Tour F – The »Fichtebunker« Time Capsule

Discover 130 years of history under one roof

The tour around the gasometer bunker on Fichtestrasse really is a round tour, due to the unusual shape of the building.
Built between 1883 and 1884, the city gas company used this brick-covered gasholder to supply street lanterns until its closure in 1937. In the early 1940s, the biggest and most modern “mother and child bunker” that ever existed was built inside it. Some of the equipment used inside – such as the ventilation and filtration systems, the heaters, lifts and the naval diesel motor – still works today. In all, the bunker offered 6,500 mothers and their children a place to sleep safely at a time when the nights were often interrupted by air raids. After the war, the building was used, at times, as a refugee centre, an allied prison, a homeless shelter, and from 1970 until the reunification, as a storage facility for the “senate reserves” – food provisions stored in West Berlin during the Cold War. Plans to convert the bunker into a modern civil defence shelter were eventually abandoned. In the 80s, it was proposed to turn the bunker into a cultural centre, for theatre and other events. Alas, these plans also had to be dropped due to a lack of funding. In recent years, lofts have been built on the roof of the gasometer, but the inside of the bunker is still, for the most part, structurally and technically in the original condition – and is now used as an exhibition space by the Berlin Underworlds Association.

During the course of the tour, various historical themes are addressed – such as the daily lives of the families in Kreuzberg during the air raids and the use of the building following the war – with the help of numerous artefacts, the stories of those who were there, and modern projector technology. The diverse 130-year history of the Fichtebunker is brought to life with a journey through time told in seven chapters.