Bunkers: Edifices of Abomination or Heritage Sites?

Changing Perceptions of German Bunkers
  • Gillian CarrEmail author
Part of the Contributions To Global Historical Archaeology book series (CGHA, volume 40)


More than 50 years after Paul Virilio walked along the beaches of Brittany and nearly 70 years after it was built, the seven European countries which played host to the Atlantic Wall are still finding ways to deal with their concrete legacy of occupation and war, still going through phases of destruction and preservation, neglect, conservation, reuse and restoration. Many old bunkers have been turned into occupation museums; others have been restored to how they would have looked during the war. Because many were built using slave or forced labour, or even local ‘collaborators’, German bunkers across Europe are difficult heritage. And because the contribution of these groups are often excluded or marginalised in heritage presentation inside bunkers, they are also dissonant heritage. Instead, bunkers are frequently used as symbolic space of a very particular kind, where memories, identities, and attitudes towards, and perceptions and narratives of, occupation can be expressed by and controlled by specific groups. This chapter explores and seeks to interpret the particular situation in the Channel Islands, where restoration has often been controversial, and proposes future strategies for ethical heritage presentation.


Atlantic Wall Organisation Todt Dissonant heritage Symbolic space Restoration Rehabilitation CIOS Erasure Amnesia Noirmont point Bunker life cycle Nostalgia Therapy (restoration as) Ethics Michael Ginns 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Catharine’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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