Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt

In June 2011, a group of Sharkhunters visited historic places of the Third Reich in what was known as “The Southern Redoubt” as the Allies thought that the leaders of the Reich would make a desperate last ditch stand here in the tunnels, bunkers and other hiding places. Actually, the only one of the hierarchy in this area was Hermann Göring. The others had all gone their separate ways to death, capture or escape.

Click on any of these photos to propel yourself through the ‘Tunnels of Time‘ as only Sharkhunters can take you.

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The Hotel zum Türken is our official Sharkhunters ‘Home Away from Home’ in Germany; owned and operated by our dear friend and longtime Member INGRID SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993). This hotel was built around 1630 and was bought by Karl Schuster (her Grandfather) on 27 September 1911.

This hotel was immediately next to the mountain home of Adolf Hitler and so Martin Bormann wanted to buy the hotel but Schuster refused. Bormann had him put into the concentration camp at Dachau to force him to sell. A sick and broken man, Schuster agreed to sell the hotel for 165,000 Reichsmarks but Bormann withheld most of the money. A broken man, Schuster died in 1934 at age 56.

Shortly after the end of the war, INGRID acquired the hotel back. It was only a shell, having been bombed badly on 25 April 1945 but with hard work, the zum Türken was turned into a fantastic place to relax and to revisit history. The officers of Hitler’s security guard lived here and now, the Sharkhunters do also.

Click on this photo and begin your trip back in this fantastic history.

Berchtesgaden is a quaint village, many centuries old, nestled in a quiet valley in the Alps. This is the village at the foot of the Obersalzberg where Martin Bormann built his Reich Sicherheits Zone, or Reich Security Zone. All access to the mountain was controlled by SS security, but the little town was not. It is more or less the same as it was decades ago.

Sharkhunters frequent the Golden Bär Restaurant on the left in this photo, but my favorite is Forstner’s, the white building at the end of this street. It is there I find vanilla ice cream with hot raspberrys and whipped cream. Okay, so I splurge; why not? Now click on this photo and enjoy Berchtesgaden.




Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich; the Hotel zum Tuerken.

2011 Sharkhunters “Bunker Patrol” in the Hotel zum Türken

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It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and we agree. Look at the magnificent view (above) off the balcony – that is Berchtesgaden far below in the valley and we watch as the early morning fog burns off the town a few thousand feet below us.

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This is not a picture post card and it is not a professionally taken photo. This is just a photo taken by HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) with a simple hundred dollar camera. Here it is not the quality of the camera or the experience of the photographer – it is the incredible scenery.

You should be here taking these photos yourself – you would love it!

Hotel zum Türken was just for Sharkhunters

For reasons that are unimportant to this story, the hotel was closed at this time – but not for Sharkhunters! Frau SCHARFENBERG opened just for us. We had to take care of our own room as you see by the stack of fresh towels, soap and shampoo here but Sharkhunters are not babies – we took it all in stride. It was kinda’ fun actually – we cleared our tables like we would at home, made our beds and changed towels.

Our “waiter” however, was still learning it appeared…..that was Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) and was probably the strangest waiter ever in the Hotel zum Türken. All in all, it was a lot of fun and since Frau SCHARFENBERG has been a Member (a LIFE Member) since 1993, we take care of our Members like family because we are a family.

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The best breakfast you will get in Germany!” Many of our Members have said this and we sure agree.

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The only way to get a better breakfast would be if your mother made it for you. Otherwise, you just can’t beat this breakfast AND the scenery we have out the window. You see it in every direction.

The ‘haus bar’ is the center for our socializing – the same as it was some 70 years ago for the SS officers of the security guard.

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Okay, so the television set was not here 70 years ago, but let your mind run free…….can you see these officers having a schnapps here? This was the center of their social life here on the mountain too.

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Who relaxed in this room 70 years ago?

Today it is RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996) and his wife Susie – but who was it in 1941? Listen closely – can you hear the marching feet?

The very special circular room……………

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In a special place in the hotel there is a small round room. It is said that Hitler, Bormann and others were frequently here.

Angela Smith is preparing a radio interview with Sharkhunters President HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983).

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Above, we watched the sun come up over the Bavarian Alps as seen from our balcony. Here we see the incredibly breathtaking views as the sun disappears behind these magnificent mountains. You should have been with us to see it for yourself.

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Coat of Arms on the Hotel zum Türken

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Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich in the village of Berchtesgaden.

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – in Berchdesgaten

The cemetery is an interesting place to be sure. Here is the grave of Dietrich Eckhart, more or less the founder of the Party; the NSDAP. We also find the grave of Dr. Lammers. He was responsible for all the normal workings on the Obersalzberg of items such as water supply, electric and so forth.

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The village itself is another of those scenes that look like a picture post card.

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These murals (above) tell a story

in these quaint little German villages.

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This is the town fountain in Berchtesgaden where the soldiers would pose for photographs when they were about to ship out for battle. The plaques on the wall (below) remember those who did not return.

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It’s good to be the king……….
…………lines from a comedy movie in the 1980’s

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…..and it was good to be the king. Here, the king had a small palace with a church so he didn’t have to walk far from home to chapel. We went in for a look – the history, the elegance – absolutely incredible.

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Then on the street outside the Golden Bär we find this musician playing the zither. There was old world charm everywhere.

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RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996) was one of our participants as was his wife Susie. He emailed”
“Great trip and we loved each and every part of it.”


A classic car race? That’s correct – the Edelweiß Hotel sponsored a classic car race and here are some of the cars.

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Above – a 1955 Borgward racing car. A WHAT? Back in the 1960’s I

owned a Borgward station wagon. This would have been more fun!

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A classic – a 1927 Bugatti This racer looks fast from either end

Click on this link http://youtu.be/TIfF5pmc6fU to actually see our time here, thanks to Angela Smith.

……a pleasant break

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An accomplished and talented musician, RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996) entertained us in the plush refreshment room of the 5 star Edelweiß Hotel. These were refreshing breaks for us.


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Welcome to Königsee. Today this is the Schiffmeister Hotel – in the latter part of World War II, this was the headquarters of General Field Marshall Kesselring. This is a beautiful and well preserved area only electric powered boats are allowed on these waters. Well, almost…sometimes a workboat with conventional power is seen zipping across the lake, but for the norm – electric power only.

Many centuries ago, a shift in the land raised the area at the far end of the Königsee, cutting off a smaller portion which became Obersee. A path of about one or so kilometers separates these two beautiful lakes.

Eva Braun liked to come here to exercise in her bathing suit and to smoke cigarettes – both of which were frowned upon by Adolf Hitler. He had a favorite place by a large rock at the far end of the Obersee. We will see it.

Click on this photo and enjoy the Königsee.

The scenery must be seen to be truly appreciated. The camera is great, but until you see it with your own eyes, feel the breeze on your own cheek and smell the freshness in the air yourself – it just isn’t the same.

Being only about 20km (about 12 miles) from Salzburg, we naturally spent a delightful day there.

As we closed out this ‘Patrol‘ we also drove the scenic Roßfeld Straße – the beautiful Rossfeld Road.



Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – the beautiful Königsee (Koenigsee)

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – Königsee

Königsee – it means the King’s Lake, and it sure was good to be the king. Let’s visit this beautiful pristine area. At the first area, we wend our way through souvenir shops where goodies of all kind are sold.

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Angela Smith is taking a photo of me taking a photo of her. RANDOLPH and Susie Siple – ready for the trip.
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Crossing the beautiful Königsee
Come on – you can’t be seasick
on this millpond. Actually, this is
the trumpet player getting ready.

The boat stops and one of the crew blows a trumpet. We hear three echoes bounce back off the mountains. Until recently, they fired a gun and got seven echoes – but the government now says that guns are evil or something that, and so they play a trumpet instead.

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Crossing the Königsee, beautiful scenery is everywhere. At the far end of the Königsee, the water is shallow and crystal clear
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We leave the boat here and begin our hike to Obersee Angela Smith contemplates the beauty of the place

We now begin our walk of about one kilometer from the Königsee to Obersee through beautiful scenery every step of the way.

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One last view of Königsee……..

…..and the trek begins

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Shouldn’t we be singing “Hi Ho, It’s off to work we go” or

something like that?

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Susan Siple pauses to watch the water rushing from Obersee to

Königsee. A lot of water is moving very fast here.

We have seen photos of Adolf Hitler posing by a large rock in the Obersee but back then, the water level was much lower and he didn’t have to get his feet wet. Now, thanks to the increased snow melt, the water is about two feet deeper than some seventy years ago.

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Yep – much deeper as this boathouse indicates Beautiful, crystal clear waters
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The famous rock

is a bit more difficult to reach

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At the far side of the Obersee is a little snack bar that serves buttermilk. As the rest of the gang marched along the narrow track around the lake to get their buttermilk, HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) found a more ‘restful‘ way to enjoy the scenery.

No, he is not dead (some would be saddened by this news) just sleeping or as he puts it, ‘Looking at the inside of his eyelids and checking for light leaks‘. However it is called, it was restful.

An hour or so later, the group returned and RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996) holds the record for being the oldest Sharkhunters Member to make this trek around Obersee to the buttermilk cafe. Reviews of the buttermilk however, were mixed.

Once the group was together again, we hiked back to the boarding dock at the upper tip of Königsee for the voyage back.

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On the march back to Königsee however, is this little cafe where they serve ice cream. We had to stop here; all that resting makes a mighty appetite – at least that’s what COOPER says.

Weren’t we told during the war that the Germans were all Godless Nazis? Little chapels like this are (and were) all over the countryside in Austria and Germany. Propaganda is an interesting art, isn’t it?

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During our return voyage, we stopped at St. Bartholomä where the

king had his own church! Like we said – ‘It’s good to be the king!

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This was called the ‘Kehlsteinhaus’ meaning the house built on Kehlstein Mountain. It was built in just 13 months from inception to completion in time for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday on 20 April 1939. Contrary to the generally published ‘history’, this was not built with slave laborers at all. To build something of such magnitude and such precision, one would have the best stone cutters, masons, carpenters etc. available. These were recruited with good pay, housing for the duration of the project, food etc.

This photo was shot from the valley below and the Kehlsteinhaus is easily seen from just about any vantage point for twenty or so miles in all directions.

Click on this eerie photo and come with us to this historic place.




Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – Salzburg

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – Fantastic Scenery in Salzburg!

Being the birthplace and home of Mozart, music is everywhere in the city square.

As we see in this superb photo shot by Angela Smith, we ate really well on this “Patrol” and, as in this photo, in some very historic places. The view was always breathtaking, the food always great, and the history – click on this photo and join us for a walk back into the tunnels of time.

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There is the rapture of the harp and the…….what the heck? There are signs everywhere stating that there are no kangaroos in Austria, meaning one should not mix Austria up with Australia. Someone forgot to tell this old digger that he was in the wrong country on the wrong side of the globe and in the wrong hemisphere. With his digeree and drum he entertained people all through the city center. What would Amadeus have said?

Everything takes place in and around the city center and the quaint little streets wind through centuries old buildings that still feature little sidewalk cafes and excellent food.

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Salzburg sure is beautiful but now, buckle up and get ready – we are going along the Roßfeld Straße. Remember, we are some 1,600 meters in the air – that is a mile high, just like Denver. The air is crisp and clear; you’ll see.

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This sign states that the Hotel Geiger is closed. Sadly, it is not only closed but falling into total ruin and will most likely be demolished soon. It was Luftwaffe Headquarters for this area.

Click on this prophetic note and go to our photo section covering this tragic situation and other buildings of the Reich.

TUNNELS and BUNKERS! That is the big reason we are here. We visited the tunnels and bunkers that we knew about AND, thanks to ‘Recon RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-2010)‘ we found one we didn’t know about. Where is this tunnel system? What is in it?

This photo will probably bring you nightmares, but click on it anyway and join us in the history that is seven decades old.




Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – the Eagle’s Nest

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2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – “Eagle’s Nest”!

This was called the ‘Kehlsteinhaus’ meaning the house built on Kehlstein Mountain. It was built in just 13 months from inception to completion in time for Adolf Hitler’s 50th birthday on 20 April 1939. Contrary to the generally published ‘history‘, this was not built with slave laborer at all. To build something of such magnitude and such precision, one would have the best stone cutters, masons, carpenters etc. available. These were recruited with good pay, housing for the duration of the project, food etc.

We ride a specially geared bus for the long climb up Kehlstein Mountain. Jump aboard and ride with us.

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Once we reach the parking lot high above – everything, we go
down this long tunnel to the elevator. This is the very same
tunnel that was opened in 1939! Who walked through this tunnel?
Let your imagination run free.

At the end of the tunnel we come to the elevator door and we wait patiently for the magnificent brass-lined elevator that has been in service here since 1939. Who rode this elevator?

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The only difference from today to 1939 – back then, there were

benches to sit on for the ascent. Today we must stand.

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When the elevator brings us into the clouds, we go into the building itself and the first historic item to catch the eye is the magnificent fireplace (photo above) made of Italian marble – a present from ‘Il Duce‘….Benito Mussolini. It is unchanged from the day it was installed.

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First order of business – we are hungry and take our places in the main room, which is now the dining room catered by Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgaden.

With tummies full of great German food (and ice cream) we head outside to enjoy what this historic place has to offer. Won’t you join us?

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The quaint little villages look so small below us – almost like doll houses or part of a model railroad. The air is crisp and clear up here and in one direction, we can see the castle in Salzburg across the border in Austria.

The view, the scenery, the history – it takes your breath away.

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CRAIG SMITH (7208-2007) had this to say about his time on this ‘Patrol‘;
“We had a great time together in Deutschland. Thanks for making a very memorable trip on many levels.”

There is a memorial further up the path, higher up on the mountain. The air is thin, but come with us as we take the walk.

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There is where we are going…..can you see the cross just at the bottom of the mists? It is only a short distance and well worth the walk into the clouds. Let’s go.

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Along the way (above and below) we pass the foundations of the AA

guns on the mountain under command of SS FRANK

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SS Standartenführer BERNHARD FRANK (3225-1993)
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This beautiful memorial was well worth the walk Eagle’s Nest seen from the Memorial




Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – historic dining

Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – Historic Dining.

During this “Patrol” we ate in some really fascinating and historic places. Join us – don’t bother counting calories; the food was great so who cares……..

Holzkäfer

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Inside the Holzkäfer is the Grampus. He pops up every so
often and…well, we don’t really know what he does but
we know we don’t want to meet him in a dark alley.
A holzkäfer is an insect that eats wood, much like a termite.
Why this name was selected is anyone’s guess, but the
place is spotless and the food is great.
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Hofbrauhaus

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This is a local brewery that has been in operation more than
100 years before there was a United States of America!
Who ate here some 70 or so years ago?
Give your imagination some freedom.
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More scenes in the courtyard where we ate. Who else ate here, saw these images 70 years past?
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Above – waiting in great anticipation for

our scrumptious meal.

Below – WOW! Our schweinehaxe arrived.

Each portion was more than a meal itself.

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Right – did we mention that ‘ReconRANDOLPH likes a little meal with his butter?

Below – One of the townspeople in the Hofbrauhaus. He is the caretaker of the cemetery we visited earlier. We are not sure if he has recovered as yet, but he sure looked happy in the photo below right.

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Hochlenzer

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It has been said that the Hochlenzer was one of Hitler’s favorite places and we can see why. He would walk to this place from his Berghof, about five kilometers, for the view and the food. There are photos on the back walls of Adolf Hitler dining here as you see below.

the BEST food:
Our group determined that the food at Hochlenzer was the best we had the entire ‘Patrol‘ – it was superb! Just look at the Jägersnitzel enjoyed by HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983)……all that rich sauce with onions, spices and mushrooms smothering a pork cutlet – incredible!

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Angela Smith had this to say about this ‘Patrol‘;
“Craig and I have enjoyed every minute of our time on this summer 2011 Sharkhunters International trip.”

Vorderbrand

Vorderbrand is important for four reasons;
First – the food is excellent
Second – the view is breathtaking
Third – the folkloric evenings are great
Fourth – this is where Adolf Hitler learned from Dietrich Eckhart

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Eckhart had a large home a few hundred meters from this restaurant which is now under the control of the U. S. Army, used for R & R (rest and recreation).

Using his U. S. Coast Guard (Aux) identification, a couple years ago, COOPER tried to gain access to look it over and take some photographs. Sorry, the guard said – Coast Guard I.D. means nothing to the Army. So much for interservice cooperation…..

Below left – the actual room where they would meet, have a beer and dinner, and to plan strategy in the very early days.

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The food here, the service and atmosphere

was absolutely outstanding!

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Everything is great – the food, the service and the scenery, but here is the top of the evening – the entertainment! It changes from time to time, but there’s always a Bavarian music group in Vorderbrand to entertain us with traditional Bavarian music.

We stayed well after dinner was finished just to listen to them.

Click on this link from Angela Smith and you can join in the fun.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtAR-AcPRvU

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We talked about the scenery. This is what we saw as we
left Vorderbrand. The village is far below in the valley.
Some of the guys wanted to keep Angela.

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As we have said many times – it is impossible to get a bad beer, a bad meal or a bad photograph here.

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For our last evening on this ‘PatrolRANDOLPH and Susie bought a lot of locally produced sausage, cheese, bread, butter and wine for an impromptu ‘Farewell Dinner‘ on the terrace of the Hotel zum Türken. We have always said that Sharkhunters is a big family, and it was a great evening, thanks to the Siples…………many thanks!






Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – Geiger Hotel and other historic buildings

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – Historic Buildings!

Gutsof

Gutsof basically means a large farm, and that is what Martin Bormann created on the Obersalzburg. All the food, dairy products, eggs, cheese and anything else for the tables of the leaders oft he Reich here was grown here.

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The quality of construction of the barn is evident where huge shaped timbers hold everything in place – excellent engineering!

There was a locked gate and a sign that said ‘Eingang Verboten‘ and we know what that means. It means there is something in there that we have to see!

Susie Siple followed COOPER over the gate and down onto this now overgrown path with the retaining wall on one side and the stream on the other. The area is being allowed to return to nature as the government does not want anything remaining of the Third Reich.

What did we find after we went along this path? See below.

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After seeing the door marked ‘Explosiv‘ we decided not to knock on any doors or to turn handles in the place.

No longer a farm – the place was turned into a golf resort by the U.S. Army and after the Army gave everything back to the government, they kept it as a gold resort in the summertime and a ski resort in the winter.

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Albert Speer
Armament Minister Fritz Todt visited Hitler at the Wolfsschanze on his return from the Russian Front. In a highly agitated state, Todt loudly told Hitler that he hadmade too many mistakes and had lost the war in the east. The next morning, Todt was returning to Berlin and Speer was going to accompany him in his JU 52 tri-motor. Someone from Hitler’s Staff told Speer that he was too tired to make the trip to Berlin that day and told him that they had sleeping quarters for him there at Wolfsschanze. Speer remained at Wolfsschanze and Todt’s plane took off for Berlin that afternoon. As the plane climbed out at about 300 meters – it just blew up in mid air. Doggone unlucky for Todt I’d say – and very lucky for Speer, who was then made Armament Minister in Todt’s place.

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Speer had a beautiful home and here it is today. The view from his home was spectacular!

Hotel Geiger
The Geiger was Luftwaffe Headquarters for this area. For whatever reason, it was abandoned a few decades ago and to no one’s surprise, it is said that the government is letting it fall completely into ruin so they may bulldoze yet another reminder of the Reich.

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As we walk up the overgrown main drive, the looming disaster of this once magnificent hotel is apparent. Even if there was no history here, this hotel was a tantalizing and beautiful young woman at the height of her glory. Now she is a sad and discarded old lady. Her glory days are behind her; the dashing young fighter pilots of the Luftwaffe who danced and romanced their girlfriends here have all gone…….but maybe in the breezes we can hear their laughter.

Let’s tour this aging lady with torn skirts, faded smile and weary heart.

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Who checked in at this front desk? Who danced beneath this exquisite ceiling?
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Who walked down this darkened hallway and climbed these creaking

stairs? Listen carefully – you can almost hear the voices.

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Some of the room doors still have their original paint schemes. Balconies were separated by sliding panels.
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Signs of impending death of this once beautiful lady are
everywhere. Soon she will begin to crumble.
Nature is invading everywhere, taking back the land.
Encroaching vines are seen even to the second level.
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In the swimming pool where once the fire-eyed young Jägers of the Luftwaffe once frolicked, there is trash and abandonment.

Listen closely and one can almost hear the moaning and sobbing of this once beautiful hotel as she awaits her doom. It is a sad sound indeed.



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Sharkhunters visit historic places of the Third Reich – hidden tunnels and bunkers

2011 SHARKHUNTERS Bunker Patrol in the Southern Redoubt – Tunnels and Bunkers!

Experts have estimated that for every item built ABOVE ground by the Third Reich, they built FOUR TIMES as much beneath the ground. Come with us as we travel back in time to some of these places – including one that we had never seen before.

We wish to give our sincere thanks to JEFF CARSON (7728-2007), the ‘Tunnel King‘ for all his information, maps, charts and his help. Now, let’s go exploring!

The Tunnel for the Treasure Train
Luftwaffe Chief Hermann Göring collected art treasures of all kinds and had a massive collection. As the war was in its final moments, he had all these treasures packed into a special train and hid it in a hardened tunnel in Berchtesgaden for his quick escape to Austria. The tunnel is still standing (in use by the Berchtesgaden street maintenance works) but the rails have long since been removed.

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Photo above – this is the remains of the plaque that commemorated the building of the tunnel. Naturally the eagle and Swastika have been removed. This plaque is on the side of the tunnel you see in the other two photos and was facing the brown hotel by where the lamp post stands.

Both right photos – As mentioned, the rails are gone but let your mind wander back to 1945…..can’t you see those rail cars in the tunnel? Take a moment – relax your senses; they are there.

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The Second Most Popular Book
Almost everyone knows that the most popular book ever written with the most copies sold in the world for all time is the Holy Bible but do you know what is the second most popular; the book with the second most copies ever sold? It is ‘Mein Kampf!‘ written by Adolf Hitler and much of it was written right here on the Obersalzburg…..in what is now referred to as the ‘Kampfhaus‘. This was a very small house, rented by Hitler and he finished his work here. Only the foundation remains, but we are here to walk in the footsteps of history.

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Two photos above and one left – this is all that remains of the little house Hitler once rented and where his book ‘Mein Kampf‘ was finished. Sharkhunters are here.

Four photos below – there were two-man bomb shelters all over. The men would duck inside during a bombing raid, wait out the bombs, then emerge to take up their posts again. Almost all have been removed or just blown up from the inside where they stood. This was one that had been blown up on site.

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Above – this is the top of the shelter, blown off. Above – this is a large chuck of the shelter.

Both photos below – the yellow arrow

points to more fragments of the shelter.

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Random Works built by the Reich
A great deal of infrastructure and buildings were built by the Reich in a short time and contrary to accepted ‘history‘, what we see here was not built by slave labor. These construction works were built by skilled stone cutters, masons, carpenters and other tradesmen who were paid a good wage and given housing during the construction. Without captions, let’s just show some of what we saw.

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Below – what a surprise! Two beautiful horses in the middle of nowhere, and ‘recon RANDOLPH‘ had a biscuit in his pocket and gave it to one. He had a friend for life! Well, at least until we got over the next fence. This horse would have followed RANDOLPH home if he could have done so.

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the Coal Bunkers
We have visited here before, despite the barbed wire and the sign that says ‘Eingang Verboten‘ which we translate to mean ‘Sharkhunters Welcome Here‘. It is the same as ‘No Pasar‘ in Argentina – right? The Reich, probably Bormann, devised a clever way to supply coal to the homes and buildings on the Obersalzburg. These massive bunkers were built onto the side of a mountain with an access road above and another below. Trucks would come with huge loads of coal and dump them into the bunkers from openings at the top. When coal was needed for a building, a truck would roll into one of the eight bunkers beneath a chute. The chute was opened and the correct amount of coal was poured into the truck which then delivered it to the building that needed it. It was a well devised system. Come with us to these coal bunkers.

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We had to walk to the bunkers since someone placed huge boulders at the entrance to the drive. Guess they really didn’t want visitors. Oh well. Note the large pile of rubble shoved in front of the 8th and last bunker. This was to keep people out since there is a door at the back that leads into the tunnel system. Couple years ago, HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) went over the pile of rubble to get to this door. It was difficult enough getting over the pile, but inside – they had welded the door shut! That just doesn’t seem fair………………

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A little way down the path we find this door – an entrance to this tunnel system but it too, is locked. We could feel air currents coming out of the holes in the door, so it is obviously open somewhere else. Susie Siple is having the time of her life.

Note the framework around the doorway. There was once a small house here covering the doorway, meant to fool enemy aircraft into thinking this was just a farmer’s house and not a worthy target.

Air Raid Bunkers
There were air raid bunkers all over the Reich, but some high level people had special tunnel and bunker systems.

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This is the escape door from Hitler’s bunker system. Hitler and Eva Braun had rooms inside this door as well as
their library, a room full of phonograph records etc.
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Above & below – the red door is the escape door of Göring’s bunker. There was also a small house built here during the war years.
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The Road to Italy!
No, this was not a movie with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. This was going to be a real road. Under Hitler’s highway program, a two-lane highway was to be built from München to Italy, passing through this area.

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This was one of the pedestrian walkways built prior to the actual construction of the highway, which would pass overhead. The walkway was completed, the road never was and now the pedestrian walkway stands alone, connected to nothing – almost like a ‘bridge to nowhere‘.

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“Going to the Theater”
A theater hall was built for entertainment but in the final winter and under an extremely heavy snowfall, the roof collapsed. With the war going badly for the Reich, there was no effort to rebuild and so there is now nothing remaining but massive blocks – and haunting history.

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Our first view of the ruins We are getting closer
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When looking at the size and number of these massive support pillars, it is easy to note that this was a huge theater hall. Nothing remains but the stones – and perhaps a ghost or two.

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……..and now – TUNNELS & BUNKERS!

Beneath the Hotel zum Türken….
…….we find probably the best preserved bunker system on the mountain; probably anywhere in the world. Although the signs says not to take photos, the hotel is owned by INGRID SCHARFENBERG (3308-A/LIFE-1993), a longtime LIFE Member and a dear friend and she said it was okay, but just for us. Join us – you don’t need lights, shovels or special clothing – it is pure history!

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There was no combat here, but shortly after the end of the war,

some jackass fired his bazooka through this wall – for fun!

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Note the round gas lock above the door. Close up of the gas lock to prevent gas from coming in.
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Entrance to one of the machine gun nests. Susie Siple can feel the history here.

For what it is worth, these photos in the zum Türken bunkers are taken about 200 feet beneath the surface.

the so-called ‘Deep Tunnel
This tunnel is built a long way into the Alpine woods – a LONG way from nothing. This was to be Adolf Hitler’s escape through the mountains to safe haven in Austria if the leaders of the Reich had made a last-ditch stand in this place that the Allies called the ‘Southern Redoubt‘. Only Göring was here at the end, and the tunnel was never completed. It runs about half a mile into the mountain, makes a zig to the right and goes on for another quarter of a mile then abruptly ends – the war was over and there was no reason to continue. There are grooves cut into the floor every meter or so for the railroad ties that were to be installed for the small rail cars, but that too was never finished. We even found sticks of dynamite still in their blasting holes in the wall! Once at the far distant end of the tunnel, we turned out all our lights to experience total darkness. It was eerie, but very peaceful.

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The entrance is very difficult to spot unless you know where to look. We are Sharkhunters, afraid of nothing – so in we go!
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As we get further and further into the tunnel……….

…..the entrance gets smaller and smaller………..

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………….and smaller and smaller……….until it is

totally gone! We hope someone left a trail of breadcrumbs!

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Left – Mineral deposits leaching into the tunnel. Right – Photo shot when exhaling in the cold air; these are not spirits – or are they?

The NEW Tunnel!
As we walked along a path, RANDOLPH SIPLE (4684-1996), a former U. S. Army reconnaissance officer (Captain), spotted something that didn’t look normal and he called our attention to it. What we found looked like nothing more than a utilities room – until……….

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This is what ‘Recon RANDOLPH‘ spotted in the hillside. This is the tiny hole at the top of the debris pile.
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HARRY COOPER (1-LIFE-1983) stuck his arm through hole
with the camera to see what was inside. This is what he saw.
If you look closely, you see COOPER’s left foot as he
slides through the hole and into history.
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Above and below – there were many rooms off the main corridor

that ran back about a mile into the mountain.

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This main corridor ran back about a mile into the mountain as seen in the two photos above. Then there was a “T” intersection. To the left, it appeared that the tunnel stopped after about 100 yards. To the right there was a debris pile that blocked passage. There was a small hole at the top and it appeared that COOPER could make it through that hole and continue onward – but he decided not to go further. He was about one mile into the mountain, he was all alone, had only one light and no way to contact those on the surface if anything went wrong – such as if his one and only light had quit. COOPER would probably still be in that tunnel and while some might lament this turn of events, there are others who would certainly rejoice.

He did the smart thing and retraced his steps to the outside world.

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Yep, that’s COOPER coming out that little hole. He does look somewhat relieved.
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