Strange History- Berlin’s “Devil Mountain”

Berlin is a city full of curiosities and weird stuff aplenty. A short way away from all the tourist sights and places of Berlin’s center, situated in the Grunewald forest is a hill called Teufelsberg. For those of you who don’t speak German, Teufelsberg means “the Devil’s Mountain”. Back in the days when the Nazis were in power, the Germans’ number one priority was the military, and Hitler had big plans for the military education of the elite. In 1937 the first stone for the new “Wehrtechnische Fakultät” was laid, conceived as a castle and surrounded by a whole student city. But construction was put on hold only 3 years later since the leader of the building development committed suicide. After that the war went downhill for the Germans and the project couldn’t be finished before their defeat.

After the war the city was divided among the Allies, and Teufelsberg was part of the West. Since most of the city was in ruin, and all the debris had to go somewhere, the powers of the western sector decided to dump about 75 million m3 of ruined buildings on top of the old military faculty. And so the manmade, 120m high hill was created.

In 1955 a ski jump was opened.

After that the US National Security Agency or the NSA decided to build one of its largest listening stations atop the hill for listening and collecting intelligence from the communist bloc. The station was in use until the fall of the Berlin wall, after which the equipment was removed and the station closed.

Today the buildings and the radar domes still stand. Since its closing, the hill has been heavily vandalized and the station covered with street art. Even wild boar roam the hills. A visit to the old station is still possible, but only as part of a guided tour.