Right now my life is chaotic and I’ve way too much to do. I’m restless and the consequences for this blog are mostly shorter and lesser entries, no regularity. On the other side I’ve so much I want to share with you.
Let’s see if it’s possible to make a nice blog with just a few entries per months.
It’s time for a change, right?
I’ve already began by changing the layout of this blog.
But for now. Every time with me: my camera and my backpack full of food. And I love every single one of my little trips. *g*
Today I want to write about the bunker in Hagen, which I visited together with Oolaexai.
I often saw Hagen and Wuppertal from the train and I always wanted to visit one of the cities. But I don’t like cities soo much so I needed another reason: the bunker. I read about a dark tour where you could go through the bunker alone, in the darkness, just with a flashlight.
One day we packed our backpack with much of food, travelled to Hagen and asked random people how we could get to the bunker. We were very surprised that even the elderly couldn’t tell us where the Bunker was, some didn’t even know that there was one. The bunker was right around the corner, a few hundred metres away….
It didn’t took us long to reach out destination. The meeting point was a little café, which is only open if the bunker is open too. They sell you coffee, cake, Muckefuck and information 😉
Immediately we had the feeling to be welcome at this place. The people were very friendly and uncomplicated.
The furniture was of older times and black and white photographs were on the walls, showing how the city looked like in the past.
It was cold outside the day we went there so the most important thing for me was coffee, to get warm again.
We had to wait for the rest of the group to come: enough time to calm down and rest a few minutes.
As soon as everybody was there we got a few informations about the bunker.
Hagen was bombed often and heavily. The city was important for the train and therefore the troops and besides that it was an important location of the armaments industry. During World War II 72% of the buildings in this city were destroyed. And it wasn’t just about the destruction of war important buildings and facilities, it was about demoralize the people too. The whole city was a target.
The bunker in the Bergstraße is an overhead bin and a luxury bunker. 3000 people took shelter in it during the air strikes although it was built for only 1200 people.
The bunker wasn’t only for safety during the attacks. Many people lost their home and needed a new place to stay. They could rent a tiny room and live in the bunker with many other people together.
Why is it called a luxury bunker?
It had a tiny kitchen, a heating system, an emergency backup generator and an aeration plant.
We could visit the lower floor, which is still in the original state. There are 21 rooms, where you can see the old machines and vitrines with artifacts, as well as equipment.
It was very disturbing to find out that the upper part of the building was less secured but they already calculated the dead bodies for better protection of the lower levels in the time they planned and built it! In case the upper level would be destroyed, the lower ones would be protected.
We left the little café after we got a whole bunch of information and we got some dynamo torches.
Then we entered the darkness of the bunker. We were only a little group, the imagination of hundreds of people going in there was an echo in the walls around us. The fear and the questions lingering still in the air, the only light came from our dynamo torches. We heard the alarm and the airplanes above us. Soon after entering we passed the little room for storing the few belongings one could bring in the bunker.
The room for the wart was near the entrance too. He was responsible for taking care of the bunker and to close the doors. Whoever didn’t make it into the Bunker wouldn’t be let in.
He lived there together with the air-raid wardens, who had their own room the hallway down. They had a bed and cupboard, a little table and chair. I can’t imagine being down there most of the time.
But really disturbing was the sound of the manual sirene. It was like awakening old memories of the past, the well-known fear of this time, even if it was perhaps only because of all the movies we saw over the time about the war. This alarm is deeply connected with an air strike and people trying to get to safety.
A little room was with a blackened lightbulb. You could go in there, close the door and imagine way too many people in this small room. During an attack the door was locked from outside because of a very simple calculation: if the people in one room are panicking it’s only one room. The panic can’t spread throughout the whole bunker.
Everything was about surviving and the safety of the masses. The Bunker was occupied by way too many people at these times.
After a while we found the machine room. We could press a few buttons and shortly after that we heard the noises of the machine. In this dark and cold room with all the past lingering around it was really creepy, nearly more than the ones of the attack. You can see the emergency generator which was mostly there to keep the power going for the aeration plant. The people in the rooms didn’t have any light.
One room was for the belongings of the people, like old money, a toothbrush, pictures and other things telling the life of these people.
And we found this game for little children, about an air strike. It was the first time I really thought about children living in these times.
We went further in the bunker, the only light coming from our dynamo torches.
At the end I found a room for all the stuff you need to rescue trapped people.
Spiderwebs were in the corner and hanging through the room, connecting one wall with the other. It was beautiful and terrible.
The time I turned around I saw a puppet with a gasmask I didn’t saw the time I went to this room. I nearly cried out loud because it startled me so much! Immediately I was reminded of Dr Who and the question: “Are you my mommy?“ Creepy!
I hoped Oolaexai would feel the same about the man with the gasmask. 😉
We continued to discover the bunker and while Oolaexai tried everything she could get her hands on I took one picture after another.
Here you can see the ventilation and filtration system, which got oxygen in the bunker and filtered the air to prevent gas from coming inside.
The rooms around the corner let me think again. There was this little kitchen where you could cook something if you lived already down there.
The small, dark chambers with the bunk beds, where people were living if they lost their home. You could rent this rooms but during an air attack you had to stay there with other people: 20 had to stand in this little room.
The infirmary with all things you could possibly need and the protection for the children. Gasmasks and little baby sized environments suits and beds for small children and babys to protect them.
I never thought about how to protect children from gas. They just shouldn’t be there…
Next we found a room showing us how a celkarbunker could look like. Years before the war the poeple had to make space in their cellars and corridors were dug to connect the cellars with one another. In case your own house would be destroyed and you couldn’t leave your cellar, you had still a chance to get out through the cellar of your neighbours.
After a while we were alone in these dark halls and rooms.
An empty bunker is even more disturbing. You hear just the few noises around you, you don’t know exactly where you are, it’s just cold and surreal.
The coal cellar was even darker, but there was a heating system too. Not every bunker had a system like that.
After a few minutes more down there we left the bunker, relieved to be outside in the light and warmth again. Yes, in comparison it was really warm outside!
We returned into the café. The Muckefuck was already waiting for us.
It truly isn’t my taste, but it was hot and gave us a warm feeling. At least it looked like coffee 😉
We looked a last time around in this little café and left, with a weird feeling and full of memories to share.
Most of the informations in this post are from the owners of the bunker themselves. They gathered much information and care for the bunker and everything in there. It was a great day thanks to them and it’s totally worth a visit 🙂
Have a nice evening! 🙂