November 17, 1999
says Hitler's Bunker must Survive
by Allan Hall
A JEWISH historian is among a group of
academics lobbying the German Government to preserve the
last bolthole of Adolf Hitler [left] in
the centre of the new Berlin.
They argue the bunker is too important to history to
be lost forever beneath a steel-and-glass tower housing
representatives of the states constituting the
This most potent symbol of Nazism, the spot at which
Hitler took his own life nearly 55 years ago as his
self-proclaimed Thousand-Year Reich crumbled beneath
Russian artillery shells, has not been entered since the
occupying Soviet army arrived too late to capture
Stalin's greatest enemy.
It lay buried for years in the death-strip of the
Berlin Wall, a small undulation in the ground between
concrete and razor wire. A miscalculation of 40cm by
building workers two months ago brought the concrete
carapace of the bunker to the surface for the first time
since the end of World War II.
With it, blinking in the sunlight, came all the
confusion, angst and guilt that Germans carry with them
Goldhagen, the US author of
Executioners -- a book that alleges ordinary
Germans were moral accomplices in the wholesale murder of
the Jews and others -- believes that the bunker should
pass into the authority of UNESCO (the UN Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organisation). Mr Goldhagen
"I believe, because of what Hitler did and
what he stood for, that it is not just a German
memorial, not even solely a European one, but a global
"If it passed into the care of an organisation such
as UNESCO, it could become a school that would teach
us what to be afraid of, what to remember and would
serve to make us all learn from it."
Moscow-based historian Lev Bezymenski believes
a bunker kept is better than a bunker swept away beneath
the glitterdomes of the new Berlin.
Mr Bezymenski, a specialist on the bunker, said: "It
should serve as a memorial to the terror of war."
The problem facing Berlin parliamentarians is the
possibility of the far Right embracing the the spot where
Hitler ended it all as their greatest shrine.
"Blow it up, bury it in sand, seal it forever," Lea
Rosh, chief of the organisation behind the planned
Holocaust memorial to be built in Berlin, said.
Most politicians agree, saying any historical benefit
has already been gleaned from its plans and exhaustive
accounts of Hitler's last days. Hitler ended his life on
April 30, 1945, in the bunker, two days after his wedding
to Eva Braun. He shot himself in the mouth, she