East German Communist leader'sbunker unearthed in Berlin
1 October 2004 , BERLIN - One-time East German Communist strongman Erich Honecker's underground bunker has been unearthed by construction workers in the heart of re-united Berlin.
1 October 2004
BERLIN - One-time East German Communist strongman Erich Honecker's underground bunker has been unearthed by construction workers in the heart of re-united Berlin.
The labyrinth of rooms and corridors, located under what used to be the Communist Party Central Committee headquarters in East Berlin, was built at the height of the Cold War in 1964, said the report in Friday's editions of Berliner Zeitung newspaper.
Its existence was known only to a small number of high-echelon officials in the East German regime.
Heavy steel doors sealed off the complex of some half a dozen subterranean chambers connected by a series of corridors.
The bunker complex, completed just three years after the Berlin Wall was erected, apparently was designed for longterm use in event of armed attack. Toilet facilities were available.
One curious feature was a room which housed two bicycles which were rigged up to operate oscillating fans, the purpose of which is no longer clear.
One room was clearly set aside for Honecker's personal use and its walls were covered in red-flocked wallpaper.
From that room a 30-metre-long escape tunnel permitted its occupant to flee from the party headquarters to a secret exit on the grounds of the building nearby.
Honecker stepped down from power as his Communist regime crumbled in late 1989, prior to German unification the following year.
After unification the Communist Party headquarters served as a temporary government office building in the 1990s.
It is currently undergoing renovations for future use the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT).
The newspaper quoted a government spokesman as saying the bunker complex will remain sealed off from the public.
Honecker's bunker is located about a kilometre from the site of Adolf Hitler's war-time bunker under what used to be his New Reichs Chancellory adjacent to the Tierpark Garden. The remains of that bunker were blown up by Honecker's regime in the 1970s.
Subject: German news