Third Reich ruins - Nazi bunkers, gigantic structures and history tours.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: D-Day tours, German WW2 militaria, Berghof, Munich & Hitler, Berlin, Nazi Germany, Reichstag, Castles, WWII Tours, War bunkers, UK ruins, bunkers, Ruins, bunkers in the US.
Inside Hitler`s German beach resort that has never had a single guest after being abandoned 75 years ago
This is the 10,000-room hotel that has never had a guest. Situated on the island of Rügen in Germany, the Prora beach resort was built by Adolf Hitler between 1936 and 1939 as a striking show of Third Reich architecture. Yet the project was halted, with eight separate buildings having been erected, when the Nazi leader decided to focus on building more planes and war infrastructure. Prora was constructed on the Baltic island of Ruegen by the Nazi `Strength Through Joy` leisure organisation over a six-year period and occupies 3 miles of beachfront. It was meant to provide holiday entertainment for 20,000 of Hitler`s hordes at any one time.
Photos: The Ghostly Remains of Nazi Germany`s Atlantic Wall
Photo gallery: The Ghostly Remains of Nazi Germany`s Atlantic Wall
For sale: the 70-room lakeside villa where Goebbels seduced his Nazi starlets
The lakeside villa was Berlin`s gift to Joseph Goebbels. The infamous Nazi propaganda minister used it as a secret `love nest` in which to consummate his countless affairs. The Nazi minister`s Haus am Bogensee villa survives intact, overgrown and empty in a lost corner of East Germany just 24 miles north of the capital. The Berlin city government, which owns the listed 70-room lakeside complex completed in 1939, has been trying in vain since Germany`s reunification to find a buyer for the Goebbels` villa. But its unsavoury past has deterred prospective investors and Berlin is concerned that neo-Nazis might bid for the complex in disguise.
Hitler house in Braunau am Inn to become integration centre
Austrian officials who are keen to end a growing row over the future of the house where Adolf Hitler was born in the town of Braunau am Inn are reportedly close to coming to a deal with the owner that will see it turned into an integration centre.
Nazi defence line in western Poland now home to tens of thousands of bats
ANazi defence line in western Poland has taken on a new role in peacetime as home to tens of thousands of bats in what is Europe`s largest artificial roost. The 37 000 winged mammals sleep elbow-to-elbow in the well-sheltered tunnels of the Ostwall fortification, a largely forgotten war site near the town of Miedzyrzecz. Hitler had it built on the eve of WWII in what was then German land to protect the Third Reich from an attack by Poland or the Soviets. Today, it doubles as a tourist site and massive bat reserve, and since 2011 has been home to what is likely the world`s only combined fortification and bat museum.
Nuremberg to spend up to €70m on renovating Nazi Party rally grounds
Officials in Nuremberg have announced controversial plans to spend up to €70m on renovating the city`s vast yet dilapidated Nazi Party rally grounds, used by the documentary filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl as a haunting backdrop for her Hitler propaganda film Triumph of the Will. The 11 sq km site, which includes 24 towers and a so-called `Zeppelin Tribune` from which the Nazi leader gazed out on to the uniformed ranks of the party faithful, was designed in part by Albert Speer, the Nazi minister who was also Hitler`s chief architect. It was never completed.
Hitler`s hospital in ruins: Graffiti and peeling paint remains of a gigantic hospital which once treated Hitler
Rusty beds, vine-covered buildings and empty corridors with walls covered in graffiti and peeling paint are what remains of a gigantic hospital which once treated Adolf Hitler, after it was abandoned in the fall of East Germany. Beelitz-Heilstätten, a 60-building treatment complex southwest of the German capital, was built in the late 19th century to help rehabilitate the growing number of tuberculosis patients. During the Great War, Beelitz-Heilstätten - or Beelitz Sanatorium - was turned into a military hospital and was where a young Hitler was treated for a thigh injury acquired during the Battle of the Somme.
Hitler`s forgotten attempt to build the world`s largest Olympic stadium
On September 7, 1937, German construction workers laid the cornerstone for what was to become the world`s largest stadium - one that would hold over 400,000 spectators. Designed by Albert Speer, the monumental structure drew as much inspiration from the Greek Panathenaic Stadium of Athens as it did from Hitler`s megalomania. But in the end, it was simply not meant to be, a project cut short by the demands of WWII and the demise of the Third Reich. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Hitler unveiled a 2-meter high model of the Deutsches Stadion ("German Stadium") to an excited crowd of 24,000 people. He described it as "words of stone" that were to be stronger than anything that could ever be spoken.
Photos from the Wolf`s Lair bunker
The derelict military bunker at the centre of a German officer`s botched plot to blow up Hitler will be opened to the public as a museum. The Wolf`s Lair, located in the Masurian woods in Poland, has been open to the public since the end of World War II, but mainly for much criticised paintball games. It was one of Hitler`s key military headquarters during the war. But is most famous as the place Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg tried to kill the dictator by placing a briefcase bomb underneath the table during a staff meeting on July 20, 1944.
Hitler home town mayor fed up with saying sorry for the war
The Mayor of Adolf Hitler`s home says he doesn`t want the building where the dictator was born to be turned into a memorial because the Fuhrer "only lived there for three years anyway". Mayor Hannes Waidbacher said that instead he was keen to see the property that was previously used by a charity for disabled people turned into flats. The mayor added that there was already a memorial stone outside the building and said he felt that the local community had already done enough to remember the past. He added: "There are already quite enough memorials in the region."
Poland finally starts to restore the Walls at Hitler`s Wolf`s Lair
For nearly 3 years, Hitler commanded the Third Reich from a vast network of bunkers which were located near the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg and called the Wolf`s Lair (Wolfsschanze). But while Poland went to great lengths to preserve the memory of Nazi death camps, the significance of this historic outpost was lost. The Wolf`s Lair was transformed into a place to take pottery lessons and play paintball. Now, however, the Polish government has decided that the Wolf`s Lair needs to be preserved. The Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has demanded that the company running the site transform it into a historical and educational destination with outdoor exhibits and a museum.
Richard Marowitz recalls entering Nazi leader`s home: Housekeeper couldn`t understand why we were so angry at a nice man like Hitler
In late April 1945, U.S. soldier Richard Marowitz searched the Munich apartment of the Nazi leader Adolf Hitler - and found his black silk top hat, which he still owns. Marowitz belonged to the 222nd Intelligence & Reconnaissance Platoon, part of the 42nd "Rainbow" Infantry Division. "Two German civilians were there who knew where Hitler`s house was. We were ordered to go there to see what intelligence we could find. So we got in three jeeps and took off. When we got there, the door was opened by Hitler`s English housekeeper, who called us ruffians. She couldn`t understand why we were so angry at a nice man like Mr. Hitler."
Hitler`s Olympic Village of 1936 - Can decaying relic ever escape the ghosts of its past
A bas-relief of marching Nazi troops, a Red Army mural – and a cellar where the cries of condemned torture victims once rang out in the night. If walls could speak, those within the Olympic Village of 1936 would have a host of dark tales to tell. This is where athletes from all over the world headed to take part in the most infamous Olympic Games in history - the so-called "Nazi Games". The 1936 Olympic Village, on the western edge of Berlin, lies forgotten. "It is a shame. But because it is inextricably bound up with Nazism, most Germans avoid it. It is a place that lives and breathes sportsmanship and history, side by side," says Sven Voege, who`s in negotiations to rent out some of the village sites as exhibition rooms.
Hitler`s plans for massive tourist site in Prora finally sees its first tourists
In the years preceding WWII the Nazis planned mass tourism in the form of the Colossus of Prora, the world`s biggest beach complex along the Baltic coast on the island of Ruegen. It housed 10,000 rooms with sea views in eight rectangular blocks of steel reinforced concrete. The intention was to bring 20,000 working-class Germans there every week for holidays in beautiful surroundings. It was thought that a vacation would allow the Germans to return to their work refreshed, with revived energy to fulfill Hitler`s dreams. Last year Deutsches Jugendherbergswerk, the association of German youth hostels, opened its largest establishment there. The hostel has more than 400 beds in 96 rooms.
Gigantic Nazi holiday resort to become luxury hotel and apartments as huge section of Prora sells for 2.75million euros
A huge chunk of the largest holiday camp ever constructed by the Nazis has been sold for 2.75million euros. Block One of the Colossus of Prora - built in the 1930s - will be converted into a 400-bed luxury hotel and 400 apartments. Prora was constructed on the Baltic island of Ruegen by the stormtroopers of the Nazi `Strength Through Joy` leisure organisation over a 6-year period and occupies 3 miles of beach front. It was meant to provide holiday entertainment for 20,000 workers at any one time. So far, there are a few luxury flats and a youth hostel in the buildings at the site 120 miles from Berlin.
Nazi bunkers and air-raid shelters converted into modern homes and working spaces
German architect Rainer Mielke lives in a luxurious penthouse atop a Nazi bunker in which his elderly neighbours remember sheltering during the Second World War. The architect has pioneered the art of converting the grim structures into bright living or working spaces, and his work is set to increase as Germany ramps up sales of the above-ground forts and air-raid shelters. But the work is not without controversy: Nearly all the bunkers were built with forced labour. And as bunkers become hot property, critics warn against treating them like any other real estate without acknowledging their past.
Hitler`s Wolfsschanze bunker available to rent for £90,000 from Polish Forestry Commission
Adolf Hitler`s Wolf`s Lair, a huge fortified base in the Polish countryside, has been put up for rent. Known as the Wolfsschanze, the 13-hectare site, in the Masurian woods near Ketryn, is on the market for £90,000 a year. During WWII, the site was used as a command post for Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. It housed 2,000 security personnel, as well as members of the Nazi high command, including Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann, Wilhelm Keitel and Alfred Jodl. The lease on the land, which is owned by the Polish Forestry Commission (PFC), has recently expired and new tenants are being sought.
Government authorities are in conflict over a huge WWII u-boat bunker in Bremen, which is to be rented out
The "Valentin" bunker, 426 metres long and 33 metres high, was constructed using the forced labour of tens of thousands of people 1943-1945. The German Institute for Federal Real Estate (BIMA), which runs the site, now wants to rent parts of the bunker for commercial use. But, according to Georg Skalecki, director of the local State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, this would involve the destruction of walls and fences, damaging the building`s character: "You would no longer be able to take in the dimensions of the total work. You do need to be able to walk through it."
State invests millions to turn an elite school for Nazi children into a popular tourist attraction
More than €32 million in government money will be invested in the Ordensburg Vogelsang project, which is to include several exhibition spaces on the history of the resort and the surrounding region, as well as a restaurant and welcome area by 2014. Ordensburg Vogelsang, in North Rhine-Westphalia`s Eifel National Park, was an elite education facility for young Nazi party members. Students in Ordensburg Vogelsang - one of the largest architectural relics of National Socialism - were usually the children of prominent party leaders who took part in intensive physical training and learned about Nazi ideals.
Hitler`s rally hall Deutschlandhalle demolished to make way for new £65m arena (pics, video)
A piece of Nazi history was destroyed in 3 minutes when a stadium built on Hitler`s orders was demolished. After a huge bang the steel roof of the Deutschlandhalle fell in and 76-years of history was reduced to rubble. The landmark sports stadium and rally hall in Berlin was built by the Third Reich in 1935 and representing the regime`s prestige - it was the largest sporting arena in the world at the time. Built for the 1936 Olympics, the building held over 16,000 people. In 1938 test pilot Hanna Reitsch performed the first indoor flight inside the building`s walls with a Focke-Wulf Fw 61 helicopter. The 117-metre long building, built in just 9 months, was damaged by WWII air raids and almost entirely rebuilt in the 1950s but remained popular, managing to shake off its Nazi connotations.
Vinnytsia and Hitler`s Wehrwolf bunker - Talk of underground tunnels and 3D models
In a quiet forest in Ukraine lie a set of concrete ruins that are stirring up bitter debate. Above ground, there are few signs of the deep underground bunker where Adolf Hitler stayed three times from 1942 to 1943. The place was later blown up by the retreating Wehrmacht. But the regional government in Vinnytsia Oblast has decided to cast some light on the Wehrwolf HQ by developing the site to attract tourists. Historians say that numerous bunkers and tunnels lie underground unexplored, but the budget is not enough for a wide-ranging excavation. Meanwhile, Belgium historian Martin Bogaert and his Kyiv colleague Andriy Shvachko plan to publish a book on Wehrwolf and a 3D model.
German youth hostel opens in giant Nazi resort on the island of Rügen at the resort of Prora (10 photos)
Sun, sand and miles of flaking Nazi concrete. Germany`s newest youth hostel stands just meters away from one of the best beaches of the Baltic Sea, but is located in a building with a troubled past. The 400-bed hostel was opened on July 1 in a gigantic Nazi holiday hotel that stretches for 4.5km (2.8 miles) along the coast of the island of Rügen at the resort of Prora. The concrete colossus was built to offer budget holidays for German workers. Critics say an architectural monstrosity with such a history is the last place where people should be spending their holidays, while neo-Nazis have praised the initiative as it preserves Hitler`s dream of offering affordable holidays.
Concerns about plans to open a museum at the ruins of Wehrwolf bunker in Vinnitsa, Ukraine
Plans in Ukraine to open a museum at the ruins of a bunker used by Hitler have provoked concerns it could become a shrine for neo-Nazis. The decision by local authorities in Vinnitsa to turn the site of the Wehrwolf bunker into a tourist attraction has caused so much controversy that President Viktor Yanukovych requested that the matter be settled in a local referendum. Originally, the museum had been due to open in May, but communist and socialist party activists opposed the idea, arguing that the creation of such a museum would be tantamount to spreading Nazi propaganda.
Germany debates what to do with huge Nazi-era vacation complex along the Baltic coast
Three years before the outbreak of World War II, Hitler`s lieutenants ordered the construction of a vacation complex along the Baltic coast with 10,000 sea-view rooms in eight identical six-story blocks of steel-reinforced concrete. Even by the standards of Nazi monumentalism, the plan was ambitious. Every week, 20,000 workers from Nazi Germany would be brought here under a program called Strength Through Joy to prepare themselves mentally and physically to fulfill Führer`s dreams. But now the question is: What do you do with a Nazi relic that is too big and too laden with symbolism to destroy, but too enormous to be easily put to use?
Germany`s largest bomb-proof WWII submarine yard opened as a historic site in Bremen (update)
A gigantic WWII bunker built to house a submarine assembly plant has opened to the public as testimony to the cruelty and fiendish technological capabilities of Nazi Germany. The massive site, named "U-Boat Bunker Valentin", lies like a sleeping monster on the bank of the Weser river north of Bremen. The bunker is 33 metres high and spans an area the size of 6 football pitches. Its roof, intended to withstand Allied bombing raids, is up to 7 metres thick.
Huge WWII concrete shelter designed to protect Hitler`s train is a tourist attraction in Poland
Enormous concrete tunnel - build to protect both normal Nazi trains and the special train of Adolf Hitler called "Amerika" - is one of the landmarks of south-eastern Poland. The railway shelter, located in Stepina near Frysztak, is a popular attraction for tourists interested the Nazi-era structures and ruins.
The railway structure is part of Anlage Süd - one of the four Führer Headquarters located in Poland. Hitler and Mussolini met there on 27–28 August 1941 to talk about the war against the Soviet Union.
To get a better idea of its location see this map about Hitler`s Headquaters.
Ukraine to turn Hitler`s Wehrwolf headquarters near Vinnytsia into tourist attraction
Authorities in Vinnytsia plan to turn the remains of Hitler` Eastern Front military headquarters into a museum by May 9, 2011. The Nazis destroyed the Wehrwolf headquarters - 20 wooden barracks and 3 bunkers - when they were forced to withdraw from the region, and later the underground parts of the complex were sealed.
"It is time to make the Wehrwolf headquarters a tourist destination, a memorial to the victims of fascism," explained Mykola Djiga, the head of the local administration.
Considering how little is left of the original structures build by the Organisation Todt, it will be interesting to see what they actually came up with. To see how the area looks today visit this site featuring Wehrwolf photographs.
Historians organizing Hitler tour called "Face of Evil: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich" criticized
A luxury 8-day package tour of places related to Adolf Hitler has caused controversy, with some saying it will turn into a "perverse pilgrimage". The tour - taking place in June 2011 - includes visits to places like the Munich beer cellar where the Führer launched his 1923 putsch and Eagle`s Nest in Berchtesgaden. The tour`s British organizers - historians like Nigel Jones (author of Countdown to Valkyrie) and Roger Moorhouse (author of Killing Hitler and Berlin at War) - claim that the WWII tour is well-intentioned. In 2010 David Irving set up a similar Third Reich tour - and received similar criticism.
Touring Berlin`s underground bunkers with Berlin Underworlds (Berliner Unterwelten)
"To find the real Berlin you have to go underground," explains Dietmar Arnold, a member of a group called Berliner Unterwelten (Berlin Underworlds) that maps out the city`s subterranean topography. For 12 years, he has been leading expeditions and tours into the bunkers, tunnels and underground canals of the German capital, hoping that the Berlin underground becomes a tourist attraction, like the catacombs of Paris, the sewers of Vienna or the cisterns of Istanbul.
Third Reich ruins: Winkeltürme concrete towers were air raid shelters
In Nazi Germany concrete towers - called Winkeltürme (Winkel Towers) after their architect Leo Winkel - were build as air raid shelters because it was cheaper to build above ground than to dig underground bunkers. Their cone shape caused bombs to slide down the walls and detonate at a heavily fortified base. It was possible to cram as many as 500 people inside and the "footprint" of such tower was very small when observed from the air, making it hard for the bombers to score a direct hit. Hitler was impressed by Winkel`s concept and blueprints, and ordered full engineering and production support.
"Topography of Terror" documentation center opened at the former Gestapo and SS headquarters in Berlin
The new "Topography of Terror" documentation center in Berlin at the site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters showcases the faces of the unknown perpetrators of the Holocaust. The index cards cover an entire wall containing names and handwritten notes. They are the details of some of the 7,000 employees of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA), the merger of the SS paramilitary group and Gestapo - the men who worked at the core of the Nazi terror regime. This was where the masterminds behind the Nazi crimes, such as SS leader Heinrich Himmler and SD chief Reinhard Heydrich, had their offices.
Plans for Austria`s huge Nazi-era flak towers spark controversy
Scattered through Vienna are 6 huge anti-aircraft towers, a reminder of the city`s Nazi past. The flak towers, built by forced labour, were set up 1942-1945. Architectural historian Ute Bauer says their main purpose was propaganda: "The towers were... a sign of the military strength of the Third Reich... In 1943 when the towers were built, the authorities already knew the bombers flew higher - so they were of no military use, but they built them regardless." One of the flak towers houses an aquarium and another is used by the Austrian army. But what to do with the other relics - getting rid of the reinforced concrete is difficult.
Third Reich Walking Tour
Every year thousands of visitors travel to Germany to tour the ruins of the Third Reich. From the V2 rocket factory to the underground tunnels and bunkers in Berlin - and from Hitler`s mountain retreat in Berchtesgaden to the SS Camelot at Wewelsburg, tourists are fascinated by the history of the Third Reich. The Sun took one of the many Third Reich Walking Tours in Munich -- the city where Hitler`s National Socialist German Workers` Party was formed in the 1920s. "You can read books and see films but it`s only coming to places like this that you get a real handle on it," explained Mike Kennedy.
A guide to (Nazi) Germany`s darkest places
Wewelsburg, SS leader Heinrich Himmler`s nazi castle. --- Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg. The backdrop for Leni Riefenstahl`s documentary film "Triumph of the Will." --- Wannsee Conference House, where the Nazi leadership met in 1942 to discuss the Final Solution to the Jewish question. --- The Last Submarine: U-995 is the last surviving Type VII- C/41 submarine, and the mother of all German u-boats. --- Dachau Concentration Camp. The list of Nazi concentration and death camps is harrowing: Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, Majdanek, Buchenwald... But for all of them, there was a model. And that model was Dachau, the first nazi camp, opened in March 1933.
Vogelsang Castle Nazi college to become museum - Swastikas and Teutonic torch bearer
One of Germany`s largest Nazi sites, a training college built to look like a castle, is being turned into a museum after emerging from a 60-year time warp that left it filled with Nazi symbols like a giant swastika laid into a floor and the towering figure of a Teutonic torch bearer. Dominated by a mediaeval-style keep, Vogelsang Castle overlooks wooded hills in the Eifel region. The Nazi party built it in the 1930s to create an elite of brainwashed and physically fit bureaucrats to run the Third Reich. The museum and visitor centre will be completed 2011, but guided tours of the site are available already.
Nazi walking tours in Munich: Travelling to Germany to explore ruins of the Third Reich
3 tour guides are standing next to each other in Munich, but only one of them is doing well: Jeff Cox, who is offering "Third Reich Tour. Munich Walk Tours in English." The Third Reich in Munich. That means Hitler, Göring, Gestapo, SS. Cox soon has 18 tourists: Nazis always sell. One of the tourists is Alan Stark, who has read 7 Adolf Hitler biographies, but he still listens closely Cox`s stories. Stark travelled to Germany for 6 days, so he has to focus on what`s essential. Day 1: Nuremberg, the site of the Nazi party rallies. Day 2: Berchtesgaden, Hitler`s mountain retreat. Day 3: Munich, Third Reich tour. Day 4: Bayreuth. "Parsifal," 5 hours of Wagner.
Third Reich walking tour of Munich - Where Adolf Hitler met Eva Braun
Imagine being sat in the dentist`s chair, mouth wide open, and the dentist starts to make chit-chat about his clinic. "This used to be the Nazi party headquarters... Come to think of it, this was where Hitler met Eva Braun." It would be a little disturbing. But the surgery at 50 Schellingstrasse, Munich, was once the studio of Adolf Hitler`s personal photographer Hans Hoffman, and here the cash-strapped party had meetings. Eva Braun was Hoffman`s assistant, and she caught Hitler`s eye while climbing a ladder. Details like this make the Third Reich walking tour of Munich fascinating. The historical tour continues up to Konigsplatz...
Berlin to turn Tempelhof airport into park after years of debate
Berlin`s government will spend 61 million euros converting the Tempelhof airport into a garden in central Berlin which, at 1 square mile, will be just under the size of New York`s Central Park. Spokesman Marko Rosteck said the monolithic limestone terminal, designed by Ernst Sagebiel, will be saved. The site was originally a military training ground, and in 1909 American flight pioneer Orville Wright used it for aviation experiments. The debate over Tempelhof`s future was heated and continued up to the moment the loss-making airport was shut down on Oct 31, 2008.
Makeover planned for gigantic "strength through joy" complex on the island of Ruegen
The windows are broken and the roof is leaking, but otherwise the gigantic steel and concrete structure has lasted unscathed. The complex in the Baltic Sea resort of Prora on the island of Ruegen was part of Adolf Hitler`s "Strength Through Joy" program to keep Germans healthy. It was to house 20,000 persons in 8,000 rooms. Work on the complex, which began in 1936, slowed in 1939 and was halted in 1943. The only Germans to live in there were refugees fleeing the Soviet Red Army. After German reunification it was seized by the federal government, which is now - after years of wondering what to do with it - launching a project to turn the site into a holiday complex.
Flak towers and U bahn photos - thread at Axis History Forum
As the Allied bombing offensive against Nazi Germany escalated in 1942, the Nazis reacted by developing new air defence systems for cities. In Berlin, Hamburg and Vienna, they built massive concrete towers called flaktowers (flaktürme) as platforms for anti-aircraft guns. The towers were grouped in pairs, each consisting of a G-Tower (Gefechtturm, Combat Tower), and an L-Tower (Leitturm, Lead Tower). There were 3 pairs of towers in Berlin, 3 in Vienna and 2 in Hamburg. Today the flaktowers still loom over Vienna and Hamburg, less so in Berlin since the only standing tower is in a large park and is partly hidden by trees.
Huge tunnels show Adolf Hitler`s megalomaniac vision for nazi capital Germania
Three vast tunnels were opened under Berlin, offering a glimpse of Adolf Hitler`s vision for the capital of Nazi Germany. The tunnels were built in 1938 as part of a transport network beneath a series of buildings designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer. The overground plans included boulevards, huge buildings, and the 290-metre high Great Hall. Hitler called the concept "Berlin - the capital of the world." "The tunnels... were part of Speer`s grand plans, what we now call `Germania`," said historian Dietmar Arnold, head of the Berlin Underground Association and bunker tour guide, who took journalists on a rare visit into the dank tunnels.
Touring Berlin`s endangered bunkers and underworld
Berlin`s greatest tourist attraction is the one that`s not there: the Führerbunker where Adolf Hitler spent his final days. A tour guide told: "If I could sell tickets to that thing, I`d charge 100 euros a ticket and... hundreds of people would line up..." If you`re interested in getting underground you should soon, as limited budgets may soon claim several of the bunkers. --- Deep underneath Gesundbrunnen train station tour guide Brito Morales, who leads tours for Berlin Underworlds, warns: "Don`t touch the paint, it`s toxic. This bunker only offered the illusion of protection. To save on building costs, the Nazis only built the walls 120cm thick."
Rescuing Berlin`s most famous WW2 ruin - The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
West Berlin`s most famous landmark and a touching reminder of the WW2 horrors is threatened by collapse - because of traffic vibration. When the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church was put down by a British bombing raid all that remained was its ruined tower. Still, Berliners resisted plans to demolish the badly shattered belfry, which rises nearly 70 meters over the city. The spire of the church, built in 1895 by Kaiser Wilhelm II to honor his grandfather Kaiser Wilhelm I, is nicknamed "Hollow Tooth" and saved for posterity. Charles Jeffrey Gray, a British pilot who bombed Nazi Germany, was one of the first to call for the rescue of the famous wartime ruin.
Nazi bunkers surface in Denmark - Filled with beds, boots, stamps featuring Hitler
Tommy Cassoe looks like a Indiana Jones as he crawls out of a WWII bunker buried under the sand, one of 7,000 the Nazis built along Denmark`s western shores. 4 Nazi bunkers, buried under the dunes of Houvig since 1945, were discovered by 9yo boys after a fierce storm. "What`s so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with... the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside," says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum that focuses in Nazi fortifications. Archaeologists raced to the scene to empty the bunkers of boots, socks, badges, bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, keys, hammers and other objects.
A group campaigns to reopen long abandoned Vienna`s Nazi flak towers
Everyone in Vienna knows about the Flaktürme, flak towers, the huge gun emplacements built 1942-1945 by decree of Adolf Hitler to repel Allied air raids. All 6 of these concrete titans survive at the heart of a baroque city. Yet the flak towers do not exist in "official" Vienna - other than a brief mention in guidebooks. Angered by the denial over the towers, a group of architectural historians wants that the truth about the monsters (one of the biggest groups of concrete structures in Europe) is told. Designed by Fried rich Tamms, who designed much of the Nazi Germany`s autobahn system, Hitler had planned them to be clad in marble after the victory of the Reich.
The Reich Underground - One of the most massive construction projects by humankind
It was one of the most massive construction projects ever attempted. Late in World War II, the Nazis set up a plan to shelter armaments factories from the allied bombs - by relocating them in underground labyrinths. Many of the half-built nazi-tunnels have been long-forgotten. With unreleased film material and exclusive interviews, the story of the Underground Reich is reconstructed when the Nazis leaders still hoped that the miracle weapons would bring Third Reich final victory. The film shows the horrors faced by forced laborers, and how a team explores the awesome underground worlds.
Nazi fortress overlooking the strategic port of Cherbourg to be museum
A fortress described as a "treasure trove of Nazi memorabilia" is to be opened as a museum in France. The complex was a nerve centre of German resistance after D-Day. 200 soldiers lived inside the fort, which was linked by 2,000 ft of corridors to 4 gun batteries aimed at the English Channel 300 ft below. During the bitter hand-to-hand combat that took place after the Allied landings on June 6, 1944, the troops set up so fierce resistance that they held out for 3 weeks. Adolf Hitler was so impressed that, even after the fort`s surrender, its commander Rear Admiral Walter Hennecke was granted a Knight`s Cross.
Third Reich U-boat base Valentin for sale - The largest existing Nazi bunker
Built by slave labourers, the vast concrete complex known as Valentin near Bremen is for sale - to anyone needing a building with 7m-thick walls. Nazi Germany`s submarine factory is the largest surviving bunker from the Third Reich. The price is not clear but officials say that they could be adapting, because the place has become a millstone with its upkeep cost of 800,000 EURs a year. Adolf Hitler, worried that Nazi Germany was losing the edge in the war for the sea lanes, ordered the construction of the factory with the aim of building a new U-boat, the advanced XXI model, every 56 hours.
Part of the largest building the Nazis ever began to build is to reopen
It was the biggest building project ever begun by the Nazis, but it was never finished. Now part of Nuremberg`s Congress Hall is reopening: as a concert venue. The huge oval-shaped building, planned in the typical Nazi neo-Classicist style, was modeled on Rome`s Colosseum, and the foundation stone was laid in 1935. After the end of WWII, the city of Nuremberg preserved the ruins as a reminder of the dangers of fascism. The structure is part of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds where Hitler, during the 1930s, held massive nazi parades, memorialized in Leni Riefenstahl`s film "Triumph of the Will."
From Nazi Military Court to Posh Apartments - Third Reich ruins
Adolf Hitler`s military courts were infamous for their liberal use of the death penalty. Now, a Berlin courthouse where Nazi judges sentenced Third Reich dissidents has been converted to an apartment building. From 1936 to the middle of World War II, it housed one of Nazi Germany`s military courts. From their bench in the building, Nazi judges sentenced over 1,400 conscientious objectors and resistance fighters to die, including members of "Rote Kapelle" (Red Orchestra). "This project shows an incomprehensible forgetfulness ... when it comes to the past," says Manfred Krause, of the Forum Justizgeschichte, a group focusing in the misdeeds of Nazi courts.
Selling off a former military airfield built by Adolf Hitler
A former military airfield in eastern Germany, built by the Nazis and used as a Cold War base, is about to get a new owner. Investors had until Friday to submit bid proposals for Cottbus-Drewitz Airfield, 100km southeast of Berlin. The site may be turned into an air freight hub - That is what happened to Parchim Airport, another military airfield in eastern Germany. The airfield was carved out of a pine forest as Nazi Germany went to war in 1939, says Klaus-Peter Siegel, who runs a museum documenting the airport`s history. Under the Nazis, it was used as a pilot-training school by Luftwaffe. After World War II, the Communist regime flew MiG fighter jets from the base.
What the Nazis planned beneath Devil`s Mountain - Berlin Teufelsberg
After WWII Teufelsberg became the loftiest man-made hilltop in Berlin, when 16 million square metres of rubble from the nazi capital were dumped there. In 1937, Adolf Hitler showed up there to lay the foundation stone for a huge military academy designed by Albert Speer. The existence of the Teufelsberg military academy was forgotten until the Association of Berlin Underworlds discovered documents relating to it. The organization has announced plans to dig into the mountain to find the "last undiscovered secret that underground Berlin has to offer." Dietmar Arnold is convinced most of the military school is intact, despite post-war blow up efforts.
Berlin bunker expers found Nazi military academy in Teufelsberg (Article no longer available from the original source)
Experts in Berlin`s WWII bunkers have discovered a forgotten Nazi military school designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer. It`s buried under a man-made hill in the Teufelsberg (Devil`s Mountain), a 116-metre-high mound which was constructed from the 26m cubic metres of the wartime rubble. The unfinished building, for which Adolf Hitler laid the foundation stone in 1937, was meant to become part of Germania, the huge capital of the 1,000-Year Reich. The British occupation forces planned to turn the building into their headquarters, until it proved too difficult. Instead, half of Berlin`s rubble was poured on top and so the Teufelsberg was born.
Former Nazi Elite School to Become Tourist Attraction
The Nazis used the space for a political and military training facility. Soon tourists will be able to spend their vacation there. The state government decided to back the development of the former Nazi elite school "Vogelsang" into a tourist destination. Not all of the state officials agreed with the decision to transform the former Nazi school into a tourist attraction. During the Third Reich, the Nazis built three such elite educational centers. The "Vogelsang" facility was first used for political and military training before it was taken over by the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army, in 1939.
Historic Tempelhof - An Uncertain Future for Hitler`s Airport
Tempelhof - a monument to Nazi ambitions that became a symbol of hope during the Cold War - is one of the world`s most storied airports. But its history won`t be enough to save it from closure. Monumental Tempelhof Airport was to be a statement of Nazi Germany greatness - to wow visitors to the new Third Reich capital of Germania - but the dream of Germania collapsed along with the smoking ruins of Berlin. Tempelhof is Europe`s largest stand-alone structure: 8 stories high, with another 3 below ground, it is 3.23 million square feet. The semi-oval columns and über-vaulted ceilings are typical style loved by Nazis.
Hitler Room at Volkstheater - Part of Third Reich architecture
The controversial "Hitler Room" at Vienna`s Volkstheater that was awarded cultural-heritage status as part of an project to protect Third Reich architecture is to be turned into a discussion area. The room was constructed in honour of Hitler, and in 1939 the theatre was turned into a place for loyal Nazis to enjoy plays as part of the party`s Kraft-durch-Freude (Strength-through-Joy) programme. Vienna’s city council has ordered a survey of all buildings dating back to the Nazi period, ranging from those that Hitler ordered built to the place where he once lived as a struggling artist.
Aryans on the Altar; Swastikas on the Church Bells
A Protestant parish in Berlin has grabbed an ethical dilemma by the horns with an appeal for funds to save Germany`s last Nazi era church. The building`s interior is full of Third Reich symbols. The aim is to turn it into a place of remembrance. The stark entrance hall is lit by a black chandelier in the shape of an iron cross. The pulpit has a wooden carving of a muscular Jesus leading a helmeted Wehrmacht soldier and surrounded by an Aryan family. The baptismal font is guarded by a wooden statue of a stormtrooper from Adolf Hitler`s paramilitary Sturmabteilung (SA) unit clutching his cap.
Vogelsang Castle: In the Shadow of the Third Reich
Since the US Army occupied Burg Vogelsang, one of the Nazi`s four elite schools, in 1945 hardly a civilian has had a chance to see it. Young men were molded into Nazi leaders of the future at Vogelsang Castle in the Rhineland. The complex is the best maintained example of Third Reich architecture in Germany, and since Jan. 1 it`s open to the public. For now though, security guards patrol the grounds to prevent former Nazis and neo-Nazis from making "pilgrimages" to the Third Reich`s old school.
Adolf Hitler`s gigantic holiday camp at Ruegen to become a resort
A Holiday camp built by Adolf Hitler as the biggest in the world is finally to open... nearly 70 years on. The complex - 4 miles long, 6 storeys high with 10,000 rooms - was finished in 1936 to provide seaside breaks for 20,000 families. It never opened because of the start of World War II. Later, the East German government used it as a training barracks for officers. After the Berlin Wall fell, it was a giant memorial with museums.
Hitler`s dosshouse saved as warning to future generations
Austria has vetoed moves to turn the Vienna dosshouse where Adolf Hitler once lived into a hotel as part of a new drive to preserve Nazi-era buildings as cultural monuments. Until now such landmarks as the Meldemann Strasse homeless hostel, where Hitler stayed as a penniless painter, were deliberately exempted from conservation orders. But heritage chiefs now want them retained as sombre warnings to future generations.
History tours: Germany turns the relics of its Nazi past over to tourism
Lately many sites of importance in the Third Reich have become tourist magnets. In Ravensbruck, 8 of the 23 former SS guardhouses will be converted to cater. Thousands of people traipsed through a museum carved in the air-raid tunnels of the mountain at Berchtesgaden where Adolf Hitler had his summer residence Eagle`s Nest. In the forests of Karinhall, the country seat of Hermann Goering, amateur treasure hunters rake the ground each weekend for lost artefacts. For every foot of building above ground in Berlin, there are three below; secret tunnels and bunkers begun when Hitler came to power in 1933.