This map plots the settings and references in Stasiland
To start exploring, click a red pin
Berlin, in northeastern Germany, lies just 70km west of the border with Poland. The country's largest city, it has been reinstated as its capital, having served as capital to the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). The river Spree runs right through Berlin and it is surrounded by beautiful lakes which, alongside parks, forests and gardens, make up around a third of the city's territory.
Mitte (literally 'middle') lies at the centre of Berlin, and is home to many of the city's major landmarks, including the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. The river Spree runs through Mitte, forming the Museuminsel (Museum Island) where the Cathedral sits alongside renowned institutions and museums such as the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Bode Museum.
A major transport hub and the traditional location of public protests, Alexanderplatz is also home to the Fernsehturm (Television Tower), the tallest building in Germany. This incredible photographic project provides a real insight: in Berlin Mitte: Explorations of an Urban Conversion, Ulrich Wüst explores changes to the urban environment of Mitte over a 10 year period, starting around 1996, the year Anna Funder begins her book.
Potsdamerplatz is a kilometre south of the Brandenburg Gate and just to the southeast of the Tiergarten. It has long been an important public square. Totally ruined in World War II, it was not until after the Cold War that rebuilding commenced. The expensive development, replete with international brand names, is in stark contrast to the communist ideals of the former GDR.
After the reunification in 1990, Prenzlauer Berg was a buzzing bohemia, home to alternative lifestyles, artists and young people. Today, it is rather more gentrified and fashionable, with an array of cafes, beer gardens, restaurants and nightlife: in Stasiland, Anna Funder mentions walking past students eating and laughing outside cafes on Kollwitzplatz. Germany's largest synagogue is in Prenzlauer Berg.
In many ways, Kreuzberg is a segregated area, divided between a large Turkish population and more middle class residents. Though diverse and exciting, the area suffers from high unemployment and low incomes. While May Day in Berlin is enjoyed as a day for demonstrations and free speech, protests have been known to descend into violence and rioting in Kreuzberg. Despite this, Kreuzberg hosts the annual, colourful Carnival of Cultures. It is associated with the punk and hiphop music scene, and attracts artists and alternative lifestyles thanks in part to its low rents.
To the east of central Berlin, Lichtenberg is a district laden with a dark past, as the site of the former Stasi Headquarters and the notorious prison at Hohenschönhausen, both of which are now open to the public as museums and memorials. In addition, it suffers ongoing neo-Nazi activity. Lichtenberg is explored in the Bookmark for page 143.
Volkspark Friedrichshain, in the area of Friedrichshain, is a huge inner city green space that borders Prenzlauer Berg. This area suffered the worst damage in World War II, but today it is thriving; many media and design companies have set up here, and its cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs are among the best in Berlin. While Friedrichshain still boasts the low rents and squatted houses that have made it what it is today, the area is undergoing rapid gentrification.
Leipzig is in the federal state of Saxony, and lies about 149km south-southwest of Berlin. After the destruction of its synagogue on Kristallnacht, the city also suffered severe bombing by Allied forces during World War II.
Leipzig is famous for the Monday Demonstrations of 1989-90: peaceful protests took place every Monday night, often by candlelight, against the authoritarian government of the GDR. It is also known as a city of music: Richard Wagner was born there in 1813, while Johann Sebastian Bach, Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn and Gustav Mahler all lived and worked there. Leipzig is mentioned in the Bookmarks for pages 64 and 270.
Map of the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint:
When the loosening of travel restrictions from the GDR was announced on 9 November 1989, the Bornholmer Strasse checkpoint was flooded with hoards of people trying to pass through to the west; some wanted to escape forever, others wanted to go for a couple of hours to have a look around... just because they could. There's more about this on page 182 and some incredible footage on the Bookmark for that page.
Unfamiliar with Tasmanian geography? This map might clarify the joke...
This map shows the location of the apartment where the tunnel began, at the crossroads with Bernauer Strasse. It was at 48 Bernauer Strasse that, on 22 August 1961, Ida Siekmann leapt from her third floor apartment window in an attempt to flee the East. She died from her injuries, one day before her 59th birthday and her life became the first to be claimed by the Wall.