February 2, 2014

Four Floors Underground - The Nuclear Shelter

In July of 1951, the Western Allies agreed that Germany had to build a civil air defense system.
The Department of the Interior set up the committee for air defense in November of the same year, which in 1953 merged into the Federal Office for Air Defense.
In 1954, the German contitution was changed in order to give the government the authority to build a civil defense.
Integral parts of the civil air defense since 1956 were the ten so-called "Warnämter" (Warning Offices).
These were tasked with
   - gathering and evaluating critical data concerning imminent dangers
   - issuing warnings during a state of defense by sirens and over the radio
   - issuing the all-clear-signal with sirens and over the radio
   - maintaining a constant flow of information to critical administration and industry operations

The warning offices were only tentative during the 50s and early 60s and moslty located in the communication offices of bigger cities, until suitable areas had been found to construct special locations with an underground shelter.

These shelters were the same for every warning office:
About 35 meters long, 29 meters wide and 16 meters high and a maximum height over ground of 3 meters.
The bunker was supposed to protect against a direct impact of explosive bombs of up to 1000kg, close hits of even bigger bombs, incendiary bombs and firestorms, against nucelar, chemical and biological warfare agents and against the effects of a nuclear detonation in the air up to a pressure of 9 atmospheres (10.000 hPa).
For these bunkers it meant that the bottom floor is 2 meters thick and the walls as well as the roof are 3 meters strong.
Each of these bunkers takes up a space of 16.300 cubic meters. Of these, 11.300 cubic meters are reincorced concrete, only 5.000 cubic meters make up the actual rooms.

Today, we had the unique opprtunity to visit one of these bunkers.
I'll keep explaining parts of the history of the civil defense in Germany in the following posts, but now for some pictures.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4


  1. Heftig gut beleuchtet, das Gebäude. Vielleicht etwas zu gut, macht die Stimmung etwas kaputt. Aber auf jeden Fall eine interessante Location!

    1. Du hast Recht :) Allerdings handelt es sich um die Originalbeleuchtung des Bunkers.
      Obwohl der Warndienst über die Warnämter bereits Ende der 1990er Jahre eingestellt wurde, hat der Bunker immer noch Strom und fließend Wasser, da er in Teilen durch die Pächter der oberirdischen Bereiche als Lager genutzt wird.
      Es ist also dieselbe Beleuchtung, welche auch die Mitarbeiter des Warnamtes "erdulden" mussten - insofern eine Extraportion Realismus :)



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