NewsWorldGermany studies whether it can reuse its bunkers in...

Germany studies whether it can reuse its bunkers in view of Russia’s war against Ukraine


The return to European soil of the war that has led to the illegal invasion of Russia against Ukraine has led the German government to review its bunkers. The German authorities want to know if these infrastructures, of which less than 500 remain in public hands, can serve to help the population in case of conflict. When in his Wieland Giebel exhibition center he has to make a hole in the wall to install a new explanatory painting or poster, he and his team use a diamond drill bit and what he describes to NIUS as a “heavy drilling machine”. This circumstance is explained by the particularity of the space of the exhibition center for which Giebel is responsible. His is the Berlin Story, a museum located in what was a Berlin bunker built in 1942, in the Germany of the Third Reich. It is a five-storey building with thick concrete walls. They measure up to two meters wide. The ceiling is almost four meters thick. The bunker that Giebel has managed to recycle into an exhibition space of 3,000 square meters dedicated to an exhibition on the disastrous rise to power of Adolf Hitler served during the bombings of World War II to help some 12,000 people. In 1944, a 500-kilogram Allied bomb fell on the roof of the bunker. The defensive structure was maintained. From the air, as the photos that Giebel shows to this newspaper show, the damage suffered outside the historical exhibition center can be seen. In bunkers like Giebel’s one tends to think of Germany when one realizes it, as has been recently, that the German Ministry of the Interior is currently analyzing “the shelters” that remain in the hands of the federal state and the Länder. Bunkers are part of those spaces. In fact, there are already citizens who have been interested in knowing if they can protect themselves in one of these facilities in case Russia’s war against Ukraine ends up affecting Foreign Minister Olaf Scholz’s country. Shortly after this illegal Russian invasion began, there were those who called the Documentation Center of Ahrtal (German southwest), which operates the museum that has become the bunker of the chancellor and the rest of the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany in times of the Cold War, asking if that space offers protection. The answer is “no”, as Heike Hollunder, head of the documentation center, explained on ARD public television. Head of a Berlin bunker: “it would not withstand a current artillery attack” In Berlin, Giebel responds the same when asked asks about the ability to offer protection of the space used by Berlin Story. “A bunker like ours would not withstand an attack with current artillery means and today’s bombing systems. For example, if a missile from an S-300 system hits, the bunker would not withstand it,” says Giebel. “This type of bunker, built without going deep into the surface, as I understand from my knowledge of bunkers, I don’t think it can be used for a current war. It would be more efficient to go underground, because the missiles do not reach there, ”adds the person in charge of the Berlin Story. It is estimated that in Germany, since the time of the Second World War, there have been about 2,000 bunkers. However, in 2007 they ceased to be publicly owned. That is why today they house museums such as the Berlin Story or even luxury apartments such as the penthouse owned by collector Christian Boros in the center of Berlin. Under his house, in the adapted bunker space, Boros exhibits his art collection. Germany wants to know which bunkers it can useIn public hands, according to data from the German Ministry of the Interior, there are 499 bunkers left. “The bunkers mostly belong to different institutions, organizations, companies or people. That’s why the general idea of ​​using them can’t affect many bunkers. If anything, it may affect bunkers owned by the regional or federal government. But, in my opinion, there are not many, because most of the bunkers have been privatized”, recalls Giebel from the Berlin Story. A visitor to the Berlin Story exhibition about Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany.Cedida.It is assumed that the checks currently carried out by the Federal Office for Population Protection and Disaster Relief (BBK) and the Ministry of the Interior will be finished by the end of this year or the beginning of 2023. In the best of cases, according to the calculations that are presented in the press these days, no more than 500,000 people in a country of just over 83 million could take refuge. in those facilities. But that, as long as the almost 500 bunkers in the hands of the German authorities can be used. As a precautionary measure, however, the German authorities have prevented Nils Brennecke from building an apartment above the museum in which he has converted the bunker he bought into 2014. His case has been picked up by the Bild newspaper, the most widely read in the country. “In the context of the current political events and the war in Ukraine, civil protection and the provision of public shelters have come to the fore”, the authorities have explained to Brennecke, why he has to stop thinking, for now, to build an apartment over his German Bunker Museum, in Schweinfurt (German center). The bunkers do not protect, nobody wants to say it The case of Brennecke has also been one of those recently collected by the Sunday Frankfurter Allgemeine Sontagszeitung when giving an account of the project of the BKK and the Ministry of the Interior. “In view of Russia’s war of aggression, the German government is currently examining whether the old bunkers still offer protection. They do not do it. But almost nobody wants to say it ”, has been read in said publication. Those affected such as Brennecke and civil protection experts have criticized the Executive’s initiative. They consider that the remaining bunkers do not really offer sufficient protection for the population. “The bunkers were no longer cared for, they were sold, that is, the protection of the bunkers has ceased to exist,” Stefan Kaufamnn, an expert on citizen security issues at the Institute for the Sociology of Germany, told German public radio Deutschlandfunk. the University of Freiburg. For Giebel, the authorities would do better to think of the subway as a place of protection, although in cities like Berlin, in his opinion, that is not a solution either. “In Berlin, both the subway and commuter trains when they go underground do not offer enough protection. Its tunnels are too shallow”, says the person in charge of the Berlin Story. “I was recently in kyiv, and it’s different there. There the subway stations are deeper. Sometimes you have to go down two long escalators. There it is easier to protect yourself, like in London, ”concludes Giebel.



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