During the DDR times in East Germany, Erich Honecker’s Government had an exclusive and private closed ‘town’ that was not open to regular East Germans. This settlement was officially known as Waldsiedlung Bernau but is commonly referred to as Waldsiedlung Wandlitz (Forest Settlement Wandlitz) after the nearby town of Wandlitz. It was here the political and party elite (Politburo) lived in luxury whilst the rest of the DDR suffered from economic hardship and poverty. The settlement had exlcusive ‘western goods’ shops, Doctors surgery, cinema, swimming pool, saunas and spas and a restaurant. Security was extensive with a 2 layer fence. The outer layer was a chain link fence with signs indicating it was an area of scientific animal research, and the inner cordon was a substantial concrete wall with various complicated security and alarm measures. Entry was only by special pass. The complex was guarded 24 hours a day by the elite “Feliks Dzerzhinsky” Guards Regiment of the Stasi – a much feared unit of a much feared organisation. The settlement is now open to all and has been since 1990, much of it has been redeveloped and it is a haven for outdoor adventure trips, boating and walking round the lake. Some of the Politburo houses can still be seen, including house number 11 which Erich Honecker lived in, as well as the guardhouse and some sections of the walls. The whole compound was a sterile place where the SED leaders could live in safety. The whole site is about 2 square kilometers.
Within the settlement are a number of small bunkers, all of a very similar design found throughout East Germany, such as seen at the Massow Training camp bunker or the Stasi bunker at Bad Berka. These were for control and security of the compound and the families of the Politburo. This bunker was the ‘Wandlitz familienbunker’ which was for the temporary shelter of politburo families until they could be removed to bigger bunkers when safe. It was quite spartan inside due to this. A similar bunker is nearby for the staff of the Politburo members. The bunker is in good condition but is quite stripped. Water is standing in several areas. There remains some plant and ventilation equipment but about the only highlight is a complete RFT telephone switching cabinet in good condition. The bunker is now a bat roost and the entrances sealed with only slits for bats to get in. It is the same layout and size as the Bad Berka Stasi bunker.
More information can be found on Untergrund Brandenburg