Perforated like a Swiss cheese: Berlin’s underground!
The “Berlin Underground World” is presented in a former bunker in the Gesundbrunnen underground station. Here, visitors can learn and discover everything about the tunnels, underground facilities and corridors in Berlin on four floors.
The Berlin Underground World exhibition of the Berliner Unterwelten e.V. informs about the history and development of Berlin from an unusual underground perspective – the bunker installations in Berlin’s underground, bomb finds and ammunition salvage, but also about Berlin’s pneumatic tube system, brewery cellars and “blind” tunnels.
The Berliner Unterwelten e.V. also organizes thematic tours, including “Dark Worlds” (leads through the Berlin Underworlds Museum), “Underground, Bunker and Cold War” and “Wall Breaches”, which offer unusual insights into the Berlin Underworlds. Depending on the tour chosen, visitors will discover – among other things – bunker installations from the Second World War and the Cold War.
Please note: Visits can be booked for groups and are only possible by appointment.
Berlins Untergrund - verschiedene Touren
Contemporary history tour through an authentic place
Hundreds of people walk past a green door in the Gesundbrunnen subway station every day without suspecting that there are extensive and historical rooms hidden behind it. Even today you can feel down here how uncomfortable it must have once been to be crammed into the narrow rooms of the bunker complex – below, buzzing ventilation systems and above, bomber squadrons roaring in the sky.
In the Berlin Underworlds Museum, focal points such as bomb war and air raid protection are authentically themed. Also on display are finds from bunkers in the former government quarter, as well as war debris and finds on the ground left over from the Second World War. The complex topic of “war buildings and monument protection” is also in the spotlight. In addition, the visitor learns a lot of interesting things about things that are or were in the Berlin underground. The Berlin Underworlds Museum shows pictures and exhibits of, among other things, the Berlin pneumatic tube system, the brewery cellars and the sewage system.
Duration: 90 minutes
Nuclear protection and supposed safety in an “emergency”
This tour illustrates traces of the Cold War underground. In preparation for a possible nuclear conflict, bunker facilities for civil defence were reactivated and new protective structures were built in the western part of Berlin. Particularly in the period after the Wall was built, the Federal Government and Senate invested millions of Deutschmarks in these projects. Sometimes referred to as “multi-purpose facilities”, today we use them as parking garages, underground stations or storage facilities. The tour vividly illustrates the horrors and effects of a possible nuclear war.
This tour begins with a visit to the Blochplatz civil defence site, a protective structure from the Second World War that was reactivated during the Cold War. In an “emergency”, 1,318 people should find protection here for a maximum of 48 hours. Exhibition exhibits and photographs round off the tour around topics such as “Shelter construction in divided Germany” or “How protective ventilation works”.
After an underground transfer to the neighbouring underground station Pankstraße, we offer you an insight into how a “modern” nuclear shelter works. This multi-purpose facility, built in 1977 during the extension of subway line 8, was intended to provide protection for 3,339 people for several weeks. It is thus the fourth largest civil defence facility in Berlin, is still functional and even has an underground waterworks for the supply of drinking water. Huge reinforced concrete gates would have hermetically sealed off the facility, and a 465-horsepower diesel emergency generator would have provided an independent power supply. Special drainage barriers were to prevent overcrowding. Above all, the dormitories with closely spaced four-storey beds give an idea of the conditions survivors would have been confronted with for weeks in the event of a nuclear war …
Duration: 90 minutes
Underground escapes from Berlin to Berlin
Ever since the SED regime erected the Berlin Wall in August 1961, there have been repeated attempts to overcome the deadly barriers on the way to freedom by means of tunnels dug into the sands of the Mark Brandenburg. The first tunnel was built as early as October 1961, the last one in 1982. In total there were more than seventy escape tunnels, but only one in five of them could be used successfully. Nevertheless, over 300 GDR citizens reached West Berlin through them. There were spectacular actions, betrayal and bitter failure when escape plans became known prematurely. A veritable cat-and-mouse game between tunnel builders and the GDR State Security Service (Stasi) was created, under increasingly difficult conditions for escape helpers and those willing to flee.
During this tour we will not only tell the story(s) of the escape tunnels. The Berlin ghost stations, their perfidious protection against so-called border violators and barriers in the sewers against underground escape attempts are also documented.
After visiting the thematic exhibition at the Blochplatz Civil Defence Site, the tour continues by “U-Bahn-Shuttle” to Bernauer Strasse, one of the focal points of the construction of the Wall and, due to its central location, also of the construction of escape tunnels. The border barriers here were tunnelled seven times over a distance of only 350 meters. Close to these authentic sites of history, the journey goes underground again. In the historical vaults of the former Oswald-Berliner-Brauerei, we report on both tunnel replicas and on betrayed and failed tunnels, as well as on the two most spectacular projects from the time of the Berlin Wall, “Tunnel 29” and “Tunnel 57”. In the re-exposed original brewery well, visitors to this tour can look down on the Berlin groundwater table, which is very low here. This geological peculiarity is what made it possible to build deep-lying escape tunnels in the first place.
We recommend this tour only for pupils from grade 10 onwards.
Duration: 120 minutes
And if you want to get out into the fresh air again afterwards, how about a canoe or bicycle tour or a boat trip on Berlin’s waters?