• Germany's news in English
 

Secret Bundesbank bunker opens to public

The Local · 7 Oct 2010, 07:26

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.

Story continues below…

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
Anti-Islam groups rally across Europe
Several thousand Pegida supporters turned up in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Anti-Islam groups rally across Europe
20 hours ago

A march by Germany's anti-Islamic organisation Pegida drew thousands to the eastern city of Dresden on Saturday on a day that saw rallies across Europe in support of the movement.

'Germany must take fewer refugees' - Catholic church
Cardinal Reinhard Marx said the response to the migrant crisis should not solely be a matter of "charity but also reason." Photo: DPA

'Germany must take fewer refugees' - Catholic church
22 hours ago

The German Catholic Church called for a reduction in the influx of refugees arriving in Germany, saying the country cannot take in "all the world's needy," according to an interview published on Saturday.

German FA launches action against Beckenbauer
Beckenbauer (L) with suspended FIFA president, Sepp Blatter. Photo: DPA

German FA launches action against Beckenbauer
1 day ago

German football chiefs on Friday launched a lawsuit involving Franz Beckenbauer, world governing body FIFA, two former German federation (DFB) presidents as well as the former head of adidas as part of the 2006 World Cup scandal.

Auschwitz guard, 93, to face trial in April
Barbed wire fences at the Auschwitz death camp. File photo: DPA

Auschwitz guard, 93, to face trial in April
1 day ago

A 93-year-old former SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp will stand trial in April for accessory to murder, a German court said Friday.

Terror raids in Berlin and NRW
None of 'Isis arrests' were for plotting terror attack: police
A photo released by police on Friday of one of the suspects. Photo: Berlin Polizei

None of 'Isis arrests' were for plotting terror attack: police
1 day ago

Police confirmed to The Local on Friday that none of the people taken into custody on Thursday were arrested for planning an act of terrorism.

Journalist 'groped' in front of live camera in Cologne
Esmeralda Labye. Screen shot: RTBF

Journalist 'groped' in front of live camera in Cologne
1 day ago

A Belgian journalist has said she was groped while on live television at the Cologne Karneval.

Germany struggling under massive asylum backlog
Refugees queuing outside a refugee home. File Photo: DPA

Germany struggling under massive asylum backlog
2 days ago

German authorities are struggling to process hundreds of thousands of asylum applications, the head of the country's refugee office admitted Friday, even though a record influx of migrants was finally slowing.

Customs seize 'stinking' ape skull from traveller's luggage
Photo: Hauptzollamt München/DPA

Customs seize 'stinking' ape skull from traveller's luggage
2 days ago

Customers officers did a double-take at Munich airport last week when a suitcase belonging to a man arriving from Thailand turned out to contain the reeking skull of an unfortunate ape.

Cologne opens Karneval on edge after sex attacks
Security in Cologne. Photo: DPA

Cologne opens Karneval on edge after sex attacks
2 days ago

Cologne opened its annual carnival Thursday with ramped-up security to prevent a repeat of the sex assaults that marred New Year and triggered a debate about Germany's ability to integrate asylum seekers.

How Trump planned Europe's tallest tower in Frankfurt
Photos: Michael Vadon, Kiefer/Wikimedia Commons.

How Trump planned Europe's tallest tower in Frankfurt
2 days ago

Fifteen years before Donald Trump rocketed to the forefront of the Republican fight for the White House, he had his sights set on an ambitious project in Frankfurt.

Sponsored Article
US taxes and FATCA: 'The time for hiding is over'
Culture
10 essential words you'll need when visiting Cologne carnival
Technology
Army presents new camo pattern that can fool night vision goggles
Health
Disabled people explain what life is like for them in Germany
International
How to vote in the US election when you live abroad
Business & Money
The small town planning to get rid of small change
National
Top five inventions of Germany's 'patent king'
National
Pensioner crushed in hospital machine
Politics
Could Bernie Sanders get elected in Germany?
Society
Most German conservatives back gay marriage: poll
Politics
'Russia aims to weaken the EU. The refugee crisis is an opportunity.'
Gallery
Eight wonders of the world's biggest toy fair in Nuremberg
National
Islamists and Neo-Nazis both ready for violence, say spies
Frankfurt
Drunk-driving cop tries to escape through toilet window
Berlin
How Berlin Bowie fans paid tribute with art on ice
Police fight rumours they've been hiding truth on refugees
Berlin
Brave passengers grab man accused of shoving woman under train
National
Software bug means German jets can't fly at night
Rhineland
First suspects arrested after Cologne sexual assaults
Politics
Berlin to North Africa: take deportees or give up aid cash
Lifestyle
10 ways German inventors have made the world a better place
Society
Town bans male asylum seekers from swimming pools
Travel
Tourist sues Airbnb after finding hidden camera in German flat
Society
Polls show Germans fear the country can't manage refugees
7,106
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd