Located in north Bremen not far from the North Sea, Bunker Valentin was constructed to rapidly produce submarines for the Nazi war effort. It’s believed more than 10,000 people were forced to work on the monumental bunker and surrounding infrastructure. The plans called for a combination of a submarine yard, protected by a huge bunker covering the whole assembly area.
In late March 1945, a British air raid hit the western roof of the facility damaging it beyond repair. This occurred just before plans were underway to secure the roof from such raids.
The labor force at the bunker was comprised of civil workers, but a majority of the population were forced laborers from the nearby concentration camps. During and after construction, more than 6,000 laborers died either from harsh working conditions or the death marches that followed a day’s work.
In 1960, the Ministry of Defense of the new Federal Republic of Germany decided to use the bunker as a depot for the navy. By 1960, they had renovated the still-intact eastern part of the bunker, and the whole site became a closed-off military zone under the name, Navy Material Depot, Subunit Wilhelmshaven. The navy constructed a partition wall between the ruined western and eastern sections of the bunker, splitting the former assembly hall into two.
First access to the facility was granted during the 1990s, when the German navy allowed survivors and relatives behind the fences.
At the beginning of 2011, the bunker was transferred to the group Denkort Bunker Valentin, which transformed the site into the museum and memorial seen today.
Know Before You Go
Today, the site is a memorial and accessible free of charge. A path runs throughout the site, both inside and out. Audioguides are available for a fee. Limited parking is available near the bunker, and it can be reached using public transport by taking bus line 90 from the train stations Bremen-Farge or Bremen-Vegesack.