Heckeshorn is a district of Wannsee; the latter the location of the Liebermann Villa where the notorious Wannsee Conference took place. Not far from the villa is a group of buildings constructed as the Luftwaffe Training School between 1938 and 1939 by architect Eduard Siedler.
In World War II itself a six-level bunker was built on the same site and by the same architect. This served as the command bunker for the aerial defence of Berlin and controlled fighter planes and anti-aircraft guns. The air-raid sirens for Berlin were also controlled from within. The bunker was completed in 1943. In London terms, the bunker was roughly a combination of the bunker at RAF Uxbridge for 11 Group and the gun operations room in the lift shaft of the former Brompton Road underground station.
Post-war, during the blockade of Berlin, the bunker was re-purposed as a communications centre, linking the city via wireless telephone connections with West Germany. It also served as a transmission poiint for RIAS (Radio In the American Sector) which provided radio and TV services across West Berlin - and beyond - until 1967.
By this time, the Luftwaffe School had become a medical facility and the bunker housed pathology and mortuary facilities. Its final use started in 1985, when the bunker was substantially remodelled as an emergency hospital. In a civil or military emergency, the hospital was equipped for over 400 patients and around 120 medical staff. The bunker coukd be self-sufficent for a period of up to 40 days.
Duripng a Sub Brit visit in 2007, we were able to see the entire structure, although the basement only through trap doors, through which contaminated clothing and even bodies would have been consigned. We also saw the emergency generators, air-filtration systems, water supply and the site of the former operating theatres. The walls were still coated in luminous paint; when the visit was over, all the lights were extinguished and we were easily able to find our way from the upper floors back to ground level and fresh air.
The emergency hospital closed in 1993 after the end of the Cold War. Eight years later, much of the medical equipment including X-Ray equipment was generously donated to the Czech Republic and Ukraine.
For a period, Berliner Unterwelten (who provided much of the history of the site) ran occasional tours of the site but at the time of writing (2022) these are no longer available.