo showing a Soviet 120-PM-43 crew setting up a mortar on the Northern side of the station to attack the German defensive line along the Landwehr canal, probably taken on April 26, 1945 as troops of the 29th Guards Corps pushed Northwards towards the Tiergarten. The mortar, first introduced in 1943 as a modified version of the M1938, looks to be set to fire over the adjacent buildings Heavily damaged by air raids and the Battle of Berlin on November 22-23, 1943 and July 19, 1944, the station was rebuilt after the war but eventually went out of service in 1972 due to the interruption of the U2 line by the construction of the Berlin Wall given that there was a parallel connection between Nollendorfplatz and Gleisdreieck with line 1 via Kurfürstenstraße station 230 metres to the north. The building itself then hosted a bazaar in discarded U-Bahn cars, until in 1993 the eastern and western parts of the U2 were reconnected.
Mehringdamm, then Belle Alliance Straße. Originally the course of the road followed that of a country route that had existed for centuries from the centre of Berlin as an extension of Friedrichstraße via Tempelhof to Großbeeren and further south. The arterial road was expanded at the beginning of the 19th century and was given the name Tempelhofer Straße in 1837. In connection with the construction of the Generalszug in 1864, this route was renamed Belle-Alliance-Strasse after the Prussian name for the Battle of Waterloo. On January 30, 1944 in the course of the airborne Battle of Berlin, a British air raid destroyed much of the western alignment of houses on southern Belle-Alliance-Straße, also hitting southern Großbeerenstraße, parts of Victoria Park and Methfesselstraße. Exactly a year to the day later another British night air raid destroyed many buildings around the northern end of the street, including Adolf Jandorf's former department store and Fontane's former house and many graves in the adjacent cemeteries.After the Second World War, it was first renamed Franz Mehring Straße before being given its present name in 1947. Both are named after the socialist historian Franz Mehring. The Berlin list of monuments contains 21 monuments on Mehringdamm. One not present was the Hasan-Bashri Mosque which had been built illegally in the backyard at Mehringdamm 51 and was evicted and closed in 2003, and subsequently hit the headlines at the time.
The gay club Eldorado on Motzstraße, shown here in 1932 and today, was internationally known for its transvestite shows. There was also a relatively high number of places for lesbians. 
It regularly featured then up-and-coming star Marlene Dietrich who would eventually leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. After Hitler's regime took control, all gay and lesbian bars and meeting places in Germany were closed. Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science was sacked in 1933 by the Nazis and his books were burned. Despite the large numbr of homosexuals in its ranks, the Nazis enforced Paragraph 175 of the Penal Code making it punishable just to glance at someone of the same sex too intensively. Homosexuals lived in fear of being denounced by other people, and the police conducted raids, arrested gays, and sent them to concentration camps. Within a few weeks after the Nazis took over government in 1933, fourteen of the best known gay establishments were closed. Today the part of Motzstraße between Nollendorfplatz and Martin-Luther-Straße is considered the centre of Berlin's gay area and the location for the Berlin's Lesbian and Gay City Festival held every June on the weekend before the Gay Pride celebrations in Berlin.
The Berlin Messe is an exhibition hall Goebbels had built in 1936-37. The swastikas returned in 2007 to accommodate Tom Cruise's movie Valkyrie as seen on the left. Since 2011 the Berlin Expo Centre City, it is located in the Westend district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf between the Masurenallee (opposite the House of Broadcasting), the Messedamm, the Thuringian Avenue and Jafféstraße.
The first exhibition hall, completed in 1914 for automobile exhibitions, was located north of today's exhibition centre on the parking lot between the central bus station and the S-Bahn ring. However because of the First World War, it was not opened until the German Motor Show on September 23, 1921. The next day the first car race took place on the nearby AVUS . Another exhibition hall was built in 1924 according to plans by Jean Krämer and Johann Emil Schaudt on the site of the bus station. The present area has been the Berlin trade fair location since 1924, when the wooden "Haus der Funkindustrie" (also called "Funkhalle", not to be confused with the later-built Haus des Rundfunks) west of the Messedamm on the site of today's Hall 14 for the first Great German Radio exhibition was opened. The architect was Heinrich Straumer who had also been responsible for equipping the neighbouring radio tower. In a major fire in 1935, the building of the radio industry burned down and severely damaged the radio tower. The other two halls north of Masurenallee were destroyed by bombs in World War II. The basic structure of today's exhibition centre, designed by the architect Richard Ermisch, was built in 1937 along Masurenallee and Messedamm with the distinctive entrance building on Hammarskjöldplatz .The interior of the site, known as the “summer garden” in the form of a stadium-like green area, was also created during the redesign in the mid-1930s.
The most noticeable part of architect Richard Ermisch's new buildings is the 240-meter-long main hall on Masurenallee, built in 1936–37. The reinforced concrete construction faced with natural stone displays an austere pillar structure with large vertical rectangular fenestration. The wing is dominated by the towering 35 metre-high cuboid hall of honour. The buildings are influenced by the objectivity of 1920s architecture, but intensified to a monumental pathos. The two hundred metre-long exhibition hall (called the “glass gallery” due to the continuous windowed facade) on Messedamm had a similar character, of which only the two-story round corner buildings are still standing. After the war the exhibition grounds were rebuilt and since then they have been supplemented by large new buildings, such as the International Congress Centre (ICC), built in 1969–79. The main section of the “glass gallery” was removed to create space for the bridge linking the ICC to the exhibition grounds at the foot of the radio tower.
Amongst the 26 halls covering 160.000 m² site is the Deutschlandhalle:
The Deutschlandhalle was an arena in the Westend of Berlin, inaugurated on November 29, 1935 by Hitler shown here in a Nazi-era stamp and shortly before its demolition. It was built primarily for the 1936 Summer Olympics when the boxing, weightlifting and wrestling competitions took place here. The Deutschlandhalle was one of the world's oldest event arenas of this dimension and was intended to be "largest multi-purpose hall in the world" based on designs by the hall director Franz Ohrtmann and the building contractor Fritz Wiemer on behalf of Deutschlandhalle AG in just nine months. Afterwards, mainly sporting events, large show events and Nazi mass events were held inside. At the 1936 Olympic Games, the wrestling and weightlifting tournaments were held there in the first week and the boxing tournament in the second week. On February 5 and 6, 1938, the first men's handball world championship took place in the hall. Hitler spoke to twenty thousand volunteers here at the opening rally of the Winterhilfswerk Winter Relief Project on October 5, 1937. Heavily damaged by air raids in 1943, the Deutschlandhalle was rebuilt after World War II and from 1957 served as a multi purpose arena and sports venue, in the last years primarily for ice hockey, but also for indoor soccer and again for boxing. 
The interaction between leaders and people had secured that, particularly in times of anxiety, National Socialists could appeal to the people in order to receive from it their new marching orders. 
From Hitler's speech at the dedication of the Deutschlandhalle, November, 1935

The circus show Menschen–Tiere–Sensationen  opened in the Deutschlandhalle from 1937; on January 20, 1940 the high wire artist Camilla Mayer fell to her death when a mast broke. The international competition Germany-Italy-Hungary was held on March 15, 1942. During an air raid on January 16, 1943, an incendiary bomb hit the roof of the fully occupied hall. Neither people nor animals were harmed, but the Deutschlandhalle was destroyed.

It was here that, on February 19, 1938, test pilot Hanna Reitsch demonstrated the first indoor flight in the arena with a Focke-Wulf Fw 61 helicopter. The photo on the right shows the model at the Deutsches Museum here in Munich with its swastika painted over.
The decision of 1949 to rebuild the hall could only be carried out in the mid-1950s, when sufficient funding had been secured. The reopening took place on October 19, 1957. Whilst the interior design remained very similar to the original state, the entrance area was redesigned. A completely new self-supporting roof structure made of prestressed concrete later caused repeated problems. After the roof of the Berlin Congress Hall collapsed, the Deutschlandhalle was temporarily closed as a precaution in the summer of 1980. On May 27, 2008 the Berlin Senate decided to demolish the Deutschlandhalle which eventually fully took place in 2014.

Standing outside the site where the war officially ended.
Zhukov found a two‐storey building at Karlshorst in eastern Berlin that had once housed the canteen of the German military engineering school. There, at a little before midnight on May 8, the Allied representatives gathered. New surrender documents had been drawn up in Moscow and hurriedly brought there by Vyshinsky, the chief prosecutor at the Moscow trials in the 1930s, who had become deputy minister for foreign affairs. Hours were spent trying to reconcile Soviet and Western versions. The text was typed and re‐typed on a small portable machine by candlelight, following an electric power failure. At last, exactly at the stroke of midnight, Zhukov led the representatives of the other Allied powers, Air Chief Marshal Arthur Tedder, General Carl Spaatz and General de Lattre de Tassigny, into the hall. They sat at a long green table, and the German military leaders were ushered in, led by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Hitler’s headquarters chief of staff. Keitel struggled to maintain his dignity. His face was blotchy and red, his hand shook. As he walked to the table to sign the surrender his monocle dropped from his eye and dangled by its cord. He had, Zhukov later recalled, ‘a beaten look’, though other witnesses thought the Germans ‘arrogant and dignified’. At exactly forty‐three minutes past midnight the ceremony was complete. Zhukov made what Stalin regarded as a dull speech for such an historic day, then hosted a night‐long banquet, which ended with the Soviet generals, including Zhukov, dancing in the tradition of their country. 
Overy (277) Russia's War
Inside the conference room where the the war (for the Soviets, at least) ended; a French flag superfluously added today. Beevor (404-405) is more expansive in his account of the signing: 
Just before midnight the representatives of the allies entered the hall `in a two-storey building of the former canteen of the German military engineering college in Karlshorst'. General Bogdanov, the commander of the and Guards Tank Army, and another Soviet general sat down by mistake on seats reserved for the German delegation. A staff officer whispered in their ears and `they jumped up, literally as if stung by a snake' and went to sit at another table. Western pressmen and newsreel cameramen apparently `behaved like madmen'. In their desperation for good positions, they were shoving generals aside and tried to push in behind the top table under the flags of the four allies. Eventually Marshal Zhukov sat down. Tedder was placed on his right, and General Spaatz and General de Lattre de Tassigny on his left.The German delegation was led in. Friedeburg and Stumpff looked resigned. Keitel tried to look imperious, glancing almost contemptuously from time to time at Zhukov. Simonov guessed that a rage was boiling within him. So did Zhukov, who also noted that his face had red blotches. The surrender documents were brought to the top table. First Zhukov signed, then Tedder, then Spaatz, then General de Lattre. Keitel sat very straight in his chair, with clenched fists. He threw his head further and further backwards. Just behind him, a tall Germanstaff officer standing to attention `was crying without a single muscle of his face moving'. 
Zhukov stood up. `We invite the German delegation to sign the act of capitulation,' he said in Russian. The interpreter translated, but Keitel, by an impatient gesture, signalled that he had understood and that they should bring him the papers. Zhukov, however, pointed to the end of his table. `Tell them to come here to sign,' he said to the interpreter. Keitel stood up and walked over. He ostentatiously removed his glove before picking up the pen. He clearly had no idea that the senior Soviet officer looking over his shoulder as he signed was Beria's representative, General Serov. Keitel put the glove back on, then returned to his place. Stumpff signed next, then Friedeburg.`The German delegation may leave the hall,' Zhukov announced. The three men stood up. Keitel, `his jowls hanging heavily like a bulldog's', raised his marshal's baton in salute, then turned on his heel.As the door closed behind them, it was almost as if everybody in the room exhaled in unison. The tension relaxed instantaneously. Zhukov was smiling, so was Tedder. Everybody began to talk animatedly and shake hands. Soviet officers embraced each other in bear hugs. The party which followed went on until almost dawn, with songs and dances. Marshal Zhukov himself danced the Russkaya to loud cheers from his generals. From inside, they could clearly hear gunfire all over the city as officers and soldiers blasted their remaining ammunition into the night sky in celebration. The war was over. 

Russian newsreel of the site from the time of the surrender. Today it serves as a museum to speifically commemorate the so-called Great Patriotic War. The Museum of the Unconditional Surrender of Fascist Germany in the Great Patriotic War was opened on November 5, 1967 in the building of the former officers' mess founded as a Soviet museum on German soil and was a branch of the Central Museum of the Armed Forces of the USSR in Moscow. The agreements reached with the German reunification in 1990 on the withdrawal of the Soviet armed forces from the Territory of the former DDR contained a friendship treaty concluded on November 9, 1990. It was stipulated that the Federal Republic of Germany and the USSR would jointly commemorate the history of the German-Soviet War and the end of Nazi rule at the historic site of the German surrender in Berlin and founded jointly in 1994 by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Russian Federation in the legal form of an association. The former Soviet museum was then redesigned and renamed, reopening in May 1995 as the German-Russian Museum, an unfortunate name given the unrelenting acts of violence and aggression coming from the Putin dictatorship. Nevertheles, the name remained in 1997 and 1998 when the national World War museums of Ukraine and Belarus joined the association as members with the flags of Germany, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus hoisted in front of the building. Finally in view of the Russian attack on Ukraine in 2022, the museum management decided in the future to use the name Museum Berlin-Karlshorst because it goes to all Soviet victims of the German war of annihilation, regardless of their nationality; particularly appropriate given so many died for the USSR who were neither Russian nor ever wanted to be subjugated by that regime. As a result of the Russian war of aggression, the only member from Ukraine withdrew from the sponsoring association, Yuriy Savchuk, head of the Kiev Museum of the Second World War. According to research by Welt, pro-Russian fascists such as the Night Wolves used the museum as a place of pilgrimage.

The Adler Apotheke on Berliner Str. 91 in the 1920s and with the Nazi-era eagle today 

Standing outside another chemist's in Zehlendorf in 2020 with a Nazi-era eagle on the facade. Established 125 years ago on hauptstrasse, today the street is called Teltower Damm; the roof of the pharmacy building was damaged in an air raid in 1943.

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