Normally people don’t go close to Schlesisches Busch looking for Cold War relics but this is what you are going to find there. Where the Berlin Wall used to stand, today, you can find the Badeschiff and Club der Visionäre, but a few years a go, this is where the border between East and West Germany used to be. And this is where you can find a East German Watchtower between Treptow and Kreuzberg.
The Berlin Wall used to be one of the most guarded frontiers of the world. The concrete wall had watchtowers everywhere where East German guards could sit and stop whoever was trying to flee to West Berlin. A few of these East German Watchtowers still stand today. You can find a watchtower close to Potsdamer Platz, and we found another one in the border between Kreuzberg and Treptow, a place normally known for clubbing that still has a relic from the Cold War Era.
The Kommandoturm at Schlesischer Busch between Treptow and Kreuzberg is 10 meters high and 420 cm wide, and its role was to take care of other 18 watchtowers in this section of the Berlin Wall. The tower is square-shaped and made of pre-cast concrete split into 4 different floors.
The base was underground and had cables and telephone lines connecting it to the other towers. The soldiers entered the watchtower on the ground floor, where there were a bathroom and a holding cell. The floor above it was the staff room with space for the three guards and the commanding officer that used to work in there.
The top floor was the actual observation post, where you could see the area around the tower. On the roof of the tower, you can still see the searchlight and the rifle hatches that testify their former role and remain there as a reminder of history.
Today, this Watchtower is completely different from what it used to be a few years ago. You could even be called it an Art Tower since the watchtower’s existence, and maintenance is made by the Museum of Forbidden Art, known in german as Museum der Verbotenen Kunst.
They started taking care of this watchtower on Schlesischer Busch even before it was officially abandoned in July 1990. From May to October, you can see a permanent exhibition that tells the story of the site and art exhibitions. Something we think the soldiers that used to work there never would think it would happen.
If you want to visit this Watchtower, you have to do it between May and October. You have to schedule an appointment by phone or e-mail, and then you’re going to be able to visit this Cold War Relic. We visited the place in April 2015, and we want to come back to see it entirely.