Historical Activities and Tours in Berlin
Berlin, Germany's capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains. The city's also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963. Berlin's combo of glamour and grit is bound to mesmerize anyone keen to explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, intense parties and tangible history. Berlin's richly textured history stares you in the face at every turn. This is a city that staged a revolution, was headquartered by Nazis, bombed to bits, divided in two and finally reunited - and that was just in the 20th century! Walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall, marvel at the splendor of a Prussian palace, visit Checkpoint Charlie or stand in the very room where the Holocaust was planned. Berlin is like an endlessly fascinating 3D textbook where the past is very much present wherever you go. And on top of its rich history and culture, it is a party capital. Forget about New York – Berlin is the city that truly never sleeps. The city's vast party spectrum caters for every taste, budget and age group. From tiny basement clubs to industrial techno temples, chestnut-canopied beer gardens to fancy cocktail caverns, saucy cabarets to ear-pleasing symphonies - Berlin delivers hot-stepping odysseys. With so much to see and do, Berlin is a great place to experience, and there are several options for budget friendly historical activities and tours in or near the city.
Investigate the infamous rise of the Nazis during this 4-hour walking tour of the Third Reich's key sites in Berlin. Meet your guide at Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station and hear the history behind Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party. These facts will help explain the dramatic period of violence that took hold between 1933 and 1945, resulting in one Germany's darkest eras. Travel to Anhalter Bahnhof, where many of Berlin's Jewish residents were deported, before walking to Heinrich Himmler's SS and Gestapo headquarters on former Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse. Once considered the most chilling address in all of Germany, this is now home to the Topography of Terror museum. From here, visit Herman Goering's Ministry of Aviation, as your guide discusses the consequences of the Third Reich on the Jewish, Sinti, and Roma populations. Your tour will finish in front of Germany's impressive parliament building, the Reichstag. This is where the Nazis came to power in 1933, and were defeated in the Battle of Berlin in 1945 in the last days of WWII.
Start your walking tour next to Hackescher Markt train station in East Berlin at 10am. Your guide will begin your tour by setting the scene: how did the U.S. and the USSR fall into a Cold War? How was Berlin caught in the middle of everything? How did military tensions Berlin split into two? Your guide will take you to the Berlin Wall memorial, where you'll see a section of the Wall preserved in its original state, as well as a birds-eye view of the ‘Death Strip,' where East Germany's shoot-to-kill orders were carried out on would-be escapees. Next you'll travel to the north of Berlin to Bornholmer Strasse, where the Wall came down on November 9, 1989. Here, your guide will explain the unlikely tale of how one East German politician's mistake brought down the Berlin Wall. Continue deeper into East Berlin. You'll see the Karl-Marx-Allee, a boulevard built as a monument to Stalin to demonstrate the new socialist utopia of the German Democratic Republic. You'll also visit the headquarters of East Germany's terrifying secret police, the Stasi, and learn how the East German state increasingly spied upon its own people, creating a system of complete government control over its citizens. Finish your walking tour at Alexanderplatz, the site of the iconic TV tower in the heart of the former East German capital.
Begin this 3-hour walking tour with a meet and greet with an expert local guide in West Berlin outside the Weihenstephaner restaurant at the Hackescher Markt S-Bahn station. Then set out to explore the city's Jewish heritage, from the days of its first 17th-century immigrants, through the horror of the Holocaust, to the present day. Along the way, learn about some of Berlin's past Jewish residents who changed the world as we know it, like Albert Einstein and philosopher Moses Mendelssohn, who founded the first modern public school for Jewish boys. Visit the site of the Old Synagogue, which was destroyed in World War II, and the “Block of Women” memorial to the women's uprising of 1943, a peaceful attempt to save their Jewish husbands and fathers from deportation by the SS and the Gestapo. Also, see the Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt, a 1940s-era factory where workshop owner Otto Weidt protected his blind and deaf Jewish workers from persecution during the Holocaust. Finally, visit the 19th-century New Synagogue, one of Berlin's most significant Jewish landmarks. It was the main synagogue of the Berlin Jewish community and an important architectural monument of late 19th century Berlin. Today, it is home to the Centrum Judaicum, which traces the history of the building and the life associated with it.
While the Nazis were hosting the 1936 Olympic games, slave laborers were being forced to build a huge concentration camp just north of Berlin, intended to hold political enemies of the Nazi regime political, racial and asocial. Of the 200,000 people interned, more than 50,000 lost their lives before the camp was liberated by the Soviets in 1945. The camp was then used by the Soviets until 1950 to detain former Nazis, German soldiers and political opponents of the communists. Many thousands more died from malnutrition and disease. The key to this walking tour is the informative and illuminating narrative provided by your expert tour guide. During your 3-hour visit to the camp, you'll learn important background history of the site as you walk through the Appellplatz parade ground, the Jewish Barrack, punishment cells, execution grounds and crematorium, Station Z, the Pathology Laboratory and camp hospital. All tour guides have their own special insights into the history of Sachsenhausen/b>, and are experienced in unraveling the complex history of the Third Reich and the Holocaust.
Share This Article