The Stasi Museum is a weird place to be. Especially when you realize the museum used to be the offices where the Stasi used to spy on it’s own people. You can visit the offices of Stasi leader Mielke as well and hear him say he spied on people because he loved them and his country so much.
The Spying World at the Stasi Museum
Imagine what it must have been like before the Berlin Wall fell. A very large office with 8.000 people, spying on their own countrymen and women. The Stasi (Staatssicherheit), in English: State Security did everything in their power to know what was being planned in secret to put the GDR in danger. Well, quite a lot, if you think of the 8.000 people working here, day in, day out, writing files about all these state enemies. And those were only the official Stasi-people, led by Stasi minister Erich Mielke. Even more Inoffizielen Mitarbeitern (IM)(Stasi Informants) were spying on their co-workers, friends, family and even loved ones.
At the Stasi Museum you can see how they operated and what their secret files looked like. It’s sad to read the story of the popular singer-songwriter Wolf Biermann, for example, who was spied on for ages. He was not allowed to perform for many years because he sang popular songs like the Stasi ballade (a song in which he mocked being spied on by the Stasi). Biermann couldn’t be more right about people listening in on him, even when he was simply sitting on the toilet. In his files you can see how the Stasi carefully planned his later ausburgerung from the GDR. After a performance in West Germany Biermann was no longer able to enter his beloved GDR.
Where plans like these were created is still visible as well. You can still see the office of Stasi Minister Erich Mielke and see the chairs he sat on. They have really interesting video’s as well. It has been years since we first seen it, but we can still remember the lines he uttered after the downfall of the GDR. Erich Mielke is picked up by the police and he stammers: ‘Aber Ich liebe doch die Menschen?! Ich habe die Menschen doch immer geliebt.’ As if he can’t believe what is happening: “But I love the people?! I have always loved the people of the GDR’.
You love art and history and are in Berlin right now. Or you are planning a visit to Berlin soon. But you have no idea where you can find all those interesting Berlin museums. We will help you out with a short summary of all the museums we write about. Or just click on the photos of all the different museums and find all the info there.
Neues Museum is full of bullet holes. It opened a few years ago after being closed for decades. The architect combined new and old styles beautifully. Inside you will find great Egyptian statues. Like the beautiful Egyptian queen Nefertiti and her heretic husband king Akhenaten, to name a few.
Alte Nationalgalerei looks just like a Greek temple. But inside you will find romantic art and paintings by German and French masters like Caspar David Friedrich and Monet. It makes it the ideal place to be if you want to take your loved one on a romantic date, with painted flowers instead of the real deal.
When you stand in front of the Altes Museum on Museumsinsel you will feel like you are in Rome or Greece. The huge iconic columns look just like an impressive Greek temple. Although the ancient Greeks didn’t build this art temple, inside the Altes Museum you will discover the ancient artifacts created in the burning sun of Greece, Rome and Egypt.
The Bode Museum is one of the architectural landmarks of Museumsinsel. If you cross the river Spree you will see the round walls of the Bode Museum instantly. The collection of the Bode Museum is not so well known as the other museums on Museumsinsel. But the statues from West-Roman and Byzantium times, combined with great architecture make this a place to be.
Deutsches Historisches Museum is a great museum if you want to know about the history of Germany. It tells you how Germany came into existence, the religious fights between the catholics and reformers, World War One and Two and the Cold War. And it is situated at the former Berlin armory.
The scars of both World War Two and the Cold War are visible at Gropius Bau. This art museum still has bullet holes in the facade from World War Two. The Berlin Wall is very close too, leaving Gropius Bau in noman’s land for decades. But art revenged itself. Inside you will find work by international artists and exhibitions that have traveled the world.
You don’t have to use your imagination a lot to hear the trains hissing at former train station Hamburger Bahnhof. But the days of passengers running for their train are over. Inside you will find great art. Hamburger Bahnhof has great international artists like Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol, but they let the young artists shine as well.
The Jewish Museum is dedicated to the history of the German Jews. Inside you will find old artifacts, religious items, tragic letters from World War Two, family photo albums, jeans made by Levi Strauss, sad exhibitions on how the Jewish community suffered during the war. But also exhibitions on how creative the community and individuals were.
KW Institute for Contemporary Art can be found in gallery heaven Scheunenviertel in an unusual building. KW Institure for Contemporary Art is in a former butter factory, filled to the brim with modern art. The exhibitions are very interesting and they have a keen eye for controversial art.
The Neue Nationalgalerie is the place to be if you love modern art. This stunning museum looks like a very modern bunker but instead of concrete to fill this artbox, architect Mies van der Rohe used a lot of glass. On the first floor and the cellars you can find the frivolous colors of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, the kidlike art by Pablo Picasso, and the sad, colorful clowns of Max Beckman.
Pergamon Museum is dedicated to the excavation in Pergamon, modern day Turkey. They have large friezes depicting the divine fight between the Giants with snake legs and the impressive Greek gods. They also have a great Islamic art section. We especially like the blue tilled walls of ancient Babylon with ferocious looking lions.
We always walked by this old World War Two bunker without knowing what was happening inside. It looks hardly inhabited from the outside, but inside this old war bunker you will see it is filled to the brim with art by the Boros family. Hence the name: Sammlung Boros. It is not a normal museum, make an appointment to get in.
Always wondered where and how the first Berliners lived in the stone age, the middle ages and where the Berliners danced in the Wild twenties? At Markisches Museum they will tell you all about the history of Berlin. Expect interesting stories, great pictures of wildly dancing ladies and some large slabs of the Berlin Wall.
If you are born in Western Europe, America or another spot in the world, far from East Germany and want to know what life in the GDR was like, you should check out the DDR Museum. They will tell you everything about the history and everyday life in the GDR, or like East Germans call it: DDR.
Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause is now a memorial, in the Cold War you definitely didn’t want to be stuck here. Gedenkstatte Hohenschonhause was a Stasi prison. During a tour the former prisoners will tell you all about the grim reality they faced when they were held prison in this cold and lonesome place during the Cold War.