Topography of Terror
A center to prevent forgetting
In 1987 a project was launched to raise awareness of the terrible crimes of the Nazi regime. The idea was to build a documentation centre on the grounds of the former Gestapo headquarters. A first temporary exhibition was held at the 750th anniversary of Berlin and after the festive period it remained opened for visitors.
Bit by bit the exhibition got bigger and extensive with more and more material. A foundation for the construction and long-term maintenance was founded in 1992, which would look after the documentation center under the direction of the art historian and rabbi Andreas Nachama.
To give the exhibition in an appropriate shell, a tender was held in 1993. The winner, the Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, designed a building combined with the existing development of the area. The design of glass and concrete beams looked like baroque and symbolized the theme. The implementation of the project was, however, much more expensive than assumed. 15 years later, in spring 2004, it was decided after much back and forth, that the construction was to be stopped. The already built towers by Zumthor's design were demolished a few months later.
But never mind – all good things come to who he waits
In summer 2005 the second attempt started. With the relaunch the jury had to choose from about 300 designs of ambitious architects. This time the design went to the architect Ursula Wilms and landscape architect Heinz W. Hallmann: They proposed a two-storey, glass building, whose construction began in 2007. Shortly before the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, the new documentation center was opened in 2010. In 2014, one million visitors came to the 800m² large permanent exhibition space to learn about the Nazi regime or to browse through the library with about 25.000 books.
Open daily 10am until 8pm (closing days: 24th December, 31st December, 1st January)
Admission is free
Telephone: +49 (0) 30 254509-50
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