It is located in the backyard of the residential apartment building. You are unlikely to find it on your own, because very little or nothing at all is written about it in conventional travel guides. And if you find it, you'll probably be the only one there, with no other tourists in sight. There are no signs leading to it. There is no sign or plague or any information whatsoever to tell you that you are next to it, looking at it, standing on it. What is it? It is Hitler's bunker.
Located 50 feet below the surface, the bunker is a witness of the last days of the Third Reich--the last days of Adolf Hitler; his last futile military commands, his marriage, his last will and political testament, and ultimately his death. Nowadays, the bunker is sealed off. No one is allowed to enter it. One can only walk around and ponder about what was going on inside it in the last days of the war.
Hitler moved into the bunker in April of 1945 as the Soviet troops were unstoppably advancing into Berlin. He chose to stay in Berlin during the last days of the war despite the attempts of his staff to persuade him to escape to the mountains. Hitler was accompanied by his long time companion Eva Braun. Also, several high-ranking Nazi ministers chose to share the destiny with their Führer. Among them were Hitler's top aide Martin Bormann and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. The latter brought his entire family--his wife and six children to live in the bunker. One can only imagine, but never fully comprehend, the loyalty and fanaticism of these people.
Hitler wasn't simply hiding in the bunker, he was still in power and his orders continued to be carried out to every possible extent. On April 23, Hitler received a telegram from Hermann Goering, whom Hitler designated as his successor by a decree in 1941. Goering was in the safe area in the south next to Berchtesgaden. Goering stated that if Hitler wasn't going to respond by 10pm the same day, he [Goering] would take the power into his own hands as the Reich's leader. Hitler became furious, and replied that Goering committed a crime and that the punishment for this was death. In early morning of April 25th, Goering was arrested by the SS.
On April 28th, Hitler was informed that the Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler (the same guy whose direct orders sent millions of people to concentration camps) was involved in negotiations with the West and discussed German surrender. In response, Hitler ordered Himmler's arrest and ordered Himmler's personal representative in the bunker, who incidentally was the husband of Eva Braun's sister, to be taken out and shot.
Hitler understood that this was the end. With betrayal of Goering and Himmler, with Soviet troops already in Berlin, with the country in ruins, with non-existent armies to defend the Reich, there was only one way out.
On April 29th, Hitler married Eva Braun in a civil ceremony in the bunker. Eva Braun was 33 years old. She was indifferent to politics, and as Hitler's mistress for many years, she spent most of her time reading novels, watching romantic movies and taking care of her appearance. She was athletic, sports-oriented woman, and a good dancer. Had she chosen to stay alive, she probably would have gotten a "slap on the wrist", because she was hardly responsible for any Nazi crimes. Instead, she stayed with Hitler to the bitter end.
In the afternoon of April 30th, after his last vegetarian meal, Hitler (and Eva Braun) said goodbye to all the remaining bunker staff, and retreated to their private room. Shortly after, there was a sound of a gunshot. Goebbels and Bormann entered the room after a few minutes and found Hitler lying dead on a sofa. He killed himself with a shot into his right temple. Eva Braun was also dead. She had swallowed poison a few minutes before Hitler took his own life.
According to Hitler's will, the bodies were brought up outside the bunker, cremated with gasoline and buried. As Hitler's body was engulfed in flames, Bormann and Goebbels gave their Führer the final salute.
And if you think that the story has reached its climax, wait till you hear this. On the following day, Goebbels and his wife poisoned their six children in the bunker. Life without "uncle Adolf" was unimaginable. Then they went outside and requested the SS orderly to shoot them in the back of the head. This request was carried out. The bodies were later soaked in gasoline and set on fire. This was the end of the Nazi Reich.
As I mentioned in the beginning, finding the site of Hitler's bunker is not easy. Lonely Planet Central Europe lists only the approximate location, "on the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Vossstrasse," which is not entirely accurate. Frommer's and Let's Go Europe, unless I missed it, do not list the site at all. I'm not sure about other travel books. There is a reason for not making this place a tourist attraction. Apparently, Germans don't want to make Hitler's bunker a place of worship. And I can understand that.
However, if you still feel like spitting on the poisoned soil, your best bet is to have someone show you where it is. I highly recommend Terry Brewer, whose walking tour I took. This walking tour of Berlin is a subject of several reviews, but I must tell you one thing. This was THE BEST walking tour I have taken ANYWHERE. It lasted 7 hours, but it felt like I spent a week in Berlin. As listed on the home page of the Circus Hostel in Berlin, which is one of the starting points of the tour, "Terry is the only native English speaker in Berlin today who guided people on both sides of Berlin since 1989. He worked at the British Embassy in East Berlin and for the British forces in West Berlin." Let's Go Europe calls his tour "superb."
The Jewish Student Online Research Center