Geoff Walden


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Air Raid Shelters (Tunnel and Bunker Systems)

   When the Allied bombing campaign over the Third Reich became a reality in 1943, Reichsleiter Martin Bormann was forced to order the construction of a series of air raid shelters and command posts for the residents and military staff of the Obersalzberg. These tunnels are often called "bunkers" today, but they are not technically so, since they were not meant as defensive positions from which to fight (even though their entrances were protected by machineguns), but simply as shelters in case of air attacks. They were used successfully for this purpose during the Royal Air Force bombing attack on 25 April 1945.

   Elaborate shelter systems were built beneath the hill behind the Berghof, with tastefully furnished rooms for Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun; behind the Platterhof, with a shaft linking to Hitler's bunker; and into the high hill near Göring's house (sometimes called the Göring Hill or Adolf Hitler Hill). The latter included Bormann's private shelter system, another private bunker for Göring and his adjutant (which Bormann would not allow to be connected to the rest of the bunker system), and a command and communications center for the Obersalzberg anti-aircraft defense. Bormann had a connecting tunnel built between his own shelter and Hitler's, running beneath the RSD headquarters at Haus Türken. There were also other less elaborate (or less finished) complexes in the periphery of the area (SS Kaserne, SS munitions storage tunnel, Antenberg, Hintereck/Klaushöhe, Buchenhöhe). A further tunnel system, much deeper beneath the Obersalzberg, was under construction in 1945 (Gutshof and Obertal).

   The bunker systems consisted of multi-level tunnels lined with concrete and bricks, with associated power, heating, and ventilation systems, and anti-gas protection systems. Most entrances and emergency exits were covered by protected machinegun positions, and some of these were quite elaborate. It would have been difficult for any enemy to fight his way into these systems, although naturally, the defenders could not have held out indefinitely. The anti-aircraft defense center included armored mounts for radio antennas and a periscope at ground level, beside the top of a ventilation shaft.

   It should be noted than in addition to the traditional air raid tunnel systems, there were access tunnels linking several of the buildings on the Obersalzberg, as well as tunnels for ventilation, water, and sewage pipes. Most of these smaller secondary tunnels do not appear on any published maps. Click here and here to see some of these access tunnels beneath the SS Kaserne, and here to see an access tunnel between the Hotel zum Türken and the Filmarchiv building. See the Bibliography page for information of Florian Beierl's book on the tunnel systems, "Hitlers Berg."

   Most of the underground systems are now sealed and not accessible to the public, but a very interesting tour of some of the system can be had at the Hotel zum Türken, and the unfinished complex for the Platterhof and Gästehaus can be visited from the Dokumentation Obersalzberg display near the Platterhof site.

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Plan of the Central Obersalzberg Bunker System
The portions that are open to the public are marked in yellow. Other tunnel and shelter systems existed beneath other parts of the Obersalzberg, such as the Gutshof, Antenberg, Klaushöhe, Buchenhöhe, and Obertal. Several other tunnels existed in this area that are not shown on this map.  (Dokumentation Obersalzberg)

(Dokumentation Obersalzberg)

(Dokumentation Obersalzberg)

(Dokumentation Obersalzberg)

(Dokumentation Obersalzberg)

(Dokumentation Obersalzberg) (Dokumentation Obersalzberg)


Türken and Berghof Tunnels

This stairway leads down into the tunnel complex beneath the Hotel zum Türken, and on to the Berghof tunnels. This tunnel system was actually merely a connecting tunnel between Bormann's system and Hitler's system. At the bottom of the stairways, the entrance corridors were protected by machineguns (the corridor turns to the left just before the wall at the end). (All photos of the Türken tunnel complex were taken and published here by permission of Frau Ingrid Scharfenberg, Hotel zum Türken.)


Some of the corridors were covered by machinegun positions that had no entrances on the same level, but were reached from corridors below.

Bricked-up entrance to Hitler's tunnel/bunker, in the system beneath the Hotel zum Türken (an anti-gas damper is visible above the doorway).


In the 1950s and 1960s more of the Berghof tunnel system was open to the public than is the case today. These photos from postcards of that period show (left) the corridor leading to the rooms for Hitler, Eva Braun, and Dr. Theo Morell (Hitler's personal physician); (center) steps leading to areas used by the guards. Right - inside the Berghof tunnel today. This view was taken through the hole in the upper-left corner of the bricked-up doorway - the view is the same as the photo on the left.


Left - a 1950s postcard view looking up the steps leading from the Berghof tunnel to the main ground-level entrance in the concrete retaining wall behind the Berghof. Right - a view of the bricked-up doorway at the top of this staircase in 1976. The other side, behind the Berghof, had been buried under fill and rubble.  (right - courtesy Gerald Stephenson)


1950s/1960s postcard views taken inside Hitler's Berghof tunnel system - on the left, a chamber that was used to store paintings and other artwork. On the right, an unfinished corridor at the end of the Berghof tunnel system. Visible at the end of this corridor is the bottom of a shaft that led up to the SS Kaserne tunnel system and into the Platterhof tunnel (click here to see the top of this shaft today). This unfinished corridor led on to the left, where there was another shaft that would presumably have led to a planned deeper shelter system (see here).


Most of the tunnel systems had emergency exits that could be used in case the primary entrance stairways were blocked after a bombing attack. These exits were generally located at some distance from the entrances, usually down long passageways. These photos show the two emergency exits to the Berghof tunnel system. The exit above was the one that reportedly had a bazooka fired into it in May 1945 (see below) - although the exit appears to be open in this photo, it is closed today by an iron door just a few feet inside. The other exit  (below) is also closed by an iron door (both doors are kept locked). The actual entrance to Hitler's tunnel system was through a doorway in the retaining wall at the rear of the Berghof, behind the Haus Wachenfeld wing (this doorway is buried under fill today).

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When the U.S. Army moved onto the Obersalzberg on 4 May 1945, they did not know if the underground systems were defended, so they reportedly fired bazookas into some of the emergency exits. These photos show damage to an interior machinegun position that may have been from a bazooka fired into the Berghof system emergency exit corridor near the Hotel zum Türken, marked on the map above. The photo on the left shows the blast damage on the exit side of the high explosive shaped charge, while the photo on the right shows the view as seen from the bazooka gunner's side, standing in the emergency exit corridor (although the round was doubtless fired from further away, down the tunnel, than this location; and the backblast of the bazooka leads to questions if this really was a bazooka hit.)


Three views of the emergency exit corridor where the bazooka was supposedly fired - on the left, looking down toward the exit from the main tunnel; in the center, the iron door that closes the emergency exit today; on the right, looking out the doorway (this doorway comes out at the exit seen here and in the next photos).


This still from a 1945 U.S. Army film shows a soldier leaving this emergency exit. The modern view shows the location of this exit in the valley below the Hotel zum Türken.  (U.S. National Archives)


The corridor above marked MG-STAND led to the machinegun position that was the bazooka target, and on to the corridor leading to the emergency exit. The photo on the right (of a different machinegun position) shows the view from the target side - note the steps in the observation port, to stops bullets from glancing off a smooth surface and into the port.


Views showing opposite sides of a tunnel machinegun position. On the left is the gunner's side - the machinegun could be mounted either at the upper left or the bottom, with a wide field of fire. The opening at the upper right (closed with a metal plate here) was for observation and targeting. All three openings on the target side (seen at right) had steps to prevent enemy bullets from entering.


Above left - machinery room in the Türken tunnel system, for power generation systems;  above right - corridor leading to Bormann's tunnel system (closed off further around the corner); below left - part of the Unterstollen, the corridor running beneath the main corridor, for ventilation equipment, piping, and electrical cables (the connection to the similar tunnel beneath the Berghof tunnels has been bricked up). On the right below is a 1950s/1960s postcard view showing the Unterstollen on the other side of this brick wall.


Further views in the tunnel system beneath the Hotel zum Türken. On the left is a corridor on the lowest level, giving access to the machinegun positions on the level above. In the center can be seen conduits for piping and communication cables. Ground water running through these conduits has produced artificial "flowstone," as in a cave system. On the right is a doorway near the entrance to the Berghof tunnel system. The metal doors and most of the wooden door frames were plundered after the April 1945 bombing, but some of the original wood survives (some of the door frames in the Berghof tunnels are in surprisingly good condition today).


Platterhof/Gästehaus Tunnel

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Entrance to an unfinished shaft in the Platterhof/Gästehaus tunnel complex, which originally connected to the SS Tunnel System and Hitler's Berghof bunker, some 150 feet beneath this one. In the center is a view looking into the shaft at the top, showing where the winch mechanism was originally mounted. The view on the right is looking down into the shaft. This is often described as an elevator shaft, but it apparently was used only to winch up excavation debris from tunnels further below. However, an elevator would likely have eventually been installed, along with a permanent staircase in this part of the shaft. The shaft originally had a wooden staircase in it but this has mostly disintegrated since 1945. The photos below show the wooden staircase in use in the late 1940s or early 1950s; at the bottom (seen on the right) was the entrance to the SS Tunnel System.  (Archiv Ingrid Scharfenberg; used by permission)


Left - One of the corridors in the Platterhof complex, reached today from the Documentation Center. Right - This staircase led up to the original tunnel entrance in the basement of the Platterhof hotel.


The staircase leading to the Platterhof hotel basement was protected by a machinegun position. Below is an iron gun mount in its position in the concrete wall and another gun mount lying on the floor, showing the whole configuration.


Adjacent to the foot of the stairway from the Platterhof hotel basement was an unfinished emergency exit. The dark material on the walls was waterproofing material. This area, when finished, would also have served as an anti-gas lock, with an air filtration system. Below is a similar view in 2019, during construction of the Dokumentation extension, which will make use of this part of the unfinished exit tunnel.


One of the large shelter rooms in the Platterhof tunnel system. Patients in the military hospital that had been established in the Platterhof late in the war took shelter here during the Royal Air Force bombing attack of 25 April 1945.


Some of the rooms that branch off the main corridors were meant as offices for the Nazi Party administrative personnel housed in the Gästehaus Hoher Göll. The room above, seen in a 1950s/60s period postcard and today, still has a large metal safe that has fallen to the floor. The room on the left below was a storage room for the Nazi Party administration files, which were burned in 1945; smoke stains can still be seen on the walls and ceiling. Below right - This UPI press photo from December 1968 shows the "recently discovered Nazi hideaway bunker beneath Obersalzberg Mountain, near Adolf Hitler's 'Eagle's Nest' retreat." The caption goes on to say that the commanding general of the U.S. Army in Europe denied any plans to turn the bunker into a "Hitler museum." The bunker was "located beneath an armed forces recreation hotel" (Hotel General Walker / former Platterhof).  (author's collection)


This large chamber in the Platterhof tunnel complex housed electrical generators that powered the ventilation, heating, and lighting systems. On the left is a view from the 1950s or 1960s, with comparison views taken in 1981 (on the tour from the Gen. Walker Hotel (former Platterhof) and today (as toured from the Dokumentation Obersalzberg).  (author's collection)


Looking back the other way, in the 1950s and today.  (author's collection)


Graffiti are a common sight in the tunnels today - these can be seen in large machinery chamber in the photos above. On the left, period graffiti from the Allied take-over of the Obersalzberg in May 1945. The crosses (La Croix de Lorraine du DeGaulle) were the symbol of the Free French forces (2e DB = 2e Division Blinde - 2nd French Armored Division). The Platterhof tunnel corridors and chambers also show markings left by the workmen, primarily to indicate electrical installations. This marking by an Italian worker indicated that three conduits were to be installed here, at junction 26.


The chamber seen on the left, just outside the machinery chamber, contained a large tank in the floor (behind the railing on the left) that held diesel fuel for the generators. The chambers on the right served as kitchen and store rooms.


The main tunnel systems on the Obersalzberg had two levels - the main level where the chambers for bomb shelters were located, and another level just below (Unterstollen), that carried the ventilation and heating ducts, water pipes, and electrical cables (as seen in the 1950s photo at left). There are two places in the Platterhof tunnel today where visitors can look down through holes in the flooring for a glimpse of the piping in the Unterstollen.


Original ventilation equipment in the Platterhof complex. The photo on the right is a different view of the ventilation room, showing the steps at left leading down to the Unterstollen. Below are filter canisters for the air filtration system installed by the Dräger company of Lübeck (click here to see an original Dräger system that was installed beneath the Berchtesgadener Hof hotel).


At the other end of the tunnel system from the original entry stairway from the Platterhof hotel is another large unfinished chamber, which would have had another set of machinegun positions and an anti-gas lock with air filtration systems. This end of the tunnel led out through an exit near the Gästehaus Hoher Göll, which was used as an entrance by the Gästehaus personnel in case of air attack.


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Main emergency exit to the Platterhof/Gästehaus tunnel system, as it appeared in May 1945, and in 1981, bricked up and overgrown.  (above - from "Yank, The Army Weekly," 22 June 1945; below - from "Hitler's Mountain Retreat," U.S. Army, 1945)


This exit is now enclosed, part of the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, and serves as the entrance to the Platterhof tunnel system. On the right above, branching corridors inside this entrance to the Platterhof /Gästehaus tunnel system. The corridor on the right led to the main tunnel system, while that on the left opened into an unfinished machinegun and gas lock area (seen above). Just inside the corridor to the right is an area (below) where the tunnel construction methods can be seen. In most tunnels, there was a layer of cement against the rock, then a layer of black rubber-like waterproof sheeting, then one or more layers of brick, then a finish layer of cement over the bricks.


In October 2017, during construction of an extension to the Dokumentation museum, the old emergency exit was exposed again.
However, as of 2019 this large concrete relic was covered by the new construction and no longer visible.  (courtesy Tom Lewis)

The emergency exit doorway as seen from just inside, in the late 1940s or early 1950s (left) and today (right). The view on the right shows the current (2019) entrance from the Dokumentation - a square doorway cut into the side of the original concrete structure.  (left - author's collection; right - courtesy Craig McGill)


Graffiti from the "Last Bunker Tour (forever)," 24 October 1995.  This was the last tour by the
American Forces Recreation Center, from the General Walker Hotel (see the Platterhof page).
(Photo taken on the 20th anniversary, 24 October 2015)


SS Kaserne Tunnels

The SS Kaserne, adjacent to the Platterhof site, had two levels of tunnels associated with it. The pictures here were taken in the access tunnels that ran beneath the barracks buildings. These tunnels were torn out and filled in 2001. Click here to see more photos of the SS tunnels.  (courtesy Ralf Hornberger)


Unidentified Tunnel near the Greenhouse and Bormann's House Site

Tunnel exit near the Greenhouse ruins and site of Bormann's house. Some maps indicate that this was planned to connect to Bormann's own system or to the adjacent anti-aircraft defense complex, while others show it connecting to the tunnel system near the Koksbunker, for the Hintereck and Klaushöhe settlements. The tunnel may actually have led to a cellar of the Greenhouse nearby, as it does not appear to continue past that area. This tunnel is accessible, but usually has several inches of water in it.


The tunnel goes only a few yards and then widens out. However, at the apparent bottom of a stairway, the tunnel is blocked with earth and debris, and has apparently been so blocked since 1945 (or perhaps since the razing of the Bormann house ruins in 1952). The iron hooks on the wall originally held ventilation pipes.


These views show the water drainage system beneath the floor (large pipe opening) and the smaller openings for the cable conduits.


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Concrete tower on the hill above the greenhouse. This is often called an observation tower, but it was actually the armored top of a ventilation shaft leading from the anti-aircraft defense and communications center below. The cone-shaped items were bases for radio antennas, and the cubical block was for a periscope.


The doorway of the circular tower was sealed up after the war. These ruins were removed and/or buried during the construction of a hotel on the hill above, 2002-2005. However, in 2019 the front edge of the top of the concrete tower was visible protruding from the ground downhill from the hotel.


The photo on the left, from ca. 1946, shows the top of the circular concrete tower and the cubical periscope block from above (bottom of the photo) - looking out over the ruins of the SS Kaserne, with the Platterhof and its garage beyond. On the right is a view from about the same period, looking the opposite direction from the SS Kaserne toward the ruins of the greenhouse, with the concrete tower and antenna mounts on the hillside above the greenhouse ruin.  (left - photo by Ernst Baumann, author's collection; right - private collection).


Some distance lower down on the hillside, opposite the Hotel zum Türken, is this entrance to the system for the anti-aircraft defense and communications center, which also connected to the Türken, Berghof, and Bormann tunnel systems. On the left, a GI guards the entrance in May 1945. This entrance looked much the same for many years, with only the arched opening closed and the smaller metal door added (like the photos just below), but in recent years the original cement face was covered over.  (U.S. Army photo, National Archives Record Group 111-SC)


The same tunnel entrance in 1949 (left), when it could still be found open for touring, and in 1983 (right), after it had been closed off but before the original concrete face was covered.  (left - Westfield Athenaeum Collection, courtesy Frank Tompkins)


Göring's Tunnel and Shelter

Field Marshall Hermann Göring had an extensive tunnel system prepared for himself, his family, and staff of his Adjutancy. This emergency exit to the system is located on the lower hillside behind the site of Göring's house and Adjutancy building. A previous shelter was in the basement of his house (right). The main entrance to Göring's air-raid shelter was beneath his house. After the house ruins were removed in the early 1950s, this concrete bunker remained on the site until it was removed in 2002 for construction of the hotel currently on the site. This photo was taken in 1983.  (courtesy David Dionne)


Hintereck Tunnel

In the hillside behind the Koksbunker is a tunnel system for the employees and staff living in the Hintereck area, and for the Klaushöhe housing settlement. This entrance is near the Koksbunker; another entrance is located inside the leftmost Koksbunker coal room (see below). The Hintereck tunnel system was never completely finished. This tunnel leading in from the entrance at left had waterproofing compound on the walls, but not the final finish. In addition, a floor would have been laid over the water pipe openings seen in the center here.


These photos show the unfinished state of chambers that would eventually been machinegun nests and gas locks. In the photo on the right, the arched doorway seen on the right was unfinished, but may have been planned to lead to a tunnel connecting to the Vordereck/Flak Command tunnel. Various examples of the iron staples that held wooden supports together at the corners can be seen driven into the walls in these photos.


Further views of the incomplete gas lock and machinegun nest areas in the Hintereck tunnel system.


There is one large air raid shelter room of red brick, with a sealing iron bunker door. The tunnel and this room provided shelter to numerous Obersalzberg residents and workers during the Royal Air Force bombing attack of 25 April 1945. (The view on the right is looking from the back of the room back toward the entry door seen on the left.)


Another entrance to this system is located inside the leftmost Koksbunker coal room, seen on the left above. The view on the right shows this sealed entrance from inside the tunnel.


The tunnel corridor on the left leads further into the system. On the right is a view of a collapsed ceiling near the end of the accessible part of the tunnel. The opening on the right leads to another shelter room. Just past this cave-in area the unfinished tunnel is under water, but would have led to the Klaushöhe housing complex, with three further entrances on that end (these are all buried today).


"SS Muni Stollen"

This unfinished tunnel system on the Obersalzberg was being constructed by the SS contingent to store munitions and explosives. It was originally somewhat in the shape of an inverted Y, and had two entrances and one branch going back into the mountain. This branch was planned to have side chambers to store the explosives. The tunnel entrances were buried sometime after the war, but one is accessible today. The entire system is rough rock with many rotting wooden supports, and dangerous areas of cave-ins. Note - I do not advise anyone to venture inside this tunnel. In September 2019 the first two wooden supports seen in the view on the left (and possibly others) collapsed, making this entry area extremely dangerous. The danger of further collapses without warning is obvious.


Corridor junctions inside the SS munitions tunnel, where other corridors branch off and lead deeper into the mountain.


On the left is one of the two entrances that was filled in, and inaccessible today from the outside. On the right is the far end of the interior corridor. Bore holes show where work was ongoing in 1945.


Antenberg Tunnel

A tunnel system was built into the Antenberg hill, beneath the Theaterhalle, for protection of the workers living in the adjacent barracks area during air attack. In contrast to the elaborate and somewhat luxurious systems of Hitler and Bormann, this was a no-frills basic air-raid shelter. It was only partly finished, with mostly bare rooms having only a few benches, and the walls and floors were often wet and muddy. But it served its purpose - during the RAF bombing attack on 25 April 1945, few if any of the Antenberg residents were killed. These photos show the entrance corridor (from both sides) - when completed, a machinegun position such as those in the Berghof tunnels would have been here. (Note - the Antenberg tunnel entrance was sealed in August 2011, making this system inaccessible.)


Hallways with side rooms in the Antenberg system. The stalactites, from ground water leaching through the ceilings, are a common sight in tunnel systems not maintained for the public. The mud lines on the walls show how high the water can get in these tunnels.


On the left, an unfinished corridor in the Antenberg system, with its original wooden shoring beams. The photo on the right shows how the tunnel walls were constructed - a layer of concrete was laid against the rock, then waterproof rubberized sheeting (the black material peeling away above the bricks), then a layer of bricks, then an interior coat of cement.


Obertal and Gutshof Tunnels

Beyond the existing air attack shelter tunnel systems on the Obersalzberg, a further system was planned at a level much deeper beneath the mountains. This system was apparently meant to eventually allow vehicles to be driven into the mountain beneath the Obersalzberg center, so residents could escape by vehicle and emerge at some distance from the central Obersalzberg, and the tunnels would have been correspondingly larger. Rough tunnels exist today in the Obertal area (shown here) and at the Gutshof, leading toward the Obersalzberg central area. These tunnels do not join today, but they were evidently planned to meet beneath the central Obersalzberg, possibly under the SS Kaserne. (The Gutshof tunnel system in inaccessible today, but you can see photos below.)


Several interesting artifacts line the walls of the Obertal tunnel system. Wooden pieces project from the walls at regular intervals - these probably held power lines during the construction. On the right is an original boring bit, still in its hole in the wall (this one has been bent downward from the hole) - several such bits remain in the walls.


Perhaps the most interesting relic is the remains of a wooden cart that was used to transport the broken rock along a railway on the floor, out to the tunnel entrance (by 2014, this cart had been mostly demolished). On the right, a view of the only side chamber in the Obertalstollen. The concrete foundations were mounts for an air compressor for the pneumatic boring tools, and ventilation apparatus.


Near the Obertal tunnel entrance is this hillside bunker that was used as storage for the explosives used in tunnel construction. Below is a concrete artifact near the tunnel entrance, which is believed to be part of a cable system to lift construction materials from the valley below.  (My thanks to my friend and fellow explorer Ralf Hornberger for info on the Antenberg and Obertal tunnel systems.)


This similar tunnel system is near the Gutshof (the entrances are buried today). This tunnel contained side rooms, which were likely meant for the Gutshof personnel and perhaps even the livestock, and possibly the Albert Speer family, who lived nearby but had no tunnel system for their house. The depth and size of this "deep system" that was under construction, along with planned huge metal closure doors, indicate that this system may have been intended as protection against atomic bombs.  (courtesy Ralf Hornberger and another friend of this webpage)


Similar to the Obertal tunnel, there is also a bunker for explosives
storage for the Gutshof tunnel, in the valley below the Gutshof.



This Obersalzberg tunnel system has not been previously publicized. It was rediscovered a few years ago, after having been largely forgotten since the 1950s. The tunnel consists of an uncompleted corridor in various stages of construction, with chambers for air raid protection and possibly other purposes. The entry (above left) consists of a sloping ramp in a U-shape, where steps would eventually have been installed. A machinegun position may also have been planned in this area. The first third of the corridor is finished with concrete, the second part is brick, and the final part is bare rock. The wooden object hanging down in the brick section (below right) was a support for electrical cables and possibly pneumatic lines for the air-operated boring tools.


The initial corridor section, finished with concrete, has both large and small side chambers. The chamber on the right below was likely an air raid shelter or equipment room.


The photos above show construction details. On the left are penciled tally marks and the number 55, apparently original to the construction period. The photo on the right above shows small water drainage pipes installed along the lower part of the wall, in the angle between the wall and the floor. An angled turn in the brick section, complete with ceiling stalactites that have formed over the past seventy-plus years, can be seen below. The unfinished rock section of the corridor appears on the right below.


Tunnels in Berchtesgaden

Shelters from air attack were also provided in Berchtesgaden itself. Most of the hills on which the town was built had tunnels beneath them (these are mostly inaccessible today). A tunnel system was also bored into the hill behind the Bahnhof (train station), for rail yard employees. One of the three entrances is shown on the left - to the upper left is a smaller opening at the top of a chute leading down into a room to the left of the main entrance (some sources say this upper opening is actually bomb damage). The photo on the right shows the bare-bones status of this Bahnhof tunnel - only unfinished rock, with a few brick walls (these walls may be post-war). The photos below show what may be an unfinished or blocked off additional entrance to this tunnel system, located to the right of the other entrances. This tunnel has narrow-gauge rails laid on the floor, as well as small side chambers.


Above are two views of the tunnel passages of the Weinfeld Stollen in Berchtesgaden. This tunnel system was opened to the public for the first time since 1945, for a tour commemorating the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in May 2005. Below is one entrance to the lower section of the two-tier Berghof Stollen (no relation to the Obersalzberg Berghof).

Below is the entrance to the upper level of the Berghof Stollen, which can be found off Ludwig Ganghofer Straße. The view from above shows how the tunnel entrance goes back into the hill behind.  (courtesy Ralf Hornberger)


This entrance leads to the upper level of the Nonntal Stollen (not open to the public).


This entrance leads to the Kalvarienberg Stollen (not open to the public).  (thanks to the friend of this webpage who provided this info)


A Hochbunker (high bunker - apparently the only above-ground air-raid shelter built in Berchtesgaden) was built near the BDM Sport School in Strub. This concrete bunker on private property is in a very deteriorated condition today. Below are views taken inside the BDM bunker (photos below donated).


This bunker covered an entrance to a tunnel system beneath the Luftwaffe staff offices in Berchtesgaden, in the Wemholz area (near the road running south towards the Königssee). Some of Hermann Göring's art collection was hidden here at the end of the war (click here to see other sites where Göring's collection was stored). The photos below show GIs with some of the gold and silver pieces found in the bunker. After the war the U.S. Army used the office building as the Alpine Inn, but it was torn down in 1996 and housing was built on the site, and the bunker area covered with stone - only a part of the upper concrete façade now sticks up out of the rubble (ca. 2016 the owner of the house above built a wooden structure on top of the bunker face, partially obscuring it). (left - U.S. National Archives; right - courtesy Ralf Hornberger; below - private collection)Another Luftwaffe tunnel was located at the Hotel Geiger - see here.


The Kanzlei (Chancellery) complex in Stanggass had an elaborate tunnel system to shelter the employees working there. One of the exits is shown above. Click here to see a photo gallery of the tunnel system.


Splitterschutzgraben, or trenches for protection against bomb shrapnel, were provided both in Berchtesgaden itself and on the Obersalzberg. This example is in the open area below the Wittelsbach palace in Berchtesgaden. On the right is a view inside the collapsed shelter. An intact example is located on the Obersalzberg, near the site of the workers' camp between Klaushöhe and Buchenhöhe (Lager Riemerfeld), and a bombed or collapsed example can be found at the site of the workers' barracks above Buchenhöhe (see below).


These photos show one of the Splitterschutz bunkers on the Obersalzberg, near the site of the workers' camp between Klaushöhe and Buchenhöhe (Lager Riemerfeld). Above are the entrances as seen from the outside, below are interior views. At the bottom right can be seen an original anchor for the camouflage netting in this area.  (Thanks to my friend Ralf Hornberger for showing me this site!)


These photos show the ruins of one of the Splitterschutz bunkers located above Buchenhöhe. These bunkers were destroyed after the war.


This interesting ruin can also be found near the site of the workers' camp between Klaushöhe and Buchenhöhe (Lager Riemerfeld) - near the start of the Rossfeldringstraße, above the Klaushöhe settlement. It is a concrete observation post, with vision ports that face in three directions. The vision ports were protected by iron shutters that could be closed on the inside, and by stepped embrasures on the outside to prevent bullets from ricocheting into the bunker. There is no provision inside the turret to mount weapons, nor is there sufficient space for a machinegun. The observation turret was reached by a short underground concrete passage.

    Left - the iron shutter over the vision port inside the observation post turret. This view shows that the ports were only for vision - there were no provisions to mount weapons (of course, a pistol could be fired out of here).


 In late 1944, several extensive tunnel systems were planned in other areas around Berchtesgaden. These systems were part of the planned "Alpine Fortress" of underground military installations, which never became a reality. However, some tunnels were started. Early in 1945 a small system to serve as a military headquarters was started near the village of Winkl, north of Berchtesgaden. This system is sometimes called "Lager Zeisig," but that was probably the name of the workers camp across the road. Two tunnel entrances exist, closed today with concrete. The photo on the left above shows the western entrance. The concrete object on the right is beside the path leading to the tunnel entrance.


      Another projected tunnel system would have been in the mountains surrounding the Königssee lake. This large system was planned as a headquarters for Adolf Hitler and the main staff of the Wehrmacht High Command. The only work completed was test borings in the rock.


Moll System Guard Bunkers

This artifact can be found on the side of the hill near the site of Landhaus Göring. This was a "Moll-System" concrete bunker for two guards, manufactured by the Leonhard Moll concrete company of Munich. There were at least thirty of these concrete shelters for the guard force in the Obersalzberg area - two were at the west end of the Berghof, one across the street from the main Torhaus Berghof, another on the Göringhügl hill, two others adjacent to Göring's house, one at Göring's driveway, one or more possibly at Bormann's house, one on the hillside across the street from the Platterhof, two were on the Bodnerbichl overlooking the Platterhof complex and the Berghof area, one at the eastern corner of the SS Kaserne complex, three were in the Antenberg workers' complex (two near the Theaterhalle and another among the construction company buildings), another just behind the Kampfhäusl, another near Speer's house and studio, another at the entrance to the path leading to the Berghof bunker exit nearest the main Obersalzberg road, another on the hill behind the Berghof, possibly one between the Berghof and the Türken, one at the Türken road gate, three at the Klaushöhe housing complex, two more at a workers camp above Klaushöhe, another above Buchenhöhe, another near Villa Bechstein, and another on the northern edge of the security area, just inside the fence, near the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus (this last one is also intact - see photos below); while others were located in Berchtesgaden itself. Many of those listed here still have pieces lying around, while others can be seen in aerial photos taken in May 1945.

These Berchtesgaden/Obersalzberg Moll Bunkers were presumably provided as shelter from bombing attacks for the roving guard force, or as observation posts to guard against paratrooper or glider landings. They were often located beside paths in the woods leading to various buildings, but also sometimes in isolated locations. Occupants could not fight from these positions - only observe through narrow slits.  (additional photos and info courtesy Ralf Hornberger, George Foehringer, Mike "Doc" Watson, Chrisu Jähnl, and David Beavan)


This Moll Bunker is located on the northern edge of the Obersalzberg security area, just inside the fence, near the path leading to the site of the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus. Remains of the chain-link fence that ran around the security area can still be seen near this bunker. The thick concrete walls and top provided protection from bomb shrapnel, but not a direct bomb hit.


Above, a member of the SS guard force stands inside the fence that ran around the perimeter of the security area. The modern photos show remains of this fence that can be found today near the site of the Teehaus (left) and along the Obertal road (right).  (left - courtesy Ralf Hornberger)


These three 1945 photos show the Moll-System bunker that guarded access to the Berghof along the path coming from the Gästehaus, at the west end of the Berghof Adjutancy building, and another one at the edge of the grass lawn in front of the Adjutancy building. The top (upside-down) and other pieces of this latter bunker can still be found today on the slope below the Berghof site (pieces of another Moll Bunker can be found near the tunnel emergency exit that is downhill from this side of the Berghof site). Remains of the camouflage netting can also be seen in the photos above.  (left above - Hotel zum Türken collection; right above - "Yank, the Army Weekly," 22 June 1945; left below - U.S. National Archives Film Branch)


The photo on the left above, taken shortly after American occupation in 1945, shows the Moll-System bunker on the Bodnerbichl hill (arrow). (The view is looking over the Platterhof - click here to see the entire photo.) On the right and below are the moss-covered remains of this bunker which can be found on the side of the Bodnerbichl today.  (U.S. Army Signal Corps photo, National Archives RG 342FH 3A20801)

    The top (upside down) and side pieces of a Moll Bunker can be seen on the other side of the Bodnerbichl hill, overlooking the Berghof area.


The view on the left is overlooking the site of the Kampfhäusl. Just uphill behind the house site can be seen the top and pieces of the sides and doors of a Moll Bunker. The Moll Bunker top on the right is on the hillside above the road between Klaushöhe and Buchenhöhe, at the lower part of the Lager Riemerfeld site.  (right - courtesy Ralf Hornberger)


These 1945 photos show the ruins of Hermann Göring's house (left and below) and the Villa Bechstein (right). Moll-System bunkers can be seen at the right side of each photo above (the Bechstein one is missing its top). A Moll Bunker on the back side of Göring's house can be seen in the distance just to the left of the house in the photo on the left below, and in a closer view on the right below. There are no remains of these bunkers today.  (below right - National World War Two Museum)


    A Moll Bunker that was placed near the road gate outside the Hotel zum Türken can be seen at the left of this 1945 U.S. soldier's photo. One of the doors (and possibly other pieces) can be found in the weeds across the street from the hotel today.


The Moll Bunker seen on the left above was photographed in an unknown location on the Obersalzberg in 1945. Beside it is a Kugelstand, a 7-foot spherical concrete one-man bunker designed to mount a machine gun (the mount is not visible in this photo). The bunker would be buried in the ground so that only the firing position was exposed. The Kugelstand pillbox only went into production in April 1945, so period photographs are rare. On the right is a Kugelstand bunker located at the Camping Ground near Marktschellenberg, north of Berchtesgaden. It is not known why this Kugelstand was in that location, although there were apparently some light Flak gun emplacements in the area.  (right - courtesy Ralf Hornberger)


These two Moll-System bunkers were located in Berchtesgaden itself - the one on the left is on the hillside above the Hotel Watzmann, while that on the right was above the Salzbergwerk (salt mine). It guarded the lower end of a walking trail leading up to the Obersalzberg. This trail was popular in the early-mid 1930s with hikers who wanted to see Hitler's Berghof - it was even published on period tourism maps. When the Obersalzberg area was closed to public access, a guard was apparently posted here. (Note - the Moll Bunker on the right was removed in early 2005 and broken up, by the Salzbergwerk mining company.)


This 1945 photo shows a "Moll-System" shelter in place. This particular example was installed as a guard position outside the gate to the SS barracks at the Dachau concentration camp. In this photo, management has been taken over by the U.S. 42nd Infantry Division. (U.S. Army Signal Corps photo)

On the right is the L.MOLL logo of the Leonhard Moll company, found on the door of one of the Obersalzberg Moll Bunkers. Below is a period design plan for the Moll Bunker, dated 2 September 1942. Note that this plan shows the bunker was to be set in a concrete base, and each bunker had two wooden seats for the guards (these seats are normally missing in extant bunkers found today).



Click here to visit a page with photos of various Moll Bunkers still in existence around Munich and other Bavarian cities - scroll down to "Splitterschutzzellen."


My guide book to Third Reich sites in the Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg area has been published by Fonthill Media.
"Hitler's Berchtesgaden" is available at Amazon and other retailers (the Kindle version is also available from Amazon).


Guided Tours

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:
Tom Lewis

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

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.