FolkestoneJack's Tracks

Underground Berlin

Posted in Berlin, Germany by folkestonejack on October 5, 2008

At some stage in my travels I became aware of the underground tours run by Berliner Unterwelten e.V., the organisers of the Mythos Germania exhibition that I saw a few days ago. Although it wasn’t originally part of my plans I made a trip out to Gesundbrunnen and booked a place on their Subways, Bunkers, Cold War tour at 1pm.

The first part of the tour concentrated on a civil defence shelter which was originally constructed in the 1930s and served as a bomb shelter in the Second World War, although it wasn’t actually bombproof… in the tour we got an insight into the way the shelter would have functioned, including the hand operated controls that were essential to keep things running. It quickly became clear that the place would be pretty inhospitable in a real emergency with temperatures of 40 degrees and 100 percent humidity. Essentially, its purpose was to keep a panic stricken public off the streets so that the roads could be kept clear for the military…

The second part of the tour took us to U-Bahn to Pankstrasse station. I think this was all the more remarkable than the first shelter as the rooms we visited were all accessed from within a working station – which we entered through an airlock. Our guide showed us round the rooms and then out onto the station platforms to show us the markings that would be used to line up carriages in the station during a civil emergency. It was amazing to think that so many elements of this were right in front of us – but as good as invisible until they were pointed out by an expert guide.

I can honestly say that booking a tour with Berliner Unterwelten e.V. was one of the best moves in my entire trip as it was absolutely fascinating from start to finish – a truly remarkable experience. Indeed, I rather regretted that I didn’t have more time in Berlin to enjoy their other tours. Still, at least it’s one more to add to the list for a return visit…

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