I'm (West-)German born and raised and settled in (West-)Berlin in 1989, by sheer coincidence at the time of The Fall of The Wall. I was young, restless, and curious, and thoroughly inspected all those areas previously inaccessible to us, areas like Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte and Friedrichshain and so on.
I lived through the heyday of the Techno era (E-Werk!!!) and relished every minute of it. But in the mid-1990s, I felt tired of Berlin and the staleness that followed the hype over the Fall of The Wall. So I moved first to London - where I lived for 3 years -and then to Paris - where I lived for 7 years, working at Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent, before, at the not so tender age of 41, I decided to go back to studying. So I applied at Bath University and did an MA in Film Studies, graduating with Distinction.
Following that, the University of Warwick offered me a generous Vice Chancellor's bursary to do a PhD, where I explored rescue organisations that emerged as a result of the Holocaust. This research sent me to archives around the globe (The Center for Jewish History In New York; the American Film Institute; the University of Southern California; the German Literature Archive, and so forth), and, eventually . . . back to Berlin! Because their Holocaust Memorial offered me an internship and a participation in their Spring 2011 exhibition on the Adolf Eichmann Trial.
And so, here I was, back in the city which I'd left 15 years earlier. But unlike in 1995, Berlin, I quickly realized, had become a lot more dynamic. So much was going on, torn down, rebuilt, newly built, and the changes the city had undergone (and is still undergoing) finally prompted me to stay. So much had changed, that I literally had to discover the city anew. But what fun it was. And still is! Especially, since I have a very faithful companion, my little Terrier-mix I rescued from the shelter, Lucas.
Let me tell you, there's no better way to explore a city than having a dog who never tires of walking and keeps you on your toes. Needless to say, when I'm guiding he has to stay home (most of the time, unless my customers don't mind or even ask to get to know him, which does happen!). But when I'm out to explore and discover, on the trail for new, exciting tours in previously neglected parts of town - he's always by my side. And there is so much to see!
Most travelers who don't know Berlin forget that Berlin is five times the size of Paris! That alone makes navigating the city a challenge, especially so, when you want to go off the beaten track. And that's what I like the most!
Needless to say, I can show you and explain every detail of Berlin's tumultuous history, be that the 20th or the 18th century, where Prussian King Frederick The Great left his mark on Berlin to a degree no other ruler did. Until Hitler came around to destroy most of it and worse, persecute and kill whole sections not just of Germany's, but also of Europe's population!
So yes, I can indeed tell you a lot about all that, or how it was when The wall came down, and so on. What I really relish in, is surprising my customers by showing them neighborhoods of Berlin they didn't even know existed. More than that, neighborhoods that are so diverse and so ethnically and architecturally different, that some customers are virtually startled once we get to the end of a tour. Yes, off-the-beaten-track, and people - good or bad, rich or poor, famous or infamous - that is what I specialize in!
But wait! - there is also all that architecture, and all those amazing museums I'd like to tell you about . . . oh wow -there is so much to see and do here in Berlin, you better get yourself a (certified!) tour guide. And a good one at that. For instance . . . me!
A Recent Review of this guide
A really great tour. Martin has an extensive, seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of both Berlin and the general area. Charming and deeply proud of his city Martin was well prepared, very kind when we made a mistake on our time to meet, and puts together an extremely interesting tour. Easily the best value versus cost tour we've taken in years. If you get the chance definitely book him. A wonderful experience.
- MA (with Distinction) from Bath University/ UK
- PhD from Warwick University/ UK (topic of my dissertation: German-Jewish exile organisations in the US that emerged as a result of the Nazi takeover)
- Internship: Holocaust Foundation & Memorial, Berlin
- Certificate to be an officially licenced Berlin Tour Guide based on DIN and EU guidelines
- Tri-lingual (English - French - German)
- Contemporary witness as I witnessed the fall of the Wall first hand
I am not a driver. I can accompany you in your vehicle or I can arrange for a separate car and driver.
I am only able to guide groups up to four people through historical monuments and museums.