Berlin, Germany: Remnants of the Third Reich

If you were to visit Berlin just five years ago, you would be lucky to find much information about World War II in country. There were no sign posts and few spcialised tours. Just a short time later and things have changed. Today the German people are much more open about this dark period in history.

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A self guided walk through Berlin can not only lead you through all the major city sites, but also through some of the remnants of the Third Reich. Although the city was devastated during the war; 90% of buildings were destroyed, traces of the Nazis still remain scattered around the city.

Once an opulent palace, Wilhelmstrasse became the headquarters of the Nazis propaganda ministry. Both the palace and the streets around it became a terrifying place that no civilian would visit without necessity. The Nazi air force headquarters still stands. This massive, purpose built building somehow survived the bombings of allied soldiers. Some say this is because allied aircraft used it as a point of navigation, others say the British wanted to occupy the site themselves and left it standing. Some argue the site was so well constructed that it simply withstood attack.

The Square Bebelsplatz was the site of the 1933 Nazi book burning. Over 2000 titles were burned here in support of Hitler and his ideology.

While Nazi Gestapo headquarters were completely destroyed during World War II, the underground bunkers and prison cells beneath were not. Later, the site where the building once was would occupy the no man’s land between the two halves of Berlin. It is not until recently that these cells were rediscovered.

The site of Hitler’s bunker, where he committed suicide, is now a non-descript park surrounded by apartment buildings. In the train station beneath, you can still find traces of the marble that once lined his personal office.

Date posted: 28th February, 2011

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