So we continue our walk eastwards (back towards Wilhelmstrasse) down the left-hand side of Voss-Strasse and get to where the Mittelbau stood. The Mittelbau was set back about 15 metres from the frontage of the other two wings and contained, inter alia, Hitler’s office and various administrative offices. There was no access from Voss-Strasse. The is where it stood although it would have been a little wider than this photo suggests:
Source: Google Earth
Behind the balustrade which we saw as the second photo in the West Wing post were five hydraulically-operated doors to subterranean air-raid shelters. This famous photo – obviously staged – of General Weidling leaving the NRK to surrender to the Russians shows one of them:
And here’s another shot of the open hydraulic shelter doors:
And if hydraulic doors really float your boat, this clip shows them at 2:48 (the clip is in German but is excellent in that it shows the truck lifts and underground garages):
Now before we continue … this rapidly diminishing car park is one of the few spots left in the Berlin Defence Area of 1945 where you can still actually stand on the very place where things happened/stood. If you are of that particularly bizarre bent that you feel the need to stand in Hitler’s office for example you still can do so if you are prepared to run around the car park like an idiot to ensure you covered every single spot although even then you’d never be certain that you’d done it. But what you can do is have your photo taken in the car park and then when you’re watching “Downfall” or “Valkyrie” with a friend you can point at the screen and shout “I’ve been there!” although this is not recommended if you are in a cinema or are courting a particularly toothsome companion.
This is what you missed. This is the car park/Mittelbau/Hitler’s office as photographed by Your Humble Narrator in 2011:
In the interests of hurrying this along I will combine some photos. If you want a bigger copy, email me or leave a comment in the … ummm … Comments section.
All of the above are shots of the surviving areas of the NRK site in 2011. I would guess that the concrete slab is the roof of the Drivers’ bunker, or perhaps a foundation for the West Wing/Mittelbau. I don’t believe the manhole cover is a genuine period piece. In 2011 you could wander all over the site without being harassed or arrested. Here is the same car-park in 2017 although the photos don’t really indicate the degree to which it has shrunk:
By my estimation, that wire fence indicates the approximate position of the terrace outside Hitler’s office and below which the HJ boys were decorated. If you don’t get there soon the whole area will be just one big Roselands or a YummyBurger franchise or something.
These photos taken in Voss-Strasse outside the Mittelbau are interesting:
Source (both photos above): Feldgrau
Pretty much today’s view of the photo directly above courtesy of Google Earth:
I was going even more quickly insane than usual trying to work out what the circled thing in the first photo was. Here’s another one:
Source (top photo): Pinterest
Yes, it’s a trolley. A number of period photos show (mainly) women pushing these things as their only means of moving things around, there being no privately owned cars. Photographic evidence suggests (to me at least) that they were appropriated from the nearest railway station, in this case probably the Anhalter whose ruins remain close by to this day. The lower photo is simply a comparison piece to show how much trouble the Art Department of the “Downfall” movie took to get things right.
Moving on down Voss-Strasse to the East Wing …
2 thoughts on “19. Mittelbau”
I think it’s fair to say the Downfall crew really understood their audience.
I think you’re dead right. They would have known there were thousands of anoraks out there counting buttons, checking on correct rank and uniform etc. Even “Valkyrie” make an effort.