Teufelsberg, for real

Back in October, a friend and I took an impromptu trip out to the Teufelsberg to catch a pretty sunset. But we hiked up the wrong hill and were only able to see the famous old spy station from a distance.

At last, I’ve righted that wrong. Another friend was in town, so I dragged him onto the S-Bahn, into the woods, through a hole in the barbed-wire fence, and into the technically-sealed-off Cold War listening post.

Here’s what we found:

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But the spy on the hill sees the sun going down…

After the Allies took Berlin, they needed a reliable way to track military movements and intercept intelligence from a decent vantage point. Problem was, Berlin’s very flat. So the Americans used rubble from the city’s wartime destruction to build an artificial hill, burying an old Nazi military school that proved too sturdy for their explosives. Deriving its name from the nearby Teufelssee, the hill became known as Teufelsberg, or Devil’s Mountain.

These days, the spy station is no longer in use, but the hill — the tallest in Berlin — is a popular place for people to fly kites and grill meat and watch the sun set. Evan and I had neither kite nor meat, but we brought a few beers along and took in the view as the waning sun painted an array of colors across the clear sky.

The spy station just before sunset

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