This article covers the Führerbunker and the imediate area during April/May 1945.
The first thought if you have never been there before is that the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Führer Bunker are very close together and when the Russians were fighting for the Reichstag and planting their Red Banner on the top, just how close they really were to the Bunker where Adolf Hitler committed suicide, the distance today can be covered in a matter of a couple of minutes! It is for this reason that I have included the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate in this part of the Berlin Report 2011.
The Brandenburg Gate today, complete with Darth Vader.
Taken in 1945, the Brandenburg Gate stood up very well to Soviet bombardment
The Reichstag. Some pockets of German defenders held out until after the surrender of Berlin, a few still fought on until the 3rd of May 1945, although the official surrender was the day before. Everybody has seen the image of the Russian soldier with the Red Banner being raised on the roof. But did you know that German defenders held out in the basement into the following day and when their ammunition ran out they fought on with their fists until they were overpowered.
The Reichstag building after the battle, note the 88mm FLAK gun on the right foreground.
The black iron letters with the words "Dem Deutschen Volke" were made from captured French cannons taken during the 1870-1871 Franco-Prussian War.
Members of the project team stop for a photo in the Berlin underground.
There are no signposts telling you were you can find the Führer Bunker, but if you walk down Wilhelm Strasse you will find a narrow path between two housing blocks, if you go too far you will find yourself at Voss Strasse, simply backtrack about 50 yards and you will find it.
Photo taken in the ministry gardens near to where the sign stands in the preceding picture today.
Perhaps the only part of the original Bunker garden to survive today. Was this war damaged tree near the park bench where Eva Braun and the other ladies would sit during a break in the artillery fire to smoke a cigarette?
Was this spot where the bodies were burned? The most visited carpark in German history! There is always a crowd of people there no matter when we walked by and we were there about four times in total.
The last existing picture of the Führer, taken in the ruins of the Reichskanzlei, reachable through a tunnel from the Führerbunker.
Site of the Ventilation Tower that was still under construction at the end of the war. In 1988 the bunker ceilling was demolished, leaving only the floor and some walls remaining, filled with rubble. Perhaps one day it may be excavated and turned into a museum? As already stated, it remains the most visited carpark in Germany, visited by people from every country in the world.
Taken on the same spot as the picture above.
The "Mohrenstraße" underground station was known as "Kaiserhof" in WW2 and it is from here that many of the bunker staff tried to escape from. The Führerbunker was behind the tall building on the right, about two minutes away.
The red marble in Mohrenstraße underground was taken from the New Reich Chancellery, the only parts of the building to survive.
A close up of the New Reich Chancellery marble taken from the former Mosaics Hall.
The underground station of "Stadtmitte" formerly "Friedrichstraße", travelling through the tunnel by U-Bahn between the two stations took less than one minute, but it was here that thousands of civilians and soldiers were sheltering from the fighting. The escaping bunker staff would have had to pick their way through the crowded tunnel.
Russian troops advancing into the underground system during the Battle of Berlin.
"Stadtmitte" (formerly Friedrichstraße), the end of the line for many of the Führerbunker occupants trying to flee the Soviets. Today the Bunker site is about ten minutes walk away.
The newly built Jewish Memorial was built on the site of Josef Goebbels town villa and gardens. This area would have been about 3 minutes walk for the Goebbels children when they left this location to go from the Goebbels bunker to the Führerbunker across the gardens perhaps under Soviet artillery fire.
Part of the Jewish Memorial close to the US Embassy, it was here that the Goebbels children would have played when attending the town villa in the more quiet early war period. This was also the site of Goebbels Bunker. The bunker was taken over as the battle headquarters for the SS Nordland Division, the main reason why the Goebbels children were relocated during the battle.
At the Soviet memorial close th the Brandenburg Gate, about 5 minutes away. Coloured ribbons have been tied to the tank tracks.
Soviet armour advancing down a Berlin street.
One of two artillery guns at the Soviet Memorial.
Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS soldiers having fought side by side during the battle, go together into Soviet captivity. Most of the Waffen-SS were Scandinavian or French nationals, few returned after the war.