Why visit the Topography of Terror Museum

At this ominous address where the Nazi high command once sat at their desks and organised the Holocaust, now stands an expertly designed combination outdoor/indoor museum. What sets the Topography of Terror museum apart is both its authentic location, complete with excavated SS and Gestapo HQ remnants and a large Berlin Wall segment, as well as its focus on the motivations and tactics of the Nazi perpetrators, rather than the victims. The exhibitions detail an unbiased account of the administered system of oppression through texts, photos and audio recounts. The information is for many quite heavy, in terms of both content volume and emotional response. It is recommended to focus on the exhibitions of most interest to you.

Visiting the Topography of Terror will help you understand in greater detail the horror lived during the Nazi regime. It has pictures, documents and personal stories, well put together in an heart breaking exhibition.

Inaie, 02 Dec 2012, United Kingdom
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Topography of Terror history

A Palace for the Gestapo HQ

Originally built as an ornate Prussian palace, the present-day grounds of the Topography of Terror museum housed, from 1933 to 1945, the principal institutions of Nazi persecution and terror - The Gestapo, Reich Security and SS headquarters. It was here that the concentration camps were administered, the deadly military task forces were managed and detailed records of regime opponents were kept. However, the majority of these buildings were destroyed by Allied bombing and the remains leveled after the...

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A Palace for the Gestapo HQ

Originally built as an ornate Prussian palace, the present-day grounds of the Topography of Terror museum housed, from 1933 to 1945, the principal institutions of Nazi persecution and terror - The Gestapo, Reich Security and SS headquarters. It was here that the concentration camps were administered, the deadly military task forces were managed and detailed records of regime opponents were kept. However, the majority of these buildings were destroyed by Allied bombing and the remains leveled after the war.

Preservation by and of the Berlin Wall

Running adjacent to Niederkirchnerstraße, a 200 meter stretch of the Berlin Wall - fortifying the borders between the Soviet zone Mitte and American run Kreuzberg - survived in tact. The proximity of the wall and the lingering historical contamination saved the site from redevelopment. Over the decades the historic location was neglected, serving menial purposes as a racing circuit, outdoor storage space and, eventually, dog walking scrubland.

The section of the Berlin Wall, preserved with all traced of the destruction that occurred during the transitional period, is now part of the Topography of Terror outdoor exhibit. It is the longest remaining segment of the outer wall (the longer East Side Gallery being part of the inner wall).

The ‘House Prison’ Exhibition of the Topography of Terror

On Berlin’s 750th anniversary in 1987, the cellar of a SS mess hut, the remains of a prison yard and the foundations of the Gestapo headquarters was uncovered and made accessible to the public. The location was also identified as the site of the ‘House Prison’, infamous for its “intensified interrogation” (aka brutal torture) methods. Fortunately for many of its 15,000 visitors, the House Prison, due to its small capacity of 50 inmates, was only a waylay stop en route to other prisons and concentration camps. It was deemed ironically fitting to make this former place of oppression a beacon of progression, crafting the site into open-air exhibition detailing the history of repression under the Nazi regime. Today, a metal outline marks the place where the House Prison once stood.

Formal Establishment of the Topography of Terror Museum

A permanent museum building for the Topographies of Terror was designed 2004. The new documentation center and redesigned historic grounds were opened six years later in May 2010. It contains 3 permanent exhibitions presented bilingually in German and English, addressing the crimes perpetrated by police in the Third Reich, the consequences of National Socialist policy for Berlin and its citizenry as well as an overview of the historic location and its use during the Nazi and postwar eras. Topography of Terror in Berlin is a testament to Germany’s attempts to come to terms with its Nazi past by painstakingly documenting its misdeeds.

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Opening hours

Daily 10:00 - 20:00

Time to visit

3 hours

Transport

U6 to Kochstrasse, U2, S1, S2, S25 to Potsdamer Platz

Address

Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin, Germany