17. The New Reich Chancellery

Note: Once again I have no intention of detailing the history of this building – all such info can be found on any decent search engine. Instead I hope to indicate where things were (and what’s there today) and to provide anything of interest that may provide some curiosity value.

Further reading (or watching): I recommend these three sources. The first is Christoph Neubauer’s excellent DVD and the other two are books by Ronald Pawley and Ray and Josephine Cowdery:

Sources

Now that you’ve walked up the south side of Voss-Strasse from east to west, cross the road at these traffic lights and while crossing you will see Potsdamer Platz on your left.  Don’t go and have your photo taken with some faux guard or bear just yet. (We will come back to Potsdamer Platz.) If you decide to have a coffee at Starbucks and should you decide to sit outside, slightly to your left you will see this building:

Starbucks 1

We are going to use this as a point of reference as it sits roughly where the west (or left) wing of the New Reich Chancellery stood (henceforth NRK):

SB 2

Source: Bundesarchivbild

You should know that the NRK took up the entire north side of Voss-Strasse, from the Palais Borsig up to where you are now, i.e. at the junction of Voss-Strasse and Ebert/Hermann-Goring-Strasse. That should give you some idea of the massive scale of this building. To your left in the direction of the Brandenburg Gate lay the accommodation for the NRC security/SS guards (in red, facing Ebertstrasse):

SS quarters

The SS guard security barracks facing the garden can be seen here on the left (Reichstag in background, photo taken from west wing of NRK):

2014-08-19 08.58.26

Now for some orientation, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Map 1

You are sitting where the small red cross is (far-left). To your left, the buildings with the brown roofs are the SS quarters mentioned above. Number 4 indicates the entrance to the two underground garages and 9 is where the entry to the coal lifts was. Number 2 is one of three Voss-Strasse entrances (number 6 postal address) and 3 is postal address 4. Not shown is entrance 2 which was roughly where the kink starts in Voss-Strasse.

Number 1 is the Mittelbau (middle bit) and the 1 is pretty much where Hitler’s office was. Number 6 is the terrace where the famous footage of Hitler decorating the Hitler Youth was shot:

HJ 1

And Speer’s model may help with orientation. Here it is in its uncluttered iteration:

Model 1 AHF

And here it is with reference points attached. You will be sitting coffee in hand at the top left-hand corner of this photo:

Model 2 AHF

The red line is the frontage to the west (or left) wing, the blue indicates the Mittelbau and the orange the east (or right) wing. On the corner is, of course, the Borsig Palais and the pink line indicates the frontage to the Siedler extension (you will notice Speer has included the Fuhrer balcony so we know this model was built after … anybody? anybody? … yes! 1935! Well done that boy up the back!). The brown line indicates the Old Reich Chancellery. The SS guards’ quarters are behind the green line and in front of the line is a wall separating the guards’ garden(!) from the Chancellery garden. The red arrow indicates the Orangerie (I believe we would call it a greenhouse). A direct line from the Orangerie leads through the ornamental pool, across the Hitler Youth (henceforth HJ for “Hitler Youth”) terrace and through five large French windows into Hitler’s office in the middle of the Mittelbau. The bunker exit outside which the Hitler bodies were burnt was outside the rear of the Old Chancellery.

In real terms the area looked like this at the end of hostilities:

Garden 1

You and your Starbucks coffee are once again at the top centre (red circle), looking down Voss-Strasse with HG/Ebertstarsse on your left. The red arrows indicate (from top) the terrace where Hitler decorated the HJ boys, the ornamental pool and the greenhouse.

This then is the setting for the drama of April, 1945.

OK, finish your coffee, cross the road and cross Voss-Strasse again so that you are standing outside that ugly, box-like building on the left-hand side of Voss-Strasse (see the first photo above if you’re unsure). We will begin our walk past the site of the New Reich Chancellery …

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3 thoughts on “17. The New Reich Chancellery

  1. WHere. ON TODAYS google maps is the “”Number 6 is the terrace where the famous footage of Hitler decorating the Hitler Youth was shot:”” I look on google maps .. I am sure that it is still there? (beyond /above the carpark.. AND.. behind the Landesvertretung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in the rear gardens.. there is a wall running the length of that dirt area..
    It is important to me .. You See my Father is in the picture you posted..( there are better ones.) he is 4 th left of the boy shaking hands with Adolf Hitler.. And . for your information .. family still have the Iron cross given to him… and a napkin, knife and folk.. which father stole from the dinner table… as they had birthday lunch with Adolf and his staff.. One day i would love to be able to visit Berlin and hope to stand in the same spot..
    Kn=ind regards.
    chrisitna.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Christina! I just found your comment. Your father is in the photo? That’s fantastic. As for the location of the terrace where your father stood, my calculations are based on the photos and maps I have provided. I am not sure what you mean by “Where on today’s Google Maps is the “Number 6 etc”. If you post the map for me I can point out where I think the spot is. My calculations have been recognised by Geoff Walden who runs the “Third Reich In Ruins” website (highly recommended!) If you want to stand on the spot however you had better hurry – the remaining bare areas are being rapidly built upon. It’s worth noting also that some of the Google Earth photos are several years old. I should be back in Berlin by the end of this year so will update this part of my blog. So good to hear from you!

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    2. I just had another look, Christina. There is more detail in the next post “The West Wing”. If you want to see the place where your father stood, a rule of thumb would be to walk down Voss-Strasse about 150 metres from Ebertstrasse and then walk about 20 to 30 metres into the vacant block and you should be roughly at that spot. BTW, I just checked Google Earth and their current photo of Voss-Strasse does not even show the Berlin Mall so it must be at least five years out of date. Good luck with your visit to Berlin when it happens! Please keep me informed of your progress!

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