Stasi Alternate Command Bunker, Biesenthal, Germany

The 17-5005 bunker  was the HQ bunker of the Stasi (the East German Secret police or Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS)). This is a 2 level bunker that, although not the largest in EGER, was at the time of construction the most technologically advanced, with several redundancy systems, submarine atmosphere control, complex decontamination and clever camouflage being hidden under a military assault course – it cost 100 million marks in 1988 to build. Entry is by appointment only and  via a ladder and along a long corridor before ducking though a hole in the wall and into decontamination. The bunker is on 2 levels, the upper floor being offices and staff accommodation (full complement would be 160 people) and the bottom floor comprised of the maintenance and plant room areas and dispatchers control room. The bunker is in excellent condition with electrics still working and a reasonable amount of equipment still in situ.

Some additional information gleaned during our visit from Mr Paul Bergner.

Bunker 5005 (Biesenthal)

Location:

The bunker is located on the road linking Biesenthal and Sophienstädt, some 33 km to the NE of Berlin. The NW limits of the restricted area lies alongside the  A 11 autobahn (Berlin – Stettin).

Function:

Central command centre for the Stasi (EGER secret police).

General information:

Total area – 293 hectares (1 hectare = 10,000 m²), bunker complex 20 hectare. The bunker has two storeys and cost, together with auxiliary facilities, some 100 million marks. It was not the largest bunker in the EGER collection, but was technically the most advanced one.

Capacity: 160 personnel and could withstand a shock wave of 5 kp/cm². Further, it was resistant to a vertical acceleration of 4 g, a horizontal acceleration of 2 g, and was NBC-resistant.

Problems during construction (openings were forgotten) meant that these had to be subsequently made manually. It was completed at the end of 1988 after the various construction problems had delayed intermediate acceptance dates. Due to historical events, the bunker was never officially brought into service.

The security fence and the four-storey “accommodation building” can be seen from the road, along with various other buildings in the complex. The inner zone (“Park zone” in German) with the actual bunker is 6 hectares in size and is located on the east side and has its own high-voltage security fence. Due to its oversensitivity and the fact that it was not divided into separate isolated sections, the HV fence was frequently out of action.

A normal military assault course was what the casual observer would have seen on the raised ground within this secured area, plus a large 4-storey building together with two smaller buildings. Parts of the assault course conceal the emergency exit from the bunker. The “accommodation block” was the surface HQ building. Its cellar, under a very thick ceiling, formed an area which could be rapidly turned into further protected working areas and is the access point to the tunnel leading to the bunker proper. The tunnel passes under the equipment building on the surface, which provided an access point for lowering equipment into the bunker complex, which lies under the raised ground.

The bunker is of monolithic construction with the most important areas being located at its centre: the outer ring of offices and rooms could therefore have served as a crunch zone to protect the inner area. The entrance area housed the normal decon facilities and rubbish chutes for contaminated outer clothing, with the whole section here being under the visual control of the airlock commandant. A second decon section provides further showers and additional chutes for other clothing. Personnel entering the complex in times of crisis would have been issued with completely new sets of clothing (previously seen at the other Stasi bunkers, for example Machern – André Rotter).

Airlocks and a “submarine atmosphere” were to be found here as elsewhere. The upper level of the bunker was set aside for staff and accommodation areas. These were located around a ring corridor

Upper level of MfS (Stasi) bunker 5005

The inner core at this level included the situation room (top left corner) with the normal suspects: map wall, armchairs and a control desk. The maps would have been marked up in a neighbouring room and then moved in on rails. Mielke (Little Erich), the last head of the Stasi, had his working and living quarters adjacent to the sit room. These are reasonably basic and functional. Evidently, however, his subordinates had wanted to impress him and had initially aimed to provide a far more impressive arrangement. Following internal complaints along the lines of increased costs without an increase in efficiency (an estimated additional 3 million marks for Erich’s sitcom, described as being of Interhotel standards), reports and counter-reports were written. It was claimed that the additional fineries (wood panelling, carpets, wooden floors, fashionable furnishings) were a fire hazard and that “we had cut back costs for the construction of missile facilities, but were throwing money out of the window for the interiors of bunker complexes”. Russian experts were also quoted who had criticised the level of such fineries, which added nothing to the functionality of the bunker. Other rooms demonstrate the normal spartan approach.

The lower level houses the services section and dispatcher (control) room in the centre:

Directly under the main entrance in the upper level can be seen the three marine diesels (bottom right), each 400 kVA, which powered the complex. This level also contains wells, water conditioning plant and food store. This level is not carpeted.

(Details from “Befehl Filigran” by kind permission of the author Paul Bergner.)

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Modified: 7th Nov 2017