Führerbunker Timeline

1935-1942

During the rebuilding of a diplomats reception hall in the Old Chancellery in 1936/37 the firm Hochtief AG built the first “air raid cellar” (ceiling thickness: 1.60 m, wall thickness: 1.2 m) for a cost of 250,000 Reichsmark. Hitler used this shelter during the first British bombing raids on Berlin that started in August of 1940.


 

18th of January 1943

After the final loss of German control over their airspace Hitler gave the architect Albert Speer (initial planning began in 1942) the assignment that, “since the air raid shelter under the Reichs Chancellery only has a ceiling thickness of 1.60 m, a new bunker is to be built in the garden with new dimensions (3.5m Ceiling, 3.5 – 4.0 m Wall thickness) but with the same interior size as the existing bunker. [Architect Karl] Piepenburg should be in charge of construction.” Construction workers from the Hochtief AG began the foundation trench about 10 m deep in the Reichs Chancellery’s garden in front of the reception hall.


 

23rd of October 1944

The completion of the bunker was registered with the Central Exchequer of the Reich. “Construction project B 207”, as the bunker was coded, was supposed to be able to withstand the strongest known allied bombs with its thick reinforced concrete ceiling, and gobbled up 1.35 million Reichsmark on construction costs. The interior dimensions for both the “Fore-Bunker” (old)
and the “Fuehrer’s Bunker” were about 15 m by 20m wide and a bit over 3m high.


 

1944/45

About a metre thick layer of so-called “smash-cover” was added to reinforce the ceiling, however the construction was not completed before the end of the war, and as a result the ventilation tower next to the garden entrance was never fully finished. A second cone shaped tower served as the exhaust, however this tower was misinterpreted in many post war publications as an observation and defensive tower, together with a machine gun stand.


 

20th of March 1945

In the garden of the Reichs Chancellery about 50 “men” assembled, a mixed bag of Hitler Youth and members of the SS division “Frundsberg”, who in their desperation had attacked approaching Soviet tanks. In the presence of cameramen and photographers from the Wochenschau News, who documented the “Fuehrer’s” last public appearance, Hitler awarded these men with the Iron Cross for their heroic deeds in the service of the defence of Berlin. Afterwards, Hitler descended the steps into the bunker. Incorrectly, this event was dated for a long time as April 20th, 1945.


 

30th of April 1945

During afternoon, Hitler and his wife Eva (born Braun), who had married not long before in the bunker, committed suicide. Their bodies were then burned in the garden in front of the bunker entrance. The Goebbels’ children died at the hand of their mother shortly afterwards. As the next day began, Joseph Goebbels (the Propaganda Minister, recently named Chancellor) and his wife also killed themselves. With that, WW2 in Europe, with its over 55 million dead, basically came to its end.


 

5th of December 1947

Soviet pioneers blew up the “Fuehrer’s Bunker”. Both of the ventilation towers and the entrance structure collapsed, the interior walls were destroyed, and the ceiling was moved 40 cm by the force of the blast.


 

Summer 1959

Further detonations followed, then the premises was levelled, the entrances were filled in, the reinforced concrete was covered under a mound and the area was turned into parkland.


 

1961-1973

With the building of the Berlin Wall the area became part of the border area. After the discovery of a forgotten street tunnel on the west side of the Brandenburg Gate in 1967, the East German State Security (Stasi) began an inspection of the site around the former New Reichs Chancellery. During this the “Upper-Bunker” and “Fuehrer’s Bunker” were opened, surveyed and photographed and then resealed.


 

1985-1989

Along the former Otto-Grotewohl-Strasse, the government of the GDR (German Democratic Republic) erected apartment complexes, for which the excavation of rubble up to 7m deep was necessary. The roof of the “Fuehrer’s” Bunker was removed, however the floor and outer walls remained because of the high cost of their removal.

After the difficult work of removing the ceiling, the remaining space was filled in with gravel, sand and debris. Above a parking lot and green space
was laid out, which remains today more or less unchanged.


 

2004

“The Downfall” (Der Untergang), a film from Munich’s Constantin Films (Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel), arrived in the theatres and created a buzz around the subject of the last days of the war and especially the happenings in the bunker.

A number of members of the Berlin Underworlds’ Association (Berliner Unterwelten e.V.) acted as consultants. According to their information and recreated plans, Hitler’s Bunker was reconstructed in the Bavaria Studios at a scale of 1:1.


 

June 2006

After years of research, the Berlin Underworlds Association, in agreement with the Berlin Senate’s department for city planning, has been able to create an information panel about Hitler’s bunker. It was put in place on the 8th of June on the historical site on Gertrud-Kolmar-Strasse (opposite the street: in den Ministergaerten, near Potsdamer Platz).
The panel is there to provide information to those from all over the world who are interested in the site and the dark historical period that surrounds it.

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