Unfortunately for our field of interest, I often have to write about demolition and decay. The process is unstoppable and we have to live with it. However, raising concerns can never be bad.
Last week I made a visit to Stützpunktgruppe Voorne, in Holland. It was like seeing old friends. It was six years ago since I last saw the impressive Klein-Heidelbergstellung or Stützpunkt XXIV ML. This place is a text book example of a Luftwaffe big radar site, with a huge L 480 radar bunker, originally designed for a Wassermann radar, surrounded by anti-aircraft bunkers and supporting buildings.
The bunkers on Voorne have an extremely high building and finishing quality. Most corners are rounded and the inside walls are lined with isolating and fire resistent Heraklith which kept the bunkers extremely dry. There’s wall decoration, a black strip on the bottom and a yellow line high on the wall. It’s really a pleasent place to stay, if you had a choice during World War Two.
There are some great frescos and texts to be found in this complex with the highlight being the kitchen building with its walls decorated with huge slogans, a Luftwaffe eagle, the painted shield of the Luftwaffe Nachtjagd and more smaller drawings. Fortunately these are now behind closed doors which will hopefully prevent further fading in this wet bunker.
The drawings I found most interesting were three subtle silhouettes drawn on the wall in the L 409A/10203, L 410/10205 and the 622/10201. They represented respectively the Brandenburger Tor, the Kölner cathedral and the city hall of Breslau/Wrocław. Already in 2002, the Brandenburger Tor silhouette was damaged; people think the heraklith can be cut out in one piece. Ofcourse it crumbles to pieces after so many years. In 2004 both the Brandenburger Tor and the Breslau silhouette had disappeared. The cathedral was damaged. In january 2011 it was gone too.
So now the same question I always ask myself comes up again. What on earth would you do with a crumbled drawing which should be in the bunker where it was drawn in. What do people do with this stuff? It’s the same with ventilators, stoves, electrical boxes and wiring, telephone equipment etc etc. Money? Collecting? It’s stealing and above all destroying heritage. The only excuse these people usually have is: “If I don’t take it, somebody else will”. That’s so simple, and not an excuse at all. I hope this behaviour will change but I’m afraid it will get worse.
See the update on Bunkersite.com via this post.
In: Articles, Demolition/Disappearing, News · Tagged with: 409a, 410, 622, atlantikwall, bunkers, destroyed, frescos, heritage, regelbau, voorne, warning, wassermann