Just 1 hour and 30 minutes east of central Berlin by car, near the Polish border and the Oder River is the site of the biggest battle of WWII fought on German soil. Memorializing this battle at at Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights) and located at the highest point overlooking the farmlands below sits the Museum Seelower Höhen, an incredibly moving destination for anyone even remotely interested in the history of World War II, history or war and Europe in general.

Battle for Seelow Höhen

In the spring of 1945, a ragtag army of German soldiers made up of old men, boys, and remnants of other divisions, stood before the oncoming Russian and Polish armies intent on taking Berlin and exacting revenge for Nazi atrocities. The Museum Seelower Höhen (website is only in German) provides a visual trip back and to the front lines where hundreds of thousands of soldiers, 14,000 artillery pieces, 5,000 armored vehicles and thousands of aircraft along with untold numbers of fleeing refugees all met in what became horrific killing fields in the lowlands and highlands of the Oderbruch region of the Oder River, the border between today’s Poland and Germany.

Outside exhibit at Museum Seelower Höhen.

On April 16, 1945, the last large-scale Soviet offensive began, finally breaking through the German resistance, ending the war. Over 100,000 soldiers from Germany, Russia, Poland and other nations died during the fighting at the “Battle for Seelow Höhen” on the march to take Berlin and end the war. In addition, since area villages were essentially evacuated and flattened, a unique cultural landscape was forever destroyed.

Museum Seelower Höhen

Looking at the entrance to Museum Seelower Höhen

The museum itself is a small and simple building, built in 1972 and designed to look similar to the bunker used by the Russian commander, Marshal Zhukov, on April 15-16, 1945, to direct the battle. The exhibits inside the Museum Seelower Höhen, which were updated in 2012, are superbly done, and presented in both German and English. It is a small exhibit in one room with artifacts, videos and displays, but highly educational.

HITT Tip: Absolutely take the time to watch the 30-minute film documenting the final months leading up to the fall of Berlin. It is visually compelling and extremely informative. The film is offered in German, as well as English and other languages (and we can vouch for a high-quality English too!). Be forewarned that there is no attempt, thankfully, to screen the violence and horrors of war in this film and as such, it might be disturbing to young children.

When you exit the museum building, the path continues up to the Russian memorial located at the top of the hill. There, you are quickly reminded that until the fall of the Berlin Wall this site was only a memorial to the Russian victors, not to the battle itself or losses inflicted on both sides.

Russian memorial at Museum Seelower Höhen.

This statue, erected by the Russians to memorialize the battle and victory over the Nazis, shows a Russian soldier with his hand on a destroyed German tank.

While a part of former East Germany, the memorial was used to commemorate GDR politics and thinking, as well used as a meeting place for swearing in of officers of the National People’s Army and for East German military youth groups. In fact, after the fall of the Wall, much discussion ensued about the building’s exhibits, and many where slowly removed or changed to eliminate any political leanings. Today’s final version was achieved in 2012.

HITT Tip: Inside the museum shop you can purchase literature on the Second World War, history of the Brandenburg area, hiking and cycling maps, travel guides and much more. On the first Sunday of every month, there is a public guided tour of the museum memorial grounds and the exhibition. It begins, and we quote, “around 11 a.m.”  

For good reason, the Museum Seelower Höhen with its extensive archives has become an extremely important meeting place and destination for historians, journalists and others intent on analyzing and remembering the horrors that the Second World War inflicted upon so many.

HITT Tip: You can get to the museum by car, bike, train or bus. Links to help you find the best route and directions are provided on the Seelow Heights Memorial page from Brandenburg Tourism. If using other directional sites or devices, use this address: 15306 Seelow, Mittelstrasse 10. If you click the link on the above tourism site to use public transit, the address is input for you automatically, although the sites are in German. The easiest public transit link is the one that says “regional.” Just plug in your starting location in the box labeled “von,” then click on “Verbindung suchen” to see the route and transfers.

ENJOY A 360-DEGREE PANORAMA OF THE RUSSIAN MEMORIAL

Use your mouse to click and drag (or the arrows on your computer keyboard to move the view left, right, up or down) or if you are on your smartphone, simply tilt your phone or turn yourself to change viewing angles. (if using Chrome on Mac the 360 panorama may not load … please use Firefox or Safari in this case)

Read more travel tips for Germany

Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies seeking yum Thai food

Germany’s capital of Berlin offers every international food imaginable, in restaurants, street markets or, in the case of the most authentic Thai food in the city, spread across a park. Thai Wiese (Thai Park) comes alive every weekend with arguably the best Thai food in Berlin.

Read More

Battle for Berlin memorial at Museum Seelower Höhen

Just 1 hour and 30 minutes east of central Berlin by car, near the Polish border and the Oder River is the site of the biggest battle of WWII fought on German soil. Memorializing this battle at at Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights) and located at the highest point overlooking the farmlands below sits the Museum Seelower Höhen.

Read More

Swiss Carnival parade a clean version just for kids

Carneval (a.k.a. Fasching, Mardi Gras, etc) is a time for debauchery in many locales where it is grandly celebrated. But in some small towns there are several days of parades, including ones just for kids – like this Swiss carnival parade I photographed.

Read More

Great carnival parades in Europe: Think small (Updated February 2017)

Known in the United States as Mardi Gras (actually French for “Fat Tuesday), the traditions of excessive celebrations and outrageous carnival parades prior to the pre-Easter fasting during Lent date back many centuries in Europe. But you don’t have to head to the crowd-filled streets of big towns like Germany’s Cologne or Dusseldorf, France’s Nice, or Switzerland’s Basel to experience some great carnival parades in Europe. And you don’t even have to indulge in excess!

Read More

The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow near Berlin, Germany, is an engineering marvel

The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow was completed in 1934 and is part of the Haavel-Oder waterway connecting the Elbe and Oder river basins. The waterway begins in Berlin at the Spandau lock and opens into the West Oder at the border area between Poland and Germany. Watching ships being raised and lowered in this ship elevator is amazing. A true engineering marvel.

Read More

Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. The concept we wrote about had been active for several years without much change (the branch itself originally opened in 2005), so Deutsche Bank decided it was time to re-think its original “concept bank” and try out something different. The update was unveiled on Nov. 18, 2016, on a rainy day near the outlet not far from Checkpoint Charlie in central Berlin (Mitte).

Read More

Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then I discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the real deal in Berlin’s Underground.

Read More

Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

One of our favorite areas to highlight in our Prenzlauer Berg travel guide (and there are so many wonderful places it is hard to pick just one) is indeed along Kollwitzstrasse and around the Kollwitzplatz (named after artist Kathe Kollwitz appropriately enough — check out her artwork at Artsy’s Käthe Kollwitz page). Farmers markets, street festivals and more are regular occurrences.

Read More

A colorful market watercolor near Café Anna Blume

As we sat at dinner at Café Anne Blume sipping wine on the patio on a warm summer evening, I became entranced by the colors of a small market across the street. I just had to “paint and draw” the scene using my iPad for this watercolor view from Café Anna Blume.

Read More

Jewish cemetery at Schönhauser Allee is peaceful yet haunting

The Jewish cemetery at Schönhauser Allee in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, is a beautiful, peaceful and yet haunting place to wander. It is well worth at least an hour. Keep in mind that men are asked to cover their heads, so if you do not have a hat, be sure to don a kippah as you will see Michael did in this video — available at the front entrance in a small basket.

Read More

Artist’s war memorial at Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz

The memorial on the Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz (Bethlehem Church Square) is actually the work of Spanish artist Juan Garaizabel to commemorate the Bohemian Bethlehem Church. This small church was built for Bohemian evangelical refugees in about 1735 and was a center of the community. It was destroyed by bombing in 1943.

Read More

International Donaufest Fireworks In Ulm 2016

The International Donaufest (Danube) Festival has been held since 1998 and occurs every other year. Ulm city center and the banks of the Danube river are turned into a sort of international festival to celebrate the coming together of regions and countries along the Danube that rely on the river — Bavaria, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania. The festival last 10 days and includes a massive fireworks display. HI Travel Tales was there this year to witness the fireworks extravaganza from the banks of the Danube.

Read More

Map of Germany

In the map below, pins mark the location of all the sites and travel tips mentioned in our articles on Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name and any additional information.

Artist's War Memorial Bethlehemkirchplatz

Museum in the Kulturbrauerie (Alltag in Der DDR)

Berlin Underground Tours - Gesundbrunnen station

Gedenkstaette Mauer

Sowohl Als Auch Restaurant and Coffee House

Bebelplatz

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Potsdamer Platz

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Hackescher Markt

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Checkpoint Charlie

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Topography of Terror Museum

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Museumsinsel - Museum Island

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Gendarmenmarkt

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Reichstag Parliment Building

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Brandenburger Tor

http://hitraveltales.com/discover-berlin-walking-tour-top-sites/

Turkish Market - Berlin

http://hitraveltales.com/berlin-turkish-market-flavors-food-deals-in-oriental-bazaar-setting/

Kleinhesselhoer See, Englischer Garten

Sophie Scholl Memorial

http://hitraveltales.com/munich-sophie-scholl-memorial/

St Nikolai Kirche

http://hitraveltales.com/st-nikolai-kirche-memorial-hamburg-must-visit/

International Donaufest in Ulm

Drei Annen Hohne

http://hitraveltales.com/harz-mountain-brockenbahn-railway-narrow-gauge-wonder/

Wernigerode Train Station - Brockenbahn

http://hitraveltales.com/harz-mountain-brockenbahn-railway-narrow-gauge-wonder/

The Brocken

http://hitraveltales.com/harz-mountain-brockenbahn-railway-narrow-gauge-wonder/

Quedlinburg Old Watch Tower

http://hitraveltales.com/quedlinburg-old-watch-tower-forested-overlook-worth-a-visit/

Kellerwald Forchheim beer gardens

http://hitraveltales.com/kellerwald-forchheim-beer-gardens-a-franconian-forest-secret/

Museum Seelower Höhen - Berlin

Just 1 hour and 30 minutes east of central Berlin by car, near the Polish border and the Oder River is the site of the biggest battle of WWII fought on German soil. Memorializing this battle at at Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights) and located at the highest point overlooking the farmlands below sits the Museum Seelower Höhen, an incredibly moving destination for anyone even remotely interested in the history of World War II, history or war and Europe in general.

Thai Weise (Thai Park) - Berlin

Heads up! This information on Museum Seelower Höhen was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.
Follow Me

Michael Hodgson

Traveler at HI Travel Tales
Born to British parents in Canada, Michael Hodgson had been schlepped back and forth across the pond since he was a toddler. In college, he took the big leap and spent a few months in Kenya – and never looked back. His biology major somehow led him into a writing career, focusing on the outdoors, hiking and gear testing. Building on his lifetime of travel with travel writing was a natural, although he still loves to seek out the wilder side of a mountain – or a city -- for a good story. Michael also is a partner in a consulting business (www.NewNormalConsulting.com) built on a passion to help specialty businesses and brands succeed both domestically and internationally.
Follow Me