Sunday, 29 December 2019


Travelling on a bit north of the Rennsteig (previously here, here and here) and taking advantage of the bright but frosty weather, H and I went to a part of the vast nature reserve known as the Frauenwald and took a tour of a compound that was once maintained by the East German Army (die NVA, Nationale Volksarmee) under the authority of the Ministry for States Security (MfS, die Stassi) as an emergency command-and-control bunker for continuation of governance in case of attack during the Cold War, established well behind enemy lines.

Constructed in parallel a nearby rest-and-recuperation resort constructed for soldiers on leave, the nearly thirty-six hundred square metre complex was mostly above ground but designed to be sealed off from the outside environment and stocked with provisions to keep its compliment alive for four weeks before restocking was needed.
The installation was decommissioned and mothballed after 1989 and run as a private venture since 2004. The narrow corridors and vaults was like being on a submarine—especially mindful of the point of this exercise and keeping it self-sufficient, uncontaminated as it were, prepared for all contingencies including chemical, biological and nuclear strikes—and the period dioramas recalled us to the museum once housed in the Colossus of Prora.
The past is a foreign country.  The former situation room was especially poignant with original furnishings and woodchip on the wall and not much different than the legacies centres still in operation (contrary to how they’re portrayed in the movies) and imparts a since of relief that somewhere so delicate and relatable was not ultimately conscripted to be part of mutually assured destruction and hope that such redundancy might inform the geopolitics we are heir to.