Hitler’s führerbunker in Berlin

24-11-2018

The Führerbunker was an air-raid shelter located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex constructed in two phases which were completed in 1936 and 1944. by Hitler’s architect Albert Speer. It was the last of the Führer Headquarters, Führerhauptquartier used by Adolf Hitler, during the Second World War.

Hitler took up residence in the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945 and it became the centre of the Nazi regime until the last week of World War II in Europe. Hitler married Eva Braun here during the last week of April 1945, shortly before they committed suicide. After them the Josef Goebbels and Magda Goebbels couple did the same in the Bunker garden  after they killed their six children in their beds.

The bunker complex was self-contained. However, as the Führerbunker was below the water table, conditions were unpleasantly damp, with pumps running continuously to remove groundwater. A diesel generator provided electricity, and well water was pumped in as the water supply. Communications systems included a telex, a telephone switchboard, and an army radio set with an outdoor antenna. As conditions deteriorated at the end of the war, Hitler received much of his war news from BBC radio broadcasts and via courier.

On 16 April the Red Army started the Battle of Berlin   and by 19 April they started to encircle the city. On 20 April, his 56th birthday, Hitler made his last trip to the surface. In the ruined garden of the Reich Chancellery, he awarded the Iron Cross to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth. Hitler here shakes hands with the Hitler boy, Alfred Czech . That afternoon, Berlin was bombarded by Soviet artillery for the first time

After the war both the old and new Chancellery buildings were levelled by the Soviets. Despite some attempts at demolition, the underground complex remained largely undisturbed until 1988-89. During reconstruction of that area of Berlin, the sections of the old bunker complex that were excavated were for the most part destroyed. The site remained unmarked until 2006, when a small plaque with a schematic diagram was installed. Some corridors of the bunker still exist, but are sealed off from the public.

 

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