About German Resistance Memorial Centre
The German Resistance Memorial Centre in Berlin, Germany, is a monument and museum to those who fought against the National Socialist government led by Adolf Hitler – the Nazis – before and during World War Two. In particular, it commemorates the attempted assassination of Hitler and subsequent attempted coup led by Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg on 20 July 1944, the so-called ‘July 20 Plot’ / Operation Valkyrie.
History of the German Resistance Memorial Centre
The July 20 Plot / Operation Valkyrie
Together with a group of civilians and military personnel led by General Friedrich Olbricht, Stauffenberg developed a plot to assassinate Hitler. On 20 July 1944, he successfully detonated a bomb at Hitler’s headquarters, known as the Wolf’s Lair.
At first, Stauffenberg was convinced the plan had worked and went on to try and achieve a coup in Berlin, desperately trying to convince others that the Fuhrer was dead. However Hitler had actually survived and, by the end of the day, Stauffenberg and most of his counterparts were arrested as news of this filtered through. (This event was made into the 2008 film ‘Valkyrie’ starring Tom Cruise).
The German Resistance Memorial Centre is located in the former Bendler Block in Berlin’s Mitte district, once the diplomatic quarter. As the headquarters of the Army High Command under Nazi rule, this was both the site where the July 20 Plot was planned and where its members were executed by firing squad.
The German Resistance Memorial Centre today
Today, the German Resistance Memorial and museum is located on a street formerly called Bendlerstrasse, now renamed ‘Stauffenbergstrasse’. The courtyard of the German Resistance Memorial Centre, where the executions took place, has a memorial bronze statue, depicting a man with bound hands.
As well as the July 20 Plot, the museum explores the whole issue of resistance, especially against National Socialism, but also in a wider context. Displaying thousands of documents and photographs, the exhibit offers an interesting insight into different elements and examples of resistance throughout history.
However, the focus of the German Resistance Memorial Centre Museum is the history of opposition to Nazi Germany, including the events in which National Socialism flourished and the attempts made to overthrow it.
The museum is open 9am-6pm weekdays, and 10am-6pm on weekends. Admission is free of charge. There are audio guides to the site and guided tours take place weekends at 3pm.
Getting to the German Resistance Memorial Centre
The museum is located in central Berlin in Mitte, and easily accessible by public transport. Bus route M 29 stops at the Gedenkstätte bus stop (Deutscher Widerstand), route M 48 stops at Kurfürstenstraße, and route 200 stops at Tiergartenstraße – both a 5 minute walk.
The nearest stations are Kurfürstenstraße (U1 train) and Potsdamer Platz (U2, S1, S2, S25 trains) – both a 10 minute walk away.
Important, and often harrowing, reminders of World War Two can be found in sites, museums and memorials across the globe. Here are 10 of the most significant.