• Germany's news in English

Hitler's bunker to be rebuilt

Sabine Devins · 9 Jan 2015, 09:48

Published: 08 Jan 2015 15:30 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Jan 2015 09:48 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

"We're just in the planning stages – the architects are working on it," museum director Ingo Mersmann told The Local on Thursday. He hopes to have the model Führerbunker open to the public this summer.

Mersmann intends to reconstruct five rooms of the Führerbunker where Hitler ended his life as Russian forces advanced on Berlin.

Planned is the rebuilding of Hitler's rooms, his secretary's office, the radio room and the clinical room of Hitler's personal physician, Dr. Morrell.

The "Top Secret" museum is not in Berlin - which would perhaps be too sensitive a location for such a project, but  Oberhausen, near Duisburg in North Rhine-Westphalia.

"We want this to be an educational experience so that families or groups of school kids can see how it really was: To experience the tiny rooms and the dampness of the bunker. We want to recreate it to show people," Mersmann said.

"We are doing so very carefully and with sensitivity," he added.

The museum bills itself as a family museum with interactive exhibitions on espionage. It made headlines a couple years ago when it rebuilt Osama bin Laden's hiding place from which American forces pulled him out of in 2011. They also have props from a James Bond film and a hat that once belonged to Cuban leader Fidel Castro. 

Instead of hanging Hitler's portraits all over the walls as they were in the original Führerbunker which was located between Potsdamer Platz and Brandenburg Gates in Berlin, the museum will instead hang empty black frames.

"We certainly don't want to recreate a place for the misguided people who still see him as a hero to come as a pilgrimage.  We are planning against that," Mersmann said.

Mersmann, a historian billed as an espionage and terrorism expert on Top Secret's website, is working with two other historians and basing their plans from the floor plans that were in the Federal Archives, as well as pictures and other documentation of the building. 

Even the reconstructed set for the movie The Downfall, depicting the Nazis fatal last stand in Berlin, is being used as part of Mersmann's plans. 

The Bunker as it was destroyed in 1947. Photo: Federal Archives

The original bunker was stormed in 1945 by Russian troops shortly after news of Hitler's death by suicide became known. The Nazi leader had moved into the bunker at the beginning of the year and occupied its lower chambers, controlling German forces from there until it was clear that his battle was lost.

The Führerbunker was destroyed in 1947 and the rooms buried under its own rubble. All that remains to be seen now is a car park. The only thing marking its former site is an information board showing a rough schematic plan and its historical facts. It was erected in 2006 ahead of Germany playing host to the World Cup. The policy on Nazi landmarks in Germany has always been to make them forgettable as to avoid neo-Nazis making pilgrimages to the sites.

The information board at the site of the former Führerbunker in Berlin. Photo: DPA

This isn't the first time that an organisation tried to recreate Hitler as part of their museum experience. When Madame Tussaud's wax museum announced they were creating a Hitler figure to be included in its Berlin centre, there was much outcry about it. Upon opening, the exhibit's  second visitor in ran to the exhibition and decapitated the model while yelling "No more war!" in German.

Story continues below…

But Mersmann feels confident in going ahead with his plans.

"There is great interest in these things. People want to see it," he said.

Mersmann hopes to have the basement bunker open in time for the summer season and though the exhibition will be a permanent part of his museum, visitors will have to pay an extra €3 on top of the €12.50 ticket price.



For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Sabine Devins (sabine.devins@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd