• Germany's news in English
 

Secret Bundesbank bunker opens to public

Published: 07 Oct 2010 07:26 GMT+02:00

In the panic following East Germany’s construction of the Berlin Wall and the Cuban Missile Crisis in the 1960s, West Germany began “very intensive and very structured” preparations for a third World War, according to Jörg Diester, who has researched government bunkers for years.

“There was a real fear it would all start again,” he said.

Part of these preparations included the Bundesbank’s creation of an emergency currency, called BBk-Serie II, which would theoretically restore stability if hyperinflation occurred in the event of a crisis.

CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE BUNKER.

The bank then took it to the Rhineland-Palatinate community of Cochem, perched on a large hill along the left bank of the Mosel River. There, beneath a Bundesbank training and recreation centre, they built a 9,000-square-metre bunker and stored 15 billion replacement Deutsche Marks, the bank confirmed this week.

Officially called an air-raid shelter, construction took two years, but townspeople reported seeing items shipped there long after it was finished.

“One naturally speculated, that’s clear,” said Peter Peifer, who grew up in the area and now manages the property.

But the bunker’s true purpose and contents remained a secret until even just a few days ago, when local residents took the first tours of the bunker.

“There are pensioners who lose their sense of the world when they see it here,” 41-year-old Diester said.

The bunker was constructed to accommodate up to 175 people for two weeks in the event of nuclear war. In addition to its own electricity generator, it has air-filtration and sewage systems, and an enormous tank of potable water.

Delicate sensors also protected the money safe, sensitive enough to be set off by a train rumbling through a tunnel across the river, Diester said.

But even police who guarded the bunker never knew what it contained, only three internal personnel - a supervisor, cleaning woman and technician - knew the top secret information.

The key to the eight-tonne safe door deep inside the bunker was located at the Bundesbank in Frankfurt.

In 1988, still before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the money was removed and destroyed for reasons that remain unclear.

The Bundesbank continued to run its recreation centre there until 1994, when it was sold. Today the facility remains empty.

“There is the idea to make it part of touristic and educational concepts,” Diester said, hinting that it may become a museum.

“Here is a preserved piece of reality from the 1960s and 1970s,” he said.

On October 16 and 17 a group of 10 historians plan to conduct the first official tours of the bunker. They expect up to 1,000 visitors.

DPA/ka

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

09:48 October 7, 2010 by delvek
Very cool, have to go visit this!
11:58 October 7, 2010 by Frenemy
It can "accommodate up to 175 people for two weeks in the event of nuclear war"???

What for? So they could all die from radiation later? Oh well at least the "money" would be safe to provide "stability" for the future generations of mutants roaming the land. lol
12:03 October 7, 2010 by delvek
haha, yes, but you know what, you and I both would be running for the door.

Footnote to self, in the event of a nuclear strike I live very close to this bunker ... hmmmmmmmm
18:01 October 11, 2010 by William Thirteen
it may yet come in handy if these fiscal consolidation measures result in a deflationary spiral!
05:39 October 15, 2010 by MichaelZWilliamson
Fallout is overstated. The most radioactive isotopes decay quickly, because that's what radiation is.

Within two weeks, it would be safe to be outside with a basic filter mask, even near a recent strike.

Ground zero at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are quite busy and occupied these days, and were within a matter of months.
Today's headlines
Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash
A section of the Nürburgring's north circuit

Spectator killed in Nürburgring crash

A man has been killed and several others injured in an accident at Germany's Nürburgring racetrack. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germany to hold April service for crash victims
Photo: DPA

Germany to hold April service for crash victims

Germany will hold a national memorial ceremony and service on April 17 for victims of the Germanwings flight that crashed in the French Alps, killing all 150 aboard, regional authorities said on Saturday. READ  

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram
The world's roundest sphere. Photo: DPA

Scientists aiming to redefine the kilogram

The German Nation Metrology Institute (PTB) in Braunschweig has set itself the enormous task of finding a new formula for measuring a kilogram. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day
Photo: DPA

Germanwings co-pilot 'hid illness' on crash day

Germanwings said on Friday that it had no knowledge of a doctor-signed sick note found by investigators at flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz's flat. READ  

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation
Yanis Varoufakis. Photo: DPA

Varoufakis quells rumours of resignation

Update: After German tabloid Bild reported that Germany's least-favourite Greek minister Yanis Varoufakis was considering resigning, the minister rejected the story on Twitter. READ  

Germany to expand disability rights
Photo: DPA

Germany to expand disability rights

A representative of the German Labour Ministry went before a UN Committee on Friday to discuss the government's plan for improved rights for disabled people. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral
Photo: DPA

Germanwings captain's compassion goes viral

A Facebook post describing how a Germanwings pilot personally reassured his passengers of their safety on a flight on Wednesday has received over quarter of a million likes. READ  

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads
Photo: DPA

Bundestag passes 'foreigner toll' for roads

The Bundestag (German parliament) passed a hugely controversial law on Friday which will charge foreigners for the use of German roads. READ  

Alps Plane Crash
Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule
Photo: DPA

Airlines agree two-person cockpit rule

The Federation of the German Air Travel Industry (BDL) confirmed on Friday afternoon that from now on two people must be in the cockpit at all times, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the Germanwings disaster. READ  

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study
Spanish immigrants in Germany. Photo: DPA

Germany urgently needs immigrants: study

A study by the Bertelsmann Institute found on Friday that Germany will need around half a million new immigrants every year until 2050 to maintain its work force. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in Germany
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,141
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd