Remembering terror and persecution – the documentation centre Topographie des Terrors is one of the most-visited places of remembrance in Berlin.
A place where terror is tangible, a place of remembrance and a warning from history, the “Topography of Terror” exhibition is located on the site where between 1933 and 1945 the principal instruments of Nazi persecution and terror were located: the headquarters of the Gestapo, the high command and security service of the SS, and from 1939 the Reich Security Main Office.
With more than a million visitors each years, it is one of the most frequently visited museums and memorial centres in Berlin.
The exhibitions on the site
The permanent exhibition Topography of Terror. Gestapo, SS and Reich Security Main Office on Wilhelm- und Prinz-Albrecht-Straße tells you about these institutions and the crimes that were organised there. At five locations, photographs and documents illustrate the history from the time the Nazis took power until the end of the war.
You will find out even more in the special and temporary exhibitions which deal with various aspects of national socialism.
A second permanent exhibition in the trenches excavated along Niederkirchnerstraße looks at Berlin’s role as the capital of the ”Third Reich” and is open from spring to autumn. Exhibition panels tell the story of Berlin in the Weimar republic, Berlin under the Nazis and during the war, and the consequences of Nazi rule. The glass panels let you look into the excavations on the site.
Tour of the site
The tour takes in 15 information stations directly where the crimes were planned. Photographs, graphics and documents provide detailed information. The site also contains the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall in the centre of Berlin.
The museum’s foundation also runs the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre in Schöneweide on the site of a former labour camp.
Many ministries of the Nazi state were located on nearby Wilhelmstraße in the former government quarter. 30 panels tell the story of the buildings.
History of the site
In summer 1933 the Gestapo secret police began using what it called a “house prison” for political inmates. The prisoners were interrogated and tortured in the offices, and most of them were then sent to prisons or concentration camps. A total of 15,000 opponents of the Nazi regime were imprisoned by the Gestapo here. Among them were Georg Elser, who attempted to assassinate Hitler, as well as members of the Red Orchestra and Kreisau Circle resistance groups, and members of the 20th July plot.
After the war, the area was left derelict. Not until 1987, for the city’s 750th anniversary, was the first exhibition organised. It was originally a temporary one, but such was the interest from Berliners and tourists that a new documentation centre was eventually built.
The documentation centre was evaluated by an official auditor of the am “Reisen für Alle” scheme on 23 March 2015 and certified as barrier-free.
There is an audio induction loop system for the ticket office, the exhibition and the auditorium.
The Topography of Terror website contains special information for people with hearing and cognitive impairments (including information in sign language and plain language).
Audio guides and an app for the site tour are available. The app provides commentary in sign language and an audio version.
All rooms, facilities and exhibition areas are wheelchair-friendly. Assistance dogs (guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs etc.) are allowed in.
Barrier-free special guided tours are available for people with cognitive impairments.