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Southern Redoubt – 2009


SHARKHUNTERS International
Visit to the Hidden and Secret SOUTHERN REDOUBT

Here is just a small preview of what you’ll see………..

Adolf Hitler really loved the Bavarian Alps and eventually, under the direction of Martin Bormann, an entire sicherheitsdienstzone (security zone) was constructed atop the Obersalzberg. There, Hitler, Göring, Bormann, Speer and other high Party officials had nice homes built. There was a large farm where all the food consumed in this closed area was grown and produced including livestock – even a large apiary (bee house) for the honey.
Here we see Hitler in this area with one of the buildings in the background.

It is an extremely beautiful area.

When the war turned and was going increasingly worse and worse for the Third Reich, there were more and more fortifications built in many of the mountains – yes IN the mountains as well as in nearby towns and anywhere else that tunnels and bunkers could be of use. In the closing months of the war, this became known at “the Southern Redoubt” and the Allies thought that Hitler and his key staff officers would stage a last stand here in these very fortifications. As history shows, this did not happen. Although Göring and a handful of others were in this area at the end of the war, Hitler and the majority of the leadership was in Berlin or nearby at the end.

It was here to this beautiful section of the Bavarian Alps, the so-called “Southern Redoubt” that a small group of Sharkhunters came in summer of 2009. Here we follow their steps via photographs.

Driving from along the Autobahn, we stopped in a quaint little Bavarian village for lunch. We had to drive through a one lane city gate that has been there for some six hundred years! What a beautiful little village – great food too.

Here is what KRIS MANN (5709-2008) thought of this “Patrol“:
“I had a fantastic time! Visiting the Eagle’s Nest would have to be one of the best experiences. Staying in the Hotel zum Türken was quite an honor. Frau SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993) treated us like family and I hope to be able to go back and visit her again. Overall, the scenery was amazing. At the Hotel zum Türken, we were sleeping in the middle of history, not some fancy new hotel that is probably overpriced anyway. The tour of the Gebirgsjäger Kaserne was also a highlight, something else I can say that I’ve done and not many other people would get to do, even on one of those expensive package tours.This was an excellent tour, very well organized and was the best way I could think of to go on my first European trip. Having someone who is as knowledgeable and experienced as Harry made me feel very comfortable. I also liked the fact that, unlike ‘regular tourists’ I was actually staying in a hotel with such a rich history that I felt like an insider with special privileges. Our small group was also nice because it gave us a lot of flexibility and we were able to move around quickly and do things that would otherwise be impossible”
All too soon it was time to leave this beautiful little village and get back on the Autobahn. It didn’t take long and we were soon in the village of Berchtesgaden at the foot of the Obersalzberg – the Reichsicherheistdienstzone.

As the local troops deployed during the war, they would pose at
this very fountain for their own platoon photos – in a happier time.

Beautiful murals tell the whole story.

Entrance to the King’s Church

This is the very tunnel where Hermann Göring, Chief of the Luftwaffe and high ranking member of the Third Reich, hid his train filled with art treasures and who knows what else in preparation for his escape to Salzburg. He was not successful, but the tunnel stands today.

It is only a short ride to the historic Hotel zum Türken, owned by our dear friend INGRID SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993. This was the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst for the area. Standartenführer (Colonel) SS Rattenhuber had his room and his office here; the guard officers were here, the switchboard for the buildings in this tight security zone was here. In short, this was the nerve center.

This is the little niche where Hitler, Bormann, Göring, Speer and

many other high ranking officials would meet, have coffee and talk.

A friend in the area was selling this General’s cap – it had
belonged to Obergruppenführer Hans Kammler!

Because this was such a critical part of the defense of the area, there were miles and miles of tunnels and bunkers built beneath the Hotel zum Türken and all the other buildings on this mountain as well as beneath many hotels and elsewhere in Berchtesgaden and other towns all over this area. Here we concentrate on the bunker system beneath the Hotel zum Türken.

This was the unhappy place for the soldier who slept too
late, got too drunk or broke some of the minor rules.

Entrance UP into a machinegun nest

Photo left – MARKUS KOSTER (7400-2008) checks the entrance into
one of the many machine gun posts in the bunker system.Above and below – more tunnels, more branches, more complexity.

Now it is time to put on the bunker boots and get down and dirty – literally dirty, as we are tramping up and down the mountains.

Well, at least KRIS MANN (5709-2008) is outside.

But Dr. CHARLES ELLIS (7324-LIFE-2008) is still inside.

This is the iron door that is always closed – but not this time

Ah yes, the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel”

No question what this means. The Bavarian Government came through from their
side of the tunnel system & bricked it shut directly beneath the hotel’s property line.

emerges back to the surface some 90 meters above. The look on his face tells that he had a great time in the bunker system.

Now it is time to head for one of the most magnificent lakes you’ll ever see – Königsee (King’s Lake). It WAS good to be the King!

Even in this idyllic setting – those doggone golden arches!

This was the Headquarters of Field Marshall Kesselring

Above is the little church of St. Bartholomä and we will visit here in a few hours – but now we continue onward on the Königsee.

We’ve left the boat and are now making the one kilometer walk from theKönigsee to the Obersee; the scenery is beyond description!

We have reached the Obersee but it had rained extensively in southern Germany for weeks before we arrived and the Obersee just was not getting rid of the water as fast as it was coming in. The walkway to the boathouse is actually about one foot UNDER the surface of the water. When we were here last year, it was one foot ABOVE the water so the lake level is at least two feet higher.

It is said that Hitler liked this particular rock.

We have even seen photos of Hitler by this rock.
So now KRIS gives it a try.KRIS is successful!

And now it is CHARLIE’s turn at the rock………
SUCCESS! King of the Hill

During our walk back from Obersee to Königsee, we stopped at a beautiful little mountain chalet (below left) for lunch. One could almost see Heidi looking for Goat Peter and the Grandfather – and the food was excellent too! Once we reboarded the boat, we stopped at St. Bartholomä for sightseeing and souvenirs.

Above – the Hauptbraühaus has a restaurant here.Below – inside the tiny chapel.
With a heavy heart we depart this beautiful lake.

The fun, the scenery, the history is not finished yet – not by a long shot! We head for the little gastube (an old fashioned restaurant) that was Dietrich Eckhart’s favorite place for his abendessen (evening dinner). Why not? It was about 100 meters from his home which, incidentally, is still in the possession of the U.S. Army. Who knows why. This was also the place where Eckhart and Hitler met for dinner and where they talked about the foundation of the Third Reich.

Our favorite waitress was waiting for us.

The food is FANTASTIC!

This is the corner of the room where Hitler and Eckhart would eat.

Beautiful waitresses, mouth-watering food, pure history – what could be missing? YOU! You are missing. Plan for next year.

This is the very fireplace that warmed them during their talks

Breathtaking scenery as we depart.

Dietrich Eckhart’s home seen from the gastube.

Nothing was left to chance here on the sicherheitsdienstzone – even the coal was controlled. The Reich built a huge coal bunker complex in which trucks would come along the upper road, drive on top of the bunker structure and dump their loads of coal into huge bunkers below. When coal was needed to heat the homes, guest houses, farms etc. trucks would come to the lower gates of the bunkers and fill with coal. We see in the photos they discourage visitors but as we all know, ‘Eingang Verboten‘ really means ‘Sharkhunters are Welcome Here!‘……..we know this. At the rear of the end bunker there is a steel door that leads into yet another tunnel system but the local officials plowed huge piles of debris in front of this door. In an earlier recon visit, Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) climbed up and over this pile of debris, entered the bunker and with flashlight in hand, found the door! He also found that the crafty officials had welded the door shut!!! Join us now via photographs to the coal bunkers in summer 2009.

All this barbed wire must be to keep out cows? Reindeer?
Martians? Certainly NOT Sharkhunters – we are here!

Did we mention that the scenery here was breathtaking?

One of the favorite tourist attractions in this area is what we call the “Eagle’s Nest” but the accurate name is Kehlsteinhaus because it is the house built on Kehlstein Mountain. This was built under orders of Martin Bormann for Hitler’s 50th birthday. Most published ‘history’ says that Hitler did not like the place and was only here three times. Other sources tell us that he loved the place and there was even a room for Eva Braun to have lunch and tea with her lady friends.

More of this fantastic scenery

Behind us is the original tunnel leading deep into the mountain to where we
board the original brass-lined elevator for the ride to the top.

CHARLIE here is about halfway through tunnel from the original
doors (photo left) and the elevator that holds up to 40 people.

Photos left and right – inside the elevator.

We have arrived at the Kehlsteinhaus!

Okay, we’ve said it a lot – but the scenery is awesome!

High above the Eagle’s Nest is a Memorial (above).Right are two photos of the Eagle’s Nest from the Memorial.

KRIS is off the beaten path and we see what he found.

These are remains of the bases for gun emplacements for the defense of the Obersalzberg.

Obersturmbannführer BERNHARD FRANK (3225-1993) was in command of all these defenses.

Okay, we have seen the history outside, the beautiful views of the areas a mile beneath us – now we go inside.

The fireplace, made of Italian rose marble was a gift from Mussolini.

Lunch time – here in the very bosom of history

After one last look around at this scenery we won’t see again for another year, we head for town and dinner in a special place.

We are here at the Hofbraühaus – the brewery!

and for some reason, where there’s beer – there are Sharkhunters!

Dining in the inner courtyard of the brewery.

These advertising banners were inside – as smiling customers arrive

Next on our trip through the tunnels of time is the Dietrich Eckhart Klinik – a hospital that is crumbling into ruin.

Later that evening at dinner, we were joined by our friend Dr. David Duke who drove halfway across Bavaria to visit with us.

Arrow points to the driveway to what was once Hitler’s home.

The Gutshof, the former farm – now a golf course.

The Gutshof is also a ski resort in the winter.

…..and what is this pond where KRIS is standing?

This is where the exploration gets fun! This is now PURE HISTORY!!! Put on your bunker boots, your rough clothes and join us for a walk into pure history. In the photo above right, KRIS is standing at what is left of Hermann Göring’s swimming pool. His house was heavily damaged in the late April 1945 bombing raid by Lancaster bombers and when the U.S. Army gave this area back to the Bavarian Government in the middle 1990’s, they had the house totally torn down and removed. There is now a multi-million dollar upscale hotel built in its place. Nature is quickly reclaiming anything and everything that isn’t being cared for, and that means the history of the Third Reich in this area. Follow us while you can still see this history before Mother Nature obliterates it.

KRIS is staring right into history.

These overgrown stairs lead us into history – if you can find them.

Down, down we go – back more than seven decades into time.

This was one of the escape doors from Göring’s tunnel system.

Who walked these old cobblestones?

We are now deep in the forest.
Everywhere we turn, there are structures built by the Reich.

Above – a retaining wall built 70 years ago

Right – KRIS doing recon on a concrete structure below the road.

Left – KRIS returns with his recon report

Above – Look closely inside the white circle; this is a woodpile, stocked
for the winter chills some SEVEN decades ago – still there.
Photos below left and right – the DEEP TUNNEL!

Left and above – not far down the trail from the deep tunnel it began to rain, so we ducked into this bunker at the side of the trail to wait it out.

More recon is needed – it’s CHARLIE‘s turn to climb

The rain returns and we take shelter at the old worker’s camp.
This was NOT a slave labor camp. Those employed here were highly skilled stone cutters and tunnel experts who were paid good wages for their work.

When we went to the coal bunkers the first time, it was late – it was dark and the photos were dark. We returned in daylight.

Near the doors to the coal bunkers is this man-sized door for workersto have access to the tunnels – it also was welded shut!

We continue walking, tromping, through the woods, up the mountain and down the mountain to this area seen below.

We go through this turnstile meant to keep cattle and deer out.

And we arrive at the ruins of the Theater Hall

During the winter 1944/1945, they suffered tremendous snowfall in this area. The weight of the accumulated snow on the roof of the Theater Hall was so great that the roof collapsed. With the war going so badly at the time for Germany, there was no thought to repairing the roof so the building was abandoned. When the war ended, local people from the nearby villages came and collected all the wood from this building that they could to rebuild and to fuel their fires to keep warm.

This day isn’t over yet – there is more hiking to do, more history to visit. Let’s keep walking…………

So much of what the Third Reich built is still standing, more or less…….but time is rapidly eroding all traces. We want to get it all on film as fast as possible to preserve the images forever.

On to Salzburg!
We are so close to Salzburg we naturally must visit. Thanks to CHARLIE who bought a city map and got us easily to the heart of the old city and a convenient parking garage. First item on the list of course – souvenir shopping! There’s plenty here in Salzburg.

Both above – sure was good to be royalty!Both below – in the city square.

We visited two other locations as seen in the two photos below, taken in 2008.

Above left is the building that was once the Southern Chancellery. In this building were the headquarters of Adolf Hitler when he was in Bavaria and also that of Dr. Kammler, head of the Civil Service that built and maintained everything in the area. The round room was his study. What did we see inside? What is there? We cannot tell you. We gave our word that we would not post any photos, would not email any of the photos and would say nothing about what we saw. What I will say is that – if you weren’t with us, you REALLY missed a walk through history! Our thanks to our friend who arranged this visit.

Above right is the lion at the entrance to the Gebirgsjägerkasserne. We received a nice tour through this facility, through the museum and we had our lunch in a set-aside room off the officer’s mess. Here again we were told that we could not take any photos inside nor mention any names of people we met. We do say thank you to the Commanding Officer for giving this permission and also many thanks to the officer who conducted this tour. It really was great.

It is also time to say many thanks to BUD DANA (245-A/LIFE-1987), to STELLA DANA (245½-A/LIFE-1987) and to JIMMY KLINE (300-A/LIFE-1987) for finding all this history for us way back in 1988. They produced our DVD-11 and DVD-12 from their visit there.

Thanks also to JEFF, the Tunnel King, for guiding HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) to many of these places in 2008. JEFF is an incredible researcher and knows where to find things that haven’t been seen in six or seven decades.

NOTE – If you missed this great walk in the footsteps of history this year, set aside time to join us next year as we are planning a return to this area for more research, bunker hunting – and that “Trip Through the Tunnels of Time” which is the beauty of our Sharkhunters “Patrols“. Don’t miss out – these icons of history will soon be gone and you will be wishing you had joined us.