Witness to a Time
Long Gone: Teufelsberg
Long before the Allies built their listening post on top of the Teufelsberg, Hitler’s architect, Albert Speer, accompanied his boss to this Grünewald location to dedicate the site designated for a military technical school which was never built. After World War II, when the city’s limited borders demanded somewhere to place all the rubble of bombed-out Berlin, thousands of truckloads headed for the location up until 1972, building a hill on which Berliners could ski and sled in winter (with a dedicated bus line) and even make wine, the Wilmersdorfer Teufelstropf, which was harvested from grapes growing on the hill.
The height was a natural location for a listening post, exactly what the Americans and British accomplished with huge radar screens and antennae: a top secret location from which massive amounts of data were recorded by teams who worked in 8-hour shifts, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 52 weeks/year. Non stop. To catch radio communications/waves/frequencies from all over the Warsaw Pact. Its effectivenesscannot be measured (and official records are classified for another ten years), though some point with pride to a coveted prize given by the NSA which was awarded no less than four times.
As one of the most secretive Cold War locations in Berlin, the Teufelsberg Field Station (or T-berg, as it was affectionately called) - officially off-limits for years – intrigues and fascinates with its unique white towers rising above the treeline. Now, a young Berliner has begun offering tours of the location, and the interest is intense.
When you take a tour with Andreas Jüttemann, you will hear 2 hours worth of history and intrigue. You will climb all over the facility, including 228 steps to the top of the third-highest elevation in Berlin (participants must be at least 14 years old) and you will see an extreme sad state of deterioration brought on by lack of any type of security since 2003. Vandalism and the quest for copper wire has torn out most of the walls and floors, leaving a mind-boggling display of destruction….but still, the allure is there, the stories fascinate. I was in a group of 30 last Friday with a clear blue sky; 90 visitors were expected on Sunday. I paid EUR 15 to see this aging facility which some now want to try and save with the designation “Denkmalschutz” i.e. historically registered and protected. It was money well worth spent and I’m rooting for future preservation of this unique architectural site in Berlin.
Guided tours to National Security Agency
(NSA) Field Station Berlin-Teufelsberg
offer tours around the former NSA field station on the highest hill
in ‘West Berlin – Teufelsberg. English
be offered or,
in the event that we have no native English-speaking guides, English
support by an English speaking guide
will be offered on German tours.
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
€ 15 - $ 20 - £ 12