Germany / Landmark

Flakturm Tiergarten




The Flakturm Tiergarten was the first Flakturm complex, which was used for protection against air raids, but also a military hospital and a storage for art pieces. During the Battle of Berlin, it became a preferrable target for the Soviet air force and artillery. In the postwar period, the bunker complex was completely demolished.

The Flakturm (flak tower) Tiergarten, also known as the ‘Zoo-Bunker’, was the first flak tower complex that was constructed in Berlin to protect the city against the Allied air raids. The construction of the G-Turm (cannon tower) began in October 1940 and was finished in April 1941. The tower consisted of six floors and one cellar, which were used not only for the Luftwaffe personnel, but also as a military hospital. As usual, the towers were also used as an air raid shelter with the planned capacity of 30,000 people to be sheltered. The second floor consisted of climatized rooms for the storage of art pieces from fourteen Berlin museums. The tower had its own autonomic water and electricity supply system. Near the G-Turm an L-Turm (command tower) was also constructed, which served as a command and coordination centre for all Flak units in Berlin.

During the battle of Berlin, the L-Turm was chosen as a command post for additional garrison units and services and remained practically a single radio communication centre for the encircled capital with the outer world. Due to their size and function, the towers rapidly became preferred targets for the Soviet artillery and aircraft, which practically locked both bunker personnel, local inhabitants, and patients inside. The garrison surrendered on 1 May 1945, faster than the Soviet troops expected, and approximately 2,500 Germans (1,500 wounded from the bunker hospital included) were captured. After the war, the bunkers were shortly used as a civil hospital and a homeless shelter. Both bunkers were destroyed – after several attempts –  by the British troops in 1947 and 1948. The rest was liquidated by the West Berlin authorities two decades later.