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Allied Control Authority (ACA)

The Allied Control Autority (ACA), constructed between 1909 and 1913 overlooking Berlin's Kleist Park which was named after famous German playwright, Heinrich von Kleist, the five-story jurist building soon became the Prussian Supreme Court during the Weimar Republic.

The ACA Building
With the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, the building was sidelined to fairly mundane administrative roles until World War II.

On July 20th of 1944, 50 of Hitler's leading generals, together with Major Claus von Stauffenberg, attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate the Fuehrer. Their ranks included Field Marshall Erwin Rommel. The generals were arrested and put on a scathing show trial in the main, second-floor courtroom of this building. The courtroom's three arched windows are immediately above the building's main front doors in the photo. Dressed in outsized clothing without belts or suspenders, to promote an unkept, slovenly appearance, the generals behaved with surprising dignity as Hitler's Peoples Court Justice, Roland Freisler condemed them all to immediate death at Plotzensee Prison.

Following the fall of Nazism in 1945, the building officically became known as the Allied Control Authority. It was the supreme European headquarters for the occupying Four-Power Authorities; American, British, French, and Soviet. It needed very little repair work since it had surprisingly suffered almost no battle damage. From its halls, the conquerors jointly ruled the defeated Germany until 1948 when the Soviet element abruptly broke off diplomatic relations over the divided country, and walked out of the building's front doors, effectively beginning the Cold War. The other three powers quickly withdrew from the ACA building to their respective sectors of the city leaving the facility cold, empty and dark.

Only one four-power organization, the Berlin Air Safety Center, (BASC), remained in the ACA building from 1945 until the fall of the wall in 1989. As a symbol of the BASC's continued presence, the four national flags of the occupying powers flew over the large front doors every day.

The only other sign of occupancy were the few, sparse office lights that emanated from a small corner room of the building - the BASC Operations Room - in the evenings. Of the 550 rooms in the building, the BASC office complex and guards quarters occupied less than forty.

Because of the BASC's presence, the building remained closely guarded by US Embassy guards with access granted only to select members of the four-powers. This led to mysterious legends and ghost stories about the eerie, dark facility with its grand, granite statuary overlooking the beautiful park.

At the close of the Cold War, the building was returned to the German government and now functions as a municipal administration building.