Turmbunker Air Raid Shelter at the Elbe – Vorsetzen, Hamburg, Germany

Turmbunker Vorsetzen Hamburg
Turmbunker or Zombeck-Turm, Vorsetzen, Hamburg

This Turmbunker (Eng: tower bunker) or more specific Zombeck-Turm, named after it’s creator engineer Paul Zombeck, was built in 1940 to provide shelter to civilians in case of Allied air-strikes.

After it’s applied patent in 1937, the Zombeck-Turm became a standard “Hochbunker” (Eng: Tall bunker) type during World War Two, with eleven built in Hamburg of which nine still stand today. The towers were strategically placed at traffic junctions, train stations and bridges to give shelter to people in transit, like passengers from stopped trains or cars during an air raid alarm.

The 22.5 meters high towers were constructed from concrete, with walls 2 meters thick at the bottom and considered shatterproof and explosion-proof and had a gas lock. On the outside they had a brick wall and orange roof tiles to make them stand out less.

Zombeck-Turm Hamburg
The Nazi-Eagle still intact on the Turmbunker at Vorsetzen, Hamburg, Germany

A typical feature of the Zombeck Towers is the spiral ramp winding around a cylinder core on the inside the tower, making it resemble the structure of a snail shell. The ramp of 5.5 turns has no steps and is gently sloped making it suitable for both for access and as a place to stay. The core holds washrooms and toilets. Thanks to it’s design, the Zombeck towers could accommodate significantly more people in a limited time than high-rise bunkers with access via stairwells, like the Winkel-type tower bunkers. Although the towers were designed to accommodate 500 people, in some cases they are known to fit over double this amount.

Zombeck-Turm Hamburg
Another view of the Zombeck-Turm in Vorsetzen, Hamburg


Nowadays, there is a Portugese restaurant inside the bunker. So if you are lucky enough to book a table here, you can see the inside.

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