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On a Secret Tour through Southwest Berlin

Liebermann Villa
Liebermann Villa (c) visumate

This is what I call comfortable sightseeing: The Secret Tours Berlin limousine takes me to different destinations and I can listen to my tour guide Stephanie without sore feet and background noises.

Stephanie shows Berliners and tourists Berlin locations that are somewhat remote, but no less exciting. So, let’s get going to Grunewald and Wannsee!

I’m already very excited for the southwest of Berlin:Stories about villas and their owners are waiting for me there as are visits to the Gleis 17 Memorial, the Liebermann villa, and Glienicke Bridge. The trip there will fly by with interesting facts about Kurfürstendamm: When was Berlin’s magnificent boulevard built? And why? And there is also the first secret for us here: The buildings start at number 11…

The Grunewald Villas

In Grunewald, the Secret Tour takes us through small streets in Berlin’s first millionaire’s colony. There have been more than 200 mansions here since 1897. The lakeside properties were and still are especially sought after and expensive. Secret number two: These lakes were only created for the colony! In addition to the former houses of Romy Schneider and Hildegard Knef, we also see villas – magnificent and abandoned – that filmmakers like to use. The latter for horror films. Next, Stephanie takes us to the Gleis 17 Memorial at Grunewald train station. More than 50,000 Berlin Jews were deported from here to concentration camps, starting in October 1941. After a short break, we continue to Schwanenwerder Island – where we are again reminded of Germany’s dark past: Joseph Goebbels was the most well-known resident of this little island in Wannsee from 1936 to 1945 and the Reich Chancellery also owned a property here.

There’s Nothing like Going to Wannsee

At Liebermann villa, our next stop, we are given an exclusive introduction into the painter’s life and work. Max Liebermann designed his summer residence, which he called “castle on the lake” himself. The planning was probably good for his creativity: Liebermann made more than 200 paintings here, many of which we discover in the permanent exhibition. Only a few steps further is the House of the Wannsee Conference. This building, where in 1942 the “Final Solution” was agreed, has been accommodating an exhibition on the genocide of the European Jews since 1992.

The last stop on the tour takes us to the place where spectacular agent exchanges took place during the Cold War – the Glienicke Bridge. In 1985, exposed spies crossed the bridge for the last time towards the GDR and West Berlin. Hollywood seems to like the story: Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks filmed Bridge of Spies here, which is currently playing in theatres. Conclusion: The Secret Tour was a fantastic, entertaining round trip with interesting locations and stories that you really don’t see or hear every day. Highly recommended!

P.S. Why does the Ku’damm begin at number 11? You’ll find out on the Secret Tour! In addition to “Wannsee – Villas & Agents”, “Charlottenburg – Olympic Stadium & Spies”, “Hohenschönhausen – Prison @ Asia-Town” and various mini-tours in both English and German are also on the programme. The limousine van has enough space for up to six people. Snacks, drinks, and all entrance prices are included in the price. For more information, go to www.secret-tours.berlin. Written by Kathrin Hoffmann

Berlin Blogger: visitBerlin Blogger can be found here: visitBerlin.de/blog

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