Category: Berlin

Categories

Another Dark Valentine’s Day

Today is 14 February, Valentine’s Day! Last year I marked this date with a post featuring a photo of a dark bas-relief by Norwegian sculptor Gustav Vigeland plus photos of a few more works by the same artist on public display in Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway.

For today I searched through my archives looking for other things that could be related to Valentine’s Day, like hearts, flowers and other symbols of love – but with a dark-tourism-relevant connection, of course. I did

Holocaust Remembrance Day

Today is one of the most significant international remembrance days, on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on this day in 1945. It’s impossible to cover every Holocaust-related dark-tourism site in a single post. But what I can do is give one photo each from all the main concentration camps and death camps, i.e. the main places where the Holocaust played out (in addition to

Atlas of Dark Destinations promo

It’s now nearly a month since my book came out internationally. So here’s an update and some promo material I received from the publishers. I would also like to urge you, my readers, to help spread the word. In doing so you’d help to support the upkeep of this blog and my main website. On the latter I’ve also expanded the book entry. For that I used the publishers’ promo images.

They had some beautiful taster photos taken specifically for

9 November

9 November 1938 was a day of infamy, when throughout the Third Reich (by then including Austria) Nazi mobs attacked and humiliated Jews openly, destroyed Jewish businesses and desecrated and burned down numerous synagogues. This is now officially referred to as the November Pogrom(s), but is still commonly also known as “Kristallnacht”, typically rendered in English as “Night of Broken Glass”. The older term, and especially its longer form “Reichskristallnacht”, are now avoided as they

A Momentous Milestone & Other Developments

Another cause for celebration: yesterday I uploaded the One Thousandth Destination Chapter to my main website. What a breakthrough! I think it’s fair to say that this has to be the biggest milestone in the history of dark-tourism.com. It certainly sounds more momentous than one hundred destinations, and even if I make it to two thousand that won’t sound quite so momentous as hitting four figures for the first time … and I

Dark Tourism & Reflections

And here comes the third of the four themes of our most recent poll (which didn’t have a winner, hence all four are fielded). So now for reflections – and I mean that literally, mostly, though a little bit of reflecting in the figurative sense will also feature. But this is primarily a visual blog post.

I like photographing reflections! I’m always on the lookout for reflections wherever I travel. Hence I have loads of such photos that accumulated over the years. So the

Dark Tourism & Furniture

And here comes the second of the themed posts (after last week’s “DT & hands”) that featured in our most recent poll, which didn’t have a clear result. So for this time I’ve picked furniture.

The photo below was taken at the DDR-Museum (‘GDR museum’) in Berlin and shows a reconstruction of the furnishings of a typical East German 1970s/early 80s living room – note in particular the

A medical theme

To make up for last week’s absence of a new blog post (and the likelihood of there not being one next week), I give you an extra-elaborate one today – on a medical theme, not decided on by a readers’ poll, but just by myself. The reason being that early tomorrow morning I’ll have my left hand operated on. Hence I picked the above photo as the lead image.

I took that in

Dark Tourism & Toys

As decided in our most recent theme poll, I now bring you the winner, DT & toys. It was probably the oddest of the choices, the biggest juxtaposition, and hence the most intriguing. In any case it was a very clear win far ahead of all the other choices.

So what kind of dark do we get with toys. Well, for starters there are war toys, like model planes, tanks, toy guns and whatnot. In fact, one of the

Beelitz & a new poll

Today is World Tuberculosis Day. The date was chosen because it was on this day in 1882, 139 years ago today, that Dr. Robert Koch of the Berlin Institute of Hygiene announced his discovery of the Tuberculosis (TB) bacillus that causes the disease. At that time TB was raging through Europe and America, killing millions, especially amongst the working classes living in

White Rose & Total War

On this day, 78 years ago, on 18 February 1943, two very dark events in Germany’s darkest history coincided on this same day.

One was the arrest of siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl, who as members of the White Rose resistance group at the university of Munich were distributing flyers, in which they harshly criticized the Nazi regime and

A Very Dark Date

20 January is a very momentous day in dark history – 79 years ago today, on 20 January 1942, when the Wannsee Conference took place at this stately villa on the shores of the Wannsee lake on the south-western edge of Berlin.

The event was called for top-level Nazis to discuss how best to implement the “Final Solution”, the systematic deportation and industrial mass murder of all European Jews within the Nazi-occupied lands. At the conference

Dark Tourism & Spheres

As announced in the latest newsletter, our recent themed-post poll ended in a draw, so I decided to feature both winners, one after the other, starting with spheres today, to be followed by DT & lakes next week.

This structure, a steel globe containing the experimental Dounreay Fast Reactor (DFR), is also sometimes referred to as “the sphere”, or alternately “the golf ball”. The reactor inside was one of the first to supply power to the British National Grid but was taken offline in 1977 and is currently undergoing decommissioning (while

Dark Tourism and Bars

The topic of this blog post was decided by the most recent theme poll, where it sailed to a clear victory over all the other options by a huge margin (as reported in last Sunday’s newsletter). So here we go.

As a couple of commentators noted, the word ‘bars’ is of course lexically ambiguous, and exploiting that double meaning had been my intention all along. So let’s begin with the darker side of bars – those you sit behind in prisons and similar institutions.

The first

Dark Tourism & Clothing

As decided in the most recent poll, and announced on Monday, today we come to the theme “dark tourism and clothing”:

You could be forgiven if you think this is a really exotic theme within the wider subject of dark tourism. But items of clothing do actually come up quite often. And the ones featured below are only a selection.

Perhaps the most predictable case of clothes with a dark association is those iconic and infamous striped

National Day and poll result

Today it’s “Nationalfeiertag” (literally ‘National Celebration Day’, or just ‘National Day’ for short) in Austria, the country I reside in. It’s another good opportunity to dig out from my archives the photos and texts I posted on my DT page on Facebook until it got purged. I’m reproducing them here in reverse chronological order, i.e. starting with last year’s post first:

New Flak Tower Photos – and a New Poll

Flaktürme, or ‘flak towers’, in Vienna’s Augarten park. In case you don’t know, “Flak” is short for “Flugabwehrkanone”, or ‘anti-aircraft gun’, and these towers were constructed to house batteries of big guns of that type during WWII. They were each complemented by another tower for radar/aiming technology. Hence the main towers were called “Gefechstturm” (‘combat tower’), while the smaller secondary tower was called “Leitturm” (‘directing tower’ or ‘lead tower’). Thus these installations always came in pairs. On the lower floors they additionally provided much needed air-raid-shelter space for civilians. But in their main military purpose,

Dark Tourism & Villas

As decided in our recent poll, this blog post’s theme will be villas. You’ve probably been wondering how something as nice as a villa can be dark – but just read on …

Let’s start on a grand scale. The photo below shows Villa Grande.
This grand pile, more a stately mansion than a mere villa, really, was the oversized home of Vidkun Quisling, the right-winger who assumed power in Norway during World War Two as Germany’s Nazis invaded, with whom he happily collaborated. That’s what’s given the English language the expression “a quisling regime”!

Today the building houses

Stauffenberg’s Execution after Operation Valkyrie’s Failure

On this day, 76 years ago, in the early hours of 21 July 1944, Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg was summarily executed by firing squad in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock building in Berlin, together with some of his co-conspirators.

Their plot, code-named “Operation Valkyrie”, had been to assassinate Adolf Hitler at his command post of Wolfschanze (‘wolf’s lair’) in what today is in north-eastern Poland (then German East Prussia).

Stauffenberg, thanks to his high rank in the military, had access to Hitler, and so it was decided that he would plant a bomb hidden in a briefcase near Hitler during a meeting at Wolfschanze. Stauffenberg was to leave the briefing early and

"17. Juni", Ulrich Hohenhaus

17 June

This date has historical significance for various reasons. E.g. it was the day when the last public execution by guillotine took place in France, as late as in 1939. The following year the three Baltic states fell under Soviet rule; while in 1967 China detonated its first thermonuclear test device on this date. But in Germany, the date is primarily remembered for the 1953 Uprising in the GDR, especially in East Berlin, which was brutally crushed by the Soviet military, even involving tanks, and was followed by mass arrests and dozens of executions.

In East Berlin, one of the main demonstrations took place outside