Topografie des Terrors
Berlin is a beautiful cosmopolitan metropolis with many attractions for tourists and history passionate. It is the European heart of history and has been the border between the two major political powers. Everyone has heard about the Nazi terror and persecution. The principal instruments of the Nazi regime were located on the grounds of what is today “Topografie des Terrors”. The place located in Niederkirchnerstrasse (formerly Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse) became the site of an outdoor museum in Berlin. Topografie des Terrors (or Topography of Terror) is a must-see in case you have a couple of hours to stay in Berlin.
The history of the place
Between 1933 and 1945 the two central institutions of the Nazi regime were located on these grounds, although the original buildings are not here anymore. The headquarters of the two institutions have been destroyed by Allied bombing in 1945, while the remaining ruins were demolished after the war. Although the Berlin wall was demolished after eliminating the barrier between American and Soviet Union occupation, part of the wall that runs along Niederkirchnerstrasse has still remained here. The other segments of the wall can be seen at the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain.
The forced labor camp was placed in the middle of a residential area at the end of 1943. 13 stone barracks and an administrative building were built on 3.3 hectares. The Lager was designed for 2160 prisoners but has never been filled to its maximum capacity. Male and female from different countries were housed and force to work here.
The last forced labour camp is in Schöneweide. During World War II the camp had more than 3000 collective accommodations. The documentation centre on Nazi Forced Labour shows the historical grounds of the former camp and the area is protected as a monument.
The museum today
After the bombing, the area was used for 15 years as a bumper car site. The first exhibition took place in 1987, as part of Berlin’s 750th anniversary, when the site was tuned into a memorial museum. Since 1992, a foundation takes care of the maintenance of the site and started to organize permanent exhibitions. It displays ever since information about the historic site, such as the cellars where political prisoners were tortured and killed. From May 2010, a new Documentation centre is open for visitors. Also, there are plans to make the exhibition on the history of Nazi forced labour permanent at Topografie des Terrors. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm and should be be on your checklist if you wish to know more about the circumstances of World War II.