When I began writing this article, I was so impressed by the importance of the museum I’m going to tell you about, The World War II Topography of Terror Museum. The history of World War II begins and ends with one man who had a charisma that drew people to follow him to do horrendous and inhumane acts of war against humanity. The Topography of Terror Museum portrays the acts of these people and is worth seeing from this standpoint. Visiting this museum will be a sobering experience.
The Topography of Terrors museum began in 1987 as a temporary yearlong historical exhibit. Named ‘Berlin 1937 Berlin 1987’, it was a part of the celebration of Berlin’s 750 years. At the end of the anniversary year, it was decided to keep it around for another year, and then to just keep it around indefinitely.
This Topography of Terror Museum brings history to life, and what there is to see there is meant to be remembered. There are lessons to be learned, beginning with the choice of location. The museum is located where the former Headquarters of the Gestapo and SS stood from 1933 – 1945. The exhibits are intense reminders of the terror the Gestapo and SS inflicted on political prisoners and others. Here you will learn about the SS, or Protection Squad of the Nazi Party and the Gestapo, the political State Police, and you will gain an understanding of what was each of their missions.
There are both indoor and outdoor exhibits. The outdoor exhibit has 15 stops with lecterns that explain with photos, 3-D graphics and documents and give a historical overview of the site. Excavations of the original buildings show where political prisoners were tortured and killed. You will get a perspective on the Nazi past, and what happened to the site after 1945. Indoors the permanent exhibit on the Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office, with audio and video recordings and much more.
The tour integrates both the historical remains of the Berlin Wall, which have been designated a historic monument, and parts of the preserved historic sidewalk from Prinz-Albrecht-Straße that was previously not accessible. (From the Topographie des Terrors website)
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