Teufelssee translates to English as Devil’s lake and is located in Grunewald forest in western Berlin. It lies just south of Teufelsberg which means Devil’s mountain. This menacing name arises from its link with Nazism, and the allies fight against it.
Originally the area was simply bogland, but with Hitler’s rise to power, he saw the land was fit to accommodate a Nazi military technology college. The build was left unfinished and destroyed during WWII. In the following 20 years, approximately 75 million cubic metres of rubble were imported from Berlin, and the 120m tall hill built upon the remains of the Nazi site.
During the Cold War, the US National Security Agency built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill. Its radomes and antennas listened to and jammed messages from countries in the Eastern bloc. In person, the looming structures cast a powerful sense of secrecy onto the surrounding woodland, and they remain there today in a state of disrepair. To further add mystery to the man-made mound, archives from the radio station are opening to the public this year. The question of what was observed in the Berlin outpost will soon be answerable by the general public, with the tools at our disposal.
The historic site has had a variety of uses, with a ski slope being installed in 1955 and the recreational activity continuing at the site for 14 years. It was halted in 1969 at the request of the US government due to its interference with their listening stations. While operational, the slope was a popular attraction to Berliners, with viewing platforms and snow guns even being added.
Another intended use of the land later came from a proposal to build Vedic Peace University. With backing from the renowned director David Lynch, the centre was to be a “Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace”. These plans seemingly never came to fruition, with the necessary requests not reaching the government.
More recently, the site has become a popular tourist attraction, where visitors can use their small change to gain access and explore the disused site. The lake beneath, which I had the pleasure of visiting while traveling through a few European countries with my friends, offers a particularly striking view. It was just approaching sunset as we found the lake and the light was beautiful. From the central pontoon, you can notice the dramatic contrast between the man-made towers and the luscious greenery of the woodland, all the while surrounded by calm rippling waters which I have captured in my print.