October 31, 2020

Tour Report: Air Raid Shelter below Berlin (I)

It was a pretty spontaneous decision. In June of 2018, we took a few days off and headed to Berlin for a bit of exploring.

We met up with our friend Toeppi from "Fotodokumentationen zu verlassene Pl├Ątze" who had a few fascinating locations for us to check out. Toeppi is an expert regarding the Berlin air-raid protection during World War II and has access to some bunkers that are otherwise inaccessible to the public, and so the first two spots were air-raid shelters in residential areas.

We'd never have suspected a bunker behind this small new metal door in a new brick wall next to a freshly renovated apartment block somewhere in Berlin. We waited there while Toeppi went into the office of the house management and came back out with a key. He unlocked the small door, opened it, and the familiar smell of stale, humid air filled our noses as we looked down a concrete flight of stairs into the darkness.

The bunker seems to have been used as a storage space after the war, but as far as we know, it has remained untouched for the largest part of the last sixty years or so. The old writings are still on the walls, and even the fluorescent color still worked after all these years.

With the knowledge of the intensity of the battle for Berlin towards the end of the war and the thousands of tons of explosives that were dropped on the city, it is impossible to imagine the horrors that the people had to endure when they were crammed together in tiny dark rooms a few meters below ground while they could hear the bombs explode above them.

When we came out, we were relieved to be back above the ground and in the sunlight. But the next bunker was already waiting for us.....



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