WartimeNI visit to Berlin 2017

30th October 2017

Berlin is a wonderful city to explore for anyone but particularly for those interested in World War Two. My visit in October 2017 took in these sights.

In October 2017, I visited Berlin, Germany to enjoy the music, sport, culture and history of Germany's capital city. There is much to see and do in the city for those with an interest in World War Two.

At 0720hrs on Sunday 22nd October 2017, I left Belfast International Airport in Co. Antrim. Northern Ireland’s main airport was once RAF Aldergrove, a busy airfield throughout the war. The destination was Schoenefeld Airport on the outskirts of Berlin. From there, it was onwards by train to the famous Friedrichstrasse Station.

Day One

Before checking in to the Heart Of Gold Hostel on Johannisstrasse, I visited four historic sites within a few minutes walk.

The Reichstag, Berlin

The Reichstag in Berlin is the seat of the German Parliament. It was the site of a fire on 27th February 1933, one month after Adolf Hitler came to power. Photo taken on 22nd October 2017.

Day Two

I spent the second day in Berlin on foot, taking a tour around the Mitte district and visiting many stunning World War Two era sites.

Dorotheenstadt Cemetery, Berlin, Germany

Dorotheenstadt Cemetery, Berlin, Germany

52.52841429999999, 13.383807199999978

Dorotheenstadt Cemetery is a Protestant burial ground in Berlin, Germany that dates back to the 18th century. It stands next to the house of Bertolt Brecht.

Invalid’s Cemetery, Berlin, Germany

Invalid’s Cemetery, Berlin, Germany

52.5319164, 13.370892799999979

The Invalid's Cemetery is one of Berlin's oldest burial grounds. Many senior figures are buried here. It was the Prussian Army's traditional resting place.

Moltke Bridge, Berlin, Germany

Moltke Bridge, Berlin, Germany

52.52185900000001, 13.368825099999981

The Moltke Bridge spans the River Spree in Berlin, Germany. Completed in 1891, it was the scene of fierce fighting between German and Soviet troops in 1945.

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten, Berlin, Germany

52.5163798, 13.372006499999998

The Soviet War Memorial in Berlin's Tiergarten in the centre of the city is one of many poignant reminders of the sacrifices made during World War Two.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany

52.5162746, 13.37770409999996

Berlin's Brandenburg Gate is one of Europe's most recognisable monuments. Dating back to the 1700s, it was one of the only surviving structures in Pariser Platz after World War Two.

Academy Of Arts, Berlin, Germany

Academy Of Arts, Berlin, Germany

52.5154912, 13.379177099999993

The Academy of Arts in Berlin returned to its former site on Pariser Platz in 2005. Parts of the World War Two era-buildings and a statue belonging to Albert Speer can still be seen.

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany

52.5139474, 13.378712700000051

The famous Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany is known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is a powerful sculpture in the heart of the city.

Memorial to Persecuted Homosexuals, Berlin, Germany

Memorial to Persecuted Homosexuals, Berlin, Germany

52.513261, 13.376122900000041

The Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism stands on Ebertstrasse, on the edge of the Tiergarten, Berlin near to the famous Holocaust Memorial.

Hitler’s Bunker, Berlin, Germany

Hitler’s Bunker, Berlin, Germany

52.51268859162188, 13.38110089302063

The site of Hitler's Bunker or Fuehrerbunker is covered by a car park. Information signs mark the spot where the Fuehrer shot himself on 30th April 1945.

Bebelplatz Book Burning Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Bebelplatz Book Burning Memorial, Berlin, Germany

52.5160781, 13.394718199999943

Renamed in 1947, Bebelplatz was once known as Opernplatz. Home to Humboldt University, the State Opera, and St. Hedwig's Cathedral, it was also the scene of a memorable Nazi event of 1933.

Neue Wache War Memorial, Berlin, Germany

Neue Wache War Memorial, Berlin, Germany

52.5178902, 13.395528099999979

The Neue Wache Memorial stands in the centre of Berin as a central memorial of the Federal Republic of Germany for victims of war, tyranny and dictatorship.

Block of Women, Berlin, Germany

Block of Women, Berlin, Germany

52.5213401, 13.404794700000025

The Block of Women memorial stands in a small park next to Rosenstrasse in Berlin, Germany. It commemorates a momentous occasion in February 1943 when women stood up to the Nazi regime.

Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany

Alexanderplatz, Berlin, Germany

52.5219184, 13.413214700000026

Alexanderplatz in Berlin is one of the world's most visited public squares and although it doesn't boast the same attractions as New York's Times Square, it is a must-visit attraction.

Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus, Berlin, Germany

Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus, Berlin, Germany

52.5090932, 13.384303100000011

Detlev-Rohwedder-Haus in Berlin is often known as the Air Ministry Building. This imposing example of Nazi-era architecture still stands on Wilhelmstrasse.

Topography of Terror, Berlin, Germany

Topography of Terror, Berlin, Germany

52.5066836, 13.383702399999947

Berlin's Topography of Terror exhibition stands where the headquarters of the Gestapo, high command of the SS and Reich Security Main Office once stood.

Day Three

Travelling by U-Bahn and S-Bahn in Berlin is cheap and easy to do. A travel card permits travel as far out as the Olympic Stadium.

Day Four

More than halfway through my week in Berlin, there was still much too including exploring the historic Hackeschermarkt.

Friedrichshain Demolished Bunker

Bundesarchiv Image 183-M1203-316. The debris pile under construction around the demolished bunker in Friedrichshain, Berlin. Photo by Otto Donath in August 1949.

Day Five

Visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is worth taking a whole day out. Tour guides offer packages in a range of languages for visitors.

Day Six

My last full day in Berlin offered a chance to experience the stunning Soviet War Memorial at Treptower Park.

There is so much to see and do in Berlin, especially if you’re interested in the history of World War Two or the Cold War. My visit in October 2017 covered a lot of ground but I will return someday to visit more of the beautiful German capital.

Still on my must-see list is the Wannsee Conference Centre, the Luftwaffe Museum at Gatow, and Templehofer Feld. If you know of anywhere else I should visit, please get in touch.

Newsletter Signup

If you'd like to hear more from WartimeNI, you can sign up for regular free updates to your inbox. Just enter your email address below.