The Pallasstbunker

In the Pallasstraße, near the Kleistpark, there is an old bunker built in the II W.W.

The Pallasstraße is a street that usually you don´t pass by: and if so, maybe your attention will be caught by the „Pallasseum“, a big complex of social houses. So I start asking to myself: what is this building?

How can a bunker dominate an area?

My name is Pallasbunker, but usually all the inhabitants call me “The Betonklotz“ – Cement Block -

I was built in the 1943, and had a lot of rest in my life! In the last 40 years I had the impression that maybe someone will use me again, but I am still here and slowly I am disappearing between trees, fences... and the german burocracy.

In the 1943 the Nazi regime organised the construction of hundreds of bunkers all over Germany, and my function was to protect material and not person. I was built by East-European prisoners and the end of the World let me uncomplete.

The U.S Army tried to destroy me 4 times, but they were able only to detroy me – partially – from the inside! After the ´50 I was let alone and nobody take care of me.

Since my construction I was never alone: first there was a sport-center, a very big and important one where all kind of events were presented - from the speech of Göbbels, to the music of Frank Zappa –

Then in the ´70 they decided to destroy this palace and build something „Revolutionary“ – A complex of 500 social housing.

The „Pallaseum“ was a success and after his opening everybody was talking about it, as the West of Berlin needed social houses and needed a new architecture style.

For sure I was relevant in the planning of the Pallaseum, as they decided that during the Cold War, having a bunker is not a bad idea at all!

Unfortunally after the initial enthusiasm, it becomes a place wich was at the attention of all the media and institution as a “Hot-Spot”.

This was made by the grow of small criminality, the neglect of a big amount of houses and others factors.

Nowadays with a series of initiative and social politics it seems that the situation is better than it was in the ´90, when they wanted to demolish it.

As you may understand, I am not living with boring neighbors. But what upset me is that from all the changing I lived, from the ´50 to the ´80 I was never used, maybe just as a lager.

Then in the ´80 they renovate me in order to be able to host up to 4000 persons during the Cold War.

Until in ´90 at some point everybody was speaking about me again!

In the 1943 I was build by Ukrainian prisoners. The prisoners were staying in the “Sophie-Scholl-School” and in the ´94 a woman who as a children was locked there, wrote a letter to take contact with the school

Starting from this moment, the school realized that it was interesting to know more about it´s and mine history, and up to now they are the only actors using me for workshops, visits and keeping me as a heritage for all the area and the city.

For example they made a blue line, wich symbolize the way the prisoners were walking from the lager - The school – to come to their „work place“ – me -

This was a very important moment for me, for example since the 2002 I am a „place of memory“ and since 2011 I am a monument under protection of the Municipality.

This is for sure a big goal for me, but this also means that now it is more difficult to use me or change my – internal and external – shape.

Here is when they clean me in the 2002

In this days someone was making a storytelling about me, and I saw him speaking with some people passing by or working there.

Also if I am big, the most of the people don´t pay attention at me, or are used that I am there – forgotten by everybody

“I know nothing about the Bunker and I am not interested"

“I was never inside and I don´t know nobody that was inside”

“About 10 years ago there was an art exposition. 
It was a success, but it was also very difficult to organize in order to respect the fire protection regulation:

 just groups of 20 visitors were allowed inside, and 10 firefighter had to stay inside during all the hopening hours”

“I was never inside and I don´t know nobody that was inside”

Den Bunker für die Punker!

In the last years the self-organized young center „Potse and Drugstore“ – wich is under the risk of eviction – asked the municipality to use me for their activities.
The answer was and is negative.

Also different artist, musicist, organization and private investors asked to use me, but the answer is always negative.

The reasons is that apparently I am to expensive, since I need a lot of intervention and maintenance, and it will be cheaper to build something new instead of repair me – and nobody see the urgency to act as there is no perspective.

So this is my story, I have a lot of brothers and sisters all over Germany wich are used again for different purpose, but I am here in a „hot spot“ and apparently this is also having some influence.

I just hope that at some point they will find a solution for me, also if it is to expensive!

And as always, the nature can get everywhere and is taking is space back.