“Over February half term, the GCSE and A Level historians ventured off on a long weekend to a city famed for its diverse culture and rich history: Berlin. From sampling the local delicacies like Döner and Currywurst, to exploring its iconic sights, we certainly made the most of our visit.
However, one activity that stood out above the rest was our trip to Wünsdorf, near Zossen, which is a sleepy book town (home to many used books and antiquarian bookstores) that is also home to the impressive Maybach I bunker complex and the Zeppelin. It was the centre of the High Command of the German army in WWII and, after the war, it was utilised by the Russians until 1994. It was bought by Werner Lesse, Zossen’s mayor at the time, from the government in order to preserve and showcase the fantastic historical value of the area, and we were led on an exclusive private tour through the history of the Cold War. Very little maintenance work has been done to the complex, leaving it to deteriorate naturally over time.
Above ground, the bunkers were designed to look like houses to disguise their military function. Zeppelin – the underground communications bunker – had connections all the way to Paris, Brussel, and the High Command of the Armed Forces in Nazi Germany. It descends into a maze of underground tunnels, which would act as a very fitting set for a zombie apocalypse film. During the Red army’s occupation they made some alterations, including nuclear-proofing the bunker. Additionally, there are facilities to cater for the army’s needs, in the event of a nuclear war. Many of the original features still remain, including the Russian graffiti on the walls.
Overall, we found the trip an incredible experience and it was fascinating to visit a city steeped with history so relevant to our course, it made our studies come to life.”
By Evie and Nico, Year 12.