• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

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

"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)

Today's headlines
Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record as wins Berlin marathon
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
5,651
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd