Follow in the steps of Bernard Samson – Len Deighton Meetup – Berlin
Listen to a special message that Len Deighton has sent us on Episode 50 of the Spybrary Spy Podcast!
Rob Mallows from the Deighton Dossier returns to the show to talk with Spybrary Spy Podcast host Shane Whaley. We talk through our schedule for the day walking in the footsteps of Bernard Samson from the classic spy novels written by Len Deighton.
Message from Len Deighton himself on our meetup:
“I am flattered and delighted to hear of the planned ‘Samsonfest’ in the big city. As I have told many people: go to Berlin in the right frame of mind and the memory will haunt you for a lifetime: as it has haunted me.”
Len Deighton, July 2018
Tune in to today’s podcast episode to hear the full exclusive message from Len Deighton.
Berlin is the capital of spies which makes the city an ideal meet up location for fans of Len Deighton, the Cold War and spy books.
Rob Mallows the man behind the Deighton Dossier the only Len Deighton website endorsed by the man himself and Shane Whaley, host of the Spybrary Spy Podcast are planning to walk in the steps of Bernard Samson and hope you will join them too.
Planned itinerary -subject to change.
August 4th, Mitte
10:00am Checkpoint Charlie
This seems a fitting place to meet up. Many spy books include this landmark site including Charlie Muffin and who can forget the brooding Alec Leamas waiting for his man to cross the checkpoint on bike.
I highly recommend listening to Michael Rafferty’s interview on the Cold War Conversations Podcast. Mike kept watch at Checkpoint Charlie during its last days. It is a tourist trap now so this will give you a bit more insight into how it once was..before KFC moved in.
Walk up towards Brandenburg Tor and Friedrichstrasse.
We will visit the Palace of Tears which is a free museum operated by the German Govt. who have preserved the original border rail crossing. Bernard travels to East Berlin via this crossing point using the identity of Peter Hesse.
We will hit a few Samson spots along the way and will check out the former Luftwaffe Ministry building which is also the building where the GDR was proclaimed.
Then we head off to Lisl Hennig’s Hotel, off Kantstrasse
Depending on time we can eat lunch here and then time to cross over into East Berlin.
13.30pm Leave Westberlin for the Stasi HQ!
Normanennstrasse – This is the headquarters of the East German State Security apparatus – the Stasi. It was the centre of the fight against western intelligence agencies, and it is here that Bernard Samson is first brought when arrested by KGB agent Erich Stinnes, his nemesis.
You will recognise the building from shows such as Deutschland 83 and Under the Same Sky.
Keep your eyes peeled for this man – one Erich Stinnes.
Optional – If we have time and the inclination we can visit the nearby Socialist cemetery Friedrichsfelde. Not a Bernard Samson/Len Deighton location but worth a visit as it is the final resting place of the GDR leaders (up until Honecker) Erich Mielke (Head of the Stasi) Rosa Luxemburg and Markus Wolf, head of East German Foreign Intelligence.
16.00pm – Oberbaumbrucke Checkpoint
When the wall was up, this was a main checkpoint between East and West. At the end of London Match, it is here that Werner Volkmann is exchanged for a British prisoner, ending the first ‘victory’ for Fiona Samson in her new role as KGB commander in East Berlin.
We can also visit the East Side Gallery where there is a large section of the Wall.
Time and energy permitting, Shane would like to show you a hole in the wall pub near the Mauerpark which is stuffed with GDR collectibles. Shane would love to interview you all about the day for a future episode of the Spybrary Podcast.
The above times are approximate, Berlin is a fascinating place and always lots to admire and talk about, not to mention it is thirsty work so important to hydrate, German beer is excellent for this 😉 If there are any Bernard Samson spots you feel we are missing or are must visits – please let us know, we are happy to change the schedule based on attendees preferences.
There is talk of a ‘off the beaten track’ Berlin tour the following day – that will be confirmed on the day.