Lost Nazi bunkers revealed to the world

A hidden Nazi bunker has been discovered under Netherlands.
A hidden Nazi bunker has been discovered under Netherlands. Picture: Solveig Grothe/Spiegel Online

A LOST city of underground bunkers built by the Nazis on the Dutch coast during the Second World War has been laid bare in these astonishing pictures.

The bunkers, tunnels, living quarters and stores run throughout the coastline near The Hague and run deep under the city itself.

Its builders named it the "string of pearls" and, with the aid of original German army blueprints, they are now being restored to their original condition by military enthusiasts and archaeologists so future generations can visit, The Sun reports.

Many of the bunkers were re-discovered when sands facing the North Sea shifted for the first time since the end of the war.

They were constructed by legions of Dutch slave labourers and German army engineers as part of the Atlantic Wall Hitler constructed from Norway to the Bay of Biscay in France in a bid to thwart Allied invasion plans of his "Fortress Europe".

These bunkers once housed thousands of German troops.
These bunkers once housed thousands of German troops. Solveig Grothe/Spiegel Online

Dutch ministry of defence architect Gustaaf Boissevain said: "We only have a few of these pearls, there are much more. It is a real treasure."

Hitler invaded The Netherlands on May 10 1940 and the country was conquered within five days.

The Nazis soon set about the building project that they hoped would keep the country forever under the jackboot.

In 1942, Scheveningen, originally a fishing village, then a fashionable seaside resort and now a district of The Hague, became a restricted area.

Some 135,000 inhabitants had to leave their homes as the bunker complex was built to house 3,300 troops under the command of the dreaded Waffen-SS.

A bunker was also built here for Arthur Seyss-Inquart, the dreaded Nazi ruler of Holland, who would hang for his war crimes at Nuremberg.

Around 900 military buildings, both surface and subterranean, were made from more than 100,000 cubic metres of reinforced concrete.

A total of 500 intact bunkers have been discovered in the past few years as part of a project by the Scheveningen Atlantic Wall Foundation.

Jacques Hogendoorn, one of the scheme's volunteers, said: "I grew up in the 60's when all Germans were monsters and all the Allies were lover boys. Now we are trying to tell the historical story as it was and without omitting anything."

Foundation secretary general Jos Louwe, said the Dutch had problems facing up to the occupation after the war.

He said: "After the war, every Dutchman was a resistance fighter.

"Nobody wanted to talk about collaboration, certainly not about about the 20,000 volunteers in SS units."

Inside one of WW2 Nazi Bunker found in the Dutch countryside.
Inside one of WW2 Nazi Bunker found in the Dutch countryside. Solveig Grothe/Spiegel Online

Mr Louwe said Dutch children grew up playing on the beaches where the snouts of the bunkers, which once held menacing large-calibre guns, gradually filled with sand and litter.

Now, like ancient Egyptian tombs, they are being opened one by one.

Wartime lettering painted on by the German residents is still visible in many of them - PAK on one wall standing for anti-tank gun, K for coast, FLUW for aircraft spotters scanning the skies for Allied planes.

The bunkers are similar to the secret Second World War tunnels the British Army used to defend Gibraltar from a German invasion.

Christened the Great North Road, the mile-long bombproof tunnel runs right inside the Rock of Gibraltar.

Restorer Alexander Fokke said the German army ordered local contractors to add spaces and corridors for weapons, ammunition, crew, kitchens, toilets and saunas - "almost like a small village, only bomb-proof."

Military history had long been frowned upon in the Netherlands.

"We were pacifists, we were not talking about military things," says foundation member Peter Koster, head of the anti-terrorism department at Europol.

He says that times have changed and that now it is considered "legitimate" to be interested in the preservation of this Dutch stretch of the Atlantic Wall.

"The Dutch built these bunkers themselves," he added.

"It was our workers, it was our money but, okay, not our mission."

Explorers have discovered paintings of villages and mountains done by homesick Germans stationed there.

Fokke added; "They were really nice pictures, the soldiers wanted to make it a little more comfortable."

Recently bunk beds built to the Wehrmacht's standard were installed in a sleeping dormitory and parts of the complex, including an SS command post, have already been opened up as a museum.

The Hague deputy mayor Karsten Klein says about the rediscovery of the Atlantic Wall: "It is nothing to be ashamed of. The city has a lot of confidence in the work of the foundation.

"It tells both sides, even what the Dutch might have done wrong. Just a quite honest story."

Last week stunning vintage snaps emerged showing the drama and heroism of America's first black airmen.

The Tuskegee Airmen were determined volunteers who signed up to take to the skies in defence of democracy against Nazi Germany.

This story originally appeared in The Sun and is republished with permission

News Corp Australia

Topics:  bunker general-seniors-news nazi travel world war 2

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