Showing posts with label Mohrenstrasse station. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mohrenstrasse station. Show all posts

Site of Hitler's Bunker and New Reich Chancellery

Separate from the entry for Wilhelmstrasse
The Führerbunker is the name given to two of the underground air-raid shelters in Berlin that served as the Hitler's headquarters during the last few weeks of the Nazi regime. It was ultimately here were Hitler committed suicide.
Führerbunker schematic mapFrom August 1935 to January 1936 a festive hall was erected in the Reichskanzlei's garden, which had an air-raid shelter which was to serve Hitler as a private bunker. On January 18, 1943, Hitler ordered the construction of another bunker connected to the air-raid shelter, which had a much stronger construction. The air-raid shelter became the pre-bunker of the new main bunker, which was begun in April 1944. On January 16, 1945, Hitler returned to Berlin and moved into his living quarters in the 
New Reichskanzlei which were destroyed during the most severe air attack on Berlin during the war on February 3, 1945. Hitler then moved to the commandant bunkers, which he had used until then only to sleep and during the air raids. In the course of the next few weeks, Hitler also transferred all his activities to the bunker, which is why his staff, adjutants, commando command and Martin Bormann were essentially there. From March 7, 1945, Eva Braun also lived permanently in the bunker and, beside Hitler's room, moved into a room with a dressing room. On April 22, Joseph and Magda Goebbels followed with their six children. Whilst Goebbels lived in the main bunker, his wife and six children lived in the Vorbunker.
Bavarian International School students at FührerbunkerSite of the bunker and as it appears today during my 2021 class trip with my Bavarian International School students. On April 29, 1945 Hitler wrote his political and personal testament in the bunker thereafter, he and Eva Braun married. The next day they took their lives in Hitler's living and working space in the bunker. Their corpses were poured over with gasoline and burned in front of the emergency exit of the bunker in the garden of the New Reichskanzlei. The following day on May 1, both Joseph and Magda Goebbels took killed themselves just outside the bunkers' emergency exit after their children had probably been killed in their sleeping room in the Vorbunker by the hand of Magda Goebbels with Zyankali. Hans Krebs, last chief of the General Staff of the Army, and the last military commander-in-chief, Wilhelm Burgdorf, were shot in the bunkers' card room. Franz Schädle, chief of the commando commando, also took refuge in the bunker. In the night from the 1st to the 2nd of May the remaining inmates left the bunker. On May 2, General Helmuth Weidling declared the capitulation of Berlin, whereupon the Red Army discovered and took possession of the now abandoned bunker.
Chancellery destroyedThe setting in which Hitler played out the last scene of all was well suited to the end of so strange a history. The Chancellery air raid shelter, in which the events of 22 April had taken place, was buried fifty feet beneath the ground, and built in two storeys covered with a massive canopy of reinforced concrete. The lower of the storeys formed the Führerbunker. It was divided into eighteen small rooms grouped on either side of a central passageway. Half of this passage was closed by a partition and used for the daily conferences. A suite of six rooms was set aside for Hitler and Eva Braun. Eva had a bed-sitting-room, a bathroom, and a dressing-room; Hitler a bedroom and a study, the sole decoration in which was the portrait of Frederick the Great. A map-room used for small conferences, a telephone exchange, a power-house, and guard rooms took up most of the rest of the space, but there were two rooms for Goebbels (formerly occupied by Morell) and two for Stumpfegger, Brandt's successor as Hitler's surgeon. Frau Goebbels, who insisted on remaining with her husband, together with her six children, occupied four rooms on the floor above, where the kitchen, servants' quarters and dining-hall were also to be found. Other shelters had been built nearby. One housed Bormann, his staff and the various Service officers; another Mohnke, the S.S. commandant of the Chancellery, and his staff.
The physical atmosphere of the bunker was oppressive, but this was nothing compared to the pressure of the psychological atmosphere. The incessant air-raids, the knowledge that the Russians were now in the city, nervous exhaustion, fear, and despair produced a tension bordering on hysteria, which was heightened by proximity to a man whose changes of mood were not only unpredictable but affected the lives of all those in the shelter.
Hitler had been living in the bunker for some time. Such sleep as he got in the last month appears to have been between eight and eleven o'clock in the morning. As soon as the mid-morning air attacks began, Hitler got up and dressed. He had a horror of being caught either lying down or undressed. 
Bullock (784-5) Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
Map of the Reichchancellery with site of Führerbunker coloured in red.
1. Mittelbau mit Marmorgalerie 2. Eingang zur Reichskanzlei 3. Eingang zur Präsidialkanzlei 4.Kasernenbauten 5. Hebebühne zu den Katakomben 6. Gartenportal zu Hitlers Arbeitszimmer
7.Bauzufahrt zum Führerbunker 8. Zufahrt – Tiefgarage und Führerbunker
9. Einfahrt – Tiefgarage und Feuerwehr 10. Zufahrt Führerbunker
11. Haus Kempka 12. Gewächshaus 13. Ehrenhof 14. Festsaal mit Wintergarten 15. Alte Reichskanzlei
16. Speisesaal 17. Propagandaministerium 18. Erweiterungsbau zur Reichskanzlei
19. U Bahn Eingang Wilhelmplatz 20. Kaufhaus Wertheim 21. Leipziger Platz 22. Ministergärten
23. Tiergarten 24. Hermann Göring Strasse 25. Voss Strasse 26. Wilhelmstrasse
Schematic diagram of the Führerbunker. There were actually two bunkers that were connected together: the older Vorbunker and the newer Führerbunker. The latter was located over eight metres beneath the garden of the old Reich Chancellery building at Wilhelmstraße 77, about 120 metres north of the new Chancellery building, which had the address Voßstraße 6. The Vorbunker was located beneath the large hall behind the old Chancellery, which was connected to the new Chancellery. The Führerbunker was located somewhat lower than the Vorbunker and south-west of it. The two bunkers were connected via sets of stairs set at right angles.
1. Keller des Wintergartens 2. Keller des Festsaales 3. Kannenberggang 4. Aufenthaltsräume
5. Waschraum/ Duschen 6. Toiletten 7. Anrichtraum/ Küche 8. Wache 9. Maschinenraum
10.Alte Wache 11. Haupteingang 12. Notausgang 13. Warteraum 14. Sekretärin
15. Aufenthaltsraum – Wache 16. Treppenhaus zwischen Bunker und Führerwohnung
17. Gasschleuse 18. Aufenthaltsraum 19. Speiseraum

20. Betonverfüllung 21. erster Notausgang des Hauptbunkers 22. Abwasser/ Strom
23. Badezimmer 24. Privates Gästezimmer Adolf Hitlers 25. Vorraum Adolf Hitlers
26. Arbeitszimmer Adolf Hitlers 27. Schlafraum Adolf Hitlers 28. Kartenzimmer/ Lageraum
29. Warteraum/ Lagevorraum 30. Flur und Wartebereich 31. Fernschreiber/ Telefon
32. Sanitätsraum 33. Raum – Prof. Morell 34. Schlafraum 35. Personal
36. zweiter Notausgang des Hauptbunkers 37. Beobachtungsturm (im Bau) 38. Belüftungsturm (im Bau)
39. Lüftungsturm für Generator (im Bau) 40. Bunkerwände 41. Haus Kempka 42. Bunkerzufahrt
43. Pergola 44. Auswärtiges Amt 45. Führerwohnung 46. Lastenaufzug 47. Fundamente/ Alte Reichskanzlei

Bavarian International School
My students from the Bavarian International School at the site of Hitler's bunker near where his body was burned during our school trip in 2011. The sign you see was erected on June 8, 2006. One of Hitler's bodyguards, Rochus Misch, apparently one of the last people living who was in the bunker at the time of Hitler's suicide, was on hand for the ceremony. 
From August 1935 to January 1936 a festive hall was erected in the Reichskanzlei's garden, which had an air-raid shelter. This was to serve Adolf Hitler as a private bunker. On January 18, 1943, Hitler ordered the construction of another bunker, which was connected to the air-raid shelter, which had a much stronger construction. The air-raid shelter became the pre-bunker of the new main bunker, which was begun in April 1944. 
Bavarian International School students at Führerbunker
  My 2021 cohort of Bavarian International School students standing at a children's playground on the spot where Hitler's and Braun's bodies were burnt, immediately behind the bunker entrance. The ruins of both the old and new Chancellery buildings were levelled by the Soviets between 1945 and 1949 but the bunker largely survived, although some areas were partially flooded. In 1947 the Soviets tried to blow up the bunker but only the separation walls were damaged. In 1959 the East German government also tried to blast the bunker, apparently without much effect. Since it was near the Berlin Wall, the site was undeveloped and neglected until after reunification. During the construction of residential housing and other buildings on the site in 1988–89 several underground sections of the old bunker were uncovered by work crews and were for the most part destroyed. In May 1995, the regional parliament of Berlin decided to lock up the remnants of the bunker and build houses for representatives from the Bundesländer on top of it, rejecting a proposal to retain it as a monument. The entrance and parts of the bunker have been destroyed, mostly by the Russians right after the end of the war, but there should be quite a bit left from the actual Führerbunker, which had been fifteen metres underground and protected by metres of concrete.
The sofa on which Hitler and his wife committed suicide, with Americans examining the scene, the blood noticeable. According to the June 18, 1946 report of Colonel Osipov, this sofa
is stuffed, made out of pine and was covered with a white cloth, with drawings of clear and dark brown flowers. The cover is torn and it maintained itself only on the left side in contact with the wall, between Hitler's study and bedroom. ( ..... ) From the detailed examination of the sofa: on the superior face of the right arm are visible for a length of 28.5 centimetres numerous dark- brown and red-brown splashes and some brown tending to black stains. ( ....) There are also numerous spots of grey colour and of various forms noticeable, owing to the diffusion of fungous moulds. On the internal face of the arm are well visible for a length of 36 centimetres dry stripes of pale reddish-brown colour that run for almost its entire thickness. (.... ) The spot and the splashes on the sofa and the stripes on the walls have been noticed and examined for verifying their haematic content.

Re-enactment of the disposal of Hitler and Braun's bodies for the Soviet film Osvobozhdenie beside a photograph of site where Hitler and Braun's bodies were cremated from Victory in Europe: From D- Day to V-E Day by Max Hastings. The final photo shows LIFE war correspondent Percy Knauth (left) sifting through dirt and debris in the shallow trench in the garden of the Reich Chancellery where the bodies of Hitler and Eva Braun are believed to have been burned after their suicides.

The garden entrance to Hitler's bunker in 1946 when the bunker was flooded, perhaps to prevent exploration underground, and as depicted in another re-enacting of the disposal of Hitler's body from Der Untergang
The same entrance on the right. The depression in the ground is where Hitler's body was supposedly cremated. After the war the Red Army tried to blow up the bunker. The above-ground superstructures (venting towers and emergency exit) and the inner walls of the bunker were severely damaged as seen here. In June 1959, the East German government initiated another attempt to make an unsuccessful attempt, and the ruins of the above-ground were covered by a mound of earth. In the course of the construction of large-panel residential blocks on the western side of the former Otto-Grotewohl-Strasse (now Wilhelmstraße) in 1988 and 1989, the steel baskets of the main bunker were removed together with about half of their outer walls during the deepening of the terrain . The Vorbunker was completely removed. Because of the high dismantling costs, the floor plate and parts of the outer walls remained in the ground.  The place where today the remains of the bunker are in the ground is marked with an information sign at the corner Gertrud-Kolmar-Straße. In the area of the bunker is now a parking lot
The site in 1988 before the construction work. That year it was decided to build a new great quarter in the historical area and to clean out from it all the detritus of the second world war, including the Vorbunker and the Führerbunker. According to Pietro Guido, "the whole area was flattened, great excavations started for the foundations of the buildings and to discover the rests of the two bunkers and relative tunnels of connection." By June, the two bunkers were already unearthed and rose in their massive structures. The demolition of the bunkers had to happen without witnesses and the area was put under the police control. Once destroyed and covered in earth, the two bunkers had to dissolve from from the memory of Berliners and amateur historians. No information was provided to visitors; instead the ground had to be equipped with parking lots, flower-beds and playing-fields, new trees and pedestrian paths.
 In 1964, Groucho Marx went to East Berlin with a group that included his radio show director Robert Dwan and his 16-year-old daughter Judith Dwan Hallet. They visited the village of Dornum, where his mother Minnie had been born. and discovered that all the Jewish graves there had been obliterated by the Nazis. Groucho then hired a car with a chauffeur, and told the driver to take the group to the bunker where Hitler was said to have committed suicide. Wearing his trademark beret he climbed the debris and then launched himself, unsmiling, into a frenetic Charleston dance routine. The dance on Hitler's supposed grave lasted a couple of minutes. "Nobody applauded," Hallet recalled. "Nobody laughed."

Photograph purporting to show Hitler's remains and the site where his body was cremated today
Stalin had been informed by Zhukov that Hitler had committed suicide on 30 April. His body and that of his new wife Eva Braun had been dug up in the garden, in the spot designated by Admiral Voss. As the Smersh soldiers were not certain that they had the right bodies, they reburied them, only finally exhuming them on 5 May, when together with the bodies of the Goebbels children, the chief of staff General Krebs and a couple of dogs, they were sent to their HQ at Berlin-Buch as important trophies. The autopsies were performed the next day. Contradictory evidence made the officers concerned reluctant to send in a final report on the cause of Hitler’s death. The Soviet authorities preferred the version that had him taking poison – a cowardly way out. Shooting oneself was a braver, more soldierly death.
When the Soviets’ Operation Myth was launched in 1946 to establish the real sequence of events leading to Hitler’s death, some of Hitler’s personal staff were brought back to Berlin and the bunker, in order to point out the precise details of the suicide and subsequent burning in the garden. The bones, for the time being, were stored in Magdeburg. Of particular importance were the objects in Hitler’s personal collection. For them an aircraft was laid on as Stalin wanted his bones examined by his foremost experts. The Führer’s skull was eventually put into a paper bag and deposited in the State Archives.
Giles MacDonogh (385) After the Reich
Footage of Hitler's last public appearance during the battle of Berlin on his birthday outside the bunker (commentary in English and Greek subtitles)

Hitler and his entourage emerged from the bunker for what would be his last moments above ground, breathing the fresh air of the country which his war was now subjecting to utter ruin and destruction. In the garden of the Reichschancellery, the Fuhrer reviewed the troops of the ϟϟ Frundsberg Division and a group of Hitler Youth. The beaming leader of the Hitlerjugend, Artur Axmann, presented the unit and singled out some of those present as having 'recently distinguished themselves at the front'. Those boy-soldiers were decorated by Hitler, and all received a handshake from Germany's 'saviour'. Though his speech was full of wooden optimism about the Soviets' imminent 'greatest defeat yet', he was clearly physically debilitated. 'Everyone was shocked at the Führer's appearance,' Axmann later remembered. 'He walked with a stoop. His hands trembled. But it was surprising how much will power and determination still radiated from this man.' Newsclips filmed by the Nazi authorities in fact reveal a man who appeared to be on the verge of collapse.
That afternoon, in the ruined Reich Chancellery garden, the Fiihrer worked his way slowly down a line of Hitler Youth, some of whom had received the Iron Cross for attacking Soviet tanks. Hitler could not present any medals himself. To prevent his left arm shaking too obviously, he walked gripping it behind his back with his right hand. For brief moments, he could afford to release it. With what looked like the intensity of the repressed paedophile, he lingered to cup a cheek and tweak an ear, unconscious of his leering smile.

The same scene recreated for the film "Der Untergang" (The Downfall). This scene concerns twelve year old Peter Kranz during the Battle of Berlin in April 1945 who then receives an iron cross from Hitler for taking out two Soviet tanks.
Outside Churchill's own 'bunker' in London with Churchill seeing the ruins of Hitler's for himself on July 16 1945 just before the Potsdam conference. In her book Churchill Defiant, Barbara Leaming described Churchill emerging "from Hitler’s bunker under his own power, but when at last he reached the top of the stairs and passed through the door of a concrete blockhouse into the daylight, his hulking frame appeared so shaky and depleted that a Russian soldier guarding the entrance reached out a hand to steady him. The Chancellery Garden was a chaos of shattered glass, pieces of timber, tangled metal and abandoned fire hoses. Craters from Russian shells pocked the ground. In one of those craters, Hitler and his wife had supposedly been buried after Nazi officers burned their corpses. The rusted cans for the gasoline still lay nearby. Russians pointed out the spot where the bodies had been incinerated. Churchill paused briefly before turning away in disgust.”

In his own account of his visit to the Chancellery in the sixth and book of his account of the Second World War, Triumph and Tragedy (545) Churchill wrote how "[t]he city was nothing but a chaos of ruins. No notice had of course been given of our visit and the streets had only the ordinary passers-by. In the square in front of the Chancellery there was however a considerable crowd. When I got out of the car and walked about among them, except for one old man who shook his head disapprovingly, they all began to cheer. My hate had died with their surrender and I was much moved by their demonstrations, and also by their haggard looks and threadbare clothes. Then we entered the Chancellery, and for quite a long time walked through its shattered galleries and halls. Our Russian guides then took us to Hitler’s air-raid shelter.” 
Churchill’s tour of the ruined Chancellery was a personal triumph, but his empathy for humanity gave him no pleasure. On the eve of D-Day he had written in similar terms to his wife: “Do you realise that by the time you wake up in the morning 20,000 men may have been killed.” His visit to the ruins testified to his courage in the war—and to his relief that the suffering had ended.
Hitler's wax figure in a mock-up of the bunker at Madame Tussaud’s museum in Berlin.
Me at a reconstruction of Hitler’s living and work rooms from the “Führerbunker” in the Berlin Story Museum located in the former Anhalter Bunker. 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 Führer’s fears of asphyxiation, according to the exhibit’s curator Wieland Giebel. According to acclaimed historian Antony Beevor however, 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.

Photographs by William Vandivert for Life:

Two of the twenty or so pages of notes that Vandivert typed up for LIFE's editors back in New York, describing not only the pictures that were taken on each roll of film, but also the mood and the atmosphere pervading his experience of examining Hitler's bunker and the Reich Chancellery grounds. (An example of Vandivert's terse, vivid notations: "... view of chancellery palace ... This is completely bombed, burned, and shelled to hell.")
A new view of a photograph that appeared, heavily cropped, in LIFE of Hitler's command centre in the bunker, partially burned by retreating German troops beside a photo almost too-perfectly symbolic of Berlin in the last weeks of April, 1945 -- features a crushed globe and a bust of Hitler lying amid rubble and debris outside the Reich Chancellery building. Of the last image, Vandivert's notes simply stated: "mouldy ϟϟ cap lying in water on floor of sitting room."
This first image not only captures the chaotic state of Hitler's bunker when Vandivert made his way there in 1945, but also features an item that recalls the wanton gangsterism and greed that characterized Nazi rule: a 16th-century painting looted from a museum in Milan. The last two show that the Russians themselves left little intact or unmolested, with the final photo showing Russian soldiers and an unidentified civilian struggling to move a large bronze Nazi Party eagle which once loomed over a doorway of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. "They are loading this on to a truck," Vandivert typed in his notes, "to be carried away as a trophy."
Remains of the interior

East German colour video from circa 1988: STASI cameramen enter the Führerbunker for the first (and the last) time since it was closed in 1945. This was filmed just before East German army men blew out the entrances to the place with high explosive to allow the building of a parking lot for nearby condominiums upon it.
Skull thought to be Hitler's is from woman

A piece of skull with a bullet hole through it that Russians claimed was Hitler's actually came from a woman, scientists at the University of Connecticut concluded. The cranium fragment is part of a collection of Hitler artefacts preserved by Soviet intelligence in the months after Hitler and Eva Braun reportedly committed suicide. The collection, now in the Russian State Archive in Moscow, also includes bloodstained pieces of the sofa where Hitler reportedly shot himself after taking a cyanide pill. The artefacts were put on public display in 2000. Nick Bellantoni said his initial forensic exam of the skull fragment showed it didn't match what he knew of Hitler's biology: "The bone was very small and thin, and normally male bones are much more robust in our species. I thought it probably came from a woman or a younger man." Bellantoni then took several pinhead-size pieces of the skull fragment and swabs of the blood stains back to the university for analysis.
Bavarian International School students where Hitler's body crematedWar correspondents shown the grave where Hitler's charred body was alleged to be buried and the site today with my students from the Bavarian International School. Linda Strausbaugh, a professor of molecular and cell biology, determined that the DNA came from a 20- to 40-year-old woman. The skull fragment could have come from Braun, but to know that, the lab would need samples of her DNA. Also, the DNA samples were very degraded, making identification unlikely. Witnesses never reported Braun being shot in the head, Bellantoni said, and she is thought to have died of cyanide poisoning. "This person, with a bullet hole coming out the back of the head, would have been shot in the face, in the mouth or underneath the chin," he said. "It would have been hard for them to miss that."
DNA from the bloodstain swabs showed at least some of it came from a man, Strausbaugh said. "The DNA is relatively degraded and we don't have a full range of markers that we'd like to have," she said. "My gut feeling is he did commit suicide there, and maybe the blood sample we found is his," Bellantoni said.
"What this does is it raises a question: If this is not him who is it?" he later added. "And, two, what really happened there?
Goebbel's corpse
No doubts about the remains of Goebbels...

On the evening of 1 May, after giving poison to his children, Goebbels shot his wife and himself in the Chancellery Garden. The bodies were set fire to by Goebbels's adjutant, but the job was badly done, and the charred remains were found next day by the Russians. After Goebbels's death the Führerbunker was set on fire.
Hitler and Goebbels sharing a meal in the bunker on the left with a re-enactment of the Goebbels' suicide from Der Untergang. On April 22, he and his family moved into the Fuehrerbunker. Exactly a week later at 13.00 he acted as Hitler's best man when the latter married Eva Braun. At 4 a.m., Hitler named him his successor as Reich Chancellor in his political will. The day after Hitler's suicide Goebbels requested an armistice from the Soviet Union. However, Joseph Stalin insisted on an unconditional surrender, which persuaded Goebbels to give up. His wife Magda had the children murdered with cyanide Perhaps she gave them the poison herself. The dentist Helmut Kunz, a member of the Nazi Party and Waffen-ϟϟ, who initially administered morphine to the children, and Hitler's accompanying doctor Ludwig Stumpfegger were directly involved.  Then the couple took cyanide themselves. It is unclear whether Goebbels also shot himself. Their bodies, half charred, were found by Red Army soldiers in front of the bunker exit and later cremated in 1970 and their ashes scattered in the Ehle near Biederitz.
The Russians found the splinters of a poison phial in the right side of Dr Goebbels’ jaw. Magda too had swallowed poison. Like Hitler, he had probably also shot himself. Schwägermann certainly heard one shot—others heard two; on Schwägermann’s orders Ochs fired two coups de grace into the motionless bodies. The S.S. officers made only cursory attempts to burn the remains. A Walther pistol was found near them a few days later when the Russians tipped the two corpses onto a red and gold door ripped out of the chancellery building. The corpses were loaded onto a truck and driven away. There was one feature about the little doctor, even in death, that caught the Soviet pathologist’s attention. His fists were raised, as though spoiling for a fight. Perhaps, somewhere, for Dr Joseph Goebbels the dialectical battle was already beginning anew.
Irving (934) Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich
Site of Hitler's Chancellery 
On January 11, 1938, Hitler, stating that Bismarck's Old Chancellery was "fit for a soap company," not as headquarters of a Greater German Reich, officially commissioned Albert Speer, general construction inspector, with a new building along the entire Vossstrasse, which corresponds to a building front of 421 meters in length. The plans had begun as early as 1934, and from 1935 the eighteen buildings of the street were bought up piece by piece. The Palais Borsig on Vossstraße 1, which had also been in Reichsbesitz since 1934, was not demolished but integrated into the new building. The building plans were realised by Hans Peter Klinke.  On the other hand, building Vossstraße 2-10 was demolished until 1937. This also included the Bavarian embassy (number 3), the Ministry of Justice (number 4/5) and the Württemberg embassy (number 10). It was only with the official award of the building contract to Albert Speer that the buildings west of Vossstrasse 11-19 (including the Gauleitung Groß-Berlin of the Nazi party and the Saxon embassy) were demolished.  Beginning at the beginning of 1938, work on the completion of the New Reich Chancellery was carried out with a view to completing it in time for the annual reception of diplomats on January 7, 1939. Hitler demanded grand halls and salons which "will make an impression on people" and gave Speer a blank cheque - the cost of the project was immaterial - and over 4,000 workers toiled in shifts, so the work could be accomplished round-the-clock. The immense construction was "finished" 48 hours ahead of schedule, and earned Speer a reputation as a good organiser, which, with Hitler's fondness for Speer, led him to become Armaments Minister and director of forced labour during the war. Interior fittings dragged on well into the war, and in the end it cost over 90 Million Reichsmarks, (well over one billion American dollars today), and hosted the ministries of the Reich. However, it was not possible to complete all the works. Further construction work continued until the early 1940s.   The construction of the bunkers, which was not provided for in the original plans, began only in 1943. He was not under the New Reich Chancellery, but together with other air-raids used by Hitler in the garden of the Old Reich Chancellery (Wilhelmstrasse 77). The New Reichskanzlei also had by 1938 air-raid shelters, but these were visited by persons from the surrounding area. The construction of the Reichskanzlei cost a total of 90 million reichsmarks, which corresponds to current inflation of around 370 million euros.
Postcard from just after the war, and from our 2011 school trip

Erich Merker's 1940 painting of the building of the Reichschancellery and the actual construction drawing from two years earlier. In 1934-1935 Paul Ludwig Troost, Gerdy Troost and Leonhard Gall remodelled and refurnished the living and working rooms for Adolf Hitler , the Führerwohnung. The architects moved the representative rooms for receiving guests from the first floor to the ground floor. In the old corps de logis (the central building), this housed the salon next to the vestibule on the garden side, as well as the newly added hall building with a large dining room for diplomatic receptions and a winter garden. The cabinet room was moved from the 1930 extension back to the conference room on the upper floor of the central building. After the completion of the New Reich Chancellery, the cabinet room was moved there, whilst the conference room remained mostly unused, only Hitler's birthday presents were placed here every year. Also on the first floor were Hitler's private study, his bedroom with bathroom, and Eva Braun 's room. On the garden side, under the dining room and winter garden, an air raid shelter was built, the "Vorbunker" of the later Führerbunker .
Schematic plans of the New Reichschancellery

With the conception of the New Reich Chancellery, Speer was mainly concerned with the architectural representation of the power and glory of the leader and the empire. Thus, with the famous "Diplomaten-Route", he created a magnificent, long-stretched, 300-metre-long route from the monumental "Ehrenhof", through a porch to the "Mosaiksaal", the "Round Hall", the "Marmorgalerie" ending at the "Empfangssaal"- the Office of the Führer. This architectural concept was based on the Baroque Enfilade, the prestigious path leading to an absolute ruler by means of precious rooms. Speer and Hitler, however, wanted to surpass the baroque splendour. The length of the "Marmorgalerie" was twice as long as the "Mirror Hall of Versailles". Finally, the New Reich Chancellery should impressively underline the claim to German domination in Europe. Hitler's study was the largest and most magnificent hall in the building. It had a floor area of nearly 400 square meters at an altitude of nearly ten meters. Only the finest materials were used: dark red marble, rosewood and rosewood for the walls, rosewood for the coffered ceiling, and Ruhpolding stone slabs for the floor. The generously dimensioned desk was decorated with marquetry and the plate covered with red leather. The cardboard table had a five-metre-long and 1.60-metre-wide marble slab made of one piece. On the walls hung precious paintings in a magnificent setting according to Hitler's art taste. Hitler used this office mainly for purposes of representation. 
Albert Speer commissioned numerous artists and artisans to design the new Chancellery. Thus the furniture of the power centre was specially made for this construction by hand. This also applied to silver cutlery and tableware, tapestries and curtains.
Bavarian International School students at site of Hitler's chancellery
The view of the site of the Chancellery from the subway station into Vossstrasse taken during my 2018 trip with my Bavarian International School students.

German newsreels showing crowds greeting Hitler in the entrance to the courtyard of the Old Reich Chancellery on his 50th birthday on April 20th, 1939 and, on the right, crowds saluting Hitler on the Chancellery balcony after his triumphant return by train from France, July 6, 1940. Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring stands beside him.
The main entrance to one of the wings of the Reich Chancellery building. The building was heavily damaged during the war with the remnants being destroyed not long after the war.
Left: The garden courtyard with the cafeteria visible on the right.
Right:The interior of the dining hall.
 The main entrance to the Reichschancellery by night.
Left: The arched hallway running in front of the dining hall.
Right: A small courtyard inside the chancellery.
Virtual Tour of Hitler's Headquarters

The pictures below are based on over 800 photographs and documents from public and private archives in Berlin displaying a perfectly accurate rendering of much of the architecture, along with some interiors, of the Third Reich. Over 2 million objects -- including fallen tree branches in the courtyards, swastika-bedecked chairs in the dining room, books, pipes, papers -- and 600 buildings are presented with stunning visual clarity. The creator, Christoph Neubauer, used the original architectural plans and compared them with photographs made by the East German secret police, the Stasi, in the 1970s. Meticulously overlaying the various plans and studying the corresponding photographs enabled Neubauer to create a digital 3D image of how the bunker would have looked although he "had to guess on the colours." Most previous presentations of Hitler's lair, Neubauer says, seem "frighteningly superficial." The proportions are wrong, the ceiling height is off, the doors and airlocks falsely positioned. In the film "Downfall," the Führer and his henchmen are seen to be living in a dank, dark cavern with concrete walls, water seeping through the floors and surrounded by poor lighting, an image widely believed "not because it is true, but because that is how Germans want to continue to imagine Hitler's end. I understand the need to do that, but it's not how things looked."
The Reich Cabinet Meeting Room: The Reich cabinet meeting room was renovated between 1875-1878 by Wilhelm Neumann on behalf of Bismarck; this is how it appeared until its destruction in 1944. The only novelty was the 1934-1935 implement refurbishment by Paul Ludwig Troost.  The room itself remained mostly unused; only Hitler's birthday presents were placed here every year. Even though Hitler allowed discussions in the cabinet until the Enabling Act, which changed in April 1933, there were no formal votes from the start. Furthermore, as Hitler built his power base outside the cabinet, the number of cabinet meetings declined. There were 31 meetings in February and March 1933, only sixteen in April and May 1933, and a total of 42 meetings took place for the rest of the year and 1934. Hitler's cabinet met for the last time on February 5, 1938. Hitler communicated with the ministers in isolation, sometimes directly, sometimes even indirectly through the heads of the Reich or party chancellery. All ministers effectively became recipients of orders from the 'Führer and Reich Chancellor'. In addition, numerous special representatives of Hitler undermined the activities of the ministers.
Left: The Exit Of The Vorbunker: The exit of the Vorbunker was located opposite the elevator. It is likely that this exit was used as a second entrance to the Vorbunker. While the residents of the Old Reich Chancellery used the main entrance to the Vorbunker, at the same time the residents of northern extension could enter the Vorbunker through the air lock of this bunker exit. Centre: The Engine Room: The technical heart of the Vorbunker. The generator was able to provide power for the bunker even during a power failure. Left in the picture shown are the 4 air filters of the bunker filter system. Only after filtering the air through these filters, it was then possible to distribute the air through the ventilation openings into the rooms of the bunker. Right: Reception Hall and Vorbunker: The air raid shelter and the reception hall were designed to form a static symbiosis. The shelter, with its thick concrete ceiling, formed a solid foundation for the marble columns in the reception hall. These columns reached 50 cm downward through the air cushion beneath the reception hall floor, resting directly on the bunker ceiling. The placement of the pillars was also determined by the layout of the shelter. Each pillar was placed squarely on top of an intersection between two bunker walls. The extra pressure bearing down on these intersections added strength and stability to the air raid shelter.
Left: The Basement Of The Reception Hall: The basement rooms were connected by passages on the eastern and western sides of the shelter. These could be used as escape routes, should it become necessary to evacuate the bunker in an emergency. The rooms and passages that surrounded the shelter also had another function. They created a space between the exterior walls of the building, and the bunker itself. This offered additional protection, as bombs which hit the construction from the side would explode in this space, before reaching the air raid shelter itself. Centre: The Staircase To The Basement Of The Reception Hall: East of the winter garden was the staircase, which linked the basement of the reception hall directly to the “Fuehrer's Apartment”. The entire northern part of the Old Reich Chancellery was called “Fuehrer's Apartment”, including the dining room and the winter garden. Directly opposite the staircase was the main entrance to the Vorbunker. Right: The Emergency Exit Of The Vorbunker: In the western area of the basement, one can recognise the air cushion of the reception hall above. On the right is the western outer wall of the bunker recognisable on which stood the western pillars of the reception hall. The garden façade of the reception hall rested on the basement wall to the left. This picture shows the emergency exit of Vorbunker fenced by a railing. This exit was only used as an emergency and it remained closed at all times.
The last photographs of Hitler alive as he inspects the damage made to the Chancellery. Beside him stands his personal adjutant Julius Schaub. The photograph was taken by the same photographer who took the one of Hitler inspecting the Hitlerjugend in the Reichschancellery garden on April 20, 1945. The latter photo shown re-enacted to form the basis of promotional poster for Der Untergang. During the air raids on Berlin, the Neue Reichskanzlei was only slightly damaged until the end of the war. 
Nazi eagle Imperial War Museum London
After the conquest of Berlin, Soviet troops captured one of the Nazi eagles, a bronze work of Kurt Schmid-Ehmen from the Reichskanzlei which can be seen today at the Imperial War Museum after the British were given it by the Soviets in 1946, shown here with Drake Winston. One of the central symbols of the power of Hitler was the dismantled building complex of the New and Old Reich Chancellery and the Palais Borsig from 1949 to 1953 under orders of the Soviet Control Commission. After 1945 in the DDR, the use of saline marble (a red limestone and a petrographic sense not a genuine marble) was used and it was reported that floor and wall claddings of the New Reich Chancellery were reused for the foyers of the Humboldt University and the Old Palais, the Mohrenstraße underground station and the Soviet memorials at Treptow Park, Tiergarten and Schönholzer Heide although there is no direct proof for this. Roberto Rossellini's 1947 film Deutschland im Jahre Null have scenes in the ruins of the New Reichskanzlei in which it can be seen that the floor coverings have already been removed in the area of the Marmorgalerie.  During the foundation work for new buildings on the corner of Vossstraße and Ebertstrasse, the fragments of former window sections or roof cornices were recovered in February 2008. Today a panel of the Foundation's Topography of Terror recalls the building. The subsoil was rebuilt with multi-storey flat construction during the East German era. In the street corner of the ground floor is now a Chinese restaurant.
Ribbentrop's globe Ribbentrop's globe
Standing beside the 110 kilogram globe produced for Ribbentrop in Munich by architect Paul Ludwig Troost and as it appeared when captured by Soviet troops. In addition to the monumental dimensions of a height of 150 cm and a diameter of 135 cm, the Great Columbus Globe for State and Industry Leaders was the largest globe to be produced in the series with two of them at Hitler's Chancellery whilst another was in Hitler's Berghof. At least 28 large globes can currently be accounted for of which fifteen are said to still exist today. This globe can be dated to 1938. Being the 2nd edition, it differs from the 1st edition only in slight geographical corrections and updates in the area of ​​Italian East Africa and in the Antarctic. 

The ruins of the Reich Chancellery where Hitler's and Eva Braun's bodies were cremated.
Recreation of Speer surveying the remains of his work and final battle outside the chancellery in Der Untergang.
July 9, 1941 and July 12, 1946. 
The Old Reich Chancellery was severely damaged in 1945 during the war. On October 13, 1948, the Soviet Military Administration in Germany (SMAD) ordered the building complex associated with the Nazi regime, consisting of Palais Borsig and the Old and New Reich Chancellery, to be demolished because it could have become a place of pilgrimage for right-wing extremists. The ruins of the Old Reich Chancellery were then already removed in the course of 1949. Parts of the marble walls of the building were used in the construction of the very first memorial to the Soviet liberator soldier in Berlin and the mass grave in the Tiergarten park, to repair the Morenstrasse Berlin metro station damaged during the war as shown below.
Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin 
The bronze statue of Kurt Christoph Graf von Schwerin at Zietenplatz in front of the Reich Chancellery and today with my students.
The Reich Chancellery was almost bare. Paintings, tapestries and furniture had been removed. There were huge cracks in the ceilings, smashed windows were boarded up and plywood partitions concealed the worst of the bomb damage. (94)
[On Hitler's last birthday] Goring, Ribbentrop, Donitz, Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, Speer, Keitel, Jodl and Krebs were driven to the Reich Chancellery before noon. There, they trooped through the huge rooms faced in polished marble, with doors almost to the ceiling. This quasi-cinematic monument to conspicuous power now looked tawdry in its half-wrecked state, yet it remained deeply sinister.
The garden portal in 1939 showing one of the twin "Walking Horses" by Josef Thorak, upon which Hitler gazed from the offices of his New Chancellery building, and now, just rediscovered.
The site then and in the aftermath of the war. The monumental horse sculptures and granite reliefs by sculptors Josef Thorak and Arno Breker were lost the year the Berlin Wall fell have now been found, police said in a statement. German police in May 2015  said they had found the long-lost masterpieces, commissioned by the Third Reich, in a warehouse after staging 10 raids in five states targeting eight suspected members, aged 64 to 79, of a ring of illegal art dealers. Bild newspaper reported that the illicit art dealers had in recent years asked for up to four million euros on the black market for the works, which have survived a turbulent odyssey. As the war turned against Nazi Germany and bombs hailed down on Berlin, the sculptures were evacuated to a town east of the capital which in 1945 was occupied by victorious Russian forces.  The horses resurfaced around 1950 on the sports grounds of a Red Army barracks in the nearby town of Eberswalde in what was then the German Democratic Republic. There they would stay for some 38 years, and time took its toll. Bild reported that the horses were painted over in gold, damaged by bullets and had their tails broken and inexpertly reaffixed. Sometimes children played on them. Decades on, an art historian discovered the horses and wrote a newspaper article about them, published in early 1989. Within weeks, they were gone -- likely sold off by the DDR regime, which was then in its final throes and in desperate need of hard cash.  The "Walking Horses", having vanished for a quarter century, were found Wednesday May 20 in a warehouse in Bad Duerkheim, in the western state of  Rhineland-Palatinate. The Bild report said that, while they will now likely become the property of the German state, it was also possible that descendants of their creator Thorak could launch a legal claim for them.
Arno Breker’s Sword Bearer
The building was meant to intimidate foreign guests with the entrance flanked by
Arno Breker’s two monumental figures he had titled Torch Bearer and Sword Bearer; I'm standing beside the latter. As the denazification officials noted after the war in the artist's favour, the sculptures were renamed by Hitler after their submission, becoming known as The Party and Wehrmacht, respectively, thereby giving them a political meaning that the artist had not intended. In any event, Alfred Rosenberg thought that his “monumental figures [were] a representation of the ‘force and willpower’ of the age.” Robert Scholz thought they "stood at the beginning of a new politically determined epoch, because it could embody most immediately the intended rejuvenation of the world. . . . Arno Breker’s sculptural works are symbols of the dignity and creative drive that is at the basis of the political idea of National Socialism.” In addition to the heroic statues for the New Reich Chancellery, forty-two of his works appeared in the eight Great German Art Exhibitions (GDK) held annually in Munich, where the regime exhibited officially sanctioned art.

 His works, according to a later critic, “glorified the racial struggle, they were symbolic stone piles of Aryan beliefs.” They were “a beatification of ‘militarism’ and ‘racial soundness’ based on the struggle against and even liquidation of all things not beautiful.” Another scholar noted, “While it was the function of cartoonists to circulate a negative picture of ‘inferior’ races, the art of Breker and Thorak provided, perfected and emphasized a positive image of a Nordic super-race within a scheme of classicising representation. Stürmer-caricature and Breker sculpture cannot be separated from one another. They were both equally and simultaneously promoted because they endorsed and illustrated racist policy.” Jost Hermand took this idea to its conclusion, observing, “National Socialist art is thus not unproblematically ‘beautiful,’ not merely devoted to perfect forms and empty content; it is also eminently brutal, an art based on convictions which, when realized, literally left corpses in their wake.”
Petropoulos (225) The Faustian Bargain
Fritz Todt's funeral in February, 1942 with Wehrmacht seen behind.

Before and after the war
Mohrenstrasse underground station with the Reichschancellery in the background during the war and Mohrenstraße itself during the Battle of Berlin and today.
The original station designed by Alfred Grenander opened on 1 October 1908 on the new branch from Potsdamer Platz to Spittelmarkt. It was then called Kaiserhof after a nearby grand hotel on the Wilhelmplatz square. It was rebuilt in the course of the 1936 Summer Olympics whilst Wilhelmplatz was redesigned by the Nazis. To make room for parades, the linden trees and lawns in the square were removed, and the subway station's distinctive pergola entrance in the middle was replaced with an unadorned, scaled-down version.
When East Berlin fell under communist administration after the war, the Wilhelmplatz square as well as the station were renamed on August 18, 1950 to Thälmannplatz, after the communist leader Ernst Thälmann. With the erection of the Berlin Wall from August 13, 1961, the line ceased to run between East and West Berlin and the station became the terminus of the line in East Berlin. As in the 1980s the square was overbuilt by a housing estate and the Czechoslovak embassy, the station on April 15, 1986 was renamed Otto-Grotewohl-Straße, the name of the Wilhelmstraße at that time, after the politician Otto Grotewohl. On October 3, 1991, following German reunification, the station was renamed Mohrenstraße. The line was reconnected on November 13, 1993 and simultaneously reconfigured, forming a new U2 line between Vinetastraße in the east and Ruhleben in the west.

The red marble inside is said to have come directly from the Mosaics Hall in the Reich Chancellery courtesy of the Red Army. Parts of the building's marble walls were also rumoured to be used in the building of the Soviet war memorial located in Treptower Park and supposedly in the construction of the Moscow Metro's palatial-style subway stations after the war. 
My students from our 2016 trip. According to Overy, 
The history of one of the large new camps built in 1940 after the defeat of France and the occupation of Alsace illustrates the close relationship between labour and repression. The camp location was determined by deposits of rare red granite found in the northern Vosages mountains, which Albert Speer needed for his victory buildings planned for Berlin. He agreed that the deposits should be exploited by the ϟϟ quarrying company, using concentration camp labour. A site was found at Natzweiler, next to the red stone, and construction began in the spring of 1941 using prisoners.
The Dictators: Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia (605)
As to be expected at this period of history, Woke organisations and movements have found the need to criticise the name of the street and subway station. In the course of the anti-racist demonstrations and the associated debate about structural racism in after the death of George Floyd in June 2020 in the United States thousands of miles away at the same time Germany was summarily allowing 2 million Syrians, the Berlin transport company announced that it wanted to rename the station. As a possibility, the transport company announced that they wanted to use the name of the adjacent "Glinkastraße" leading to yet more criticism about apparent anti-Semitic statements made by the Russian composer Mikhail Ivanovich Glinka. 
Hitler's red marble Mohrenstraße
Now, after the destruction caused by the Anglo-American air-raids, the cannon shots of the Russians and the subsequent demolition and removal of the rest during the immediate post-war years, only the marble used for restructuring the subway station "Mohrenstrasse" remain as a witness to pretensions of the Chancellery. These residual plates of marble, together with the few lamp-posts still working not far away, are the only remains of the vision dreamt, projected and realised by Albert Speer and his patron Adolf Hitler.
Memorial for the Murdered Jews of EuropeAcross the way from Hitler's last act is the extensive Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe. Above is an aerial photo of the Memorial site designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineers Buro Happold and consisting of a 19,000 square metre site covered with 2,711 stelae arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field.
Bavarian International School students at Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe
My students in 2016 standing among the stelae which vary in height from eight feet to just under sixteen feet and three feet wide, supposedly designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere; a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason. A 2005 copy of the Foundation for the Memorial's official English tourist pamphlet, however, states that the design represents a radical approach to the traditional concept of a memorial, partly because Eisenman did not use any symbolism. An attached underground "Place of Information" holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims, obtained from the Israeli museum Yad Vashem. They are found underground- not marked prominently, not easy to find, and not integral to the display.
Richard Brody in The New Yorker argues that without knowing beforehand, 
it would be impossible to know what the structure is meant to commemorate; there’s nothing about these concrete slabs that signifies any of the words of the title, except, perhaps, “memorial”—insofar as some of them, depending on their height, may resemble either headstones or sarcophagi. So it’s something to do with death. And as for the title itself—which murdered Jews? When? Where? Does the list include Rosa Luxemburg, who was killed in Berlin by rightist thugs in 1919, or the foreign minister Walther Rathenau, also killed here by rightist thugs, in 1922? Or Isaac Babel and Osip Mandelstam, who died in Soviet captivity? Or, pardon my sarcasm, Claude Lanzmann’s uncle, who was killed in Paris by his jealous mistress?
The title doesn’t say “Holocaust” or “Shoah”; in other words, it doesn’t say anything about who did the murdering or why—there’s nothing along the lines of “by Germany under Hitler’s regime,” and the vagueness is disturbing. Of course, the information is familiar, and few visitors would be unaware of it, but the assumption of this familiarity—the failure to mention it at the country’s main memorial for the Jews killed in the Holocaust—separates the victims from their killers and leaches the moral element from the historical event, shunting it to the category of a natural catastrophe. The reduction of responsibility to an embarrassing, tacit fact that “everybody knows” is the first step on the road to forgetting.

Incredibly, the company employed to produce anti-graffiti coating for the blocks was Degussa, a big German chemical company, which once owned Degesch- the firm that produced the Zyklon B used to gas Jews in concentration camps! On October 14, 2003 the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger published articles noting that the Degussa company was involved in the construction of the memorial, producing the anti-graffiti substance Protectosil used to cover the stelae; the company had been involved in various ways in the Nazi persecution of the Jews. A subsidiary company of Degussa, Degesch, had even produced the Zyklon B gas used to poison people in the gas chambers. Indeed it transpired that it was not by coincidence that the involvement of Degussa had been publicised in Switzerland, because another company that had bid to produce the anti-graffiti substance was located there. Further, the foundation managing the construction had known about Degussa's involvement for at least a year but had not done anything to stop it. It also transpired that another Degussa subsidiary, Woermann Bauchemie GmbH, had already poured the foundation for the stelae. In the course of the discussions about what to do, which lasted until November 13, most Jewish organisations including the Central Council of Jews in Germany spoke out against working with Degussa. Regardless, that same day the decision was made to continue working with the company. As German-Jewish journalist, author, and TV personality Henryk M. Broder said, "the Jews don't need this memorial, and they are not prepared to declare a pig sty kosher."
Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe fashion shoot
Easyjet was forced to apologise after fashion photographs shot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were published in its in-flight magazine. In the pictures, models pose in designer clothes among the concrete blocks of the "Field of Stelae". The budget airline said it was unaware of the images until they appeared in the magazine, which is published by a company called INK whose relationship with Easyjet was under review. For its part, INK issued a statement on its website which actually claimed that its intention "was to encourage passengers to visit for themselves." Five years later British model Rhian Sugden posted a selfie promoting herself on Instagram accompanied by the caption “ET phone home”. Despite the considerable backlash she defended her post stating that “I’ve got no time for this moaning generation. I’m on holiday. Sightseeing and took a pic. Under no circumstances is this disrespectful.” Such outrage from thoughtless selfies led Israeli artist Shahak Shapira in 2016 to highlight the disparity between visitors’ grinning selfies and the reason behind the Holocaust Memorial in his project Yolocaust, photoshopping people’s pictures of themselves smiling, jumping and even doing handstands whilst visiting onto piles of dead bodies in concentration camps, or with stick thin prisoners in the background. More recently a 21-year-old Italian managed to severely injure himself after jumping from the memorial at around 1 in the morning and taken to the hospital with head injuries. At the end of that same year a viral clip, shared on TikTok by the account @influencersinthewild in which a blonde woman modelling a black sports bra and leggings draped over the memorial was viewed 12 million times.
Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe Grindr
  Men cruising for men at the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. Note the man bottom left who stripped off. Despite, this, Grindr's CEO Joel Simkhai has publicly declared himself to be "deeply moved" by how his clients "take part in the memory of the holocaust."
In late January 1938, Adolf Hitler officially assigned his favourite architect, Albert Speer, to build the New Reich Chancellery around the corner on Voßstraße, a western branch-off of Wilhelmstraße, requesting that the building be completed within a year. Hitler commented that Bismarck's Old Chancellery was "fit for a soap company"[4] and not suitable as headquarters of a Greater German Reich. It nevertheless remained his official residence, where Hitler lived in the so-called Führerwohnung ("Leader apartment"). The Old and New Chancellery shared a large garden area, with the underground Führerbunker, where Hitler ultimately committed suicide at the end of April 1945. Hitler placed the entire northern side of the Voßstraße at Speer's disposal, assigning him the work of creating grand halls and salons which "will make an impression on people".[5] Speer was given a blank cheque—Hitler stated that the cost of the project was immaterial—and was instructed that the building be of solid construction, and that it be finished by the following January in time for the next New Year's diplomatic reception to be held in the new building. Speer claimed in his autobiography that he had completed the task of clearing the site, designing, constructing, and furnishing the building in less than a year. In fact, preliminary planning and versions of the designs were already being worked on as early as 1935. To clear the space for the New Reich Chancellery, the buildings on the northern side of Voßstraße No. 2–10 had been demolished in 1937. Over 4,000 people worked in shifts, so that progress could be made around the clock. The immense construction was finished 48 hours ahead of schedule, and the project earned Speer a reputation as a good organiser, which played a part in the architect becoming Armaments Minister and a director of forced labour later in the war. Speer recalls that the whole work force—masons, carpenters, plumbers, etc. were invited to inspect the finished building. Hitler then addressed the workers in the Sportpalast; interior fittings, however, were not finished until the early 1940s. In the end, the project cost over 90 million Reichsmarks (equivalent to 400 million 2021 €), and hosted the various ministries of the Reich.[6] In his memoirs, Speer described the impression of the Reichskanzlei on a visitor: From Wilhelmsplatz an arriving diplomat drove through great gates into a court of honour. By way of an outside staircase he first entered a medium-sized reception room from which double doors almost seventeen feet high opened into a large hall clad in mosaic. He then ascended several steps, passed through a round room with domed ceiling, and saw before him a gallery 480 feet (150 m) long. Hitler was particularly impressed by my gallery because it was twice as long as the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. Hitler was delighted: "On the long walk from the entrance to the reception hall they'll get a taste of the power and grandeur of the German Reich!" During the next several months he asked to see the plans again and again but interfered remarkably little in this building, even though it was designed for him personally. He let me work freely. The series of rooms comprising the approach to Hitler's reception gallery were decorated with a rich variety of materials and colours, and totalled 221 m (725 ft) in length. The gallery itself was 147.5 m (484 ft) long. Hitler's own office was 400 square meters in size. From the outside, the chancellery had a stern, authoritarian appearance. From the Wilhelmplatz, guests would enter the Chancellery through the Court of Honour (Ehrenhof). The building's main entrance was flanked by two bronze statues by sculptor Arno Breker: "Wehrmacht" and "Die Partei" ("Armed Forces" and "The Party"). Hitler is said to have been greatly impressed by the building and was uncharacteristically free in his praise for Speer, lauding the architect as a "genius". The chancellor's great study was a particular favourite of the dictator. The big marble-topped table served as an important part of the Nazi leader's military headquarters, the study being used for military conferences from 1944 on. On the other hand, the Cabinet room was never used for its intended purpose. The New Reich Chancellery suffered severe damage during the Battle of Berlin between April and May 1945 (in comparison, the Old Reich Chancellery was not as badly damaged). Andrei Gromyko, who would later become the Soviet foreign minister, visited the partially-destroyed structure a few weeks after the fighting in the city had completely ceased. He recalls, "We reached it not without difficulties. Ruined edifices, formless heaps of metal and ferro-concrete encumbered the way. To the very entrance of the Chancellery, the car could not approach. We had to reach it on foot..."[This quote needs a citation] He noted the New Reich Chancellery "...was almost destroyed... Only the walls remained, riddled by countless shrapnel, yawning by big shot-holes from shells. Ceilings survived only partly. Windows loomed black by emptiness."[This quote needs a citation] The last stage of defense by defending German troops took place inside the Reich Chancellery, as mentioned by Gromyko, who stated the following: Doors, windows and chandeliers testified on them the big imprint of the battle, most of them being broken. The lowest floors of the Reich Chancellery represented chaos. Obviously, the garrison of the Citadel fiercely resisted here... All around lie heaps of crossbeams and overhead covers, both metal and wood and huge pieces of ferro-concrete. On both sides of a narrow corridor, there were certain disposed cells, all eroded by explosions… All this produced a grim and distressing impression. If photography of this underground citadel of Hitler existed, they would become a proper illustration to Dante's Hell; just select which circle.[7] After World War II in Europe ended, the remains in what was then East Berlin (the Soviet-occupied sector of a divided Berlin) were demolished by the order of the Soviet occupation forces. Parts of the building's marble walls were rumoured to have been used in the building of the Soviet war memorial located in Treptower Park, or to renovate and repair the nearby war-damaged Mohrenstraße U-Bahn subway station. Petrographic analyses of materials used for construction there did not confirm those rumours.[8] Some of the so-called "red marble" (actually limestone) obtained from the demolition of the New Reich Chancellery was also supposedly used in the construction of the Moscow Metro's palatial-style subway stations after the war.[citation needed] Also, it is alleged that a heater from one of Hitler's rooms was placed in a Protestant hospital located not too far away from the Reich Chancellery.[9] While the western half of the plot was used by the East German government for the establishment of the so-called "Death-Strip" adjacent to the Berlin Wall in 1961 (when the barrier was being constructed), a Plattenbau apartment block, together with a kindergarten, was built on the eastern half (along Wilhelmstraße) during the 1980s.