LIFE BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN
British author John le Carré famously said that the “secret services were the only real measure of a nation’s political health, the only real expression of its subconscious”. Perhaps nowhere would that be more true than in the case of East Germany – the German Democratic Republic – and in relation to one organisation – the much feared STASI. The country’s state security force.
This tour is a chance to pull back the Iron Curtain for a closer look at life lived in the shadow of the Wall; and under the watchful eye of the largest secret police organisation to have ever existed on the planet.
Berlin’s pivotal role on the frontline of the ideological conflict played out between East and West during the Cold War period is undeniable. There is no greater symbol of the absurdity of the era – and the atmosphere of paranoia, secrecy & fear that permeated the city for much of the 20th century – than that of the Berlin Wall. Still scattered across the cityscape in minor pieces.
Carved into two competing zones, Berlin became a truly stage managed city – with each side seeking to prove the supremacy of their system. The glamourous individualistic excesses of West Berlin standing in contrast to the planned economy utopianism of the East. The city grew to become the playground for numerous international intelligence agencies vying for control – Berliners struggled alongside various plotting acronyms and government actors – the CIA, MI6, the KGB, the STASI and the BND.
While what normality that existed was played out in the looming shadow of The Bomb.
From spy novel tropes to Kennedy’s famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech: no city epitomises the Cold War as much as Berlin.
Here, East and West – capitalism and communism – clashed within the narrow confines of the city, leaving their marks on buildings, streets, and on the lives of countless ordinary Berliners.
This tour considers not just history with a capital-H, but also the stories of life (and of lives uprooted) on either side of the Wall.
Hear about a society that deemed itself a workers’ paradise while waging a war of surveillance on its citizens, about subcultures carving out their own little niches of freedom, and about the events that ultimately led to the fall of the Wall.
This Republic Of Fear tour explores the story of life in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain.
Starting from either your accommodation or a designated location in the city, we will visit the major and minor locations across Berlin associated with this period in German history.
Addressing the many aspects of life in East Berlin and East Germany, the realities of living in a Marxist-Leninist single-party Soviet satellite state – exploring the Alexanderplatz central square, the famous TV Tower (Fernsehturm) and Weltzeituhr (World Clock), the impressive Karl Marx Allee boulevard and working-class Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood. But also visiting the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall in the city to discuss the many escapes and unfortunate deaths on the border, as the East German government sought to stop its population from fleeing to the West.
A further highlight of the tour is the unique opportunity to explore the former Stasi headquarters – the inner sanctum of the East German Secret State Police.
We will not only examine the physical remnants of this era but also discuss the myths and realities of this period.
And much more…
This tour is designed for private transportation and includes private vehicle and professional driver costs in the total price.
All vehicles are recent model Mercedes Benz V-class/Volkswagen Caravelle vans suitable for up to six people.
For larger groups we also provide mini-vans and buses (up to 60 people).
Get in touch for a personalised quote.
650€ for a 5 hour private tour – maximum 6 person group
includes 16% VAT, guide fee, booking fee, admin fee, transportation and driver costs, and mandatory German tourism insurances
(*prices in non-Euro currency calculated based on market rate at time of booking)
Get in touch now if you are looking to book a private tour
5. Bernauer Straße, Blick auf Eberswalder Straße, Grenzanlage Wedding/Prenzlauer Berg/Karl-Ludwig Lange CC-BY-SA 3.0
6. East German police officers check the documents of East Berliners trying to pass from Potsdamer Platz to West Berlin. From the CIA booklet “A City Torn Apart: Building of the Berlin Wall.”/Public Domain
7. Berlin, Stasi-Zentrale gestürmt/Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1990-0116-014 / CC-BY-SA 3.0