It is hard to believe that the epicenter of ww2 Germany 70 years ago is a parking space surrounded by Communist style apartment blocks in Berlin nowadays. But this really is the location of the former Reich’s Chancellery, with hidden underneath it the Führerbunker where Hitler decided to make his last stand and finally, together with Eva Braun, chose to take his own life.
Attempts by the Russians to demolish the bunker right after the war in 1947 and again in the late 1950’s were unsuccessful and the complex was buried and left to its fate underground. Until just before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1986, the East German authorities decided to raise apartment blocks here and dug out and demolished the giant bunker with it’s 4,5 meters thick reinforced concrete roof to it’s foundations, which took them until 1988. Now, there is only a tourist sign that reminds us of the complex, which was placed here in 2006.
What also remains of the demolition works between 1987 and 1988 is a large collection of pictures taken by Robert Conrad, then a citizen of East German Berlin. During his apprenticeship as a bus driver he noticed the demolition of the uncovered bunker complex while passing by the site. Because of his raised seat, he could see over the closed fence. Robert took a daring step and photographed the bunker remains over longer periods of time, dwelling through the complex disguised as a construction worker. His story on it’s own is one to be read with admiration.