Furnished Nazi bunkers found in Denmark

Discussion in 'Military History' started by Gypsy, Aug 3, 2008.

  1. Gypsy

    Gypsy SSSO 1&2/Plank Owner Member

    I cannot even imagine someone wanting to destroy this kind of history. I hope they are preserved intact as a reminder...


    Furnished Nazi bunkers surface in Denmark, 60 years on
    by Slim Allagui
    Sun Aug 3, 12:21 AM ET

    HOUVIG, Denmark (AFP) - With a tight grip on his flashlight, Tommy Cassoe looks like a Danish Indiana Jones as he crawls out of a bunker buried under the sand, one of 7,000 the Nazis built along Denmark's western shores to fend off an allied invasion.

    "Mission accomplished. The bunker is empty," Cassoe exclaims, showing off his bounty on the Krylen beach to a crowd of onlookers: rusty cans, a plastic vial containing medicine in case of a mustard gas attack, and electrical cables.

    This bunker and three others, entombed under the sand dunes of Houvig since 1945, were uncovered a few months ago in a violent storm, when giant waves swept away the sand, exposing glimpses of the cement and iron structures.

    The discovery was "a sensation" for history buffs like Cassoe and archaeologists.

    "What's so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with beds, chairs, tables, communication systems and the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside," says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum that specialises in Nazi fortifications.

    The Nazis built some 8,000 bunkers in Denmark, 7,000 of them on the western coast. They were "emptied by the Danes of their contents after World War II to salvage the scrap iron and electrical devices that were needed."

    The discovery in May of the four fully-furnished bunkers, untouched after 63 years under the sand, is considered "unique in Europe," according to Bent Anthonisen, a Danish expert on European bunkers.

    They were located by two nine-year-old boys after they spotted a bucket in front of the entrance to one of the bunkers.

    Their discovery was reported by a local newspaper, drawing the attention of Cassoe, an electrician who has been fascinated by the existence of the thousands of bunkers since childhood.

    He rushed immediately to the scene, and was the first to enter the still-furnished bunkers.

    "It was like entering the heart of a pyramid with mummies all around. I dug a tunnel through the sand that was blocking the entrance to the bunkers and what I saw blew me away: it was as if the German soldiers had left only yesterday," he said.

    Experts and archaeologists also hastened to the scene, and, working together with Cassoe, emptied the structures within a few days of boots, undergarments, socks, military stripes, mustard and aquavit bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, soda bottles, keys, hammers and other objects.

    "It was a race against the clock because of the risk of looters. We lied to keep them at bay, saying that there was only one furnished bunker and that it was guarded around the clock, which wasn't true. But even so there were two attempted break-ins," Anthonisen says.

    Due to the intense media coverage, the long Krylen beach peppered with bunkers has become the big attraction this summer, drawing thousands of tourists from Denmark and neighbouring Germany for guided tours.

    Anthonisen leads a group on a tour of one of the bunkers. Nine soldiers and their commander lived in the cramped, 20-square-meter (215-square-foot) space for five years.

    "It was surprising to see the soldiers' living conditions in the bunkers," says Ute Eichorst, a German tourist surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

    The bunkers have sparked strong reactions among tourists and the local media.

    "In a way, this discovery can be compared to Tutankhamun's tomb almost a century ago. It has to be preserved, and to blow up the bunkers as some have suggested would be like denying that World War II ever existed," says Ole Becher, a Dane whose grandfather was part of the resistence and who was denounced to the Gestapo toward the end of the war.

    Local resident Mogens Kock Hansen disagrees, writing in the local newspaper that "everything should be blown up". He's "disgusted that people want to attract tourists to this kind of garbage."

    The head of the Ringkoebing-Skjern museum, Kim Clausen, said that while the find "was not from the bronze age, what has been found is incredibly authentic and tells us a lot about how they lived in these bunkers."

    All of the objects from the shelters have been taken to the conservation centre at Oelgod museum, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the beach, to be examined.

    The centre's German curator Gert Nebrich judged the find "very interesting because it is so rare."

    "We don't expect contemporary objects like these to be so well preserved. Maybe it's because they were kept for 60 years in the cold and dark like in a big vacuum," he says, carefully showing four stamps featuring Hitler's image and the German eagle.

    They were used by soldiers to "send Christmas presents to their families in 1944," which consisted mostly of packets of Danish butter, Anthonisen says.

    "World War II and its memories will not just go away. And discoveries like these breathe new life into the story and the fascination that still surrounds this war," the local newspaper, Dagbladet Ringkoebing-Skjern, wrote in an editorial recently.

    That is why the bunkers need to be preserved, it said, adding: "They are part of our common European history."
  2. Chopstick

    Chopstick Verified Estrogen Brigade Member

    I missed this story Gypsy..thanks for posting. I agree..they need to preserve these sites.:2c:
  3. pardus

    pardus Moderating Staff

    Oh STFU! :rolleyes:

    It's like the assholes that wanted to destroy the Fuhrer bunker.
    Are you fucking retarded? You don't an aspect of history so you want to destroy it?

    People like that need to be beaten, not just because I desperately want to but for the common good! :cool:
  4. BFS Cat

    BFS Cat Member

    I agree leave them in tact, it's a historical site. It would be interesting to see what was left behind in the personal effects. Perhaps letters or diaries that can be copied and given back to family members. That would be cool.

    On another thread there was a reference to the Titanic, I saw a great exhibit in Norfolk and was amazed at what was preserved. As I recall even some written documents. It saddens me that all the tourism around the ship will eventually destroy it, not to mention it is a grave site.
  5. 0699

    0699 Verified Military

    I'm torn between leaving them intact and recovering the artifacts. If the items are left there, the weather will do them a lot of damage now that they are uncovered, plus you run the risk of theft. I'd bring the real artifacts to a museum for preservation and leave the bunkers as is.

    What kind of moron wants to destroy history because he doesn't agree with it? :(
  6. Gypsy

    Gypsy SSSO 1&2/Plank Owner Member

    Agree, the artifacts have been dug out and hopefully they will leave them at the museum.

  7. RackMaster

    RackMaster Nasty-Dirty-Canuck Verified SOF Support

    I agree that they should preserve the artifacts in a museum and leave the bunkers as is. Possibly even try to "fortify" them to preserve their state as long as possible. I'm sure there may be some artifacts in there that will show the world the human side to the basic Nazi grunt that lived in those bunkers; just doing his job.
  8. Viper1

    Viper1 Special Forces Verified SOF

    People who forget their history are destined to repeat it. Preserve those sites....
  9. 0699

    0699 Verified Military

    I missed that part; thanks for keeping me straight. :D

    Glad to hear they're preserving the artifacts. Like it or not, it is history.
  10. Totentanz

    Totentanz Civil Affairs Verified SOF

    Why take them to a museum... why not build the museum on top of the site?
  11. Gypsy

    Gypsy SSSO 1&2/Plank Owner Member

    Umm...the site is based on sand (beach). Might not be too stable... ;)
  12. BFS Cat

    BFS Cat Member

    maybe since these were just unearthed they want to take their time examining the area. Perhaps when nothing else is found they may want to do that on that site

    I think the archaeological world is very cautious. I think they always keep in mind Schleimann's quest to find Troy and in his haste to dig even deeper, he may have destroyed valuable artifacts from other eras. Although he found "gold", it was an even earlier period. Or kinda like construction, measure twice, cut once. I'm sure they have enough on their hands documenting what is there now before they look for even more.

    (yep, I wanted to be an archaeologist as a kid)
  13. QC

    QC 1 CDO Verified SOF

    Children and dogs, they'll find you every time.

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