Escaping the Bunker

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
User avatar
Fait Accompli
Member
Posts: 47
Joined: 24 Jan 2008 14:36
Location: Southeast Asia

Escaping the Bunker

Postby Fait Accompli » 20 May 2008 16:10

It's not clear to me the route Bormann, Axmann and Stumpfegger took when they left the Fuhrerbunker on May 1, 1945. Certain accounts seem to indicate that the trio exited the bunker and escaped directly into a nearby U-Bahn tunnel (probably Kaiserhof / Mohrenstrasse), and then made their way to the vicinity of Lehrter Bahnhof, where Bormann and Stumpfegger were killed. Was there in fact a tunnel that connected either the bunker or the Reichskanzlei with the U-Bahn system? Or did the three men ascend to the surface, dash across Wilhelmstrasse, and descend once again into the U-Bahn tunnel via the Kaiserhof station?

Halfdan S.
Member
Posts: 1258
Joined: 08 Oct 2007 02:02
Location: Copenhagen

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Halfdan S. » 21 May 2008 19:52

The last - they came to ground . . . plenty of sources to this escape.

Best
Halfdan S.

Ecam
Member
Posts: 69
Joined: 20 Jan 2007 22:20
Location: Canada

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Ecam » 23 May 2008 03:13

There were three breakout groups who exited the Reichskanzlei from a basement window right at sidewalk level, and almost right below the Reichskanzlei balcony on Wilhelmstrasse. It was a short dash from there into the Kaiserhof U-Bahn station. After exiting the U-Bahn just south of the Spree river, the groups became separated with Bormann and Stumpfegger heading west to cross the Spree at a bridge near the Reichstag. They came under fire near the Lehrter Station and were either killed or, more probably, committed suicide.

I have a question: Hitler's cook, Constanze Manzialy was separated from her group and disappeared. Anybody have any more information on her fate?

Ecam

GoldenGemster
Member
Posts: 12
Joined: 19 May 2008 21:33

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby GoldenGemster » 28 May 2008 09:59

Traudl Junge was not sure whether Constanze was killed by the Soviets or committed suicide and I have not been able to ascertain either as fact.

User avatar
AlainDucasse
Member
Posts: 148
Joined: 11 Sep 2007 14:00
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby AlainDucasse » 12 Apr 2018 15:25

Escape Reichskanzlei.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Mannheim » 12 Apr 2018 23:09

I know I'm raking over old coals here but I am intrigued by Ecam's statement of ten years ago that the escape parties dashed across Wilhelmstrasse from a basement window pretty much under Hitler's balcony. I have a problem with this: as I see it there are no basement windows under the balcony. I would've thought that they would dash from a broken window nearest the entrance to Kaiserhof/Mohrenstrasse U Bahn entrance (blue arrow), i.e.from the Borsig Palais which does have street-level basement windows (red arrow). A minor point I know but I would like my blog to be as accurate as possible. Any thoughts? (Photo source on photo).
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
AlainDucasse
Member
Posts: 148
Joined: 11 Sep 2007 14:00
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby AlainDucasse » 13 Apr 2018 07:55

Dear Mannheim, that sounds understandable. A second option could be the entrance to the "Ehrenhof" (No. 4 in the photo).
RK Escape.JPG
RK Escape III.JPG
RK Escape II.JPG
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

User avatar
AlainDucasse
Member
Posts: 148
Joined: 11 Sep 2007 14:00
Location: Hamburg, Germany

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby AlainDucasse » 13 Apr 2018 08:58

I'm trying to find out who belonged to which group at the outbreak of the Reichs Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) from May 1, 1945. Maybe someone can support me there?
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Biber
Member
Posts: 298
Joined: 31 Jan 2007 22:56
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Biber » 13 Apr 2018 13:35

Mannheim wrote:I know I'm raking over old coals here but I am intrigued by Ecam's statement of ten years ago that the escape parties dashed across Wilhelmstrasse from a basement window pretty much under Hitler's balcony. I have a problem with this: as I see it there are no basement windows under the balcony. I would've thought that they would dash from a broken window nearest the entrance to Kaiserhof/Mohrenstrasse U Bahn entrance (blue arrow), i.e.from the Borsig Palais which does have street-level basement windows (red arrow). A minor point I know but I would like my blog to be as accurate as possible. Any thoughts? (Photo source on photo).


Merely literary licence. Sounds more dramatic to have crawled out of a basement window under fire.

Ecam
Member
Posts: 69
Joined: 20 Jan 2007 22:20
Location: Canada

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Ecam » 15 Apr 2018 21:20

Hi Mannheim,

I searched back through my personal library (I have many books dealing with the just the Chancellery/Bunker). My reference comes from "The Bunker" by James P. O'Donnell. But now that I reread Chapter 10 "the Breakout", it's a little harder to tell from which window they exited the chancellery.

1/ On page 273 the author states that "The breakout rendezvous point General Mohnke had specified in his briefing was in one of the underground garages, beneath the Ehrenhof, facing the Wilhelmstrasse".

2/ On page 274 "At eleven o'clock sharp, Mohnke gave the order to his lead group to line up and prepare for departure. Mohnke ordered that the bricked up cellar window be broken through with crowbars. At this breakout moment, Mohnke was just under the special balcony of the Old Reich Chancellery. The general paused under the balcony, then signaled to Colonel Klingemeier to follow".

This above statements really raise some questions in that I do not believe that there were any garages under the Ehrenhof portion of the chancellery. Also, looking at your picture, an escape from the Borsig Palace basement window looks more probable as the windows look much more like basement windows than the those under the Fuhrer balcony. Assuming that the cellars under the Borsig were accessible, an escape from there makes more sense than an escape from under the balcony - much less ground to cover to get to the Kaiserhof U Bahn entrance.

Unfortunately O'Donnell provides no references for any of the statements attributed to any of the escapees.

Cheers,

Ecam

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Mannheim » 16 Apr 2018 00:00

Hi Ecam!
I was unfortunately too lazy to consult my copy of O'Donnell's "The Bunker" but have since done so and it throws up a few interesting points. First up, the balcony question. I believe O'Donnell confuses the Old Reich Chancellery with the New Reich Chancellery when it comes to the balcony (I'm not even sure it was built in 1934 as O'Donnell claims). If Monhke had come out under the (balcony-free)Old Reich Chancellery it would make more sense, given its proximity to the Bunker entrance. Also, his foray into Wilhelmstrasse and subsequent 120 yard run would, IMO, make more sense. And if the bricked up cellar window (red arrow) were one of the Old Reich Chancellery windows it becomes even more feasible. I suspect O'Donnell just assumed that Monhke came out under the NRK balcony as he hadn't inspected photos of the building. Perhaps Biber is correct to an extent ("mere literary licence") although I have found no reference to Monhke's group coming under fire.
Having said all that, I still think the most likely breakout point would be from the cellar window of the Borsig Palais. Why run from the Old Reich Chancellery or the Ehrenhof and increase your chances of getting shot when your destination is so much closer from the corner of Vossstrasse?
As for Kempka moving the government limousines to a garage under the Ehrenhof ... I have no idea.
I don't know if there was a garage under the Ehrenhof and if there were I have no idea where the entry and exit points would have been, unless they were driven all the way underground from the main garage on Hermann-Goeringstrasse. O'Donnell also states (pp 301-2) "The rendezvous for the breakout was in one of (sic) the underground garages, beneath the Ehrenhof, facing the Wilhelmstrasse. This was the place where the fire-brigade engines had previously been stationed." AFAIK, the fire engines were always stationed near the corner of Wilhelmstrasse and Vossstrasse (see map, number 9). Perhaps Christof Neubauer could enlighten us as to the existence of a garage under the Ehrenhof or I'll ask the experts on the Reichkanzlei Thread.
Anyway, we can't be too hard on James O'Donnell as he didn't have the electronic resources we now enjoy and he did a prodigious amount of research. Please let me know what you think ...
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File ... anzlei.jpg
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Br. James
Member
Posts: 186
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Br. James » 16 Apr 2018 19:52

In "The Bunker," James O'Donnell makes no reference to a garage located under the Ehrenhof of the New Reichschancellery; he does refer to a discredited tale of Martin Bormann being blown up while he was riding in a tank that might have been sent to pick him up "in the Reich Chancellery garage," but O'Donnell says that tale "is absurd." (p.301) The Reich Chancellery garage was accessed via Hermann-Göring-Strasse on the western end of the building.

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Mannheim » 16 Apr 2018 23:06

With respect, my copy of "The Berlin Bunker" by James P. O'Donnell (Arrow edition, 1979) states (pp 301-2) "The rendezvous for the breakout was in one of (sic) the underground garages, beneath the Ehrenhof, facing the Wilhelmstrasse. This was the place where the fire-brigade engines had previously been stationed."
Further, on page 302, he states "This garage, as described by others had a very low ceiling". Then, continued on page 303, "According to chauffeur Kempka, he had moved them( government limousines)here from his larger, main garage on the Hermann-Goering-Strasse".
My edition is, AFAIK, the first in English and I'm guessing that Br. James is using the later edition co-authored by Uwe Bahnsen. I'm guessing also that O'Donnell (and Bahnsen) edited the book after certain anomalies had been pointed out, such as the "garage under the Ehrenhof" scenario. I'm wondering if the later edition perseveres with the "cellar window under the Fuhrer balcony" scenario?

Br. James
Member
Posts: 186
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Br. James » 17 Apr 2018 17:24

Dear Mannheim,

Thank you for the detailed follow-up on James O'Donnell's "The Bunker." The copy in my library is, I believe, the First Edition of this work, published by Houghton Mifflin Company and copyright in 1978. I assume the First Edition status because there is no edition number provided. According to the out-of-print book service I use, the 1978 edition was the First Edition, followed by the 1979, the 2001 and as recently as a soft-cover edition published by Da Capo Press this year. So it appears that O'Donnell changed or modified his text in successive editions.

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 534
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Postby Mannheim » 17 Apr 2018 22:26

Well that's interesting, Br. James - my Arrow Edition (printed in Reading) has "first published by Dent 1979"/ "Arrow Edition 1979" opposite the Table of Contents. So within a year he has changed certain details of the text. The bizarre thing is, in your edition there is no mention of the underground Ehrenhof garage but he has seen fit to include it in the later edition (even though you and I have so far seen no evidence that such a garage existed). Makes you wonder what other differences there are between texts. Does your edition mention the cellar window under the balcony?
Thanks for taking the time to address this query!


Return to “Propaganda, Culture & Architecture”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: CommonCrawl [Bot]