Geoff Walden


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SS Guard and Gate Houses

   After Adolf Hitler became German Chancellor in early 1933, his chosen home area on the Obersalzberg above Berchtesgaden was gradually closed off to public access. Stone and wooden buildings were erected for the SS guard force to control traffic in and out of the Obersalzberg and Führer areas. Some of these were rather large elaborate buildings, while others were simple one-man guard/gate posts.

   Concrete two-man bunkers were also provided around the Obersalzberg to provide protection against bomb shrapnel in case of an air attack. Click here for information and photos of these bunkers.

The first guard house controlling access to the Obersalzberg was actually at the foot of the mountain in Berchtesgaden itself. As visitors left Berchtesgaden for the Obersalzberg, the exterior security zone began immediately at the Berchtesgadener Ache river. At the Schießstättbrücke bridge was the first guard house. This building is rarely recognized today as part of the Obersalzberg complex, or even as a Third Reich building at all, but the changes from that time have been minimal. During the Third Reich period, two columns at the end of the bridge supported a sign reading "Führer, wir danken Dir" (Führer, we thank you).  (above - Frank, "Hitler, Göring"; below - airborneyellow archives)


In order to pass these gate houses, SS personnel had to have
one of the Ausweis passes shown here.  (author's collection)


Views of the Schießstättbrücke guard house from the river side. The photo on the left was taken by a visiting American soldier in 1949.  (Westfield Athenaeum Collection, courtesy Frank Tompkins)


This photo shows the 1937 date carved in the wood above the doorway.


Leaving Berchtesgaden and traveling up the steep road toward the Obersalzberg, traffic came to a gated guard house just before the Obersalzberg area, a short distance downhill from the Gutshof driveway. This was the Torhaus Teugelbrunn, one of the most elaborate of the gate houses. The views above show the details of this building. The first three views are looking uphill; the view on the right below is looking downhill from the Obersalzberg toward Berchtesgaden. Note the spiked metal guard on the other side of the road, to prevent personnel access along the top of the wall on that side. The views below were taken in May or June 1945, when the guard house was manned by soldiers from the U.S. 101st Airborne Division (the view on the right below is a still from a 1945 film). Widening of the road in this area removed the remains of this guard house.  (above - Ernst Baumann photos; below - U.S. National Archives)


The main SS gate house controlling access to the inner Führer area was on the road just below the Berghof - the Torhaus Berghof. This was an elaborate affair spanning the road, with a wooden gate. An SS guard's photo album ca. 1938 labeled this as Post 8. The photo on the right above was taken in the late 1940s, after the wooden part of the gate house was removed from its foundation. Today, the stone foundation can be seen beside the Obersalzberg access road.  (above left - Bundesarchiv; above right - courtesy Thomas Schell,


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A group of girls belonging to the Bund Deutscher Mädel (BDM - girls' Hitler Youth) wait at the gatehouse to visit their Führer (after keeping the girls waiting for five hours, Hitler came down out of the Berghof and signed autographs).  (Florentine Hamm, "Obersalzberg, Wanderungen zwischen Gestern und Heute," Munich, 1941 (author's collection)

Under new management - a group of U.S. and French soldiers at the gatehouse in early May 1945  (photo by Sgt. Gaston Eve, 501RCC, 2nd Free French Armored Division, courtesy Marc Eve)


An unusual view of the Torhaus Berghof, from the upper (Berghof) side.

A winter view of the back of the gatehouse with the Berghof beyond, and a closer view of the foundation from a similar angle today.  (left - courtesy Thomas Schell,


Two 1945 views of the Torhaus Berghof, showing the wooden access gates. In the right-hand photo, just at the right edge can be seen a Moll Bunker concrete air raid shelter for the SS guard force.


This guard house, the Torhaus Hoher Göll, controlled access from the Platterhof area, past the Gästehaus Hoher Göll, toward the back side of the Berghof. The views on the right show how there were two gates, one for vehicles and a smaller gate for pedestrians. On top of the building was a gilded ball and wreath with the date 1940. Also in the views on the right is the Gästehaus in the background. The view on the right below was taken after the end of the war. There are no remains today of this guard house, except the stone wall that mounted the gate on the other side of the path.  (above - Ernst Baumann photos)  Click here to see other photos of this guard house.


Another, much less elaborate, SS gate house that controlled access to the inner Führer area was located adjacent to the Hotel zum Türken, blocking the road that led to the Berghof immediately below. The period view above is from a film of a visit by Italian leader Benito Mussolini in May 1942. The guard house has been repaired since it was damaged in the April 1945 bombing attack (changing the roof), and the road has been widened since 1945, removing the gate posts on either side and some of the steps leading down to the gate from the one-man guard house.


Period views showing the SS guards in the vicinity of this guard post and gate at the Hotel zum Türken, with modern comparison views.  (Archiv Ingrid Scharfenberg)



Similar views ca. 1938 (above) and May 1945 (below). The photo above is from an SS guard's photo album, and labeled this Türken post as Post 1. Notice the different configuration at that time, with an entry to the Türken front area through what was later (and now) a walled area, and stone structures on either side of this entry that were later removed (compare to the period images above).  (below - U.S. National Archives, Record Group 111-SC)


Another of the SS gate houses was located at the top of a side road that ran from the Platterhof area to the Hintereck area, past the SS Kaserne, perched on the side of a steep hill above the SS garage building. This building, rarely seen in photos, was a secondary gate house that controlled access to the inner Führer area, similar to the gate house near the Gästehaus Hoher Göll(above - Ernst Baumann photos; below - Martin Bilj,


The photos above were taken in the summer of 1945, after the Obersalzberg buildings had been bombed. The photo on the left below was taken ca. 1950, by which time the guard houses had been demolished. Some remains of the base can be seen today, eroding out of the hillside.  (above left - U.S. National Archives RG 373; above right/below left - author's collection; below right - courtesy Craig McGill)


The gate house in the photos above was actually a replacement for a building that was first built on the other side of the road.
However, Martin Bormann was furious when he saw this, and ordered that this building be immediately demolished and the
smaller gate house built on the steep hillside opposite, requiring a very deep foundation, at greatly increased cost.
This view of the original building is a still from a film ca. 1938 - the only view I have seen of this building.


Several roads came together at the Hintereck area on the Obersalzberg - the road coming from the Berghof past the Türken, and roads leading to the SS Kaserne, Platterhof, Kehlsteinhaus, Klaushöhe and Oberau, Hermann Göring's house, and Göring's Adjutancy building. Several of these roads had gates in this area and these were controlled from the Torhaus Eckerbrunn. beneath the red arrow in the May 1945 photo above-left. This building, which also served as a post office, was built from wood in a rustic style. It consequently suffered considerable damage during the 25 April 1945 bombing attack, and its ruins were quickly torn down, leaving only the stone foundation and corner post seen in the photo below-right (there are no remains of this foundation today).  (above left - U.S. National Archives, Record Group 373; above right - "Der Baumeister," November 1937; below right - author's collection)


The Torhaus Antenberg controlled access along the main road from Berchtesgaden up to the Platterhof, shortly before the entrance to the Antenberg camp area. In seasons of low vegetation, the demolished remains can be seen today along the right side of the road, going up the hill toward the Dokumentation Obersalzberg parking lots, just before the big left-hand curve.


This SS gate house was located on the road from Oberau, near the Klaushöhe settlement. The bottom of the base exists today.  (left - U.S. National Archives RG 373)


For further information, including Internet links, check the Bibliography page.

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My guide book to Third Reich sites in the Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg area has been published by Fonthill Media.
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For personal guided tours in English of Third Reich sites in Berchtesgaden and on the Obersalzberg (and other local sites) from a certified and accredited local tour guide, contact:
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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.