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Humboldthain Flak Tower Berlin

The Humboldthain Flak Tower Berlin and the humboldthain park

 

The Humboldthain flak tower Berlin was build as part of a larger strategic project right after the WW2 has begun. In 1940 Hitler ordered the construction of six “Flak Towers“ (anti air strike towers) to defend Berlin. The project had such an importance, that the German national rail schedule was adapted to the construction of the flak towers, in order to facilitate the shipment of concrete, steel and timber to the construction sites.

 

The towers were a combination of air raid shelter and gun turret. Heavy anti-aircraft weapons were placed on the corners of these towers, to bring bombers down before they could reach the city center.

 

Between October 1941 and April 1942, there were built three flak towers in Berlin. Each flak tower complex consisted of:  a G-Tower (German: Gefechtsturm) or Combat Tower, also known as the Gun Tower and an L-Tower (German: Leitturm) or Lead Tower.

 

The first Flak Tower was located in the Tiergarten district, right in the center of Berlin. It was close to the Berlin Zoo and was demolished in 1948.

Flak Tower II was located at Volkspark Friedrichshain. After it was partially destroyed in 1946, it was covered with debris and soil. Today there is a hill in Volkspark Friedrichshain at the former place of the tower. The flak tower is buried underneath the hill.

Flak Tower III, the Humboldthain Flak Tower is still standing and can be visited. It’s located at the Volkspark Humboldthain in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen (Wedding district).

 

It was a seven storey building, which consisted of a main tower (G-Tower) and a smaller tower (L-Tower). The main tower, was equipped with guns. The L-Tower was used as and command tower a fire watch. Although, the primary purpose of the Flak Towers was to protect Berlin, the main tower was also used for other purposes. For example, while the lower floors of the Flak Tower were used as a bomb shelter for thousands of people, there even was a fully equipped hospital on the second floor and a maternity ward. During World War II many children were born there

 

 

 

 

After the war, they tried to destroy the Flak Tower completely, but they did not succeed. The whole building hopped up a bit and sank back into place.

It was not possible to fully demolish the humboldthain flak tower. The interior walls can be of 3,5-4 meters. They were only able to destroy it partially.

There’s a path around the hill, which was built up to the top of the tower, and stairs on two sides to climb the tower. Also, there is the opportunity to visit the underground part of the tower with Berlin’s society for guided underground tours (www.berliner-unterwelten.de).

The society Berliner Unterwelten e.V. has reopened some of the underground parts of the flak tower and offers guided tours in summer. In winter, the rooms are inhabited by bats.

If you intend to join the tour, ensure to wear proper clothes and shoes as it can get quite cold, even in summer.

 

As the Humboldthain flak tower is at the north side of the Humboldthain park, there is a beautiful sight from the top of the hill, which ends slightly below the platform of the tower, over the humboldhain park, and the view over Berlin from its platform is also incredible. This hill is called the Humboldthöhe (Humboldt Hill), which is among the best viewing platforms in Berlin.

 

 

The main tower was also used for other purposes. For example, while the lower floors of the Humboldthain Flak Tower were used as a bomb shelter for thousands of people, there even was a fully equipped hospital on the second floor and a maternity ward. During World War II many children were born there.

In the years after the war, there were three attempts to blow up the Flak tower between 1947 and 1948 with a total of 41 tons of dynamite. They could destroy the southern part of the tower, but the northern part remained almost undamaged. The building hopped up a bit and sank back into place, which you can see on the picture below.

It was not possible to fully demolish the flak tower. The interior walls can be of 3,5-4 meters. They covered the destroyed southern part with debris and built a hill around the whole building, which even covered 3 or 4 storeys of the north tower. There’s a path around the hill up to the top of the tower, and stairs on two sides to get access to the tower platform on the top. Also, there is the opportunity to visit the underground part of the tower with Berlin’s society for guided underground tours (www.berliner-unterwelten.de).

The society Berliner Unterwelten e.V. has reopened some of the underground parts of the flak tower and offers guided tours in summer. In winter, the rooms are inhabited by bats.

If you intend to join the tour, ensure to wear proper clothes and shoes as it can get quite cold, even in summer.

 

 

As the Humboldthain flak tower is at the north side of the Humboldthain park, there is a beautiful sight from the top of the hill, which ends slightly below the platform of the tower, over the humboldhain park, and the view over Berlin from its platform is also incredible. This hill is called the Humboldthöhe (Humboldt Hill), which is among the best viewing platforms in Berlin.

 

The north wall of the bunker is a popular destination for climbers doing their training here.

 

Directly in front of the bunker building was a railroad, which can still be seen today. Currently the railway is about 30 meters away from the old line. 

 

How to get there

U-Bahn: U8, exit at U Bahn Gesundbrunnen station

S-Bahn: trains S1, S2, S25, S41, S42, exit at U and S Bahn Gesundbrunnen station

Bus: Bus 247, exit at U and S Bahn Gesundbrunnen station

 

 

 

As the Humboldthain Flak Tower is located in Berlin Gesundbrunnen district, which was formerly a part of the Wedding district, I want to give some information about this neighborhood.

 

„Gesundbrunnen“ means „healthy spring“ or „healthy fountain“. It’s story is as follows:

 

It’s name is related to a legend in which the mill at the Panke, a small river in Berlin, plays a role.

 

Around the year 1700, only the predecessor building of today’s mill building stood there, the remaining of the area was uninhabited and undeveloped.

 

The first king in Prussia, Frederick I, is said to have come from hunting and saw the mill. He is said to have drunk water there, with an excellent taste, which the miller’s wife drew from a meadow at the Panke opposite the mill.

 

Around 1750, the water was chemically examined by court pharmacist Behm.

 

The result led to the pharmacist’s investment of 22,000 thaler: he built a bath house with outbuildings and planted thousands of trees.

 

In 1760 the spa was founded under the name “Friedrichs Gesundbrunnen” (Frederik’s healthy spring). Thus, the district received its well-known name.

 

However, the spa had not a long life; the complex was restructured under the name „Luisenbad“ (Luise’s spa/health resort). It was renamed after the popular Queen Luise.

 

During this time, the nearby residential city of Berlin began to expand as far as the Pankemühle.

 

Colonists had already settled north of the Panke. Slowly, the small suburb developed into a popular entertainment district.

 

Today, the Gesundbrunnen district is one of the most beautiful localities in Berlin. In my opinion, it is even the most beautiful of all the others.

 

There are many different aspects that support this opinion:

 

First of all: the Gesundbrunnen district is a focal point when it comes to accommodation and eating cheap outside. There are several hotels and hostels nearby. I will provide some addresses in another article.

 

The Humboldthain Park and the Flak Tower are located directly at the Brunnenstrasse (Brunnenstreet), which is a very long street. It begins in the formerly East Berlin and ends where also the Humboldthain Park is ending.

 

Actually, the street or lets say the road continues, but, the name changes. The extension of the Brunnenstrasse is the Badstrasse, on which there are numerous cheap dining options, pharmacies and other shops.

 

Opposite the Humboldthain Park, if you are standing on the bridge over the railways at the Gesundbrunnen Station, is the Gesundbrunnen Center, a huge building that resembles an ocean liner, a shopping mall with a unique architecture and more than 90 shops, as well as electronic markets like saturn etc.

 

The Gesundbrunnen Center is right at the exit of the underground stations U and S-Bahn station Gesundbrunnen.

 

Also at the S-Bahn station Gesundbrunnen and a few meters opposite the center there are shops and a Deutsche Bahn (German Railway Company) store.

 

The Brunnenstrasse, Badstrasse and quite a lot adjoining streets make up one of the most beautiful places in the city.

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