Topography of Terror

With a plethora of exhibitions, this museum underscores the darker elements of the story of Germany.

TravelCurious Tip

There is a lot to look at, so come prepared to spend the whole morning or afternoon here. The longer you spend, the more the story starts to make sense.

From the rise of Hitler to the fall of Communism

The Topography of Terror ranks very highly in the hierarchy of Berlin museums. Located on Niederkirchnerstrasse, the museum’s buildings stand on the site of those which were the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS, the principal instruments of terror during the Nazi regime.

The exhibits explain the German experience from 1920-1945, and tell the frightening story of how such an advanced country could descend into fascism and intolerance so quickly.

Skeleton in the closet

The cellars of the Gestapo headquarters were discovered and excavated in 1987. It was here that many political prisoners were tortured and executed.

The excavation was a rare example of cooperation between East and West German researchers, and a joint exhibition was shown both at the site and in East Germany in 1989. The two sides of the wall joined forces to exorcise the horrors of the previous epoch in the liberalising years at the end of the Communist period. At the same time, however, the infamous Stasi, the East German secret service were carrying out equally horrifying interrogations.

The later construction of the new centre, a prize-winning design by the architect Ursula Wilms and the landscape architect Heinz W. Hallmann, was finished and opened in 2010. Photographs, recordings, newspapers and documents abound, presenting a detailed and important study of recent German history.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Berlin
Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial is a stark, effective reminder of a dark chapter in the history of the world.
The Führerbunker is where Hitler spent his last days, cowering with his highest commanders whilst the Soviet army slowly approached Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie
The most famous East and West Berlin crossing point, Checkpoint Charlie unravels years of Cold War tensions.
A major cultural hub, Friedrichstraße is the perfect street for a leisurely day's shopping.
Potsdamer Platz
A cosy spot in central Berlin, Potsdamer Platz is ideal for people-watching with a delicious cup of coffee, and if you take a look downwards, you will be able to see the metal line where the Berlin Wall used to stand.
Jewish Museum Berlin
The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of the largest Jewish Museums in Europe. It opened its doors in 2001 and it showcases the life of the Jewish community from Medieval times to the present.

Related Tours

History of the Second World War Private Tour of Berlin
Explore the history of World War II in Berlin, with the expertise of a private guide, who will take you on an immersive experience through the capital city. On your private tour, you will:

  • Meet your private guide, who will take you on an immersive tour of the capital, as told through the lens of World War II. 
  • Begin at the Reichstag where you will learn the history of this building, and see the bullet holes and graffiti left by Soviet soldiers from 1945. 
  • See where the Nazi's book burning took place at Bebelplatz
  • Visit many of Berlin’s memorials, dedicated to those murdered and persecuted in World War II. 
  • Explore Tiergarten ParkUnter de Linden, and the Stolpersteine stones.
  • Pay your respects at the Holocaust memorial
  • Take a guided walk through the "Berlin 1933-1945 between Propaganda & Terror" exhibition.
  • Finish your tour with a suggested visit to the indoor museum "Topography of Terror". Your guide will give you the information about how to best see it, before finishing your tour. 

Travellers are usually humbled by the extreme efforts, honesty, and openness of Germany in commemorating the Second World War in Berlin. See the majestic Brandenburg Gate, and wander along with the historic Unter den Linden Boulevard. Visit Berlin’s memorials to the victims of war and those persecuted. These include memorials to the Holocaust victims, Albert Einstein, Book Burning, Neue Wache and the Soviet War Monument. Explore the beautiful Tiergarten Park, hear the stories of desperate Berliners who used the park as farmland and for firewood after the war. Learn about the final moments of World War II in Europe. See the bullet holes, shrapnel and Soviet graffiti that cover the Reichstag building. A visit to Berlin is a reminder to never forget. This tour explores the German culture of memory while talking about those who lost their lives and were persecuted.  
Berlin in a Day: Private Full Day Highlights with Tickets
Uncover the remarkable history of Berlin, on a full day, which explores both the east and the west. On your private tour, you will:  

  • Be met by your private guide in the heart of the city centre. 
  • Explore several sites, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and Tiergarten Park.
  • Learn about the impact of the second world war in West Berlin, and see the Holocaust MemorialHitler’s Bunker, and Checkpoint Charlie.
  • See the Berlin Wall, and then stop for lunch at a local marketplace, where your guide will give you several recommendations.
  • Learn to take public transit, with the help of your private guide.
  • Explore formerly East-Berlin, and see its highlights, including the East Side GalleryAlexanderplatz, and ‘the Treehouse.’ 
  • Finish your tour with tickets to Berlin’s TV Tower, where you will enjoy spectacular views across the whole city. 

Berlin served as the epicentre of several of the twentieth century’s most momentous parts of history: from the rise of Nazism to the Cold War and the Berlin Wall. A full-day tour is the best way to explore this history and the various layers of the city before and after these events. On your private tour, you will see the old and the new, including the Jewish Quarter which itself has over 800 years of history, before ending your tour at the futuristic Fernsehturm, the Berlin TV Tower. 

Through this tour, you will embark on a journey through time, visiting sites that played a role as Berlin evolved from a royal city through to imperial capital, cosmopolitan hub to Nazi bastion, and from Cold War division to its contemporary renewal and prosperity. A century of geopolitical struggle, hubris, nemesis and rebirth have marked this fascinating city from the ambitions of the Kaiser to defeats in two World Wars. Throughout the day, your tour will be taking you to the historic landmarks where so much of the city (and world) history played out. 

Your tour finishes with tickets to Berlin’s TV tower, where your guide will give you timed entrance tickets to ascend to the observation deck. From there, you’ll be able to see all the places you have explored throughout the day and see the complex and wonderful city from above. 

The Best of Berlin for Families Private Tour
On this half-day tour, you and your family are invited to explore Berlin's history in a vivid and engaging way- from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. On your private, family-friendly tour, you will:

  • Meet your private guide, who will take you on an immersive tour of the capital. 
  • Learn all about the history of the city from your private guide, who will be able to tailor the sensitive stories based on the age of your children.
  • Begin your tour at the Brandenburg Gate – one of the symbols of Berlin.
  • See one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings – the Reichstag and learn about its historical and political significance over the past one hundred years. 
  • Explore 17th Street where you will come across the Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker and even see pieces of what remains of the Berlin Wall
  • Visit Checkpoint Charlie – an open-air exhibit illustrating milestones in Cold War history.
  • Finish your tour on Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you may continue exploring the island and its parks as a family. 
  • Please note: while the guide will tailor the stories to be appropriate for age groups, we do note that much of what is covered in this tour may be sensitive for younger children. On the day of the tour, your guide can also reduce the number of stops related to World War 2 and the Cold War, based on your comfort as a parent or guardian. 

On this half-day highlights tour, you will have the pleasure of learning about Berlin – from the beginning of the 20th century to modern times. Since the late 1800s, Berlin has seen triumphs and defeats. From being a formidable empire to be reckoned with in the late 1800s to early 1900s to being fully decimated after World War I, to the rise of Hitler in the 1930-1940s, to again being virtually destroyed after World War II, to being a city divided during the Cold War and finally with the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 – it’s sufficed to say the past 150 years in Berlin have been dramatic and turbulent. Through this tour, you will experience first-hand, the fascinating political history of the German capital. 

On this private tour, you and your family take centre stage. Because of this your tour will be much more intimate and rewarding – ask as many or as little questions as you wish and experience history in a way that is completely different to the classroom. After this tour, you and your family will have a good background in the fascinating political history of the German capital.  Not to be missed!
Private Walking Tour of Nazi History in Berlin
Hitler's reign of terror over Germany and much of Europe was headquartered in Berlin. On your private guided tour through those dark years, learn how he was able to amass power and how the lives of Berliners were affected.

  • Discover Hitler’s plan to kill thousands of Berliners as part of the Germania Project
  • See the former Luftwaffe HQ and Joseph Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry.
  • Walk the same paved Berlin squares that once echoed with the thud of Nazi marching boots.
  • Stop and reflect at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
  • See the iconic Brandenburg Gate and learn its significance in the war.
  • Gain insight into the factors that brought about Hitler’s 1945 surrender at the Reichstag.
As the Capital of the Nazis in World War II (1939-1945), Berlin was Adolph Hitler’s nerve centre and, as such, part of the plan for the German colonization of Central and Eastern Europe. This dark and turbulent chapter in Berlin’s history is epitomized by Hitler’s megalomaniacal vision to demolish the city in order to create a Third Reich metropolis. Persecution, murder and torture were the weapons of the Nazis against those that opposed them. 

On this fascinating private Nazi history tour, you will delve into Berlin’s Nazi past to understand the context of Hitler’s dark vision for the future. Walk in the footsteps of the Third Reich, visiting key landmarks from WWII and trace the developments of Hitler’s notorious regime. As you move around Berlin, your private guide will discuss the Nazi doctrine and the effect it had on the lives of ordinary Berliners. Stand on the site of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters, admire the imposing presence of Brandenburg Gate and we stroll the former Nazi Government quarter of Wilhelmstrasse. See Hitler’s Chancellery, Goebbel’s Propaganda Ministry, the Luftwaffe HQ, the Führerbunker site and imagine Heavy Bomber air-raids overhead. To conclude, the private Nazi history walking tour, you will visit Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and will ponder Hitler’s 1945 surrender and WWII’s estimated 85-million casualties worldwide. 


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