What was the name of Hitler's bunker

Adolf Hitler died 70 years ago : Where do you go to the bunker, please?

“He killed himself here,” says a young girl from Schleswig-Holstein, and her friend asks: “And the woman? What about Frau Hitler? ”Four groups of tourists from Spain, Germany, Italy and Poland met on Friday afternoon at the exit of the street in the ministerial gardens in front of the board“ Myth and historical testimony of the Führerbunker ”, in which Hitler's last refuge and his end are described in two languages . “Everyone wants to see this, there is actually nothing to see,” says the tour guide. A parking lot, cars, young maple - the rest is fantasy.

The Führerbunker was blown up in 1947 and temporarily filled in, and later it was in the border area. It was not until the mid-1980s that the GDR leadership decided to build new apartments and shops on the site of the former Reich Chancellery along Vossstrasse and today's Wilhelmstrasse. To do this, the remains of several bunkers had to be removed.

"Driver's Bunker" and "Driver's Bunker"

A smaller one was the "Adjudantenbunker", nearby was the bomb-proof "Führerbunker", in which Hitler and Eva Braun took their own lives in 1945. And nearby extends - next to the "driver's bunker" decorated with wall paintings, over which the grass of the Hessian state representation now grows - the large bunker of the Reich Chancellery.

In all of these bunkers, the Berlin architecture photographer Robert Conrad managed to take photos - “that was exciting and dangerous at the same time,” he says today and is amazed at the echo his find of a box full of negatives met with. Several newspapers printed the "prohibited snapshots" and an iconoclasm broke out.

The website of an agency that publishes the pictures was suddenly overwhelmed and at times gave up its ghost, Americans got in touch to buy the pictures, a Swiss gallery would like to exhibit them. Unimagined possibilities open up for the photographer, who, by the way, is taking photos of Tegel Airport from all sides for the State Monuments Office.

"The Führerbunker was just a black hole and I was up to my chest in the water"

For Robert Conrad, the whole story 25 years ago was an adventurous undertaking. The demolition of the Hitler bunker by the Berlin civil engineering combine had become a state action. Only a small message was allowed to appear in “New Germany”. Robert Conrad put on a boiler suit, put on a helmet, put his "Praktica" camera in his briefcase and stowed a thermos bottle so that everyone could see it: the working man was born. And it worked, with a beating heart: 30 times he marched, as a matter of course, to the construction site, looked for entrances through which he could get into the tunnels, and in the semi-darkness snapped the remains of the past.

"The Führerbunker was just a black hole and I was up to my chest in the water," he says. The largest of all the bunkers between Vossstrasse and Behrenstrasse, the underground structure in which the employees of the Reich Chancellery took shelter from the bombs of the Allies, turned out to be better preserved. This bunker still exists; if the investor who bought the site on Vossstrasse were willing to do so, it could be opened and restored in accordance with the monument. This would be welcomed by the head of the Berlin Underworlds, Dietmar Arnold, and the photographer Robert Conrad.

"The topic interests people all over the world, Hitler is excited as the cruelest dictator in world history," says Conrad. “Demolishing or building over cannot be the solution.” Monument protection would be appropriate. And he remembers the feeling he had 25 years ago with the musty smell of the air raid shelter of the New Reich Chancellery: "To hear the echo of your own steps, to discover things from a distant chapter in history - that was like a journey through time."

That could be from the Stasi

In the bunker photos you can only see objects of archaeological interest, rusted bed frames, empty safes, ventilation systems, emergency power generators, showers, power distributors, scrap concrete and meter-thick ceilings. By the way, there was a strange encounter: Robert Conrad suddenly came across a man in the ruins of the Führerbunker who was calmly making drawings and graphics. The photographer fearfully avoided the painter, he could be from the Stasi.

Years ago, the painter had told the Tagesspiegel the same episode the other way around: he was also working semi-legally on the construction site and thought the photographer was from the Stasi. 25 years later, Conrad and the painter Erhard Schreier can tell their stories from back then over a beer.

The text appeared in the printed Tagesspiegel as early as 2013.

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