If you have watched Der Untergang – or The Downfall in English you will have seen a recreation of the Fürherbunker since most of the movie took place inside the bunker telling the story of how Hitler got ever more out of touch with the realities of the war and kept expecting the impossible from his general to avoid the inevitable defeat. And the inhabitant of the bunker getting drunk while waiting the defeat and discussing how to commit suicide when the Soviet Army would get to the center of Berlin.
The bunker was built in two faces first in 1936 and the final extension was made in 1944 when it was getting pretty clear there might be the need of a safe place to be for Hitler in Berlin. The bunker was located in the center of Berlin close to Brandenburger Tor and the German parliament. Hitler used the bunker as his final headquarter from 16 January 1945 till he committed suicide on 30 April 1945 just 40 hours after he had finally married Eva Braun whom he had lived with for many years.
The first part of the bunker was made up of the Vorbunker or forward bunker from 1936 this part of the bunker was only 1½ meter below ground. It wasn’t used by Hitler himself but used by Goebbels and his children who were poisoned by their mother just before she and Goebbels committed suicide to avoid capture. The main bunker or the actual Führerbunker was built in 1944 and was located 8½ meter underneath the garden of the old Reich Chancellery – or prime minister office. This bunker had a roof of 3 meters of concrete. This part of the bunker was Hitler’s final residence and it was furnished with the fancy furniture from the Reich Chancellery. The bunker was so deep it was below the water table so the bunker was apparently pretty damp to live in.
The bunker had a diesel generator so there was electricity and communication equipment inside the bunker till the end. According to Hitler’s armaments minister Albert Speer there was made some modifications to the bunker increasing the height of the air intake to prevent poisonous gas getting inside the bunker in case of a chemical attack in Berlin. Apparently the gasses available at this time were heavier than air and would therefore stay close to the ground. The reason this detail is important because Albert Speer who at the end of the war probably was the second most important in Germany, claimed he tried to kill Hitler with a dose of tabun poison gas put inside the bunker via the ventilation shaft. But because the ventilation had been raised Speer was unable to reach it. Considering he was responsible for pretty much everything which concerned the production of war material from V2 rockets to tanks and machine guns many have ridiculed his claim of an assassination attempt by ironically mentioning the second most powerful man in the third Reich didn’t have access to a ladder.
The Reich Chancellery was demolished by the Soviet in the aftermath of the war and they also tried to demolish the bunker. The East German authorities finally demolished the bunker in 1959. So when you try to visit the bunker today all you will see is an information sign in front of a parking lot under which the bunker used to be located. Just across the parking lot you will find the memorial for the murdered Jews see more here.