© Hugh Jordan
We recommend at least three full days in Berlin in order to visit the essential sites relevant to your studies. You might take a larger group by coach / ferry with overnight travel in each direction, or fly from your regional airport direct to Berlin. (Coach travel has the advantage of enabling you to visit the fortifications of the former German-German frontier en route).
We believe the important elements to draw out of a visit are political (how and why did the GDR exist and what were its values?) and practical (why were citizens prevented from leaving and how was this accomplished?)
In Berlin, the former questions are addressed with visits to the Divided Germany gallery of the Road to Democracy exhibition and to Cecilienhof where the Potsdam Conference divided Europe into two opposing camps at the end of the second world war.
You will also visit the Wall Documentation Centre, with its short section of surviving Wall opposite. Here the "mechanics" of closing a city can be seen at close quarters.
The former headquarters of the Stasi now form an exhibition detailing the methods used to keep an entire population under surveillance, while the former NKVD and Stasi prison shows how first physical and later psychological techniques were used to extract confessions of anti-state activity.
You might also choose to visit the GDR Museum, giving a glimpse into the daily lives of ordinary citizens of the "Socialist Paradise".
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