Today I headed to the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin to look at some newspapers from the 40s. Using German to navigate through the catalogue, register for a reader’s card, and ask for help was actually not as hard as I thought. It definitely helped to look up vocab beforehand. If my accent or incorrect adjective endings didn’t give it away, the fact I needed to bring a German-English dictionary with me probably did!
I was able to order copies of the Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung from 1939,1940, and 1941 with the help of a very friendly librarian. Unfortunately, I only got halfway through 1940 because an alarm sounded and everyone was sent home…Nonetheless, it was a good experience to get acquainted with the library, and now I know what to do when I go back tomorrow.
BUT – I always have a backup plan! I decided to use the afternoon to read at the Topographie des Terrors library. I revisited a few books I read last semester about propaganda troop photographers, and realized some things I didn’t last time. This time round I paid more attention to the footnotes, to see what material is available in the Bundesarchiv.
The Topographie des Terrors library is in the basement of the museum. The museum is located where the RSHA headquarters were in the 30s and 40s, which housed the Gestapo and other instruments of terror and persecution in the Third Reich. I highly recommend this museum to visitors to Berlin (plus, it’s kostenlos!)