Original Berlin Walks

 In Trips

During my recent trip to Berlin I decided I wanted to see and learn a bit more about the history of the city during the second world war and whilst I had done a bus tour on my previous visit, I wanted something different this time. Whilst looking on the web for options, I came across an organisation called Original Berlin Walks which organises several English spoken guided tours on a variety of topics.

As I was looking on their website I immediately noticed that they ran a tour called “Infamous Third Reich Sites”, which is run as a public tour, so basically anyone can join in as long as you book your ticket for the mere price of 12 Euros per adult. They also do private tours if you want a guide for yourself and don’t walk to join a (big) group of people, but on the other hand when you join a group you get to meet people from all over the world. More information on the tours and their pricing can be found on the link I posted above.

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An overview of all tours on offer

For the Infamous Third Reich Sites tour there are 2 meeting points in the city, one in the West and the other in the East and as I was staying at the Intercontinental hotel on the Budapesterstrasse, the Western meeting point was the closest. Now on the ticket it said that the meeting point would be between the Spar supermarket and the Curry36 stand at the S-Bahn station Zoologischer Garten, but there’s construction going on and the Spar supermarket is no longer there. The meeting point actually is outside of the S-Bahn train station Zoologischer Garten, at the front end of the taxi stand.

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Meeting point West

Here I was met by Merren, an Australian ex-pat who had been living in Berlin for just over 2 years now, who already had a couple more people waiting to start the tour. When you order your ticket online, it will clearly tell you that you also need to order a specific train ticket for the day as you make 2 connections by train. This train ticket can either be bought at the station itself or you can buy it from the guide, but they have a limited number of tickets available. In case they run out of train tickets, they’ll be glad to help you out to get one in the station.

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Berlin Hauptbahnhof

Merren wasn’t the guide for the day, although it was her favorite tour to do in Berlin, but she would take us to meet Sam at the Hauptbahnhof and where the group from the Eastern meeting point would join as well. Now Sam is a great guy and knows his stuff! He lives in Berlin where he teaches English literature at the university, so he is very knowledgeable! Props to him.

Sam, the guide

Sam, the guide

As you walk out of the Hauptbahnhof Sam told the group what to expect of the tour, how long the tour would take, which sites would be visited and shortly after we headed over the river Spree and were explained the history of the Oberbaumbrücke before walking over to the Reichstag.

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Reichstag

Next to the Reichstag there is a very small memorial for all politicians that were murdered, I won’t go into details because I don’t want to spoil your tour in case you decide to book it. What follows is some pictures of where Sam took the group that afternoon…

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Reichstag memorial stones for murdered politicians

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Every single stone showed the details…

After seeing this we went over to the Sinti and Roma memorial which is very simple, it’s very quiet and gives you goosebumps…

The Sinti and Roma memorial

The Sinti and Roma memorial

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The memorial is surrounded by stones…

Next stop was the Soviet War Memorial, which was erected by the former Soviet Union to honor the 80.000 soldiers who died during the Battle of Berlin in April/May of 1945…

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Soviet War Memorial

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Soviet Tank

From the Soviet War Memorial it’s only a short stroll to probably one of the most iconic monuments in the city of Berlin, the Brandenburger Tor. There is always a big crowd in this area and this time it was no different, as on the big lane towards the monument there were plenty of busses parked, but still Sam managed to keep the group of about 25 people together without losing anyone, nice job!

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Brandenburger Tor

A funny side note that Sam told us was the story behind the Adlon hotel that you can see once you walk through the Brandenburger Tor, the Adlon hotel is the place where Michael Jackson hung his baby out of the window… Anyway, after another lesson in history we continued to one of the subway stations.

Unter den Linden

Unter den Linden

From here we took the train to another part of the city and when we came out the underground we walked towards the remains of the old S-Bahnhof Grunewald, where the story on the sign gives you shivers when you start to realise what happened here…

S-Bahnhof Grunewald

S-Bahnhof Grunewald

Onwards to probably one of the most, gosh how should I say it interesting or maybe horrific, part of the city as we walked to the Topography of Terrors… This is where the three most feared Nazi instances had their headquarters, the SS, the SD and the Gestapo. The museum is free to enter and there is a big exhibition to be seen, this is also where the tour has a short break to make a pitstop and grab a warm drink.

Topography of Terrors, a must see...

Topography of Terrors, a must see…

Just across from the museum you can still see part of the Berlin Wall…

http://www.topographie.de/en/

Remains of the Berlin Wall

As you can see in the picture above, there is a huge building in the background, this is Goering’s Air Ministry (Luftwaffe Headquarters) and it’s actually amazing to see it in such good shape even though the Allies tried to bomb it during the Second World War…

Luftwaffe Headquarters

Luftwaffe Headquarters

As the tour continued, Sam showed us Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry, the huge New Reich Chancellery for Hitler which was built by Albert Speer and the location of Hitler’s bunker. The tour ends at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe, another place where silence is king… Sorry for not having any pictures of these last stops, but the month of December brings us shorter days and my camera would not co-operate…

Iconic car of that era...

Iconic car of that era…

I will definitely book another tour with the people of Original Berlin Walks the next time that I’m in Berlin, it’s worth the money, the guides are superb and it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon! Oh and when you’ve done a tour with them, please make sure to rate them on Tripadvisor!

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