over two months has passed by without me writing an article. While I’ve been productive in walking tours and writing my thesis, I missed visiting spots which I didn’t know about or see before. Although I cannot invest as much time in the investigation of details as I used to, I don’t want to exclude you from the historical sites in -what I call- The Capital of the Twentieth Century. Every second Friday again, for the foreseeable future, one can expect articles as below!
Somewhere in the woods of Berlin’s district Zehlendorf, the Hochbunker Heckeshorn (an aboveground bunker) survived the last seven decades of history. So far, there is zero English information known about it – and its physical being is also hard to find. After walking half an hour in the rain, two locals couldn’t help me in my quest. A building labourer, currently deconstructing some hospital, even told me that I must have been mistaken. After all, an older woman -without understanding how someone could be interested in a closed down bunker- told me how to get there in only 200 meters.
The site of the Hochbunker Heckeshorn has a short pre-history which started in 1938. Here and then, the Reichsluftschutzschule (Nazi-Germany’s School of Air Defense) was founded. This institute had the task to defend Berlin’s airspace. Already in September 1940, it turned out that they couldn’t. Due to Hitler’s personal command, bunkers were constructed to serve as anti-aircraft canons (Flak‘s) as well as air raid shelters for Berlin’s population. The construction of the Hochbunker Heckeshorn started in 1942. The next year, this six stories high bunker was finished. The bunker’s walls and its roof, made of reinforced concrete, were four meters thick. The Hochbunker Heckeshorn had no Flak‘s, but only served as the central command post for air-defense above and around Berlin. For example, fighter pilots and Flak‘s in a 250 kilometer range were commanded from here. Also, the moment to alarm Berlin’s population for air raids were decided by the staff in the Hochbunker Heckeshorn.
After the War, the bunker served as an American radio station for nearly 20 years. Since 1967, the Hochbunker Heckeshorn served as a lung research clinic, as well as mortuary for the ones who didn’t recover successfully at the nearby lung hospital. In 1985, the bunker was changed into an emergency hospital for €5 million. Over 400 patients and a staff of 120 people could have lived here for a few months. Although the state of emergency never came, this was more twice as affordable than blowing it up with dynamites. In 2001, the mechanic content were given to hospitals in the Czech Republic and Ukraine – after which the bunker became an empty place.
The lung hospital is also useless, stated by the deconstruction worker with his disc grinder. Still, we don’t have to be anxious that he and his colleagues -if they ever find the way to this bunker- will demolish the Hochbunker Heckeshorn. Nowadays, the bunker is in use by the Berliner Unterwelten. Only by taking a tour of this respectable tour-company, the Hochbunker Heckeshorn’s interior is visitable. Unfortunately, these tours don’t take place regularly. Still, you can make photos of its exterior on rainy afternoon – as I did. If you are interested to see a Berlin Hochbunker in a more easy way, please wait for the next update!