A few weeks ago I found out about this place in Berlin. Is a little bit far away from the center of Berlin, totally worth the visit. This is in Grunewald, ex west Berlin. It is a hand made hill and 80 metres tall, above the surrounding Teltow plateau and 120.1 metres above the sea level.
It wasn’t very discreet: three huge globes, two radomes perched buildings three-stories high, and another a further six-stores higher, creating this strange tower.
The Teufelsberg is no longer the highest mountain in Berlin. The hill is made of rubble, and covers an under-construction Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät). During the Cold War, there was a U.S. listening station on the hill, Field Station Berlin.
Some history: In 1933, the dictator, Adolf Hitler, planned a new university town on Heerstraße, planned by architect Hans Malwitz (1891 – 1987). After they had been tipped off without a plan, the city decided to develop a detailed landscape planning with the progress of the slowly recognizable mountain. At the moment, the Grunewald actually belongs to the British and Americans.
The first mobile units took up position atop the hill in July 1961, but they had more permanent facilities in 1963 before Field Station Berlin Teufelsberg gradually grew over the following years to become one of the West’s largest spying stations ever – arguably the most important.
So until the end of the cold war in 1989 the Berlin Teufelsberg served with its Field Station espionage. And years later, in 1992, the dismantling of the intercepting devices took place at the Field Station.
The investor community Teufelsberg GbR (IGTB) acquired the site in 1996 and planned a large leisure area there. Hotels, residential areas, parkings and a new lookout tower wanted to be created. The plans failed.
On 15 August 2005, the Senate Department for Urban Development issued a legal ordinance which abolished the existing project and development plan. Private construction projects on the Teufelsberg were no longer possible. The site became an “abandoned place” in 2006, a group of usurped took place. Theft and vandalism completely destroyed the facilities. It was in 2010 that the tenant at that time succeeded in creating an organized structure and possibilities on making the site accessible to a regular visiting company again.
Nowadays, the place offers Tours, and they said that: “you will learn everything you need to know about the moving history of the Teufelsberg from its origins to the only Ski World Cup race in Berlin to the history of the British and American occupiers of Berlin . You will learn everything from the Imperial Age to today this exciting tour is suitable for small and large”.
If you want to read more about this place, there are some novels about it.
- William Durie, “The United States Garrison Berlin 1945-1994”, Aug 2014.
- C Trick: Sort of a Memoir (memoir) by Don Cooper (2000).
- Death On Devil’s Mountain (novel) by David Von Norden (pen name) (2009).
- McCurry’s War (novel) by Chuck Thompson (2012): Field Station Berlin atop Teufelsberg in the 1960s.
- Reunification: A Monterey Mary Returns to Berlin by T.H.E. Hill (2013).
- Voices Under Berlin: The Tale of a Monterey Mary (novel) by T.H.E. Hill (2008).
- From Pin Stripes to Army Stripes by Sergeant Michael Riles (memoir).
Thanks for reading 🙂