The Cellar and the Bunker

  • Jennifer V. Evans
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


Returning to his quarters in the Hotel am Zoo in the once classy district of Charlottenburg shortly after the war had ended, an officer in Montgomery’s staff looked down from his balcony at the broken landscape. Everywhere Wilfred Byford-Jones cast his gaze, he saw heaps of rubble, “elms and firs blasted and shattered” and streets littered with war wreckage. At the spot where the Kurfürstendamm met the Tauentzienstrasse, where as late as 1944 Berliners breathed in what little frivolity remained in the struggling nightspots of the West End, the “broken ribs” of the Memorial Church spiked ominously out of the grey dirt, a reminder of the end of an era2 (Figure 1.1). In surveying the rubblescape, he seemed to crib from Siegfried Kracauer’s essay on the view of the city through a window (“Aus dem Fenster gesehen”), except that instead of the hustle and bustle of a busy Charlottenburg intersection, Byford-Jones was confronted with what little remained of this once great city. Drawing on a familiar lexicon of martial imagery from Europe’s last great war, he described the desperate march of the city’s “troglodytes (who) crept [sic] over piles of rubble or burrowed their way into cellars.”


Train Station Postwar Period Civil Defense Street Youth Photo Credit 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Theo Findahl, Untergang. Berlin 1939–1945, trans. Thyra Dohrenburg (Hamburg: Hammerich & Lesser, 1946), 169.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Regina Stürckow argues that the Kurfürstendamm remained quite international during the early war years, with American films on offer, swing clubs (for a time), and international newspapers on sale in the kiosks and newsstands near Joachimstaler Strasse. See Regina Stürickow, Der Kurfürstendamm: Gesichter einer Straße (Berlin: Arani-Verlag GmbH, 1995), 130.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Although Berlin was bombed as early as 1940, the most damage was inflicted between November 1943 and May 1945. Reinhard Hellwig, ed., Dokumente deutscher Kriegsschäden: Evakuierte, Kriegssachgeschädigte, Währungsgeschädige: Die geschichteliche und rechltiche Entwicklung, Vol. IV/2: Berlin — Kriegsund Nachkriegsschicksal der Reichshauptstadt (Bonn: Bundesminister für Vertriebene, Flüchtlinge und Kreigsgeschädigte, 1967), 3–5.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Volkmar Fichtner estimates 49,000 in Die anthropogen bedingte Umwandlung des Reliefs durch Trümmeraufschüttungen in Berlin (West) seit 1945, Vol. 21. (Berlin: Selbstverlag des geographischen Instituts der Freien Uni Berlin, 1977), 3. The figure of 56,000 is the number quoted in Hellwig, Berlin — Kriegs- und Nachkriegsschicksal der Reichshauptstadt (=Dokumente deutscher Kriegsschäden, Bd. IV/2), Bonn, 1967, 77f.Google Scholar
  5. Georg Homsten, Die Berlin Chronik, Daten, Personen, Dokumente (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1984), 384–5.Google Scholar
  6. 5.
    Nicholas Stargardt, Witnesses of War: Children’s Lives Under the Nazis (London: Vintage Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  7. Frank Howley, Berlin Command (New York: G. P. Putnam and Sons, 1950), 8.Google Scholar
  8. Reinhard Rürup, ed., Berlin 1945: Eine Dokumentation (Berlin: Stiftung Topographie des Terrors und Verlag Willmuth Ahrenhövel, 2005), 13–14.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    W. Byford-Jones, Berlin Twilight (London: Hutchinson, 1947), 19.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    For varying accounts and statistics, see Wolfgang Bohleber, Mit Marshallplan und Bundeshilfe: Wohungsbaupolitik in Berlin 1945–1963 (Berlin: Duncker und Humblot, 1990), 15, together with “Verlust an Wohnungen durch den Krieg,” in Berlin in Zahlen, 173, and Rürup, Berlin 1945, 59–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gerhard Keiderling, “Gruppe Ulbricht” in Berlin April bis Juni 1945. Von den Vorbereitungen im Sommer 1944 bis zur Wiedergründung der KPD im Juni 1945. Eine Dokumentation (Berlin: Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, 1993), 307.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Atina Grossmann, Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2007), 16–17.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Georg Simmel, “The Metropolis and Modern Life,” in George Simmel on Individuality and Social Forms, ed. Donald N. Levine (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971), 325.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Aside from an earlier historiography of the history of sexuality that drew almost exclusively from a Foucauldian framework, attempts to think critically about the relationship between moral regulation, sexual identity, and urban experience have largely come out of human geography and historical sociology. Two examples include: Philip Hubbard, Sex and the City: Geographies of Prostitution in the Urban West (Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999)Google Scholar
  15. Frank Mort and Lynda Nead, eds., Sexual Geographies, New Formations No. 37. (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1999).Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    Stephen Spender, European Witness (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1946), 229.Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    Wilhelm Hausenstein, Europäische Hauptstädte (Erlenbach-Zürich, 1932), 372–3.Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    W. H. Auden’s impressions may be found in Alan Balfour’s, Berlin: The Politics of Order, 1737–1989 (New York: Rizzoli, 1990), 156. Peter Gay provides an interesting overview of contemporary impressions of the city during the Weimar Republic, from those enamored with the city to its detractors and critics. See his Weimar Culture (New York: Harper and Row, 1968), 129, 132. For the Nazi period, see Josef Goebbels, Kampf um Berlin: Der Anfang (Munich: Franz Eher nachf., 1937), 46.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Researchers have located the origins of around 779 bunkers in Berlin, although the plans for another 335 could not be verified with current evidence. See Dietmar Arnold, Reiner Janick, Ingmar Arnold, Gudrun Neumann, Klaus Topel (eds.), Sirenen und gepackhte Koffer: Bunkeralltag in Berlin (Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 2003), 13. The authors point to an article in Abend from July 18, 1947 which estimates the number of bunkers in Berlin to be roughly 1000. For contemporary use of the extant 22 bunkers in Berlin, see “Berlin’s Bunkers in Party Alarm,” Deutsche Welle (Dec. 3, 2001):,2144,339896,00.html (accessed Apr. 7, 2011).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Karl Friedrich Borée, Frühling 45: Chronik einer Berliner Familie (Darmstadt: Schneekluth, 1954), 47.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    William Shirer quoted in Richard Brett-Smith, Berlin ‘45: The Grey City (London: Macmillan, 1966), 81–2.Google Scholar
  22. 24.
    Helmut Altner, Berlin Dance of Death (Staplehurst: Spellmount, 2002), 126.Google Scholar
  23. 25.
    Hildegard Knef, Der geschenkte Gaul: Bericht aus einem Leben (Munich: Molden, 19870), 34.Google Scholar
  24. 30.
    Hans-Dieter Schäfer, Berlin im Zweiten Weltkrieg: Der Untergang des Reichhauptstadts in Augenzeugenberichte (Munich: Piper, 1985), 300.Google Scholar
  25. 31.
    Dorothea von Schwanenflügel Lawson, Laughter Wasn’t Rationed: Remembering the War Years in Germany (Alexandria, VA: Tricor Press, 1999), 371.Google Scholar
  26. 34.
    David Seamon, The Geography of the Lifeworld (London: Croom Helm, 1979).Google Scholar
  27. 36.
    Johanna Barthel, Berlin nach dem Krieg — wie ich es erlebt habe (Berlin: Berliner Forum, 1977), 32.Google Scholar
  28. 37.
    Hildegard Müller, in 1945 — Nun hat der Krieg ein Ende: Erinnerungen aus Hohenschönhausen, ed. Thomas Friedrich and Monika Hansch (Berlin: Heimatmuseum Hohenschönhausen, 1995), 106.Google Scholar
  29. 38.
    Anneliese Hewig’s memories were published by Claus Bernet, “Aus ‘Berlins schweren Tagen’: Ein Tagebuch vom 22. April bis zum 7. Mai 1945,” Der Bär von Berlin (2007), 187.Google Scholar
  30. 40.
    Ursula von Kardorff, Berliner Aufzeichnungen aus den Jahren 1942 bis 1945 (Munich: Deutsche Taschenbuch Verlag, 1962), 95.Google Scholar
  31. 42.
    Jacob Kronika, Der Untergang Berlins (Flensburg and Hamburg: Wolff, 1946), 11.Google Scholar
  32. 43.
    Jeanne Mammen to Erich Kuby in Erich Kuby, Mein Krieg: Aufzeichnungen aus 2129 Tagen (Munich: Nymphenbruger, 1975), 309.Google Scholar
  33. 46.
    Erich Schneyder and Louis P. Lochner, “The Fall of Berlin,” The Wisconsin Magazine of History 50.4. Unpublished documents on Nazi Germany from the Mass Communications History Center (Summer, 1967): 420.Google Scholar
  34. 47.
    Mark R. McGee, Berlin. A Visual and Historical Documentation from 1925 to the Present (Woodstock and New York: The Overlook Press, 2002), 158.Google Scholar
  35. Michael Foedrowitz, Bunkerwelten: Luftschutanlagen in Norddeutschland (Berlin: Christof Links Verlag, 1998), 106.Google Scholar
  36. Ruth Andreas-Friedrich, Battleground Berlin: Diaries, 1938–49 (New York: Holt, 1947).Google Scholar
  37. 56.
    Marta Mierendorf in Claudia Schoppmann and Angela Martin (eds.), Ich fürchte die Menschen mehr als die Bomben: Aus den Tagebüchern von drei Berliner Frauen 1938–1946 (Berlin: Metropol Verlag, 1996), 105.Google Scholar
  38. 57.
    Kurt Wafner in 1945 — Nun hat der Krieg ein Ende, ed. Thomas Friedrich and Monika Hansch (Berlin: Heimatmuseum Hohenschönhausen, 1995), 33.Google Scholar
  39. 60.
    Franz Gröpler, in 1945 — Nun hat der Krieg ein Ende, ed. Thomas Friedrich and Monika Hansch (Berlin: Heimatmuseum Hohenschönhausen, 1995), 10.Google Scholar
  40. 62.
    Matthias Menzel, Die Stadt Ohne Tod (Berlin: Carl Habel Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1946), 177.Google Scholar
  41. 66.
    Ryan Cornilius, Der letzte Kampf (Munich: Droemer/Knaur 1966), 337.Google Scholar
  42. One diarist describes how the Russians sorted the bunker cells, placing men and women in different rooms. See the excerpt from Katharina Heinroth, Mit Faltern begann’s. Mein Leben mit Tieren in Breslau (Munich: Kindler, 1979), 139–43 included in Schäfer, Berlin im Zweiten Weltkriege, 331.Google Scholar
  43. 71.
    Kurt Wafner in 1945 — Nun hat der Krieg ein Ende. Erinnerungen aus Hohenschönhausen, ed. Thomas Friedrich and Monika Hansch (Berlin: Heimatmuseum Hohenschönhausen, 1995), 34, 43.Google Scholar
  44. Elizabeth D. Heineman, “The Hour of the Women: Memories of Germany’s ‘Crisis Years’ and West German National Identity,” American Historical Review 101.2 (1996): 354–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 80.
    Pamela Swett, Neighbours and Enemies: The Culture of Radicalism in Berlin, 1929–33 (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  46. 81.
    On consumerism and its role in both economies, see Paul Betts, The Authority of Everyday Objects: A Cultural History of West European Industrial Design (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007)Google Scholar
  47. Paul Betts and Katherine Pence, Socialist Modern: East German Everyday Culture (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2008)Google Scholar
  48. David Crew, ed., Consuming Germany in the Cold War (New York: Berg Press, 2004)Google Scholar
  49. Eli Rubin, Synthetic Socialism: Plastics and Dictatorship in the German Democratic Republic (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008)Google Scholar
  50. Jonathan R. Zatlin, The Currency of Socialism: Money and Political Culture in East Germany (Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press, 2008).Google Scholar
  51. 83.
    Benita Blessing, The Antifascist Classroom: Denazification in Soviet-occupied Germany, 1945–49 (New York: Palgrave, 2006).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 85.
    Silvia Koerner, “Nach dem Kriege in Berlin.” LeMO. Lebendiges Museum Online. Deutsche Historisches Museum, interview February 10, 2000.Google Scholar
  53. 86.
    Silvia Koerner, “Kinderalltag nach dem Krieg.” LeMO. Lebendiges Museum Online. Deutsche Historisches Museum, interview March 9, 2000.Google Scholar
  54. 87.
    Atina Grossmann, “A Question of Silence: The Rape of German Women by Occupation Soldiers,’ October 72 (Spring 1995): 43–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 88.
    Curt Riess, The Berlin Story (New York: The Dial Press, 1952), 110.Google Scholar
  56. 90.
    Walter Benjamin’s writings, particularly his Passagenwerk, and Berlin Childhood advance arguments concerning the place of the city, specifically the street and commercial zones of the metropolis in the construction of modern identities. See Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project (London and New York: Bellknap Press, 1999) and A Berlin Childhood Around 1900 (London and New York: Bellknap Press, 2006).Google Scholar
  57. 91.
    Michel de Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, as cited in Tim Edensor, Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics, and Materiality (New York: Berg, 2005), 82.Google Scholar
  58. Jennifer V. Evans, “Bahnhof Boys: Policing Male Prostitution in Post-Nazi Berlin,” Journal of the History of Sexuality 12.4 (October 2003): 605–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 98.
    Doreen Massey as referenced in Allan Cochrane, “Making Up Meanings in a Capital City: Power, Memory, and Monuments in Berlin,” European Urban and Regional Studies 13.1 (2006): 22.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Jennifer V. Evans 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer V. Evans

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations