Former US listening station on the top of the hill
|Elevation||115 m (377 ft)|
|Translation||Devil's mountain (German)|
The Teufelsberg (German for Devil's Mountain) is a hill in Berlin, Germany, in the Grunewald locality of former West Berlin. It rises about 80 metres (260 ft) above the surrounding Brandenburg plain, more precisely the north of Berlin's Grunewald Forest. It was named after the Teufelssee (i.e. Devil's lake) in its southerly vicinity.
It is an artificial hill with a curious history: It was heaped up after the Second World War from part of the rubble of Berlin, approximately 75,000,000 m3 (98,000,000 cu yd) all over the city, during the following twenty years as the city was cleared and rebuilt. After the Communist putsch in the city parliament of Greater Berlin (for all four sectors of Berlin) in September 1948, separate parliaments and magistrates (German: Magistrat von Groß Berlin; city government) were formed for East and West Berlin. This also ended much of the cooperation between West Berlin and the state of Brandenburg, surrounding West Berlin in the North, West and South.
While part of the rubble from destroyed quarters in East Berlin was deposited outside the city boundary, all the debris from West Berlin had to be dumped within the western boundary. Due to the shortage of fuel in West Berlin the rubble transport stopped during the Berlin Blockade.
Its origin does not in itself make Teufelsberg unique, as there are many similar man-made rubble mounds in Germany (see Schuttberg) and other war-torn cities of Europe. The curiousness begins with what is buried underneath the hill: the never completed Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. The Allies tried using explosives to demolish the school, but it was so sturdy that covering it with debris turned out to be easier. In June 1950 the West Berlin Magistrate decided to open a new rubble deposal on that site. The deposal was planned for 12,000,000 m3 (16,000,000 cu yd).
With the end of material shortages after the blockade the deposal was accessed by an average of 600 trucks daily, depositing 6,800 m3 (8,900 cu yd) a day. On 14 November 1957 the ten millionth cubic metre arrived. When in 1972 the deposal was closed about 26,000,000 m3 (34,000,000 cu yd) of rubble, and to a lesser extent construction waste had been deposited there. The Senate of Berlin (West) then decided to plant greenery on it. The Teufelsberg has since been as high as the highest natural hill (Großer Müggelberg, cf. Müggelberge) within the Berlin boundary and was the highest in West Berlin.
Westerly slopes of the Teufelsberg were already earlier used. In February 1955 a 24 m long (79 ft) ski jump opened, designed by the ski jumper and architect Heini Klopfer. On 4 March 1962 a bigger ski jump opened offering space for 5,000 spectators. After 1969 no more big ski jumps were held and the ski jumps fell into decay and were removed in 1999.
Teufelsberg has been a location for several recent movies and a television program, such as The Gamblers. The finale of the German vampire film We Are the Night takes place on top of Teufelsberg. As in the whole of Grunewald Forest, wild boar frequently roam the hill. And a 2nd season episode of Covert Affairs titled Uberlin.
Listening station 
The US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its largest listening stations on top of the hill, rumored to be part of the global ECHELON intelligence gathering network. "The Hill", as it was known colloquially by the many American soldiers who worked there around the clock and who commuted there from their quarters in the American Sector, was located in the British Sector. Prior to establishing the first permanent buildings there in the very late 1950s, Mobile Allied listening units had driven to various other locales throughout West Berlin hoping to gain the best vantage point for listening to Soviet, East German, and other Warsaw Pact nations military traffic. It was also used to supervise the West Berlin Air Corridors. One such unit drove to the top of Teufelsberg and discovered a marked improvement in listening ability. This discovery eventually led to a large structure being built atop the hill, which would come to be run by the NSA (National Security Agency). At the request of US government, the ski lifts were removed because they allegedly disturbed the signals. The station continued to operate until the fall of East Germany and the Berlin Wall, but after that the station was closed and the equipment removed. The buildings and radar domes still remain in place.
During the NSA Operations some other curious things happened: It was noticed that during certain times the reception of the radio signals was better than during the rest of the year. The 'culprit' was found after a while: it was the Ferris wheel of the annual German-American Volksfest Festival on the Hüttenweg in Zehlendorf. From then on, the Ferris wheel was left standing for some time after the festival was over. While there were rumors that the Americans had excavated a shaft down into the ruins beneath, that was never proven, and was likely based on reports that those who maintained equipment in one of the first enclosed antenna structures accessed the upper levels of the inflated dome via an airlock that led to a "tunnel" that was embedded in the structures central column. Speculation as to what might have existed within the highly restricted area frequently gave rise to rather elaborate but false rumors; one theory stated that "the tunnel" was an underground escape route.
In the 1990s, as Berlin experienced an economic boom after German reunification, a group of investors bought the former listening station area from the City of Berlin with the intention to build hotels and apartments. There was talk of preserving the listening station as a spy museum. Berlin's building boom produced a glut of buildings, however, and the Teufelsberg project became unprofitable. The construction project was then aborted. As of the early 2000s, there has been talk of the city buying back the hill. However, this is unlikely, as the area is encumbered with a mortgage of nearly 50 million dollars. Recently the site has been vandalized heavily since the company abandoned the project.
Following the announcement of plans to raze the facility and reforest the hill, talk of preserving the facility resurfaced in 2009, spearheaded by the Field Station Berlin Veterans Group, which hopes to have the memorial named in honor of Major Arthur D. Nicholson, the last military Cold War casualty, the U.S. Military Liaison Mission tour officer who was shot and killed by a Russian sentry near Ludwigslust on March 24, 1985. After no further construction was done after 2004, in 2006 the hilltop was categorized as forest in the land use plan of Berlin, thereby eliminating the possibility of building.
Images of Abandoned Listening Station – May 2011 
See also 
- Gerhard Keiderling, "Berlin ist endlich trümmerfrei", in: Berlinische Monatsschrift, retrieved on 4 march 2012.
- Gerhard Keiderling, "Trümmerfrauen und Trümmerbahnen", in: Berlinische Monatsschrift, retrieved on 4 March 2012.
- Stefan Gurk, "Teufelsberg", on: Skisprungschanzen, retrieved on 4 March 2012.
- William Durie, "The British Garrison Berlin 1945.1994 ( No where to go)" Publisher: Vergangenheits, Berlin Mai 2012, ISBN 978-3-86408-068-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Teufelsberg|
- Official Teufelsberg website and guided tours
- Teufelsberg Field Station Berlin
- Panorama pictures of Teufelsberg
- Pictures of Teufelsberg in April 2004
- Pictures of Teufelsberg in October 2008
- NSA Field Station Teufelsberg – a late post mortem
- Save Teufelsberg!
- West Alliierte in Berlin e.V. / Save Teufelsberg!
- Inside a radar dome at Listening Post Teufelsberg