Posts Tagged ‘Eva Braun’

The Battle of Berlin Ended WWII

Monday, July 17th, 2017


The Battle of Berlin was the last major European battle fought during World War II. It pretty much ended the war, but at a huge human cost. It was primarily fought between the Soviet and the German armies. Altogether, nearly 200,000 soldiers died during the last three weeks of World War Two, almost as many as the United States lost during the entire war.

Seelower Hoehen – preceding the Battle of Berlin

The Red Army considered Seelower Hoehen (Seelow Heights) – a region located about 56 miles east of Berlin – the “Gates to Berlin.” Soviet leaders speculated that breaking German positions at Seelower Hoehen would clear the path to the capital. To that end, on 15 April 1945, Russian forces launched one of the most powerful artillery barrages in history. After three days, the German Army was all but crushed, and mainly old men and the Hitler Youth were left to defend the area. German resolve to continue to fight was largely due to fear of Russian retributions. On 19 April 1945, the Red Army defeated the German forces once and for all and advanced on the capital.

The Battle of Berlin

The road to Berlin now lay open. By 20 April 1045, the Soviets began to bomb the city, and within a few days, the Red Army had completely surrounded Berlin. The Soviets completely outnumbered the Germans in terms of men and equipment.  Once they entered Berlin, the fighting became fierce. The city was taken street by street and building by building. Casualties on both sides were high. Over a three-week period, the Red Army fired more than two million artillery shells into the already devastated capital, a city that had been continuously bombed by British and American aircraft since 1943. The total tonnage of ordnance fired by the Russians during the Battle of Berlin exceeded the tonnage of all allied bombing of the city during the rest of the war.

Why did the Russians fight so hard for Berlin?

A generally accepted explanation is that Joseph Stalin, Premier of the Soviet Union, was desperate to get to Berlin before the Americans did. Why? Stalin wanted to seize the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut, a German nuclear research center in the southwestern part of Berlin. Stalin knew of the American atomic nuclear program and also knew that the Russian nuclear program – Operation Borodino – was lagging behind. It was Stalin’s hope that Soviet scientists would find information at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institut that could advance the Russian program. As it turned out, Soviet scientists discovered three tons of uranium oxide at the institute, which facilitated the work on their first nuclear weapon.

Where was Hitler during the Battle of Berlin?

Cut off from the reality of the fighting above, Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of Germany, was holding out in his underground bunker beneath the Chancellery. On 30 April, he committed suicide together with his mistress Eva Braun. They had married only hours before. Their bodies were partially burned in the rubble outside the bunker.

The End of the Battle of Berlin

On 2 May 1945, Germany surrendered. A Russian infantry soldier, Sergeant Shcherbina, raised the Red Flag on the top of the Reichstag The war was over. The final count was:


82,000 Russians killed during the battles of Seelower Hoehen and Berlin,

275,000 Russians wounded or missing in action,

2,000 Russian tanks destroyed,

2,100 Russian artillery pieces destroyed.

100,000 Germans killed,

200,000 Germans wounded,

480,000 Germans captured,

the City of Berlin reduced to rubble,

100,000 German women raped.



For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, “Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom,” click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of


Recreation of Hitler Bunker

Monday, November 21st, 2016


In October 2016, more than 71 years after Adolf Hitler committed suicide, Historiale, an organization which runs the Berlin Story Bunker Museum, recreated part of the Hitler Bunker (Fuehrerbunker) for the public’s benefit. The privately funded museum vows that it will not allow the exhibit to become a neo-Nazi shrine. It says it is merely responding to tourist demand. Tourists are curious where the Hitler Bunker was located and what it looked like inside Historiale claims. But the nearby state-funded Topography of Terror Museum, built on the site of the former Gestapo headquarters, blasts the museum’s bunker recreation as a Disneyland-style approach to Berlin’s past.

History of the Hitler Bunker

The Hitler bunker was the last air raid shelter used by Adolf Hitler during World War II. It was located beneath the garden of the Chancellery (Reichskanzlei) near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate. The bunker consisted of about 30 small rooms that were protected by 13 feet of concrete.

Hitler moved into the Fuehrerbunker in January 1945. By 19 April 1945, the Soviets began to encircle the city. On 20 April, Hitler made his last trip to the surface. As fierce street fighting raged outside, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony inside the bunker. On 30 April, the day following the wedding, he is said to have shot himself while Braun took cyanide.

The Hitler bunker was discovered by Red Army and Allied troops in the spring of 1945. The Soviets leveled both Chancellery buildings between 1945 and 1949, but the underground bunker complex largely survived until 1988–89 when the East German government ripped out the interior and filled the site with rubble.

What does the actual Hitler Bunker site look like today?

To keep the Hitler Bunker site from attracting attention, the government of the reunited Germany built apartment buildings and a parking lot where the emergency exit for the Fuehrerbunker was once located. In 2006, an information board was installed to mark the location of the former Hitler Bunker. The board is located at the corner of In den Ministergaerten and Gertrud-Kolmar-Strasse near Potsdamer Platz.

Site of former Hitler Bunker in 2014, photo © J. Elke Ertle,

Site of former Hitler Bunker in 2014, photo © J. Elke Ertle,

Information Board at the formerl Hitler Bunker site in 2014, photo © J. Elke Ertle,

Information Board at the former Hitler Bunker site in 2014, photo © J. Elke Ertle,

Where is the recreated Hitler Bunker located?

The recreated Hitler Bunker is located in a former underground air raid bunker at the Anhalter Bahnhof, about one mile from the actual bunker site. The permanent exhibit contains a life-sized recreation of Hitler’s underground living and workrooms (although the furniture is not original). There is a picture of Friedrich der Grosse (Frederick the Great) on the wall, a grandfather clock in one corner and an oxygen canister in the other. The bunker is filled with black and white photographs of Hitler and his entourage.


For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of