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Furnished Nazi bunkers found in Denmark
Old 08-03-2008, 09:11   #1
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Furnished Nazi bunkers found in Denmark

What an incredible find. I can't even imagine that someone would wish to destroy such an important part of history...


Furnished Nazi bunkers surface in Denmark, 60 years on
by Slim Allagui
Sun Aug 3, 12:21 AM ET

HOUVIG, Denmark (AFP) - With a tight grip on his flashlight, Tommy Cassoe looks like a Danish Indiana Jones as he crawls out of a bunker buried under the sand, one of 7,000 the Nazis built along Denmark's western shores to fend off an allied invasion.

"Mission accomplished. The bunker is empty," Cassoe exclaims, showing off his bounty on the Krylen beach to a crowd of onlookers: rusty cans, a plastic vial containing medicine in case of a mustard gas attack, and electrical cables.

This bunker and three others, entombed under the sand dunes of Houvig since 1945, were uncovered a few months ago in a violent storm, when giant waves swept away the sand, exposing glimpses of the cement and iron structures.

The discovery was "a sensation" for history buffs like Cassoe and archaeologists.

"What's so fantastic is that we found them completely furnished with beds, chairs, tables, communication systems and the personal effects of the soldiers who lived inside," says Jens Andersen, the curator of the Hanstholm museum that specialises in Nazi fortifications.

The Nazis built some 8,000 bunkers in Denmark, 7,000 of them on the western coast. They were "emptied by the Danes of their contents after World War II to salvage the scrap iron and electrical devices that were needed."

The discovery in May of the four fully-furnished bunkers, untouched after 63 years under the sand, is considered "unique in Europe," according to Bent Anthonisen, a Danish expert on European bunkers.

They were located by two nine-year-old boys after they spotted a bucket in front of the entrance to one of the bunkers.

Their discovery was reported by a local newspaper, drawing the attention of Cassoe, an electrician who has been fascinated by the existence of the thousands of bunkers since childhood.

He rushed immediately to the scene, and was the first to enter the still-furnished bunkers.

"It was like entering the heart of a pyramid with mummies all around. I dug a tunnel through the sand that was blocking the entrance to the bunkers and what I saw blew me away: it was as if the German soldiers had left only yesterday," he said.

Experts and archaeologists also hastened to the scene, and, working together with Cassoe, emptied the structures within a few days of boots, undergarments, socks, military stripes, mustard and aquavit bottles, books, inkpots, stamps featuring Hitler, medicines, soda bottles, keys, hammers and other objects.

"It was a race against the clock because of the risk of looters. We lied to keep them at bay, saying that there was only one furnished bunker and that it was guarded around the clock, which wasn't true. But even so there were two attempted break-ins," Anthonisen says.

Due to the intense media coverage, the long Krylen beach peppered with bunkers has become the big attraction this summer, drawing thousands of tourists from Denmark and neighbouring Germany for guided tours.

Anthonisen leads a group on a tour of one of the bunkers. Nine soldiers and their commander lived in the cramped, 20-square-meter (215-square-foot) space for five years.

"It was surprising to see the soldiers' living conditions in the bunkers," says Ute Eichorst, a German tourist surrounded by her children and grandchildren.

The bunkers have sparked strong reactions among tourists and the local media.

"In a way, this discovery can be compared to Tutankhamun's tomb almost a century ago. It has to be preserved, and to blow up the bunkers as some have suggested would be like denying that World War II ever existed," says Ole Becher, a Dane whose grandfather was part of the resistence and who was denounced to the Gestapo toward the end of the war.

Local resident Mogens Kock Hansen disagrees, writing in the local newspaper that "everything should be blown up". He's "disgusted that people want to attract tourists to this kind of garbage."

The head of the Ringkoebing-Skjern museum, Kim Clausen, said that while the find "was not from the bronze age, what has been found is incredibly authentic and tells us a lot about how they lived in these bunkers."

All of the objects from the shelters have been taken to the conservation centre at Oelgod museum, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the beach, to be examined.

The centre's German curator Gert Nebrich judged the find "very interesting because it is so rare."

"We don't expect contemporary objects like these to be so well preserved. Maybe it's because they were kept for 60 years in the cold and dark like in a big vacuum," he says, carefully showing four stamps featuring Hitler's image and the German eagle.

They were used by soldiers to "send Christmas presents to their families in 1944," which consisted mostly of packets of Danish butter, Anthonisen says.

"World War II and its memories will not just go away. And discoveries like these breathe new life into the story and the fascination that still surrounds this war," the local newspaper, Dagbladet Ringkoebing-Skjern, wrote in an editorial recently.

That is why the bunkers need to be preserved, it said, adding: "They are part of our common European history."
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Old 08-03-2008, 09:13   #2
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awesome....good find

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Old 08-03-2008, 11:06   #3
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Great photos would like to see more on the items found. Sounds like a Historians dream site.....
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:00   #4
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just wait till they find the Nazi gold...
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Old 08-03-2008, 12:06   #5
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Very cool!
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither Thou goest." - Ecclesiastes 9:10

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Old 08-03-2008, 12:48   #6
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stamps featuring Hitler should bring a small fortune at auction.
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Old 08-03-2008, 16:35   #7
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Originally Posted by cornelyj View Post
just wait till they find the Nazi gold...
Apparently you missed the part where the Nazi Gold was supposedly buried near Bad Toelz.... Rumor had it that it was buried in the many underground levels of Flint Kaserne.
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Old 08-03-2008, 17:51   #8
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Originally Posted by SF_BHT View Post
Great photos would like to see more on the items found. Sounds like a Historians dream site.....
I agree, would be fascinating to see some pictures. Found a local paper, in English, there is a picture of some helmets...perhaps in the future they will have more information.

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Old 08-03-2008, 17:58   #9
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Local resident Mogens Kock Hansen disagrees, writing in the local newspaper that "everything should be blown up". He's "disgusted that people want to attract tourists to this kind of garbage."
Better living through denial. If we just ignore it then maybe it will go away.

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Old 08-14-2008, 10:45   #10
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His attitude is frankly a bit odd for a dane. Most people here readily accepts what happened in Denmark in that time, and to be frank, most of us quite enjoy the historical sites left by the war for what they are, and we see them as something that should be preserved.

For the Germans, the Danish west coast was a pretty good place to be stationed, there was no major engagements taking place around them. This coupled with the fact that we didnt take too much of a brunt from the war its perhaps the why we dont view the bunkers as too much of a negative here. Dont get me wrong, terrible things did happen in our country, but for the general population, now 60 years later, the bunkers are more of a curiositum than a terrible reminder.

It is however still a reminder.

A part of my ex-girldfriends family had a summer residence on the west coast, with an interesting history to it.

The house was a small wooden house(hut) built in the late 1800's by the then, grandfather of the family, he had put in alot of work on the house and it was used as a place for the small family to spend their summers, and was his pride and joy when he lived.

During the war it was commandered by a german commander, who lived there with his personal staff, The family was of course very sad to have their house, and their only memory of the grandfather taken over by the germans, it was an old house and the family loved it, and feared what would happen to it in the hands of the germans.

As the german capitulation drew near, the german commander and his personal staff spent their spare time refurbishing the house for the family. When they came back after the war the only sign of the german occupation of the house, was that repairs had been done, and that it has been cleaned extensively, and finally, a photo that had been left behind, a photo of the commanders family, with a note on the back saying "'m sorry it had to be like this"

That house was beautiful piece of history, simply due to the story it told, and the story left behind by that german commander.

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Old 08-14-2008, 17:22   #11
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Just awsome find!!

I'd love to see more pics.

Heading that way next year. I would love to get a look at these bunkers!

Thanks Gypsy!!

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CNN Gaza Rocket Factory
Old 08-14-2008, 17:48   #12
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CNN Gaza Rocket Factory

Gypsy, did you notice the CNN link from your Denmark Link?

** Select "Gaza Rocket Factory" from selection list if it doesn't come up.


Notice the M16 with Scope... Is this one of the weapons that we gave to the PA for security?

The: Aid Group Security story is also interesting.
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