July 25, 2003
IF THE WEAPONS HAVEN'T BEEN FOUND BY NOW, THEY WERE CLEARLY NEVER THERE -- I don't care what this report says:
AN AIRPORT used by hundreds of thousands of tourists and business travellers each year could be sitting on top of thousands of live bombs.
Papers among thousands of files captured from the Stasi, the secret police of East Germany, claim tons of live Second World War munitions were buried in concrete bunkers beneath the runways of Schoenefeld airport in East Berlin. It is now the main destination for discount airlines, such as Ryanair, and numerous charter companies.
Not only did the commissars intern munitions beneath the runways, but also entire Nazi fighter planes, all fuelled and fully bombed-up, according to the Stasi.
The captured files of Interflug, the former East German government airline and the airport authority of the DDR, are now being examined to see if the Stasi claim is true. . . .
A spokesman for the airport said: "We became aware of the bunkers in 1993, four years after the fall of the [Berlin] Wall. A check was undertaken then and everything was determined to be safe."
But he conceded that he was astounded at the claims that fully-fuelled and bombed-up aircraft lie beneath the runways and said new tests about the safety of the structures will be carried out.
He added: "We had no idea that so much ordnance is supposedly under there."
Frank Henkel, the Conservative interior ministry spokesman, said: "This must be investigated thoroughly and immediately and the runways strengthened if necessary."
Berlin, with its sandy, dry soil, was perfect for the bunker-building of the Third Reich. Hundreds of thousands of them were constructed during the 12-year lifespan of the Nazi government: for every one metre of building above ground in modern-day Berlin, there are three metres below ground.
Bunkers are being discovered every day and a group called Underground Berlin has turned several of them into tourist attractions.
Fascinating story, actually.