June 25, 2022

Tour Report: Chapel of the Last Rites

It was still morning, when Toeppi from "Fotodokumentationen" and I left the World War II air-raid shelter in Berlin to go check out three more locations - an abandoned chapel, an old retirement home and a field hospital. The two first spots are almost right next to each other; only a few hundred meters separate them from each other. It took us about 45 minutes to get there. There was plenty of parking space, and we decided to check out the chapel first. It was built together with a cemetery during the final days of World War II to bury soldiers and refugees that had died in the nearby military hospital that was operated by the Luftwaffe.
As we walked up to the chapel, the low winter sun painted shadows on the walls. There was no wind, and an eerie silence lay over the place.
The main door was locked, but as we walked around the old building, we found an open door that led into the basement.
It was not just the basement stairs, but also an "coffin elevator" that was used to transport coffins to and from the basement before and after the body had been prepared for laying out. As we went down the stairs and looked around in the rooms below the chapel, we could see that this place was also a place for thanatopraxy. I had seen photos of the rooms before, and obviously, there was much more to see in earlier years, and much stuff had been stolen, but there were still many things to be seen that pointed to the former use of the chapel.
Of course, many people had been here over the years who liked to redecorate rather than just photograph the place in its original state, but there were still a few nice shots to be taken.
All in all, it was a small place, but it was also a place that you don't get to see very often, so it was well worth the trip - and we hadn't even seen the retirement home next door...

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

June 17, 2022

Tour Report: Air-Raid Shelter Berlin (III)

In February 2019, I had to travel to Berlin for work, so I decided to arrive a day early to meet up with my good friend Toeppi from "Fotodokumentationen" to check out a few abandoned places. Toeppi had arranged for us to be granted access to an otherwise locked air-raid shelter from World War II to take some photos - a rather rare opportunity in the city of Berlin.

I took the early morning train to Berlin where Toeppi was already waiting to drive us to the location. Once there, we met up with another party of interested persons and the guy who had the key.

The bunker had been constructed in a manner that made it look more like a house - it had a pitched roof and even a console frieze. That way, it could be integrated more easily into future developments that the Nazis had planned for after the war.

As the door opened, we first stepped into a kind of airlock that separated the access door from the rest of the bunker. Behind the airlock, there was the main stairwell with the corridors. I was surprised at the condition that the building was in. You could see that it was once a bunker, and that it still was the original concrete, but the various uses after World War II didn't pass without a trace - the walls had been painted over, and even some of the walls of the individual rooms had been removed to change the layout of the floors. There was even electric light, so I didn't really need to get out my flashlight while roaming through the rooms.

In the end, this wasn't the most spectacular bunker that I've ever had the pleasure of exploring, but it still is a part of Berlin's history. It was an interesting place to check out in any case - especially since not too long after our visit, the door was forced open, and the interior was vandalized. So the photos you see in this post are likely to be some of the last ones that show the bunker in its "post-war-glory".

To find out about the history of this place and to check out all the photos, click the button below.

June 8, 2022

Tour Report: Soviet Fighter Command P.

After exploring the command bunker and the corresponding airfield (well, at least part of the airfield), the only "main" part that was missing to get a mostly complete picture of the area was the fighter command. 

It took me a little longer to research the location of this bunker. In the wider area around the airfield, there are some protective structures, such as the aforementioned command bunker as well as the two radio beacons. The fighter control center was of course of particular interest to us, so we started an intensive search while preparing for the tour.

Equipped with the presumed coordinates, getting close to the site wasn't too difficult. If you didn't know that the bunker is in this wooded and overgrown area, you wouldn't think that it was. Well camouflaged, the area is rather inconspicuous for the "layman". A short walk and the first signs appeared in the area: the exhaust pipe of the emergency power system suddenly appeared in the middle of the small forest.

Finding access didn't prove too difficult. The access building nestles against the "bunker hill" like a swallow's nest - but you can only see it when you're really close to it.

Inside, there were stairs, pretty steep and pretty far down. And typical Soviet bunker doors. Arriving on the lower level, we could see that another staircase led back up at the end of a corridor - the way to the second access, that was tightly sealed.

The air was surprisingly fresh down below, but we could still smell the slight smell of burning. In front of the actual main corridor into the protective building there is a small chamber branching off to the right, in which the pre-filter for the air purification was located. Unfortunately, this chamber is completely filled with trash.

The sanitary area is immediately to the right, almost in the first room in the main corridor on the right. Surprisingly enough, there weren't the typical Soviet toilets with a hole in the bottom, but porcelain seats with a real flush! Immediately next to it (also on the right side of the main corridor) are the rooms for the air filter system and the water supply.

On the left side of the corridor, we found the large situation and command room of the fighter command. Here, the air situation was shown as well as the current positions of Soviet air forces. From here, the interceptors were led to the target area - that was the task of those who were on duty here in the bunker.

Apparently, there had been a fire in the command and control room - the walls are covered with soot, the floor was greasy. The smell of fire was still in the air. Obviously, more than one party was held here. The command room is adjoined by two other rooms, which probably served as offices for the radio officers. Opposite these service rooms is the room with the cable entry, the remains of the message distribution system and the empty rooms of the message team.

At the end of the main corridor was the access to the emergency power system and the corresponding control room. The control room had a window to the engine room. We were surprised that the room for the emergency power system was in no way soundproofed and was only separated from the main hall by a steel door - after all, there was a fairly large diesel engine for the power supply - that must have been quite loud.

As you can see in the photos, the explore sounds much more spectacular than my report might suggest - after all, the bunker had been abandoned since 1994 - 25 years at the time of our visit. That's 25 years in which copper thieves, vandals and teenagers have had their way with it.

To check out more interesting galleries of amazing abandoned places, visit my website:

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