How I came to visit Teufelsberg
When Tumblr contacted me and asked if I wanted to go on an expedition to an abandoned former-spy facility in Berlin, I had to say yes. In fact, I had to check myself before I replied over enthusiastically and squealed like a child.
I happen to be enthralled with spy stories, WWII history, abandoned places and anything that might be overtaken with street art.
All of those things apply to Teufelsberg. The word in German means, ‘Devil’s Hill’. Teufelsberg rises from within the Grunewald Forest and up from the Brandenburg Plain.Its mysteriousness is immediately apparent. Yet its precise history is a little more ambiguous.
The hill itself was created from the transported rubble of the war. It was comprised of what was left when Berlin was bombed into near non-existence. This rubble was piled on top of, and eventually hid, a former Nazi school. Then, the Americans built a spy station, eventually run by the NSA. It was in operation until the Wall and East Berlin fell.
Various plots to buy the land, rehab it or just take it back from squatters have all been set forth. None have been successful.
So, when I exited the Grunewald 7 S-Bahn station, met my colleagues and began the trek, I had no idea what we’d find at the end. We walked through a thick pine forest from the station (in near disbelief that we were still within Berlin city limits) only to discover…
What is there to see?
Well, it turns out, mostly, graffiti. *cue Kirsten ACTUALLY squealing with excitement*
Jen, Jeremy, Gary and I wandered. The men climbed the heights into the soaring spaces of the radar towers which still punctuate the hill. Jen and I snapped photograph after photograph. Eventually our fingers were so frozen we could not work the shutter. My thanks are owed to her for the image of me in the far lower left corner.
Eventually, we left. A warming meal of sausage and potatoes lay in wait for us at the Biergarten just next to the train station.
But as I walked away, all I could think about was how I could not wait to return. Obviously when it was warmer, for longer. Hopefully, while Teufelsberg is still equal parts mysterious and infamous.