Germans fight to save hidden Nazi bunkers





Concealed in a thicket of brambles in hills southwest of Cologne, out of sight of the nearby motorway, an eerie relic of Germany's Nazi past has been neglected for over 60 years.

Under layers of dead wood and leaves lies part of Hitler's "Westwall" -- the "Siegfried Line" as it is known in English -- a 630 kilometre defensive line of bunkers and anti-aircraft defences that once ran the length of Germany's western border.

The concrete fortifications have lain untended for decades and are now covered in moss. Birds nest in cracks in the bullet-scarred walls, and bats and wild cats snooze in the darkest corners.

But in the last few years, some locals in the Eifel region have tried to stop bulldozers annihilating this reminder of the grimmest period of German history.

"It's important to keep the bunkers as a reminder for future generations, and also to preserve the wildlife," said Sebastian Schoene, head of a project for the BUND nature conservation body in North Rhine-Westphalia state, which still has 2,000 bunkers.



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