Hitler’s bunker to be recreated as a tourist attraction

Hitler’s bunker, in which he hid during the final days of World War Two, is to be recreated and opened as a tourist attraction in the north-west German town of Oberhausen.

The Führerbunker was a massive underground air raid shelter, that had gradually been added to and upgraded so that it was fit to house the Führer for a long period of time, should he need to hide from the advancing Allied troops. The shelter would ensure that Hitler could still operate and act as the Commander-in-Chief of the Third Reich’s troops.

It will be the 70th anniversary of the end of World War Two and Hitler’s death in May this year. To commemorate the event, a spy museum called Top Secret, based in Oberhausen, is doing away with any long-lasting taboos about recreating anything that might act as an attraction for neo-Nazis and recreating five of the bunker’s rooms.

News of the bunker’s recreation has been received sceptically by the German public.

Attempts to destroy the bunker at the end of the war failed to eradicate it completely, as revealed by its rediscovery when the Berlin Wall was brought down in the early 1990s. Records show that explosives were used to blow up its remains, but this attempt had failed to some degree, because there was four metres of solid concrete above it.

Authorities cordoned off the bunker, filled it in and covered it up completely. A car park was subsequently built over the top of it and still remains there today.

Researchers today believe that Germany is returning to a sense of normality without the guilt for the war 70 years ago. It has also become more accepted for German historians and academics to describe the sufferings of the German people under intense bombing and as prisoners and refugees of the Allies and Soviet Union.

The recreation of the Führerbunker does not sit well with some, who see it as coinciding with the rise of extreme right-wing groups, such as Pegida, which is gaining support and holding mass marches in German cities, The Telegraph reports.

Germany is also being affected by the Euro crisis, which looks as if it can only be resolved by massive reforms. Anti-centralisation could be fuelling a rise in small, fragmented groups and extremism.

The Führerbunker, while recreating actual rooms, will refrain from having any images of Hitler or swastikas, which would have adorned the walls, but are now illegal under German Federal law.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE