Recommended as private guide in
Rick Steves' 'snapshot Berlin':
" enthusiastic historian who grew up behind the Wall..."

before and after


Nazi Berlin



For many people, the Nazis come to mind when they think about Berlin’s past. But in fact, the city was the most free-minded, un-Nazi-like place on earth before Goebbels arrived at Anhalter Bahnhof in autumn 1926. He managed to turn Berlin into a “brown” city, a place where the people finally cheered Hitler enthusiastically when he returned from Paris in 1940. Hitler almost turned Berlin into “Germania.” By 1945, Berlin had lost its beauty. There are traces of the Nazi era left in the city, and while viewing first one place and then another, you can get an idea of what it might have been like to live in Berlin between 1933 and 1945.


Kleiner Friedrich1  Georg Elsers Profile

Close to the place where Hitler’s Chancellery used to be, there is a huge portrait overlooking the street. And even...
when you stand very close to it, it is hard to see what it is. It’s Georg Elser’s profile. Elser tried to assassinate Hitler shortly after the war started. And although his attempt failed, his story is more than worth telling.


Kleiner Friedrich1  Site of Hitler's Bunker

Whatever any tour guide tells you … there is almost noting left of the bunker. In fact, it is a dull-looking eastern Berlin...
backyard made of concrete. There is a sign that offers quite a lot of information about the bunker, but nothing more. Well, a person’s knowledge of this place depends very much on having more information and a narration. Then, even this place can come alive again. Grenades, smoke, corpses, broken tanks, darkness, and a lot of Nazis killing themselves and/or each other. I believe it is easy to recall the past here.


Kleiner Friedrich1  Goebbel's ministry

Goebbels, no doubt, knew how propaganda worked. “There is no bad press” he once said. What is left...
of his ministry in Berlin is a long front facade behind which the most sophisticated methods were used to influence the German people. The building itself has not changed much, and I will tell you the methods Goebbels used to turn Berlin into the Nazi capital. You will find a few amazing similarities to the world of today....


Kleiner Friedrich1  Ministry of the Luftwaffe

Once built as Hermann Göring’s ministry, the architecture of this building still displays a claim to power. The inside...
has changed, though. It is the Ministry of Finance today. And during the Cold War, the building served as the main office building for the Communist government. A hidden jewel can be found here too—a piece of art that gives you a clear impression of a time not long ago....


Kleiner Friedrich1  Topography of Terror

This site only exists below the earth. The buildings above were destroyed during World War II. Once the offices of Adolf...
Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, and Reinhard Heydrich were housed here. Today, there are some elements of the cellar left, and a comprehensive exhibition tells a lot about the political terror of the SS, SA, and Gestapo.



Kleiner Friedrich1  Place of the bookburning

The square is of outstanding beauty. It is surrounded by a university, an opera house, an 18th-century library, and a...
marvelous cathedral. In the middle of all these buildings, which were intended to represent an open-minded Prussian state ruled by Frederick the Great, 30,000 books were burned on May 10, 1933. Who burned the books? Why? Which books did they burn? And what does the glass slab on the ground have to do with it?


  Friedrichgold4 © Bernhard