In the spring of 1999, members of the association discovered a newspaper ad regarding two “one-man bunkers” to give away. Since up to this point there was still no appropriate indicator at the Gesundbrunnen underground station for the work of our association, the idea was developed to place the two bunkers in front of the south entrance of the U-Bahn. Additionally, an information panel was to be installed there. The owners, a family from Berlin-Frohnau, informed us that the one-man bunkers could be picked up at our own expense, but that we should hurry, as other parties were also interested. Without delay, a truck with a crane was rented in order to pick them up. This turned out, however, to be no easy task. First, the driveway had to be measured to see if the truck would fit. Thick boards were laid down in the garden in order to prevent the loaded truck from sinking.
The excavation involved additionally difficulties, in that the bunkers were not only buried in the ground, but anchored in a thick layer of concrete for good measure. In the process of lifting the two bunkers along with their foundations, which weighed a total of 3,8 tons each, the wooden boards under hydraulic supports of the crane truck sank in to the soft garden floor and snapped in two. Yet after one pull, the each bunker was able to be detached. After both were loaded, they firmly tied down, so as to avoid them falling off during the trip. As the truck drove away, it sunk almost 10cm into the ground, leaving behind two deep tracks. All the same, the family was noticeably pleased to be rid of the two concrete towers.
Until permission was acquired for their placement, the one-man bunkers were stored at the parks department in Wedding. They’ve stood at their current location since July 2000.
In the Berlin area there are five known types of one-man bunkers. Those which we have in front of our museum belong to the last of their kind. They are 2,20 metres tall and have a diameter of 1,20 metres. The reinforced concrete walls are 15cm thick and they weigh around 2,8 tons. One-man bunkers were used during the Second World War, in particular as fire-watch on industrial aerials and could only be destroyed with a direct hit.