König Feldstrasse Bunker
The enormous ‘Hochbunker’ (lit. ‘high bunker’) next to the U3-station Feldstrasse is a sight that you really can’t miss ─ even if you tried. The former WWII anti-aircraft bunker hosts a music venue, a large music store, and there are plans for an urban rooftop garden.
650 bunkers in Hamburg
In response to air-raids by Allied Forces on Berlin in 1940, the Nazi-regime issued an immediate decree to build air-raid shelters in cities all over the Third Reich. Hamburg, a central location for the U-Boot (submarine) and oil industries, was deemed an obvious target. At the end of the Second World War, Hamburg counted no less than 1,051 bunkers: more than any other German city. Today, there are still some 650 bunkers left. Most are more discreet than the ‘Hochbunker’ in St. Pauli, and are located underground or hidden behind residential buildings.
St. Pauli bunker during WWII
The bunker at Feldstrasse, originally named Flakturm IV, is one of the largest ever built. It measures 75 by 75 meters in width, 35 meters in height and its walls are 3,5 meters thick. It was built in 1942 by the hands of 1,000 forced labourers.
It was designed to accommodate 18,000 people and featured a special, extra-wide entrance for women with prams and children. During the Operation Gomorrah air raids on Hamburg in the summer of 1943, no less than 25,000 people sought shelter in the bunker. Its military purpose to fire missiles at bomber aircraft was made near impossible by the Allied air forces’ countermeasure of releasing tin foil strips to interfere with the bunker’s radios. But the thick walls managed to protect those inside, even when it was targeted directly.
After the war, plans to demolish the bunker were dismissed. Even if successful, the amount of required explosives would likely tear down the surrounding residential areas along with it. Since then, the bunker has been used for various civil purposes. In 1950, the Nordwestdeutsche Rundfunk broadcasted the first-ever television images in Germany from the bunker.
Nightclub and music store
Its impenetrable walls make the bunker a perfect location for the louder kind of events. The nightclub Uebel&Gefährlich on the top floor is a popular destination for electronic-music-lovers, while the ground floor is home to a large music store. A prestigious pop music school as well as several artists, actors and musicians have taken up office in the building as well.
The newest plans for the bunker are as bold as they are green: with Project Hilldegarden, the inhabitants of St. Pauli and several architects are designing a vast city park, extending from the U3-station Feldstrasse all the way up to the roof of the bunker. The park would span a total of 8,250 sq m, with plenty of space for urban gardening, venues and cafes — all with a magnificent view over Hamburg.