Berlin and the Cold War | Berlin - LikeALocal Guide

Berlin and the Cold War

By Traveller November 8, 2017

Berlin and the Cold War

(2 answers)
By Edgar Traveller November 8, 2017

Hi everyone,

I will visit Berlin in two weeks, and among other things, I have a special interest in the cold war, as well as any places related with the DDR and Stasi.
What would you recommend me (can be also of any other events of the city's history)? So far, I've found the Life in the GDR Museum, Checkpoint Charlie and a stretch of the Wall.
I also have some interest in the local food, and some nice cafes to chill. Any recommendations?

Thank you for your suggestions.


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2 answers

So, this is my expertise, actually. I'm a public educator at a lot of the Cold War memorials. The places I would recommend the most are the Stasi Museum (which used to be the Stasi headquarters), the Hohenschönhausen Memorial (which used to be the central interrogation center of 17 total Stasi interrogation centers in the GDR), and the Berlin Wall Memorial (not to be confused with East Side Gallery, which is a post-reunification, open-air art exhibition...and is cool to see but not where you go if you want to learn more about the history). If you absolutely want to go to Checkpoint Charlie, I wouldn't recommend spending much time there. It has turned into a kitschy tourist trap.
Local November 8, 2017
Some more info...
The Stasi Museum: a lot of the documents there are in German, so I would recommend going on a public tour of the museum. They are offered in English at 3pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

Hohenschönhausen: You can visit the prison only with a tour, but that's a good thing because a) you learn way more and b) the guides keep an eye on the visitors while they go through the memorial, which is really important because almost everything you will see in the prison is original, so it's important to preserve it. According to their website, this is the English tour schedule: Monday to Friday 2.30 pm
Week-end 11.30 am and 2.30 pm
But I would call them at Tel.: 030 / 986082-30 just to double-check.
Rachel Local November 8, 2017
Berlin Wall Memorial: the great thing about this is that it's free (unless you want to book a private tour). It's an open-air exhibition (well, duh, cuz the wall was outside!) with several informational tableaux and recordings. You start at the tram stop Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer, can stop along the way to go into the documentation center on your left-hand side (which is really valuable for all of the political information!), and then continue along the exhibition all the way up to Wolliner Straße (or even past that, I forget). The famous Mauerpark (where there's a flea market) is across the street from that, and there are cute cafes around there and around U Bernauer Str. The cafe I'd recommend is the Kaffeehaus Handbestand:
It's right next to the Brunnenstraße exit of U Bernauer Str. I recommend it because the guy who works there really knows how to make good Austrian coffee, and I love the ambience of the cafe. It's old-timey as opposed to that new "warehouse" hipster crap you see popping up.
Rachel Local November 8, 2017
A place I don't work at but would recommend is the Berliner Unterwelten tours. They provide a plethora of tours of all of the tunnels and bunkers under Berlin! Take a look at their website to get more info about individual tours.
Ok, lastly, restaurants: Prenzlauer Berg (U Eberswalder Str) and Friedrichshain (S Warschauer Str and/or U Samariterstr) are the best places for that. Even if you aren't vegetarian or vegan, the website/app Happy Cow is a great place to look for ratings of restaurants in the area. It's a better version of Yelp, I find.

Anyway, let me know if you have any other questions! I'll be traveling tonight and tomorrow but can answer before/after that.
Rachel Local November 8, 2017
I was happy when I read the question because I wanted to give you so many tips and hints. Damn! Rachel didn't forget a single one! What great information she provided!

The only thing I might add is a tour to the Teufelsberg Station.
Stephan Local November 8, 2017
i would go on some of the history tours, there are so many to choose from, maybe check out what tripadvisor is saying
Local November 9, 2017