Showing posts with label Tempelhof. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tempelhof. Show all posts

Nazi Sites outside Central Berlin

Site of the Wannsee Conference, a meeting of senior Nazi officials of the Nazi German regime, held on January 20, 1942 to inform senior Nazis and senior Governmental administrators of plans for the "Final solution to the Jewish question." It was convened by the second-highest ranking ϟϟ leader, Reinhard Heydrich, in a luxurious villa taken over by the ϟϟ in the wealthy Berlin suburb of Wannsee. 
  Heydrich convened the conference to discuss “the Final Solution of  the Jewish  Question” on  20  January  1942  at  columned  official residence set amid gardens on the Wannsee, a popular public lake outside Berlin. Present, Gerlach says, summarising, “were five representatives from the Security Police and the SD, eight politicians and functionaries from the civil administration, and two representatives from the party, one from the party chancellery and one from the Race and Resettlement Office of the ϟϟ.” Eichmann and Müller, now fully informed, were among them. “We   called  it  the  Conference  of  State  Secretaries,” Eichmann  told Avner Less. It has come to be known as the Wannsee Conference.

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Its purpose was to announce the launching of the “final solution” of the Jewish question in Europe to leading government and party bureaucrats and to secure their cooperation in this project. Historians have not been able to determine with absolute certainty just when Hitler made the decision for systematic genocide. On July 31, 1941, six weeks after the ϟϟ Einsatzgruppen began murdering Soviet Jews in coordination with “Operation Barbarossa,” Heydrich was delegated the task of drawing up plans for “a total solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe”. It seems almost certain that he was given the green light to implement these plans by October 1941, when Jewish emigration was prohibited throughout Europe and preparations for the deportation of German Jews were put into place. Euthanasia “experts” had already been transferred to occupied Poland to set up the facilities for mass killings by poison gas. The ruthless racial and ideological war against the Soviet Union provided the conditions under which a systematic extermination program could be launched without generating wide publicity.
During my first visit in 2007
The Conference had originally been called for December 8, but the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour and the launching of the Soviet offensive against the German siege of Moscow forced a postponement. The minutes do not openly describe the killing programme, but none of the high-ranking participants from the various government ministries could have been in any doubt what Heydrich meant when he said that the remnant of Jews who survived forced labour would have to be “appropriately dealt with.” Adolf Eichmann, the specialist on the “Jewish question” in the Reich Security Main Office run by Heydrich, provided the population statistics, which overstated the number of Jews in Europe by some two million. Much of the conference was taken up by the question of whether Jews of mixed ancestry (Mischlinge) and Jews in mixed marriages were to be included in the “final solution.” The ϟϟ was forced by considerations of public morale to respect these distinctions in Germany itself. In the occupied areas, however, the Nazis made no exceptions for part-Jews or Jews in mixed marriages.

In the rear, alongside the lake in 1922 and standing in front in 2013.
By the time of the conference, important preliminary decisions had been made on individual points discussed at the meeting. Hinrich Lohse had asked in a letter "Subject: Jewish executions" on November 15, 1941 from Berlin: 
Should this be done regardless of age and gender and economic interests [for example, the Wehrmacht in skilled workers in armaments factories]? It goes without saying that the purification of Jews from the East is an urgent task; but their solution must be brought into harmony with the needs of the war economy . So far, I have not been able to take such an instruction from the orders on the Jewish question in the 'brown folder' or from other decrees.
During my 2020 senior class trip
The Reich Ministry for the Occupied Eastern Territories replied on December 18, 1941 that in the meantime, oral discussions had clarified and that economic issues should be "fundamentally disregarded in the settlement of the problem". On December 16, 1941, at a government meeting, Hans Frank spoke of the intention to make the General Government "free of Jews" and referred to the upcoming "big meeting in Berlin" at Heydrich's. It is not clear why the conference was postponed by about six weeks. The historian Christian Gerlach in his book Krieg, Ernährung, Völkermord… interprets Hitler's declaration of December 12, 1941, that the extermination of the Jews must be a necessary consequence of the world war that has now begun, as a decision on the Holocaust resulting in a new situation that required fundamental changes to the plans proposed by Heydrich. Such an interpretation however is shared only by a few specialist historians. 
At the memorial and educational site "House of the Wannsee Conference" my students conduct self-guided tours to their peers over roughly two hours where, in small groups, they  gather information on the topic of a chosen room, supervised and supported by the site's educators before presenting their findings to the whole cohort. The main theme they are presented with involves the widespread assumption that the Europe-wide genocide was decided as an "almost irreversible error in historiography and journalism" although the conference itself remains of great historical importance: Here the ongoing genocide was coordinated and brought to the attention of the highest officials of all important ministries, in which numerous people subsequently provided organisational support as “desk perpetrators."
 Through the site's programme they address the persecution and murder of European Jews, the history of National Socialism, the events that led up to this history and its aftermath. A number of my students managed to use the experience to write successful research papers for the IBDP's Extended Essay and Internal Assessment in History.
On the ground floor of the house, the permanent exhibition "The Wannsee Conference and the Genocide of European Jews" provides information about the process of exclusion, persecution, expulsion, ghettoisation and extermination of Jews in the German sphere of influence between 1933 and 1945. When we visited in October 2020 the permanent exhibition was revised again and now bears the heading “The meeting at Wannsee and the murder of European Jews”.
It was here at the conference that the responsibilities for the deportation and extermination campaigns started were clarified with the measures for their implementation coordinated and their timings determined. Finally, the groups of those Jews who were destined for deportation and thus for extermination were defined here. This required the cooperation of a multitude of  institutions that had not previously been informed about the “final solution”.
The contents recorded in the minutes of the Wannsee Conference include Heydrich's announcement that he had been appointed by Göring as “Commissioner for the preparation of the final solution to the European Jewish question” and that the Reichsführer ϟϟ and Chief of the German Police- Himmler- was responsible who wanted to use the conference to coordinate with the central authorities directly involved. Heydrich reported on the emigration of around 537,000 Jews from the "Altreich",  Austria, as well as Bohemia and Moravia, which were to be replaced by "the evacuation of the Jews to the East" after "prior approval by the Führer". Around eleven million Jews would be considered for the “final solution to the European Jewish question”. This number also included "religious Jews" from the unoccupied part of France, England, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and other neutral or opposing states outside the German sphere of influence. 
The protocol further stated that 
In large labour columns, with separation of the sexes, the able-bodied Jews are being led into these areas to build roads, although a large part will undoubtedly be lost through natural reduction. Any remaining stock will have to be treated accordingly, since this is undoubtedly the most resilient part, since this, representing a natural selection, is to be addressed as the nucleus of a new Jewish construction when released. 
In the process, "Europe from west to east" would be combed through because of “socio-political necessities” and to free up living space in the Reich territory. First, the German Jews were to be transported to transit ghettos and from there further to the east.  Jews over the age of 65 and Jews with war invalidity or bearers of the Iron Cross I would be sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto which would "turn off the many interventions in one fell swoop". After possible difficulties in the “evacuation operation” in the “occupied or influenced European territories” had been addressed and discussed, the question of how to deal with “Jewish mixed race” and “mixed marriages” was addressed. 
The protocol further states that the Nuremberg Laws should "to a certain extent" form the basis for discussions. In fact, Heydrich's suggestions went far beyond that: As a rule, "mixed race 1st degree" ("half-Jews") were to be treated like "full Jews" regardless of their religious affiliation. Exceptions were only made for those “half-breeds” who were married to a “ German-blooded ” partner and who had not remained childless. Other exemptions could only be granted by the highest party authorities. Every "1st degree hybrid" who was allowed to remain in the German Reich was to be sterilised . "Mixed race 2nd degree" ("quarter Jews ") were as a rule to be put on an equal footing with the "German-blooded", unless they were classified as Jews due to their conspicuous Jewish appearance or poor police and political record. In the case of existing "mixed marriages" between "full Jews" and "German-blooded" people, the Jewish part should either be "evacuated" or sent to Theresienstadt if resistance from German relatives was to be expected. Further regulations were addressed for “mixed marriages” in which one or both spouses were “mixed race”. These detailed proposals were rejected as impractical by State Secretary Stuckart, who had been involved in drafting the Nuremberg Laws in 1935. He suggested that the compulsory divorce of "mixed marriages" be made mandatory and that all "first-degree mixed race" be sterilised. Since no agreement could be reached on these points, these detailed questions were postponed to the follow-up conferences. Josef Bühler, Hans Frank's State Secretary in the Office of the Governor General, urged Heydrich at the conference to start the measures on Polish territory in the so-called "General Government" because he saw no transport problems there and "to solve the Jewish question in this area as quickly as possible." In any case, the majority of these Jews were considered unable to work and "as carriers of the disease are an eminent danger."
The conference room at the time and as during our 2016 class trip. Students are standing around a table with copies of the minutes of the meeting, drawn up by Eichmann which were based on shorthand notes and revised several times by Müller and Heydrich. A total of thirty copies of the final version were issued, stamped as “Geheime Reichssache” and then sent to the participants or their offices. Only the 16th copy, that of the Martin Luther, has been found so far, apparently only escaping the destruction of the other files because Luther had been imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for an intrigue against Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop , which is why his department had been dissolved and the files had been relocated. Parts of the archive were initially imported by Americans to Marburg Castle and in February 1946 in the Telefunken factory in Berlin-Lichterfelde microfilmed for the first time. In the summer of 1948 the entire inventory was brought to safety in Whaddon Hall in Buckinghamshire, filmed again and returned to the Political Archives of the Foreign Office in Bonn at the end of the 1950s; the document has been in Berlin since the Political Archives moved. Robert Kempner, the deputy of the American chief prosecutor Robert H. Jackson, stated that the discovery of the minutes of the Wannsee Conference was reported to him in March 1947 during the preparations for the " Wilhelmstrasse Trial " by which time the invitation letter for Otto Hofmann had already been found in August 1945 and he therefore knew that a conference on the “final solution to the Jewish question” had been planned.
Standing in front of a display containing the minutes of the conference in 2017, and the room recreated for the outstanding BBC documentary series Auschwitz: The Nazis and the 'Final Solution' (2005).  Of the fourteen participants invited and sat around a table in this room discussing the logistics of mass murder, eight held doctorates or comparable university degrees. The minutes of the Wannsee Conference, copies of which were displayed within the glass of the table I'm standing over (since changed after a recent refurbishment post-Wuhan 'flu) were used in the opening speech in the trial against the Race and Settlement Main Office and quoted a few weeks later in the indictment for the Wilhelmstrasse trial. Although there was not yet an implementable overall plan for the “final solution”, the protocol is considered to be the key source for the organisation of genocide which Holocaust deniers therefore claim is fake, usually by referring to a book by Robert Kempner in which he mixed images of facsimiles with copies despite nevertheless correctly reproducing the text itself. Historians Norbert Kampe and Christian Mentel have refuted these false allegations.
How the room appears today, 2020. On August 7 and 13, 1941, Eichmann requested that the Reich Association of Jews in Germany to provide statistical information on Jews in Europe. His Unit IV B 4 compared these figures with information from the occupation authorities and subtracted the numbers of victims of the Holocaust in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, which were referred to as "Jew-free". The obviously excessive figure for the unoccupied part of France, which led to speculation about the inclusion of the Jews of North Africa in the extermination plans, is explained by Dan Michman as a typo; Ahlrich Meyer traces it back to an estimate by Theodor Dannecker. According to Eichmann in his trial in Jerusalem in 1961, the minutes of the conference are "an accurate reproduction of the content of the conference". Heydrich made it important that all the essential details were recorded so that the participants could later adhere to them. Only the shorthand discussion after the conference had not been recorded. At his trial Eichmann recalled

that at the end of this Wannsee Conference, Heydrich, Muller and my humble self, settled down comfortably by the fireplace, and that then for the first time I saw Heydrich smoke a cigar or cigarette, and I was thinking: today Heydrich is smoking, something I have not seen before. And he drinks cognac - since I had not seen Heydrich take any alcoholic drink in years. After this Wannsee Conference we were sitting together peacefully, and not in order to talk shop, but in order to relax after the long hours of strain.
Eichmann contradicted the protocol on some points at the time, especially with regard to the importance of his own position at the conference. The total duration of this conference recorded in the minutes of about one and an half hours, as stated by him is, however, undisputed. Eichmann, “the chief architect of the Final Solution,” eventually was convicted of War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity and hanged in Jerusalem in 1962. He had been actively involved at Wannsee, writing Heydrich’s speech and overseeing the stenographer's record of the meeting, which Eichmann then edited. Wannsee’s spirit, not reflected in the protocol, is revealed by Eichmann’s first-hand description of “an atmosphere of agreement” and even “boundless enthusiasm” despite the “usually hesitating” Bühler and Stuckart. However, his reliability is questionable, considering he sought to “portray himself as dutiful errand boy, with neither initiative nor knowledge” and focussing on supposed enthusiasm of the law-abiding state secretaries helps build Eichmann’s case of conformity and obedience. A further limitation is the testimony’s erratic organisation and incoherent answers as when he related the discussion of the means of killing at Wannsee, making it difficult to follow. Taking place almost two decades after the Holocaust, his specific recollections of Wannsee are sometimes lacking or flawed, as when he supposes that Kreuger, not even present, spoke about technical details of genocide. Nonetheless, Eichmann does give crucial insight into Wannsee’s significance in ensuring widespread state complicity to genocide: “nail down the Secretaries of State, to commit them most bindingly, to catch them by their words.”
2020 Bavarian International School class trip
When Robert Kempner, in charge of prosecuting the German ministries at Nuremberg, unearthed the last copy of the Minutes in 1947, he deemed it “perhaps the most shameful document of modern history.” As the only available record of the Conference, the protocol is valuable in revealing the meeting’s occurrences, its significance to the final solution and widespread state complicity in the bureaucratic planning of genocide. It originated as notes, written by a stenotypist and was heavily edited by Eichmann and Heydrich to produce a document written in euphemisms and camouflage language. It is “deliberately opaque,” seen for example through the word “evacuation” a euphemism for elimination, serving the purpose of informing those with contextual knowledge and not shocking the unintended who could have come across this widely distributed Protocol. Such intentionally ambiguous terminology limits understanding of the meeting’s precise purpose and role in the Final Solution, creating controversy on whether genocide was even discussed. Considering the purpose of the conference was to establish clarity on fundamental questions, the purpose of the protocol was to record what Heydrich wanted of the meeting which, whilst valuable in reflecting Heydrich’s agenda for the implementation of the Solution, is limited by not specifying the individual roles of attendees.  
 The text of the protocol documents the intention to murder all European Jews, the agreement in principle and the effective participation of the Nazi state apparatus in the genocide. The phrase “treated accordingly” in Eichmann's rendering of Heydrich's introductory speech is seen by some historians as a typical cloak for the murder of Jews who survived forced labour, as the context does not allow any other conclusion. Hans Mommsen does contradict this by asserting that it was by no means a blank phrase; Heydrich actually planned to exterminate a large part of the Jews through labour, but the final solution to the Jewish question was only a long-term goal, before which the surviving Jews would still be transported further east. Here the settlement or reservation solution was renewed, as in the Nisko and Madagascar plans considered from 1939 to 1941 which "can hardly be viewed as a more humane alternative." According to Eichmann's own testimony in his trial, the actual language was unmistakable: "It was spoken of killing and eliminating and exterminating."
 Among specialist historians, most deduce from the extermination campaigns that had already started and the minutes of the conference itself that it had previously been decided by the highest authorities to expand the murder campaigns into a systematic genocide, to which all European Jews without distinction should fall victim. The figures for the overall planning included the Jews from England and Spain: their inclusion was unrealistic in view of the unfavourable development of the war for the Nazis at the time. Peter Longerich comes to the conclusion that, even after the conference, there was no fixed plan as to how long and by what means the genocide should be carried out. However, it can be proven that afterwards “the deportations were extended to the entire German area” and a “comprehensive forced labour program” began to take effect.
Thomas Sandkühler points out that the decisive effect was that up to the conference in Eastern Galicia, Jews classified as “unable to work” were murdered; only then did the murder order apply to all Jews except for the very few Jews who had been declared indispensable in the oil industry. The Wannsee Conference was thus a bureaucratic clarification of the responsibilities of the agencies involved and the group of people to be murdered. Such a decision could in no case be made by subordinate persons, but only at the very highest level and only then could the leadership of the Reich Security Main Office be established and cooperation and coordination between the agencies involved ensured. 
When it was over, Heydrich was relieved and satisfied. “Happily,” he would write a month later, “[the conference] has settled the basic outlines for the practical implementation of the Final Solution of the Jewish question.” His intention had been to establish his ultimate authority over the Final Solution. His colleagues in the government and the party had been more than willing to accede responsibility for the mass murder of eleven million people to the ϟϟ. “After the conference,” Eichmann says in his memoir, “as I recall, Heydrich, Müller and your humble servant sat cozily around a fireplace. I noticed for the first time that Heydrich was smoking. Not only that, but he had a cognac. Normally he touched nothing alcoholic. The only other time I had seen him drinking was at an office party years before…. [So] we sat around peacefully after our Wannsee Conference, not just talking shop but giving ourselves a rest after so many taxing hours.”
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2016 class trip
A third of the conference participants ended up not surviving the war. Heydrich died on June 4, 1942 as a result of an assassination attempt in Prague as related on my page about Nazi-era Prague. Roland Freisler was killed in a British bombing attack. Both Rudolf Lange and Alfred Meyer committed suicide. Martin Luther died in the spring of 1945 as a result of his imprisonment in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Heinrich Müller was considered dead by  the post-war authorities. Before the minutes of the Wannsee Conference were discovered, two participants were already executed for war crimes committed- Eberhard Schöngarth was sentenced to death and executed by a British military tribunal in 1946 for personally ordering the shooting of a prisoner of war. Josef Bühler was sentenced to death in Kraków in 1946. Wilhelm Kritzinger died in 1947 before the opening of the Wilhelmstrasse Trial; Erich Neumann died in 1948. Georg Leibbrandt and Gerhard Klopfer were both released from custody in 1949. Otto Hofmann was sentenced to 25 years in prison in the follow-up trial of the ϟϟ Race and Settlement Main Office in Nuremberg in 1948, but was released from Landsberg correctional facility in 1954. Wilhelm Stuckart was sentenced to a sentence of three years and ten months in the Wilhelmstrasse Trial, but was released in 1949 as internment detention was taken into account. After the war as already related above, Adolf Eichmann fled to Argentina, but was kidnapped by the Israeli secret service Mossad, brought to Israel and executed in Jerusalem in 1962 after his sensational trial. 
  The Wannsee Conference is often regarded as the determining factor for the development of the Final Solution, reflected in Longerich’s argument that the scope of deportation, (i.e. defining “who was Jewish, who was Mischling,”) was a prerequisite for determining “who (if anybody) should be spared.” Thus Wannsee significantly broadened the scope of genocide involving Mischlinge, particularly in occupied territories, de jure bearing historical responsibility. Additionally, both Heydrich’s invitation letter and the protocol's opening convey the message of “a genocidal programme only now taking shape”. Wannsee's controversial purpose leaves room for interpretation on its overall. Lannahan argues genocide had been decided earlier and the concept of a “coming Final Solution” part of Heydrich’s self-aggrandisement plan and “love of the political limelight.”] Eichmann’s testimony supports the argument that Heydrich’s focus was “to extend the scope of his influence.” Eichmann’s testimony does serve to mitigate his personal role and portray Heydrich as the authority figure. Rees however, considers Wannsee a larger attempt on behalf of the ϟϟ to establish their “control of the whole deportation process.” The difficulty in understanding Wannsee's purpose frames the greater debate on its significance, though the protocol and invitation suggest that Himmler and his emissary considered it significant in determining the Holocaust.              
Wannsee’s significance to the development of the Final Solution is based on its role of coordinating both prior killing initiatives and government organs. The necessity to coordinate the “variety of killing initiatives that had emerged from a number of sources within the Nazi state” in the autumn of 1941 is what Rees regards as Wannsee’s purpose, supported by Eichmann who says a “coordinated solution” was necessary. Hence, Wannsee’s importance can be seen as administrative, “…to ensure the cooperation of the various departments in conducting the deportations,” further supported by attendees being of the Staatsekretare, the Reich’s “essential medium of policy coordination.”
 However, if Wannsee was an administrative meeting for planning the coordination of previous initiatives and government cooperation, why ignore the pressing issues of finding destinations for transport? Claims that Wannsee significantly shaped deportation arraignments, can be effectively disregarded when studying the list of attendees and the lack of any transport specialist or member of the Financial Ministry. Hence, Wannsee was not fully significant in determining the practical aspects of committing genocide but rather to the development of the Final Solution, by determining the scope of deportation, and planning government and policy cooperation for the Final Solution.              
Whilst Wannsee has been described as “the single most important event in the history of the Nazis’ ‘Final Solution’,” this is, Rees argues, an epithet “it does not quite merit” given that the bureaucracy of genocide was “decided elsewhere,” though precisely where, when and by whom is subject to debate. Rees, taking a quasi-intentionalist stance, asserts Hitler’s discussions in December 1941 were most significant to the decision making process given Hitler’s agentive control “made all this suffering enter the world.” Göbbels’s diary supports the intentionalist argument. However, Overy and Roseman have examined Wannsee’s role in the wider context of genocide, limiting it to “one of many stepping stones in the middle of a long messy process of turning vicious anti-Semitic discrimination into stark mass murder.” Nevertheless, Eichmann’s testimony in which he claims the preparatory work (prior decisions and genocidal activity and gassing) were already “known to the participants of the Wannsee Conference”, support the conclusion that genocide and its means were conceptualised elsewhere.              
2017 School trip
Rees goes on to argue that in terms of Wannsee’s role in developing the final solution, it did not catalyse genocide and was not fully causal to the great expansion of murder in 1942 by questioning why “the discussions at Wannsee had no immediate effect upon Auschwitz.”Browning insists that before killings became truly comprehensive, a further decision must have taken place, interpreting Wannsee as less significant to developments of the “Solution”.[58] Roseman argues that “after Wannsee the operation didn’t run like clockwork,” demonstrating the lack of subsequent 'progress'; Eichmann’s testimony crucially emphasises that Himmler kept issuing orders.” The close relationship between Himmler’s visits and development of extermination support Eichmann’s claims. 
After the the war, the Red Army and later the American Army used the property. From 1947 the SPD moved in and used the house as a school camp. In 1966 the historian Joseph Wulf , who survived the Auschwitz concentration camp , founded an association for research into National Socialism. The building was to be rededicated as a documentation centre and used by the association. The plan remained controversial for a long time; it was not until 1988 that the villa and garden were reconstructed according to historical preservation criteria and for use as a memorial. In 1992 the memorial and educational centre that would become the House of the Wannsee Conference opened in the rooms of the villa; it bears the name of Joseph Wulf. Deeply traumatised by his camp experiences, lonely after the death of his wife and disappointed by the lack of interest in the Holocaust or seeking justice, Wulf killed himself on October 10, 1974. In his last letter to his son David on August 2, 1974, he wrote down a list of his disappointments, for example “9. I know that after 1945 Ilya Ehrenburg wrote an 'In memoriam' for the murdered Jews and the Soviet Union did not allow the book to appear” and “I published 18 books here about the Third Reich, and none of them had any effect. You can document yourself utterly with the Germans, it can be the most democratic government in Bonn - and the mass murderers go around freely, have their houses and grow flowers." 
My students in the Joseph Wulf Library, located on the building’s second floor and which has remained part of the memorial’s educational concept from the start. The collection focuses on the history of the Jews in Europe, anti-Semitism, persecution and genocide, National Socialism, racism, neo-Nazism, remembrance culture, treatment of Nazi history after 1945 and memorial site educational studies. The book collection currently includes some 40,000 monographs and 18,000 periodical volumes. In addition the library holds a large collection of documentary and feature films and a considerable set of periodicals and documents on microfilm and microfiche. My students were able to search through various databases for their IBDP internal assessments in History.

The Wannsee Conference is the subject of two feature films. Here is the start of the 1984 German television production Die Wannseekonferenz which presents the conference in real time. Directed by Heinz Schirk based on the play by Paul Mommertz. It shows a disturbing performance of charm and calculation by Dietrich Mattausch as Heydrich with Gerd Böckmann as Eichmann. In 1987 the cinema version followed which was filmed at the conference venue and was based on records and minutes kept of the conference, spoken by unnervingly convincing actors in carefully reconstructed surroundings and wearing meticulously authentic uniforms. In it however, Kritzinger is portrayed as a skeptic which does not correspond to the historical facts that have been handed down. Here is the entrance as shown in the film and from the same position during my 2021 class trip:
The film won numerous international prizes, including the Adolf Grimme Prize. in his review for Der Spiegel, Heinz Höhne was unimpressed:
Screenwriter Paul Mommertz, 54, is delighted: 'An optimal film, on a remarkable level.' The praise goes above all to the director Heinz Schirk, and rightly so: he understood it with a squad of proven actors, above all Dietrich Mattausch in the role of Heydrich and Gerd Böckmann as Eichmann, the Mommertz play that atmosphere of racist mania for cleansing and callous bureaucratic perfection that made the Wannsee Conference the most horrific Hitlerite in Germany. But what is presented here as a document-safe reconstruction of contemporary history, on closer inspection, proves to be a product of televised fabulous fabulousness and combination. Because: This is not the Wannsee Conference as historians know it. It's the Wannsee Conference a la Paul Mommertz.
featuring Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich, Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann, and Colin Firth as Wilhelm Stuckart.
Frank Pierson was the director of the 2001 Anglo-American film based on the script by Loring Mandel which, like the historical meeting, also lasts 85 minutes and is based on the minutes. However, since this does not reproduce a literal speech, the dialogues are reconstructed and therefore not historically documented. The documentary character originally intended by Pierson's production was not achieved because the implementation was dramaturgically revised.
Wannseekonferenz appears to be the better movie with Conspiracy coming across as a flashy imitation, although watching both films is instructive. Both have the same people attending the conference, but how each attendee is portrayed at the conference is strikingly different. Most of the attendees in Conspiracy (except for Dr. Klopfer) are viewed as flawed intellectuals, but full of grace, charm and manners (which makes a nice stark comparison with what they are discussing). Almost all of the attendees in Die Wannseekonferenz (except for the female secretary) are shown as crude, corrupt pigs that differ with each other only as to how to divide their 'power'. It would be interesting to research the 'real' Major Lange. The crude drunken Major Lange of Die Wannseekonferenz seems more likely to be butchering the Jews of Riga than the soft spoken, charming, well-mannered Major Lange of Conspiracy.
Fabrice Le Hénanff presented a masterfully drawn graphic novel about the Wannsee Conference which,
in terms of graphics, is based directly on the film Conspiracy. Unlike other graphic novels on the Holocaust which put the perspective of the persecuted in the foreground such as Art Spiegelman's Maus, Kichka's Second Generation or Joe Kubert's Yossel, the focus here is on the perpetrators and their criminal activities. With a few exceptions, the perpetrators, whom the draftsman masterfully reproduces in the few portraits of the fifteen participants in the Wannsee Conference, are not men who are directly involved in the murders in the East themselves. Most of them are so-called desk criminals who, in the quiet of their Berlin offices and on numerous business trips to occupied Europe, helped shape the Nazi dystopia of a racial “new order” in Europe. As in the movie, the start of the book begins with Heydrich flying over the house with a Fieseler Storch, taking off his pilot outfit and then be driven to Villa Am Großen Wannsee 56-58.
The park-like garden of the house is covered in snow. In fact, it is known from meteorological records that January 20, 1942 was extremely cold. Whilst these are images which can be clearly translated graphically, this becomes more difficult with the bureaucratic content of the conference, as evidenced by the minutes handed down in the Political Archives of the Foreign Office. The graphic novel does enable excursions that are limited to the narrative in the films and offer interesting contrasts to the discussion of the Wannsee Conference: for example pictures of Babi Yar, one of the largest massacres that took place in occupied Kiev in autumn 1941, or in a parallel scene in which the fate of a mouse that is caught by a cat - perhaps an homage to Art Spiegelman - dramatically symbolises the fate of the Jewish population in Europe in the last picture.  
In his most recent work, The European Civil War, 1917–1945,  Ernst Nolte comes dangerously close to validating the deniers. Without offering any proof, he claims that more “Aryans” than Jews were murdered at Auschwitz. According to Nolte this fact has been ignored because the research on the Final Solution comes to an “overwhelming degree from Jewish authors.” He described the deniers’ arguments as not “without foundation” and their motives as “often honorable.” The fact that among the core deniers were non‑Germans and some former inmates of concentration camps was evidence, according to Nolte, of their honorable intentions. Nolte even advanced the untenable notion that the 1942 Wannsee Conference, at which Heydrich and a group of prominent Nazis worked out the implementation of the Final Solution, may never have happened. He disregards the fact that participants in that meeting have subsequently attested to it and that a full set of minutes survived. This suggestion implies that if Wannsee was a hoax, many other Holocaust‑related events that we have been led to believe actually happened may also be hoaxes. He suggests, in an argument evocative of Butz’s analysis, that the Einsatzgruppen killed numerous Jews on the Eastern Front because “preventive security” demanded it since a significant number of the partisans were Jews. While he acknowledges that the action may have been carried to an extreme, it remains essentially justified.{21} Another of his unsubstantiated charges was that the documentary film Shoah  demonstrates that the SS units in the death camps “were victims in their way too.”{22}
Next to the
House of the Wannsee Conference is this 1874 zinc copy of the Flensburg lion (or more properly the Idstedter lion) I'm standing beside which became the symbol of the so-called Alsen colony around Wannsee. The war club "Alsen" took care of the preservation of the lion in Wannsee. The original had been created by the sculptor Wilhelm Bissen as a reminder of the victory of the royal Danish troops over the Schleswig-Holstein troops in the battle of Idstedt on July 25, 1850. In 1864 Bismarck had it brought to Berlin and initially installed in the Zeughaus. After the war ended in 1945, it was brought to Copenhagen by the American army. For some time after the war, many Danish politicians had hoped that Schleswig and Holstein would now return to Denmark. When it became clear that this would not happen, they put forward the idea of ​​returning the lion to Flensburg which was, again, owned by Germany which sounds paradoxical; perhaps the logic was that since the Danes themselves could not yet return, the lion at least would. Finally by 2011 the lion was brought to Flensburg and placed in the Danish military cemetery.
 In 1874, a zinc copy of the monument was erected here in Wannsee in a public park near the Colonie Alsen association of war veterans. This monument was paid for by banker Wilhelm Conrad. A path leading up to the statue was fittingly dubbed the Straße zum Löwen, i.e. the Road to the Lion. This copy has replaced the reliefs of the four Danish officers with a single image of the German officer Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia, in effect reversing the meaning of the original monument. In 1938, the Danish press reported the existence of the copy of the historic monument and, after the Danish embassy complained about the poor condition of the lion which by then had become overgrown by trees and bushes, it was moved to its present location on Heckeshorn (right next to the memorial site where it can be seen behind my 2017 cohort sitting in the garden of the Haus der Wannsee-Konfernz, looking at towards the lake). Since then, the "Straße zum Löwen", which ended at the old location, no longer leads to the memorial. 

Nearby is the Liebermann-Villa, the former summer residence of German painter Max Liebermann (1847-1935), shown today and in his 1918 painting Mein Haus in Wannsee. In 2006 the villa and its garden opened permanently to the public as a museum. Liebermann had been co-founder and chairman of the Berlin Secession and president of the Prussian Academy of the Arts from 1920 until 1933 when he was replaced and ostracised by the Nazis. In 1940, five years after his death, his widow Martha was forced by the Nazis to sell the villa to the Reichspost at far below market value;  an insultingly informal letter with the "offer" to sell the villa to the Reichspost and other documents of extortionate exclusion are displayed on the ground floor. The ridiculously low selling price was never paid out to her. From 1944 the villa was used as an hospital. Martha Liebermann herself committed suicide in 1943 in order not to be deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. A stumbling block in front of Liebermann's former city villa which is today's Max-Liebermann-Haus of the Brandenburg Gate Foundation on Pariser Platz (right next to the Brandenburg Gate), is a reminder of their fate. Even after the war the villa was still used as a hospital until 1969. The heirs in the United States through
daughter Käthe Riezler got the villa back after the war.
The Reichsluftschutzschule (Reich Air Protection School) down the road at Am Grossen Wannsee  77/80 shown during a ceremony on Hitler's birthday in 1939 and me in front today, virtually unchanged. The building was designed by the architect Eduard Jobst Siedler in 1938-1939. Air raid guards from all over Germany were trained here. For camouflage, the Reich Air Defence School was not built in the style of a typical barracks, but rather like a dignified housing estate. What is remarkable about the building complex is how much consideration was given to the existing forest landscape in the planning. In order to maintain the natural level of the area, especially the valley basin lined with trees, large buildings typical of barracks were, with the exception of a high bunker, prohibited. Instead, two-storey houses for accommodation, school and lecture halls, administration facilities and garages were distributed on the spacious 490,000 m² property in a loosely scattered form. The paths were laid out so as to follow the contour curves. Hermann Göring inaugurated the site with a pompous celebration in May 1939. For the facades of the buildings, Siedler used reddish-brown clinker, which blended well with the landscape. Each house received a restrained brick ornamentation with cornice strips and protruding brick strips. At the entrance one can still see clinker bricks in the form of triangles that are raised across the ashlar, decorative elements reminiscent of expressionism. After the war, a sanatorium for tuberculosis sufferers was built in the intact buildings , which later became the Heckeshorn Lung Clinic (now the Helios Clinic Emil von Behring). The pulmonologist Karl Ludwig Radenbach, a pioneer of tuberculosis research, worked here.
Villa Oppenheim at Am Großen Wannsee 43-45 was built between 1907 to 1908 by architect Alfred Messel for Franz Oppenheim, General Director of Agfa, and his second wife Margarete, an illustrious art collector. After they died their heirs emigrated to Switzerland and England before the Nazi persecution and sold the property to the Reich Main Security Office for a fraction of its value. 
The institution, which was generally referred to as the “Wannsee Institute”, was officially run under the cover name “Institute for Antiquity Research”. The Wannsee Institute had already moved into the building in 1938, which now served secret service purposes and war preparation in Eastern Europe. The Gestapo had brought a large library of literature on the Soviet Union from Breslau to Berlin, where it formed the basis for a secret East Research Institute. The materials were brought to Villa Oppenheim. On behalf of Reichsführer-SS, Heinrich Himmler, the institute prepared expert opinions and monthly reports on the Soviet Union, its economy and the nationalities living there. In 1940 the institute was placed under the foreign intelligence service. Part of the park of the former Villa Oppenheim on the property at Zum Heckeshorn 16/18 also belonged to the institute, from which Soviet radio traffic and radio broadcasts were presumably tapped. In 1937 Franz Alfred Six, head of the SD Office, brought the Georgian agricultural expert Michael Achmeteli to Berlin,where he took over the management of the newly created "Wannsee Institute". With the help of Six, Achmeteli had become a professor at the Berlin University, where he recruited, trained or helped some of his institute staff to obtain a doctorate. From 1938 the institute produced monthly reports and a number of expert opinions and reports on specific questions such as those concerning the state of the Red Army or the Soviet coal industry.
Franz Alfred Six (1909 - 1975)
 With the anschluss with Austria and the break-up of Czechoslovakia, the institute received “special orders”. During the attack on Poland, the special knowledge of some employees who were assigned to SD task forces or who were involved in the organisation of “resettlements” from the Baltic States was used. In the course of these "resettlements" the
ϟϟ murdered not only Jews but also patients in psychiatric clinics in order to make room for the resettled people. The employees of the institute were accepted into the SA and wore the uniform of the security service. Many of them were Germans abroad, often from the Baltic States or other parts of the former Russian Empire and assigned to the task forces of the SD in the east. After the institute was relocated to Plankenwarth Castle near Graz in 1943, another type of "Eastern work" took place in the villa on Wannsee: maps for warfare were drawn and target documents for air raids were produced. Sabotage actions against the Soviet Union were also prepared here. Under the cover name “Company Zeppelin” agents were trained at Wannsee whose task it was to organise uprisings behind the Soviet front.
After the war the villa became part of the Wannsee Hospital together with other neighbouring villas until it was closed in 1971. From 1990 to 2009 the Tannenhof Berlin-Brandenburg association operated the villa as a drug therapy centre. The International Montessori School is now using the building since a renewed renovation in accordance with its status as a listed building. 
The Schweden-Pavillon was an exhibition building that the founder of the Alsen villa colony, Wilhelm Conrad, had moved to Wannsee from the Vienna World Exhibition in 1872-1873. Up until the 1930s, the Swedeish Pavilion was a first-class restaurant, which Max Liebermann also frequented. In 1940 the Foreign Office acquired it.
Disguised as a "broadcast technical research institute", special antennae were installed and the largest and most important radio monitoring system in Germany was built. Strictly shielded from the public as listening to "enemy broadcasts" was forbidden under threat of death, the "Special Service Seehaus" recorded broadcasts in 36 languages ​​from 1941 onwards and employed around five hundred people. To the annoyance of Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels, who was also sitting in the Sweden pavilion with his "Interradio" staff, the reports from the Propaganda Ministry were exposed as lies by the information it gathered on the war situation. Therefore efforts were made to keep the messages received there as secret as possible. The monitoring system gained an important strategic importance e
specially towards the end of the war. Today there are apparently apartments in the house, which has been renamed the Sweden Pavilion again after renovation and remodeling.
The Villa Herz on Am Großen Wannsee 52-54 was built in 1892 by Wilhelm Martens, a student of Martin Gropius, and named for the merchant Paul Herz who had come from an old Jewish merchant family. The chocolate manufacturer Nelson Faßbender bought it in 1926 and had a riding arena built on the property. In honour of Adolf Hitler, he planted an oak in the garden of the Villa Herz in the early 1930s. Faßbender sold the property in 1936 to the German Labour Front (DAF) and in 1937 moved into the "Aryanised" Villa Czapski on Zum Heckeshorn 1-3. Faßbender himself resumed the production of his chocolates in Villa Czapski in 1945. After the end of the war, the Red Cross quartered refugees here until the American Army set up a café there. In 1950 the regional authority of Greater Berlin took over the property, turning it into a guest house. The building and part of the garden were later used as a youth rest home for the Berlin-Tiergarten district. In 1972 the Zehlendorf district office leased part of the property to the Alsen sailing club. Villa Herz has been privately owned for several years and is often used as a backdrop for film and television productions such as the 1985 film "Didi und die Rache der Enterbten with Dieter Hallervorden as well as the 1964 West German film De Gruft mit dem Rätselschloß directed by Franz Josef Gottlieb and starring Harald Leipnitz, Eddi Arent, Siegfried Schürenberg and Klaus Kinski,based on the 1908 novel Angel Esquire by Edgar Wallace, previously made into a British silent film.

Waldhof am Bogensee, former weekend retreat of Josef Goebbels north of Berlin near Lanke. It was a gift to Goebbels from the city of Berlin back in 1936 for his 39th birthday. “What a jewel the house has become, so idyllic, romantic, and peaceful,” he would later write of it, using it as an illicit 'love nest.'
 With the Russians now so close, on the last day of January 1945, Goebbels had sent Schwägermann out to Lanke, his lakeside mansion on the Bogensee, to evacuate Magda, their six children and two governesses into the air raid shelter at Schwanenwerder. The next day he declared Berlin a ‘fortress city.’ Surrounded by her brood, Magda was in a world of self-delusion. From Berthe the milliner’s she purchased a green velvet hat, a black turban, and a brown hat trimmed with fur; she  mentioned that ‘when things calmed down’ she’d like to have a brown hat remodelled. ‘The news you’ll be hearing isn’t rosy,’ she wrote to Harald, now in British captivity, on February 10. ‘We’re all sound in heart and health; but as the whole family belongs together at times like these we’ve shut down Bogensee and we’ve all moved back into Berlin. Despite all the air raids our house is still standing and everybody here—including your grand-mother and the rest of the family—is well housed. The children find it splendid that there’s no school and, thank God, they’ve noticed nothing of the seriousness of the hour.’ ‘Papa and I,’ she concluded, ‘are full of confidence and we’re doing our duty as best we can.’
Irving (885-886), Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich 
Tempelhof aeroport
The Nazi eagle, shorn of its swastika, still remains. Amongst the first projects the Nazis undertook with the reconstruction of Berlin was the planned renovation of Berlin's Tempelhof International Airport, which began in 1934. Tempelhof was dramatically redesigned as the gateway to Europe, and became the forerunner of today's modern airports. Indeed, the airport halls and the neighbouring buildings are still known as the largest built entities worldwide, and Tempelhof has been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports". The building complex was designed to resemble an eagle in flight with semicircular hangars forming the bird's spread wings. A mile long hangar roof was to have been laid in tiers to form a stadium for spectators at air and ground demonstrations. However, although under construction for more than ten years, it was never finished because of the war. Tempelhof was one of Europe's three iconic pre-war airports, the others being London's now defunct Croydon Airport and the old Paris–Le Bourget Airport. It acquired a further iconic status as the centre of the Berlin Airlift of 1948–49.  
 The Nazi enlargement of Berlin's Tempelhof aeroport grandiosely demonstrated their aims at enlarging Germany's influence in Europe. The airport's eagle design clearly conveys that "the Eagle of Germany" would again take to the skies, to fly higher than ever before. Coupled with other Nazi architectural accomplishments, like the 1936 Olympic Stadium, and Nuremberg Zeppelin Tribune, were assuredly profound propaganda victories for the Nazi regime.
In the 1930s, Tempelhof was at the forefront of European air traffic with its traffic volume, ahead of Paris, Amsterdam and even London. The limits of the technical possibilities were soon reached, and in January 1934 the first planning work for a new building for a large airport on the Tempelhofer Feld began. In July 1935, the architect Ernst Sagebiel received the planning order for the new building from the Reich Aviation Ministry, which reflected both the new urban planning ideas and the monumental architecture under the Nazis and had to anticipate the development of aviation for a longer period of time. The airport was planned to handle up to six million passengers a year. The facility was intended not only for air traffic, but also serve for events such as the Reichsflugtag and provide a seat for as many aviation-related agencies and institutions as possible. This new building also met all the requirements of a military airfield at the time.
Hitler and Göring at Tempelhof, 1932 
The early Nazi concentration camp Columbia, which was opened on December 27, 1934, was located directly at the new building and had operated until November 5, 1936 and demolished in 1938. A 1994 memorial designed by Georg Seibert and the Friends' Association for the commemoration of Nazi crimes on and around the Tempelhofer Flugfeld eV commemorates the existence of the Columbia concentration camp since 1994.
From January 1940 until early 1944, Weser Flugzeugbau assembled Junkers Ju 87 "Stuka" dive bombers; thereafter, it assembled Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter planes in the still unfurnished main hall and hangars 3 to 7 of the new terminal, which were supplied by a railway and trucks via a connecting tunnel.[16] Hangars 1 and 2 were not used to assemble aircraft as these were already used by Luft Hansa for its own planes. Aircraft parts were brought in from all over the city while complete aircraft engines were trucked to Tempelhof. Once the airframes were complete and the engines had been installed, the finished aircraft were flown out. The Luftwaffe did not use Tempelhof as a military airfield during the war, except for occasional emergency landings by fighter aircraft.
A decapitated reichsadler in front of the aeroport with how it originally appeared on the roof with victorious Red Army soldiers, May 1945 below. When the front approached at the end of April 1945, the airport was to be defended. The airport commander at the time, Colonel Rudolf Böttger, and some senior Lufthansa employees circumvented this order, however, by having the weapons provided and setting up a field hospital. This did not lead to a defence of the airport, which could have led to its complete destruction. According to Wikipedia, Böttger evaded Adolf Hitler's extermination order to blow up the entire complex by suicide. However, according to other sources he was called upon by an officer of the Waffen ϟϟ for insubordination and shot. In fact, the concrete floor of the main hall was blown up, so that it fell onto the luggage level below and the main hall became unusable. On April 29 1945 Red Army troops occupied the Tempelhof district and the airport. The new buildings were largely spared from destruction, but there were several fires that also severely damaged the steel structure of the hall buildings. The buildings of the old airport were completely destroyed and the airfield was littered with impacts. The underground bunker with the film archive also burned down completely, and all films were destroyed in the process. 
On July 2, 1945, the Red Army left the airfield so that it could be taken over by the Americans (473rd Air Services Group) before their official arrival on July 4. 
 The airport was given a new meaning in 1948 when, along with the Gatow airfield and later Tegel Airport, it served to transport food and goods for Berlin by plane during the blockade of West Berlin through the valiant efforts of the RAF and USAAF. A large part of the cargo consisted of fuel. The vital supply through the Berlin Airlift between various West German cities and Berlin lasted from June 26, 1948 to May 12, 1949. In Tempelhof, the planes took off and landed at roughy ninety-second intervals. The American pilot Gail Halvorsen popularised the dropping of candy during the approach to Tempelhof with parachutes made of handkerchiefs from the cockpit windows, which was adopted by other pilots and gave the aircraft the legendary name of raisin bombers.  The southern runway was built for the smooth operation of the airlift. 
Tempelhof Airport closed all operations on October 30, 2008, despite considerable protest. The former airfield has subsequently been used as a recreational space known as Tempelhofer Feld. In September 2015 it was announced that Tempelhof would also become an emergency refugee camp.

The swastikas return to allow Tom Cruise to make his movie Valkyrie

Nearby, Volkssturm along Hermannstrasse. Beevor (302) writes of how
The remnants of his `Norge' and `Danmark' regiments were waiting impatiently by the canal for motor transport, which was having difficulty getting to them through the rubble-blocked streets. Just as the trucks finally arrived, a cry of alarm was heard: `Panzer durchgebrochen!' This cry prompted a surge of `tank fright' even among hardened veterans and a chaotic rush for the vehicles, which presented an easy target for the two T-34s that had broken through. The trucks that got away even had men clinging on to the outsides. As they escaped north up the Hermannstrasse, they saw scrawled on a house wall `SS traitors extending the war!' There was no doubt in their minds as to the culprits: `German Communists at work. Were we going to have to fight against the enemy within as well?
 Treptower Park
The site on May 8, 1956 during a wreath-laying ceremony on the anniversary of the German day of defeat in Treptow and standing at the site in 2021. In the morning hours of May 8, 1956, the eleventh anniversary of the defeat of Germany by the allies, members of the government of the German Democratic Republic, the Central Committee of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany, the Diplomatic Corps and delegations from mass organisations and factories laid wreaths at the Soviet Memorial in Treptow. Shown here is a view of the honorary formation of the National People's Army in front of the Soviet memorial. This is the most impressive monument to the Red Army is the vast war memorial and military cemetery in Berlin, built between 1946-1949 to commemorate the 20,000 Soviet soldiers who fell in the battle of Berlin in April-May 1945 in the heart of Treptower Park close to the former East Berlin's embassy quarters. In fact, it remains perhaps the only public display of a swastika in Berlin, albeit in the process of being smashed (although it is illegal to display any Nazi symbol here in Germany, even for anti-fascist purposes). It thus serves not only as a memorial but as a military cemetery. Completed in May 1949, it was built on the instructions of the Soviet military administration in Germany to honour the soldiers of the Red Army who died in the war they helped initiate through the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 1939. Over 7,000 of the soldiers who died in the Battle of Berlin are buried here. The colossal statue belonging to the monument is thirty metres high with hill and base.
During my 2021 Bavarian International School class trip and as it appeared in a photograph taken in 1955 by Estella Burket, a teacher at Deseronto Public School, Deseronto, Ontario, in the Dominion of Canada. After the war, four Soviet memorial sites were created by the Red Army in the urban area of Berlin. These sites are not only monuments to the victory over Germany, but also serve as Soviet war grave sites in Germany. The central monument is this, the complex in Treptow Park. The memorial in the Schönholzer Heide, the memorial in the Tiergarten and the memorial at Bucher castle grounds were also built for this purpose. A contest had been organised by the Soviet Command for the design of the memorial in Berlin-Treptow, to which 33 drafts were submitted. From June 1946, the proposal of a Soviet creator collective, designed by the architect Jakov S. Belopolski, the sculptor Yevgeny Wuchetich, the painter Alexander A. Gorpenko, and the engineer Sarra S. Walerius, was implemented. The sculptures and reliefs were manufactured in 1948 by the Lauchhammer art foundry. The memorial was built on the site of a large play and sports meadow in the area of the "New Lake", which was created during the Berlin trade exhibition of 1896 and completed in May 1949.
The construction of the monument was marked by the beginning of the Cold War. Although there was a lack of living space in post-war Germany and the construction sector had almost come to a standstill due to the lack of planning, labour and material shortages, Soviet propaganda demands took priority over housing construction. This site was to express two ideas: on the one hand, an appreciation of Soviet occupation power so that the scale of the area should be "a witness of the greatness and the insuperable power of Soviet power." East German politicians like Otto Grotewohl, on the other hand, saw in the memorial on May 8, 1949, the fourth anniversary of the end of the war, a sign of gratitude to the Soviet army as a liberator. In the following decades, the Treptower site was the scene of mass events and state rituals of the DDR, which sometimes completely superimposed the original intention of being the victory mark and cemetery of the Second World War. In 1985, on the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, the representatives of the youth movement of the DDR organised a torchlight procession at the Treptower Memorial. There they took the "oath of the youth of the DDR" on their behalf. 
 At the site with my students holding one of my wartime Soviet flags and the same spot on May 8, 1956 with an honorary formation of the National People's Army in front of the Soviet memorial. The entrance, 200 metres long and an hundred metres wide leads to six bronze-cast wreaths measuring around ten metres in diameter. During the fall of the Wall on December 28, 1989, strangers smeared the stone sarcophagi and the base of the crypt with anti-Soviet slogans. The SED-PDS suspected that the perpetrator or perpetrators came from the right-wing extremist scene and organised a mass demonstration on January 3, 1990, in which 250,000 citizens of the DDR took part. Party chairman Gregor Gysi took this opportunity to call for “protection of the constitution” for the DDR. He was referring to the discussion of whether the Office for National Security, the successor organisation to the Stasi, should be reorganised or wound down. The historian Stefan Wolle therefore considers it possible that behind the graffiti were Stasi employees who feared for their posts. The Soviet war memorials were an important negotiating point on the Russian side for the two-plus-four treaties for German reunification. The Federal Republic therefore undertook in 1992 in the agreement of December 16, 1992 between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Russian Federation on War Graves Care to permanently guarantee their existence, to maintain and repair them. Any changes to the monuments require the approval of the Russian Federation.On August 31, 1994, the military ceremony for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Germany was held at the Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park. After a ceremony in the Schauspielhaus on Gendarmenmarkt, 1,000 Russian soldiers from the 6th Guards Mot.-Rifle Brigade and six hundred German soldiers from the Guard Battalion at the Federal Ministry of Defense came together to commemorate the dead. They formed the framework for the wreath-laying ceremony, accompanied by short speeches, by Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Boris Jelzin. Since 1995, a memorial rally has been held at the memorial every year on May 9th with the laying of flowers and wreaths, which is organised by the “Bund der Antifaschisten Treptow e. V. "is organised. The motto of the event is “ Liberation Day ” and corresponds to Victory Day, the Russian holiday. On the night of May 8-9 1945 in Berlin-Karlshorst the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht by three leading German military men, that of the last Reich President Karl Dönitz in the special area Mürwikwere authorised to do so, and signed by four Allied representatives. On May 9, 2015, around 10,000 people visited the memorial to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the war - among them were members of the Night Wolves, a Russian motorcycle and rocker club. The bikers' trip to Berlin caused a sensation when some members were initially refused entry to Germany. On September 2, 2015, the inscriptions on a memorial plaque were destroyed by arson. On May 4, 2019, there was another incident in which the statue "Mother Homeland" was doused with a dark liquid.
In October 2003, the statue of the Red Army soldier was restored in a workshop on Rügen, brought back to Berlin via ship and has been on its base since May 4, 2004.
One enters the memorial either coming from Puschkinallee or from Am Treptower Park , each through a triumphal arch made of grey granite shown here on July 12, 1957 when members of the district association of Greater Berlin, together with the delegations from the CSR, from China, North Korea and Vietnam, attended the 7th party congress and during one of my class visits An inscription on this honours the soldiers “who died for the freedom and independence of the socialist homeland”. Following the path you come to a kind of forecourt with a three metre high statue of a woman, an allegory of the “Mother Homeland” mourning for her fallen sons. From here the line of sight of the main monument opens up. A broad, gently sloping path lined with sloping birch trees leads along the central axis to the main field of the complex. This is marked by two large, stylised flags made of red granite, which lean towards the path on either side. At the front of each is the sculpture of a kneeling soldier in full gear and armed with a machine gun. There is an older soldier on the left and a younger soldier on the right. From here a few stairs lead down to the symbolic burial ground, which forms the centre of the complex. These graves, greened with grass and small hedges, are marked by five square stone slabs, each with a laurel wreath (the real graves are more likely to be found on the sides of the complex under the plane trees and under the burial mound).
In the following decades, the Treptow site was at times completely superimposed on mass events and state rituals of the DDR. In 1985, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the end of the war, the representatives of the DDR's youth movement organised a torchlight procession at the Treptow Memorial. There, they represented the "oath of youth of the DDR".  In the time of the invasion on 28 December 1989 strangers smeared the stone carcass and the base of the crypt with anti-Soviet slogans. The SED-PDS suspected that the perpetrators would come from the right-wing extremist scene and organised a mass demonstration on January 3, 1990, involving 250,000 citizens of the DDR. On this occasion, Gregor Gysi, party chairman, demanded "constitutional protection" for the site; historian Stefan Wolle therefore considers it possible that Stasi employees were behind the vandalism, fearing their positions upon re-unification. 
The Soviet war memorials were an important point of negotiation on the Russian side for the two-plus-four treaties on German reunification. The Federal Republic therefore committed itself in 1992 in the agreement of December 16, 1992 between the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Government of the Russian Federation on war grave security to ensure its existence permanently, and to maintain and repair it. Any changes in monuments require the approval of the Russian Federation. In 1994, the military ceremonial was held for the withdrawal of Russian troops from East Germany at the Soviet Memorial. Since 1995 a memorial service has been held every year on the 9th of May with flowers and wreaths, including the "Union of Antifascists Treptow e. V." The event is under the motto "Day of Liberation" and corresponds with the day of the Victory , the Russian holiday. On May 9, 2015, about 10,000 people visited the memorial to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the war.
I'm standing beside one of sixteen white sarcophagi of limestone that stand along the outer boundary of the field leading to the statue. They display war scenes and historical moments through reliefs from the history of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Peoples on the two long sides. On each of these is a quote from Stalin on the narrow side facing the central field; in Russian on the left (northern) and in German on the right (southern). This one shows Lenin on a red banner that flies behind the Soviet Red Army with a quote on the side embossed in gold by Stalin. These sarcophagi are marked on the two longitudinal sides with reliefs from the history of the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Peoples, bearing quotations from Joseph Stalin in Russian on the left and in German on the right. The individual sarcophagi have specific themes: the attack by the Germans, the destruction and suffering in the Soviet Union, the sacrifice and abandonment of the Soviet people and support of the army, the suffering of the army, victory, and heroic death. Oaulk Stangle (225) writes
More problematic is the portrayal of Soviet innocence, which lacks validity due to the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact's program for the future division of Europe between Germany and the Soviet Union, subsequent Red Army participation in the invasion of Poland in 1939, and the Soviet invasion of Finland in 1939-1940. Claims that the German invasion disrupted the Soviet Union's peaceful development ignored the forced collectivisation of agriculture and the Great Purge in which 19 million Soviet were arrested, a majority of whom either were executed or died in labour camps. Stalin, responsible for these atrocities and the disastrous lack of preparedness for the German invasion, was omitted from the narrative. 
Geographical Review , Apr., 2003, Vol. 93, No. 2
 The last two sarcophagi dedicated to the heroic dying stand in line with the central location of the complex, an artificially created burial mound. This is dominated by the sculpture “The Liberator” by Yevgeny Wutschetich standing on a double conical base. The figure shows a soldier who carries a sword in his right hand and a protective child on his left arm; a swastika is bursting under his boots. This memorial to the liberator as part of geographic memorial triptych with his mother on Mamayev Hill in Volgograd (1967) and the worker behind the front in Magnitogorsk (1979) a  showing the forged sword in Magnitogorsk, the raised sword in Volgograd and the lowered sword in Berlin. Here it serves as a mausoleum on which a ten to twelve metre high bronze statue is placed depicting a bareheaded, heroic, Soviet soldier wielding a sword and standing on a smashed swastika, into which the sword is deeply cut. On his left arm he is carrying a child while staring out over the plaza. This sculpture, "Der Erreer" by Jewgeni Wuchetich, stands on a double conical base 12 metres high and weighing 70 tonnes. The statue rises above a walk-in pavilion built on a hill. In the dome of the pavilion is a mosaic with a circulating Russian inscription and a German translation. This mosaic was one of the first important orders in the post-war period for the August Wagner company which combined workshops for mosaic and glass painting in Berlin-Neukölln . The hill itself is modelled after a "Kurgan" (mediæval, Slavic tombs on the Don plain), often found in Soviet memorials such as those at Volgograd, Smolensk, Minsk, Kiev, Odessa and Donetsk. On top marks the outstanding endpoint of the 10-hectare complex.  The sculptor himself emphasised in several interviews that the representation of the soldier with a child saved had a purely symbolic meaning and not a precise incident. However, in the DDR the narrative of sergeant Nikolay Ivanovich Massov, who had brought a little girl near the Potsdamer bridge to safety on April 30, 1945 during the storming of the Reichskanzlei, was widely circulated. In his honour, a memorial plaque was erected on this bridge over the Landwehrkanal and for a long time he was regarded as the model of the Treptow soldier. The model for the bronze figure was the Soviet soldier Ivan Odartschenko. Another version claims that the monument is modelled on the heroic deed of the Soviet soldier and former worker of the Minsker Radiowerkes T. A. Lukyanovich, who paid for the salvation of a little girl in Berlin with his life. The source for this version is the book Berlin 896 km by Soviet journalist and writer Boris Polewoi.
The Heereswaffenmeisterschule dating from 1935 at Treptower Park then and now
During the Nazi era, Niederschöneweide in Treptow developed quickly into an important location for the armaments production thanks to its metal and chemical industry. A new building was built for Hasselwerderstraße in the Hasselwerderstraße, where, among other things, the departments of inheritance and race care, infant care, Schularzt and Schulzahnklinik were housed. At the end of the Sedanstraße (today: Bruno-Bürgel-Weg), a building was built for the SA-Stand 5 "Horst Wessel", which at the same time served as an HJ-Heim for Niederschöneweide. In 1933, the crossing area in front of Schöneweide train station was redesigned and the main road system was expanded. Because of the intensified consignments from 1941 personnel shortages in the factories arose. In order to maintain production, more and more forced labourers were employed. In 1943 Albert Speer erected a barrack camp for more than 2,000 forced labourers between the Britzer, Sedan and Grimaustrae. The barrack camp is now under monument protection. A partial area of this was made available to the public in the summer of 2006 as a documentation centre for Nazi forced labour under the sponsor "Topography of Terror". On April 16, 1945 the last great battle of the war in Europe began around Berlin. On April 24, just after German rear groups had blown the Kaisersteg and the Treskow Bridge, Niederschöneweide was in the hands of the 8th Garde Army of the First Belarusian Front.
At the last well-preserved former Nazi forced labour camp is located in Schöneweide, located at Britzer Straße 5, Berlin-Schöneweide. During the war it served as one of the more than 3,000 mass housing sites dispersed throughout the city for forced labourers. The camp was ordered to be built for two thousand workers by the “General Building Inspector for the Reich capital” (Generalbauinspektor für die Reichshauptstadt) in close proximity to large armament industries. It included thirteen stone barracks for housing. Civil forced labourers and forced labourers of various nationalities, Italian military internees as well as female concentration camp prisoners lived here. A well-preserved residential barrack referred to as ”Barrack 13” has been open for tours since the end of August 2010. In 2000 a compensation program was set up to help out the 2.3 million surviving forced labourers, which is probably both too little and too late.

The camp was used between 1936 to the end of the Third Reich in 1945, and then used by Russians in the Soviet Occupation Zone as an NKVD camp until 1950. It now operates as a museum.  The camp was established in 1936 and was located 22 miles north of Berlin, giving it a primary position amongst the German concentration camps: the administrative centre of all concentration camps was located in Oranienburg, and Sachsenhausen became a training centre for Schutzstaffel (SS) officers (who would often be sent to oversee other camps afterwards). Originally planned to accommodate six thousand inmates, Sachsenhausen generally had a population of between ten and fifteen thousand, rising to about thirty-five thousand in the final months of the war. The blocks were arranged in a fanlike configuration in a semicircle around the Appellplatz, which had a radius of about a hundred meters. The camp as a whole therefore was similar to an isosceles triangle: at the base, the semicircle of the parade ground, then the blocks in four concentric rings, and at the apex the nursery and pigpen. Executions took place at Sachsenhausen, especially of Soviet prisoners of war. Among the prisoners, there was a "hierarchy": at the top, criminals (rapists, murderers), then Communists (red triangles), then homosexuals (pink triangles), Jehovah's Witnesses (purple triangles), and Jews (yellow triangles). During the earlier stages of the camp's existence the executions were done in a trench, either by shooting or by hanging. A large task force of prisoners was used from the camp to work in nearby brickworks to meet Albert Speer's vision of rebuilding Berlin. Sachsenhausen was originally not intended as an extermination camp—instead, the systematic murder was conducted in camps to the east. In 1942 large numbers of Jewish inmates were relocated to Auschwitz. However the construction of a gas chamber and ovens by camp-commandant Anton Kaindl in March 1943 facilitated the means to kill larger numbers of prisoners.
At the main entrance. The Main gate or Guard Tower "A", with its 8mm Maxim machine gun, the type used by the Germans in the trenches of World War I, housed the offices of the camp administration. On the front entrance gates to Sachsenhausen is the infamous slogan Arbeit Macht Frei ("work makes (you) free"). About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. In Sachsenhausen,
some 6,500 were confined at the outbreak of the war. Shortly thereafter, in September 1939, 900 Polish and stateless Jews from the Berlin area were taken to the camp; at the beginning of November, 500 Poles were interned. At the end of that month, 1,200 Czech students were added, and approximately 17,000 persons, mainly Polish nationals, were admitted as inmates in the period from March to September 1940. Despite the high number of new inmates, the camp population here too stabilised at the level of roughly 10,000 prisoners. That was because of the high mortality rate as well as the transfer of large numbers of Poles to Flossenbürg, Dachau, Neuengamme (in the Bergedorf section of southeastern Hamburg), and Groß-Rosen.
Sofsky (35)
Observation points then and now; since the torching of a barracks by neo-Nazis, security cameras have been installed throughout the site. Despite this, the site has been vandalised by Neo-Nazis several times. In September 1992 for example, barracks 38 and 39 of the Jewish Museum were severely damaged in an arson attack. The perpetrators were arrested, and the barracks were reconstructed by 1997.
The mortuary and infirmary, showing the autopsy table. The brick pathology building with a large basement mortuary was constructed in spring 1941 and was involved in the storage, examination, abuse and disposal of the bodies of deceased prisoners. Before this the bodies of deceased prisoners were stored in a wooden shed and in the cellars underneath barracks R I and R II of the sickbay. The growing number of inmates exposed to the increasingly unhuman conditions led to a rapidly rising death rate, especially after the outbreak of war in September 1939. The relevant ϟϟ administration body therefore approved construction of a mortuary and pathology department on November 12, 1940. On this day alone, eight prisoners died in Sachsenhausen concentration camp. According to Harry Naujoks a former political prisoner in the camp, 
In 1941 Dr. Lewe came to Sachsenhausen from the Buchenwald camp to take charge of the pathology department. Being camp senior, I was told that blocke seniors had to report inmates with unusual tattoos. This report was passed onto the roll call leader. Eventually, each of the tattooed inmates was ordered to come to the sickbay. Soon after we'd receive a death notice. Several times I went to the pathology department while Dr. Lewe wasn't there and in his room saw pieces of skin and body parts with these tattoos, which were kept in jars of alchol lining the walls. In the drawers too, prepared sections of skin were kept. I have held such sections of skin with my own hand.
The Russians, accompanied by Polish soldiers, chanced upon Sachsenhausen concentration camp as they moved to invest Berlin. The camp was in Oranienburg, and the fall of that former royal borough brought it home to Hitler that his days were numbered. There were just 5,000 prisoners left in Sachsenhausen of a population that had reached 50,000. The rest had been taken on 'death marches.’
(58) After the Reich - The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
More and more Berliners had been taking the risk of listening to the BBC on the wireless and even dared to discuss its news. But power cuts were now creating a more effective censorship of foreign broadcasts than the police state had ever achieved. London had little idea of the great Soviet offensive, but its announcement that Sachsenhausen- Oranienburg concentration camp had been liberated just north of Berlin gave a good idea of Red Army progress and its intention to encircle the city. The indication of the horrors found there was also another reminder of the vengeance which Berlin faced. This did not stop most Berliners from convincing themselves that the concentration camp stories must be enemy propaganda.
The 140-metre tall Tower of Nations behind me during my 2011 Bavarian International School class trip and in the 1970s, representing what Caroline Wiedmer describes as an “antithesis of the Nazi architecture of the camp” and a “design in which the triumph of anti-fascism could be made visible.” At the top of each of the three sides of the obelisk are eighteen red triangles representing the ones political prisoners were forced to wear on their uniforms to designate  their identities in the camps. This arrangement of triangles suggests the multinational political prisoner population at the camp. 
This representation speaks to the importance of international unity — a cornerstone of communist ideology — but lacks regard for any victim groups that were persecuted so harshly at the camps. There is no implied or overt reference to Jews, Sinti or Roma, homosexuals, Slavs, women, or Jehovah’s Witnesses, though all of these groups suffered explicit mass murders in the camp at Sachsenhausen based singularly on these identities. Indeed, many of these captives may have been Communists, but unless they identified as such, they were excluded from memory at the Tower of Nations.
Directly in front of the tower is Rene Graetz’s Liberation, added to the site in 1961, consisting of three figures standing atop a stone block. Inscribed on the face of the block are the countries from which prisoners at the camp came from, serving as a written representation of the implied meaning of the red triangles on the obelisk. Certainly, the communist struggle was important to the East German regime as a defining point in the shaping of a new national identity and to promote the idea of the ideological and moral victory of the communists that had recently chased fascism from not only the borders of Germany, but also the entire the European continent.
In front of Professor Waldemar Grzimek's bronze sculpture, Pietá, depicting three figures who are supposed to symbolise resistance and awareness of victory, mourning and death and as it appeared in 1961 before being given an English inscription. This memorial was limited to the area of ​​the former prisoner camp and only covered around five percent of the area of ​​the former concentration camp. Only “Station Z” and the firing trench, originally part of the industrial courtyard, were integrated into the memorial by relocating the camp wall. The figures are notably more skeletal in nature than those at the obelisk, offering a much truer representation of what inmates would have looked like after significant time in the camp. Two of the prisoners are helping a fallen comrade, carrying him in a blanket. The bronze cluster still speaks to the GDR message of camaraderie, but in a more subdued and less overtly nationalist tone.Station Z is a relevant place for mourning, and the statue group reflects this, but allowed for a distinct and deliberate division between areas of celebration and sorrow at the memorial site. This is where the cremation ovens were located, where around 13,000 to 18,000 Soviet prisoners of war were murdered in the shot in the neck and their corpses were then cremated.  
Grzimek’s Pietá is not, however, without its limitations on historical representations. Though all the figures clearly are prisoners, and do depict a more historically accurate prisoner representation than those in Liberation, the man in the rear of the cluster, though wearing a look of grief on his face, stands tall, gaze fixed on a far off point, chest out and prideful. This is in contrast with many traditional representations of Pietá in which Mary is shown cradling the dead body of Jesus. Generally, the Pietá form is undeniably sorrowful. Mary has her head down, or tilted slightly up in supplication, and does not evoke any sense of physical strength or pride. Grzimek’s Pietá represents quite a different take on the classic form.
Bookheimer (15)

Stalin's son Yakov Dzhugashvili served as an artillery officer in the Red Army and was captured on 16 July 1941 in the early stages of the German invasion of the USSR at the Battle of Smolensk. The Germans later offered to exchange Yakov for Friedrich Paulus, the German Field Marshal captured by the Soviets after the Battle of Stalingrad, but Stalin turned the offer down, allegedly saying "I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant". According to some sources, there was another proposition as well, that Hitler wanted to exchange Yakov for his nephew Leo Raubal; this proposition was not accepted either. Until recently, it was not clear when and how he died. According to the official German account, Dzhugashvili died by running into an electric fence in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was being held. Some have contended that Yakov committed suicide at the camp, whilst others have suggested that he was murdered. Currently, declassified files show that Dzhugashvili was shot by a guard for refusing to obey orders. Whilst Dzhugashvili was walking around the camp he was ordered back to the barracks under the threat of being shot. Dzhugashvili refused and shouted, "Shoot!" The guard shot him in the head.
The NKVD’s interrogation of the camp commander Colonel Kainel confirmed that Senior Lieutenant Dzugashvili had been held three weeks in the camp prison and then, at Himmler’s directive, was transferred to the special camp, consisting of three barracks surrounded by a brick wall and high-voltage barbed wire. The inmates of barrack number 2 were allowed to walk in the early evening in the area outside their barracks. At 7:00 p.m., the ϟϟ guards ordered them to return to their barracks. All obeyed except Dzhugashvili, who demanded to see the camp commander. The guard’s repeated order went unheeded. As the ϟϟ guard telephoned the camp commander, he heard a shot and hung up. Dzhugashvili, in a state of agitation, had run across the neutral zone to the barbed wire. The guard raised his rifle ordering him to stop, but Dzugashvili kept on going. The guard warned that he was going to shoot; Dzhugashvili cursed, grabbed for the barbed-wire gate, and shouted at the guard to shoot. The guard shot him in the head and killed him. Clearly the unauthorised shooting of none other than Stalin’s son set off great apprehension in Sachsenhausen. He had been transferred in by Himmler himself, who hoped to use him as a pawn of some sort. Now, Stalin’s son was dead, and no one knew what the consequences would be. Dzhugashvili’s body lay stretched across the barbed wire for twenty-four hours while the camp awaited orders from Himmler. The Gestapo sent two professors to the scene who prepared a document stating that Dzhugashvili was killed by electrocution and that the shot to the head followed. The document stated that the guard acted properly. Dzhugashvili’s body was then burned, and the urn with his ashes was sent to the Gestapo headquarters. Indeed, it seemed irrelevant whether Yakov was killed by electrocution or by the bullet. Either way, it was he who committed suicide.
Paul Gregory (65-66)  Lenin's Brain
    Inside the ruins of the crematorium. The first crematorium at Sachsenhausen was built at Station Z in April 1940 and construction on the new crematorium began on January 31, 1942; it was completed and opened for use on May 29, 1942. It had two rooms where Russian POWs, who were Communist Commissars, were executed with a shot to the neck.
    Station Z included a Genickschußanlage, a shooting pit, a gas chamber, and a multiple gallows with block and tackle. The structures had been kept low intentionally so as to block visibility and prevent anyone from looking in over the wall. The first provisional gas chambers in Birkenau were outside the camp, set up in former farmhouses. But the modern crematoria were built in close proximity to the camp. They were surrounded by barbed-wire fences and shielded from view by barriers of willow trees. Flower beds lent the facilities an innocuous air. The zones of death were disguised areas beyond the round of everyday camp routine. No one had access to them except the Sonderkommandos—the corpse carriers and oven stokers. The zone of death was taboo, a place of mystery where the power to kill could unfold unhindered.
     In 1953, the crematorium building was deliberately blown up by the East German government, and today nothing is left except the ruins of the ovens. When the former Sachsenhausen camp was made into a Memorial Site in 1961, the brick wall separating the Industrial Yard from the camp was moved so that Station Z could be located inside the memorial.
    At the UFA film studios with students. Universum Film AG began as a major German film company headquartered in Babelsberg, producing and distributing motion pictures from 1917 through to the end of the war. In 1925, financial pressures compelled UFA to enter into distribution agreements with American studios Paramount and MGM to form Parufamet. UFA's weekly newsreels continued to contain reference to the Paramount deal as shown on the left until 1940, at which point Die Deutsche Wochenschau ("The German Weekly Review") was consolidated and used as an instrument of Nazi propaganda.  In March 1927, Alfred Hugenberg, an influential German media entrepreneur and later Minister of the Economy, Agriculture and Nutrition in Hitler's cabinet, purchased UFA and transferred it to the Nazi Party in 1933. Under the Nazis UFA experienced a new commercial boom, not least due to the regime's protectionist measures which freed the company from bothersome domestic and foreign competition. Additionally, the Nazis provided UFA with new sales markets, as well as placing distribution outlets in such "neutral" countries as the United States. This economic boom made it possible to further expand the so-called "star system," which had already been developed in the silent film era; its highest paid UFA stars during the Nazi era were Hans Albers and Zarah Leander with Veit Harlan its highest-earning director. 
    Hitler and Goebbels visiting UFA's Neubabelsberg studios in 1935 during the making of the film "Barcarole." As a result of the nationalist German spirit that already dominated the company, UFA was perfectly suited to serve the goals of Nazi propaganda in film. Hugenberg had been named Reich Minister of Economics immediately following the Nazi takeover of January 30, 1933, and made UFA openly available for Joseph Goebbels' propaganda machine, even though Hugenberg was removed from his post shortly thereafter (June 1933) under pressure from Hitler. In an act of anticipatory obedience to the Nazi regime, UFA management fired several Jewish employees on March 29, 1933. In the summer of 1933, the Nazi regime created the Film Chamber of the Reich, which adopted regulations officially excluding Jewish filmmakers from all German studios. 
    In March 1937, using precisely the methods that he had previously branded as Jewish, Goebbels took over the major Ufa film company for the Reich. As a warning to Ufa he had instructed the press to trash its latest production; the film flopped disastrously, and the company agreed to sell out. ‘Today we buy up Ufa,’ recorded Goebbels, ‘and thus we [the propaganda ministry] are the biggest film, press, theatre, and radio concern in the world.’ Dismissing the entire Ufa board, he began to intervene in film production at every level, dismissing directors, recommending actresses (like the fiery Spaniard, Imperio Argentina), forcing through innovations like colour cinematography, and rationalising screen-test facilities for all three major studios, Ufa, Tobis, and Bavaria. Depriving the distributors of any such in such matters he created instead artistic boards to steer future film production. Suddenly the film industry began to surge ahead. Blockbuster films swept the box offices. With a sure touch, Goebbels stopped the production of pure propaganda and party epics, opting for more subtle messages instead—the wholesome family, the life well spent. 
    Irving (414-415) Goebbels
    Beside a replica of the Maschinenmensch (Machine-Person) from the classic 1927 film Metropolis, "a brilliant eroticisation and fetishisation of modern technology" in the words of Peter Bradshaw. On January 10, 1942, UFA officially became the subsidiary of UFA-Film GmbH (
    to distinguish it from the old Ufa studio), into which all German film production was merged. Other companies were dissolved or integrated into UFA at the time, including Bavaria Film, Berlin-Film, Terra Film and Tobis AG, which became additional production units. On hindsight, this step can be interpreted as either the culmination of a step-by-step approach to the intended administrative centralisation and ideological monopolisation of cinema production, or as an upshot of the extraordinary circumstances produced by the transition from peacetime to ‘total’ war. Profits reached 155 million Reichsmarks in 1942 (equivalent to €550,730,149 in 2009) and 175 million Reichsmarks 1943 (the equivalent to €606,035,189 in 2009).At this point, the UFA staff hierarchy was reorganised according to the Nazi Führer principle. The coordination of individual sub-groups of the UFI Corporation was the job of the newly appointed Reich Film Director-General. The production heads worked for the administrative director general and were responsible for the overall planning of annual programming and content design all the way up to the actual shooting of the film: these heads were also responsible for giving instructions to the film line producers and directors. It was subsequently fully nationalised in mid-1944.
    In late April 1945, the UFA ateliers in Potsdam-Babelsberg and Berlin-Tempelhof were occupied by the Red Army. After Germany's unconditional surrender the following month the Military Government Law No. 191 initially halted and prohibited all further film production. On July 14, 1945, as a result of Military Government Law No. 52, all Reich-owned film assets of UFI Holding were seized. All activities in the film industry were placed under strict licensing regulations and all films were subject to censorship. The Soviet military government, which was in favour of a speedy reconstruction of the German film industry under Soviet supervision, incorporated the Babelsberg ateliers into DEFA, subsequently the DDR's state film studio, on May 17, 1946. Murderers Among Us was the first German feature film in the post-war era and the first so-called "Trümmerfilm" ("Rubble Film"). It was shot here in Babelsberg. Additionally, the Soviets confiscated numerous UFA productions from the Babelsburg vaults and dubbed them into Russian for release in the USSR; and simultaneously began importing Soviet films to the same offices for dubbing into German and distribution to the surviving German theatres. In contrast, the main film-policy goal of the Allied occupying forces, under American insistence, consisted in preventing any future accumulation of power in the German film industry. Here I'm beside the statue based on the Portaprima Augustus for the execreble 1997 film Prince Valiant
    Fort Hahneberg

    After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1871, four forts were planned to protect the Spandau Armaments Center as part of the citadel at Spandau. In the end only one of them was built, as the development of artillery, especially the introduction of explosive grenades, made such types of fortification useless. Fort Hahneberg was thus completed in 1886 and put to use two years later serving, among other things, as a barracks and central archive for military medicine until 1945. In 1903  it served as a training center for the infantry. During the so-called Buchrucker putsch on October 1, 1923 when an attempt by the Black Reichswehr to overthrow the German government after it had ended passive resistance to the occupation of the Ruhr on September 26, 1923 occurred, the fort and the Spandau Citadel were briefly occupied by putschists who had to surrender to regular Reich defence units. From 1924 to 1934 the Flugtechnische Verein Spandau used some structures of the fort in order to build gliders there. With the establishment of the Wehrmacht in 1935, the fort became a training location again and was expanded. After the war parts of the brick walls and structures were broken up to make the fort unusable as a military installation by blowing up the moat defences. The rubble was transported away as building material for the reconstruction of Berlin as residents were given permission to demolish the Escarpemauer and other components for material extraction for the repair of destroyed buildings or for the construction of new houses.  Before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the fort was located at the border crossing point on Heerstraße and was only been accessible to the public again since 1990. The Nazi eagle above the entrance has been allowed to remain. 
     The fort and area around were used as the hideout forest for the Inglorious Basterds. As an aside, the title of the movie has to have the swastika removed because the display of Nazi iconography is illegal in Germany. The "Offizielle deutsche Website" has been censored too. Under the German law there are exceptions which allow the use of "unconstitutional symbols" for artistic and educational purposes but Universal Pictures obviously didn't find it worth the effort.