Inside The Führerbunker, The Nazi Hideout Where Adolf Hitler Lived, Got Married, And Died In The Waning Days Of World War II

Published March 6, 2024
Updated April 3, 2024

As Soviet troops advanced on Berlin in 1945, Adolf Hitler died by suicide inside his sprawling concrete Führerbunker buried 30 feet beneath the city where he'd spent the last 105 days of his life.

Fuhrerbunker

Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo / Alamy Stock PhotoA Soviet soldier sits in the study of the Führerbunker where Adolf Hitler died by suicide in April 1945.

In January 1945, Adolf Hitler went underground. As the tides of World War II turned against Nazi Germany and its leader, Hitler and his close associates moved into a subterranean command center: the Führerbunker.

There, as Soviet troops moved closer to Berlin, Hitler spent his final days. He gave commands, took meals, and married his long-time mistress, Eva Braun. And on April 30, 1945, with the war all but lost, the Führerbunker was where Adolf Hitler took his own life.

This is the story of the Führerbunker, the sprawling underground hideout where Adolf Hitler and other prominent Nazis lived and died.

Führerbunker
Theodor Morell And Guards
Hitler With Karl Donitz
Destroyed Couch In The Führerbunker
Inside The Führerbunker, The Nazi Hideout Where Adolf Hitler Lived, Got Married, And Died In The Waning Days Of World War II
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Adolf Hitler Moves Underground

The idea of underground bunkers wasn't new in Berlin. The Vorbunker, a subterranean air-raid shelter beneath the Reich Chancellery, had been completed in 1936. It had dormitories, a dining room, a kitchen complete with wine storage, and bathrooms, and it was meant as a temporary hideout for Hitler and his associates during World War II.

Vorbunker

Dennis Nilsson/Wikimedia CommonsA map of the Vorbunker, which predated the Führerbunker.

As bombing by Allied forces intensified in the 1940s, however, a second connected shelter called the Führerbunker was constructed in 1944. Located 28 feet beneath the Reich Chancellery's garden and smaller than the Vorbunker, the Führerbunker was built as a command center. It had conference rooms, a telephone switchboard, and private quarters complete with bedrooms and studies for Hitler and Eva Braun. The hideout was protected by 13 feet of solid concrete and gas-proof doors made of reinforced steel to withstand even the most brutal attacks from above.

Altogether, the Vorbunker and Führerbunker contained around 30 rooms complete with heating, water, and electricity. There were exits into the Chancellery as well as an emergency escape into the garden. The Vorbunker's dormitories were used to house dozens of support staff and doctors in addition to the Nazi officers who worked closely with Hitler.

Though deep beneath the ground, efforts were made to make the Führerbunker feel hospitable. Expensive carpets lined the floor, opulent art from the Chancellery hung on the walls, and Hitler's favorite portrait of Frederick the Great was affixed over his desk in his private office.

On Jan. 16, 1945, Hitler and his staff retreated to the bunker. They were soon followed by some of his closest associates, including his mistress, Eva Braun, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, and his family.

Hitler, Braun, and the Goebbels family would all find their end within the bunker's concrete walls.

Life Inside The Führerbunker

As World War II raged — and moved ever closer to Berlin — life in the Führerbunker could sometimes seem normal. Hitler enjoyed vegetarian meals prepared by his chef, entertained other Nazis, and went for strolls around the Chancellery gardens with his dog, Blondi. As Robert Payne writes in The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, he spent much of his time living in the bunker as he'd spent it above ground: strategizing with his generals.

These sessions often lasted until the wee hours of the morning as bad news poured in from around the world. At the end of January, Soviet forces crossed the Oder River into Germany. In February, the German city of Dresden was bombed. In March, Allied forces traversed the Rhine.

By April, Soviet troops were closing in on Berlin. The city was frequently bombed, which meant that even garden strolls could be dangerous. Hitler stayed inside the Führerbunker for longer stretches of time. On April 20, he spent his 56th birthday there. It would be the last one he ever celebrated.

It was also the last time Hitler ever left the bunker. He ascended to the gardens of the Reich Chancellery just above to present awards to members of the Hitler Youth.

The next day, April 21, the Soviet Army reached the outskirts of Berlin.

The Bunker Where Adolf Hitler Died

By April 1945, Adolf Hitler was not a well man. Prone to screaming fits, he had a noticeable tremor in his left hand, suffered from stomach problems, and was taking a number of powerful drugs prescribed to him by his doctor, Theodor Morell. But there were two things that Hitler wanted to accomplish: He wanted to get married, and he wanted to die.

Adolf Hitler And Eva Braun

Keystone/Getty ImagesAdolf Hitler and Eva Braun during World War II.

On April 29, 1945, Hitler wed Eva Braun, his long-time mistress. They proclaimed that they were both of Aryan origin, per Nazi law — though there's been some speculation about Hitler's true roots — and entered into a marriage that would last less than 40 hours.

Hitler then dictated his personal and political last testaments. In an anti-Semitic screed, he wildly insisted that the war was the fault of others and that "posterity cannot place the responsibility... on me."

The next day, April 30, Hitler and his new bride died by suicide. After testing cyanide pills on Blondi, the newlyweds prepared to kill themselves. They said goodbye to their staff, and then Hitler reportedly told his valet, SS officer Heinz Linge: "I am going to shoot myself now. You know what you have to do."

Linge waited outside the door. According to The Washington Post, the sound of the Soviet bombardment above his head was too loud for him to hear a shot. But soon enough, he smelled gunpowder.

Inside Hitler's private sitting room in the Führerbunker, the Nazi leader and Braun had both taken cyanide pills, and Hitler had shot himself in the head. Linge and other Nazis brought their bodies to the surface. They poured gasoline on the two corpses and then lit them on fire. As Hitler and Braun burned, the men threw up one last "Heil Hitler."

Despite the conspiracy theories about Hitler that lingered, the Führer was dead. Goebbels and his wife Magda shortly thereafter killed their six young children and then themselves.

Eight days later, Germany surrendered. Hitler had no known children (the question of Hitler's descendants is something else entirely), and thus his bloodline ended with him. No one picked up his poisonous mantle, and modern-day Germany has worked hard to suppress his ideas.

But what happened to the Führerbunker in the years that followed?

The Führerbunker Today

Where Adolf Hitler Died

A sign at the site of the Führerbunker, erected in 2006, which explains its history and layout.

After the war, Soviet troops attempted to destroy the Führerbunker — with limited success. Some underground rooms remained, largely forgotten until the fall of the Berlin Wall 44 years later.

These were destroyed, though rumors have spread ever since that some parts of the Führerbunker, hidden and sealed, remain intact. The German government had no desire for the site to become a shrine to neo-Nazis, so officials largely ignored it for several decades.

Today, there's nothing at the site except for a parking lot. A small sign, added quietly in 2006, tells the bunker's history and displays its layout. But there is no visible structure that anyone can visit. The Führerbunker where Adolf Hitler died, got married, and ultimately lost World War II is no longer.


After seeing Adolf Hitler's bunker, the Führerbunker, read about the conspiracy theory that suggests Hitler didn't die in the Führerbunker but instead fled to Argentina with Eva Braun. Then, go inside America's Greenbrier bunker that was meant to protect government officials during nuclear war.

author
Kaleena Fraga
author
A staff writer for All That's Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a dual degree in American History and French.
editor
Cara Johnson
editor
A writer and editor based in Charleston, South Carolina and an assistant editor at All That's Interesting, Cara Johnson holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Washington & Lee University and an M.A. in English from College of Charleston and has written for various publications in her six-year career.
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Fraga, Kaleena. "Inside The Führerbunker, The Nazi Hideout Where Adolf Hitler Lived, Got Married, And Died In The Waning Days Of World War II." AllThatsInteresting.com, March 6, 2024, https://allthatsinteresting.com/fuhrerbunker. Accessed May 23, 2024.