Deutschland / Festung
While numerous bunkers enabled the population of the city of Aachen to find easy shelter in emergency situations, the rural population often had less options. In the southern Aachen region, the limestone quarry in Schmithof offered people protection in shelters. Today, the remains of three shelters that were blown up after the Second World War are still there.
Where to go when the bombers come? People in the region faced this question in different ways, depending on the circumstances of where they lived. While the inhabitants of Aachen, for example, were able to seek shelter in around a dozen high bunkers, the population in the rural tri-state area generally had to improvise.
Reinforced cellars, sewage and mining tunnels or bunkers hewn into solid subsoil provided an ideal place of refuge. In the Schmithof quarry in the south of Aachen, the shelters were built so solidly that some of them could withstand high-calibre artillery shells.
After the war, they were blown up; all that remains is the up to 3-metre-thick ceiling of the shelters and a few concrete walls with steel through them.
Today, several former shelters have been preserved. They are freely accessible and an atmospheric natural space.