Site Records

Site Name: Garzau NVA Computer Centre

East Germany

Sub Brit site visit 1st May 2002

[Source: Paul Sowan]

The bunker at Garzau, 6kM SE of Strausberg was a very important NVA (East German Armed Forces) computer development bunker. It was built between 1972 and 1975 and was operational from 1976 when it was handed over to the NVA. Following unification in 1990, the bunker was no longer required after 1993 and has changed hands several times until it was acquired by the current partnership that have opened it as a museum. The original East German computers were removed, but have been reinstalled and most of the equipment is now in working order.

Photo:A 200 metre tunnel from the basement of this building leads into the bunker
Photo by Nick Catford

Associated surface buildings still stand including a three storey 'office' block, with a 200 metre access tunnel from the basement leading into the lower floor of the 45m x 50 m bunker. Each floor has a ring corridor, with central rooms with shock-absorbing sprung floors. The entire structure built inside a Faraday cage and is an exceptionally well protected.

Software was developed in the surface buildings while lectronic equipment was protected in a controlled environment in the two level bunker.

Photo:One of the computer rooms
Photo by Nick Catford

The computer centre operated fully-manned day and night and during its operational life received information on a daily basis from military locations across East Germany. It was built to withstand a direct hit from a nuclear bomb with a displacement of 0.4 m laterally and/or vertically allowed for with most internal floors mounted on shock-absorbing springs. This bunker could operate in self-contained mode for 24 hours, before a decision had to be taken whether or not to continue in totally sealed mode which could be sustained for fourteen days.

Plan of the bunker (upper level left)
Plan from the Garzau Museum web site

The bunker was built by cut-and-cover, with layers of earth and concrete slabs forming an umbrella above the structure, and a further layer between floors to absorb blast. It is built into a a hill to the rear of the surface buildings.

Plan of the surface buildings showing the course of the tunnel from the basement to the bunker

The plant is all in working order with a positive over-pressure being maintained. There is an independent 80m well to supply the water. The emergency exit is from the upper floor, adjoining a vertical shaft for heavy plant, the hoisting mechanism for this remains in place.

Photo:Main control room
Photo by Nick Catford

As a result of the very high power consumption by the computer equipment, no internal heating was required. Diesel generators used external air, so were sealed off from the bunker interior and remotely operated. Of the four diesel generators, three were needed in action at any one time.

For further photographs of the Garzau Computer Centre click here

For further information see the Garzau Museum web site
For a (poor) English translation of the web site click here
For more pictures see the Bunkertours web site

[Source: Nick Catford]

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Last updated 18th November 2003

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