Escaping the Bunker

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 18 Apr 2018 19:30

Hi Mannheim,

Yes, my 1978 edition does mention the cellar window under the balcony. I checked my edition against the two quotes above from Ecam on April 15th...though he doesn't mention which edition of "The Bunker" he is reading from. His first quote from p.273 in the 1978 edition is exactly the way he quotes it from his copy, His second quote, from p. 274, is more elaborate in the 1978 edition; it reads as follows: "At eleven o'clock sharp, Mohnke gave the order to his lead group to line up and prepare for departure. It numbered twenty men, four women. Mohnke next ordered that the bricked-up cellar window be broken through with crowbars. Then he himself quickly clambered up and out, cocked pistol in hand. At this breakout moment, Mohnke was just under the special balcony of the Old Reich Chancellery, the one Albert Speer had built at Hitler's request in 1934. He had come up and out onto the sidewalk of the Wilhelmstraße, which was here cluttered with large chunks of fresh rubble. The general paused under the balcony, peered about like an Indian scout, then hand-signaled to Oberst Klingemeier to follow. The breakout into the unknown had begun."

Regarding the reference to a window "under the special balcony of the Old Reich Chancellery," I happened upon a photo of Hitler and another person -- perhaps Dönitz? -- standing on the new balcony which Speer had designed as an addition to the Seidler Office Building, in the first photo section of Speer's "Inside the Third Reich," published by The Macmillan Company, copyright 1970 (first printing in English). This photo was taken from slightly above the balcony level and it reveals a section of the sidewalk along the Seidler Building beneath the balcony, in which there appear to be either windows or vents cut into the sidewalk -- not into the building will itself -- below each window of the Wilhelmstrasse face of the building. Could one of these have formed the exit route which Mohnke and his team took? Very interesting!

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 696
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Mannheim » 18 Apr 2018 21:39

Curiouser and curiouser. My copy has slightly different wording to Ecams' but those quotations are on pages 301 and 304 in the chapter "The Breakout". Ecams' page numbers are in "Death of the Mythmaker" in my copy. I'll continue the hunt for the windows under the balcony. Any chance you could find and post your Hitler/Dönitz(?) photo?

Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 19 Apr 2018 14:41

There have been several editions/reprints of "Inside the Third Reich" in English since the 1970 edition, so I imagine that others here have access to copies and could provide a copy of the photo I'm referring to. I assume that each edition carried the same photo selection that the First English Edition had. I'm sorry to say that I have neither the technology or the expertise to post photo copies.

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 696
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Mannheim » 19 Apr 2018 22:20

Not to worry. Thanks for your input anyway, Br. James. I am reasonably confident that there was no garage under the Ehrenhof and no windows under the balcony until I learn differently. Great thread!

Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 20 Apr 2018 16:36

Thanks, Mannheim, though from revisiting the photo I just mentioned, it is clear to me that there was something beneath the sidewalk along the Wilhelmstrasse facade of the Seidler Office Building -- which was where the Speer Balcony was located. This "something" may have been a drainage tunnel for the sidewalk -- I'm certainly not sure what was there -- but there was certainly something which appears to be an opening of some sort beneath each of the first floor (ground floor) windows of that building. I still don't believe that there was a "garage" beneath the Ehrenhof, but there was something that required openings in the sidewalk beneath those windows along the Wilhelmstrasse.

Br. James

Ecam
Member
Posts: 72
Joined: 20 Jan 2007 22:20
Location: Canada

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Ecam » 21 Apr 2018 04:17

Br.
Are you able to post the photo you refer to?

Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 21 Apr 2018 19:08

No, I am not able to post that photo. Sincerest apologies...but I assume that every edition of "Inside the Third Reich" has the same set of photos, and a quick perusal of any copy should provide the photo I'm referring to.

And if you don't have a copy of any edition of "Inside the Third Reich," my advice to every serious student of TR history is to have a copy in your library! Albert Speer is 'the father of modern TR studies' and I sincerely believe that our hobby would not be what it is today without Speer's work. I believe that Speer played down his own responsibility for the holocaust and the slave labor industry in order to keep his neck out of the noose at the Nuremberg Palace of Justice in 1946, but there is much background information and personal testimony to be discovered between the covers of his first post-war book.

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 696
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Mannheim » 21 Apr 2018 23:02

Once again, my copy of "Inside the Third Reich" is different to Br. James'. Mine is a 1971 Sphere publication and doesn't have the balcony photo which is a real pity. I will check my local library to see if their (hopefully hardcover) copy has it. The photos in my edition are all numbered and amount to thirty-one photos.

Hans44
Member
Posts: 6
Joined: 07 Feb 2017 22:29
Location: Netherlands

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Hans44 » 22 Apr 2018 07:48

Sorry, i posted in the wrong topic. This is the picture you mean br james?
image.png
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 22 Apr 2018 13:32

Yes, Hans44, this is exactly the photo I mentioned! Thanks very much for posting it! And as you can see, there were clearly some sort of openings -- vents or windows or ?? -- along the sidewalk line of the Siedler Office Building.

Cheers,

Br. James

Mannheim
Member
Posts: 696
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 22:10
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Mannheim » 22 Apr 2018 21:48

Excellent, Hans44. Now I know what Br. James was referring to. They are vents,IMO, commonly found in the footpath/sidewalk of buildings with basements. I would suggest they are not bricked-up windows - as I said before, why squeeze out of those openings if you could run from the Borsig Palais to the Kaiserhof U Bahn?

Br. James
Member
Posts: 496
Joined: 27 May 2013 20:45
Location: Baltimore

Re: Escaping the Bunker

Post by Br. James » 23 Apr 2018 16:07

Yes, that's the question, Mannheim! Checking back with the photos provided here by AlainDucasse on 13 April 2018 above, we see that at war's end, the sidewalk all along the Wilhelmstrasse was covered with debris from the shelling and bombing of the Reichschancellery during those last days, and the close-up of the Borsig Palace discloses that the first floor corner of Wilhelmstr. at Vossstr. was apparently hit by cannon fire, which probably caused great damage to the interior of the building at that point. And further, we see that all of the basement windows on that corner have their protective grillwork in the closed position, which seems to be unlikely after a group of people rushed to escape through one of those windows.

Just thinking out loud, friends! Cheers,

Br. James

Return to “Propaganda, Culture & Architecture”