Before it became the Lager Koralle Bunker Complex, the goal was to build a naval academy in the outskirts of Berlin. But, after some test radio transmission, the Navy decided to change its plans and create what we would call the German Command of the Navy.
We visited this abandoned bunker complex in Bernau back in the winter of 2020. We were looking for some Dark locations, precisely the Waldhotel Winden. And, since we were in the area, we decided to explore some spots we had saved from an article we read on Abandoned Berlin a couple of years before.
We walked in the forest with our friends from Canal Alemanizando. Due to time, we didn’t go in the direction of Villa Dönitz, or else we would get stuck in the forest. But we managed to find our way into two bunkers in this abandoned complex.
Also, we didn’t even try to look into the underground bunker since we knew it would be blocked by a concrete slab. If you want to see how it looks, you should check what Abandoned Berlin wrote about it when he went there, back in 2013.
Now, let’s talk about the history behind these abandoned bunkers from the Second World War that can be found next to Berlin.
The history of the Lager Koralle Bunker Complex
As we mentioned before, the first idea was to use the land in Lobetal, a small community a few kilometers away from Bernau, as a Navy School. But plans changed, and in 1939, construction started between the trees.
Since the Second World War was in full force, Berlin was a target of aerial bombs. To avoid communication issues with the Navy, the German Navy High Command decided to move its command center from Berlin into a safer area.
The German Navy High Command, known in German as the Oberkommando der Marine or OKM, moved its structure and forces into the Lager Koralle complex in January 1943. A radio station was set up, and all the communications from the Navy to the submarines and ships came out of this place.
For us, it’s weird to think that all the submarine warfare from Nazi Germany was being controlled and conducted from a bunker complex in the middle of the forest in Brandenburg, but this is what happened. And we cannot imagine a safer place than this since nobody would expect the control center to be hidden there.
The bunker complex known as Lager Koralle consisted of an anti-aircraft bunker, an elevated bunker, and an underground bunker from where the headquarters of Oberkommando der Marine operated from. The area also had barracks, several water ponds to store water in case of fire damage, and several smaller structures. Some of them can still be found in the forest today.
It seems like, at the height of the Second World War, Lager Koralle had over a thousand people working in the complex. Which makes this place as necessary as the bunker complex we visited in Wünsdorf a couple of years ago.
The concrete remains of the Luftschutzbunker
After spotting some abandoned barracks and other smaller structures in the forest, we knew we were in the right place on our walk from Lobetal to Lager Koralle once we spotted the concrete remains of a Luftschutzbunker. This is the German name for a structure designed to protect people against air raids. Essentially, an air-raid shelter.
But the Luftschutzbunker in Lager Koralle is a sight to see with your own eyes since it feels like an alien ruin, in a way. Surrounded by trees covered in moss and graffiti, this bunker is fantastic for pictures. And we spent way too much time going around it, looking for different ways of documenting what we saw there.
One exciting thing about this Luftschutzbunker is that the bunker entrances survived the demolition. You can walk into the ruined core of the structure, where you can still read at least one original German text on the concrete walls.
Der Aufenthalt in den Gängen ist verboten! is barely readable, and it means that it’s forbidden to stay in the hallways. Which makes a lot of sense since this bunker would be a shelter for hundreds of people. Today, it’s just a mountain of concrete debris where some people decided to set up some climbing gear.
Exploring the Lagezimmerbunker
A short walk away from the Luftschutzbunker is where you will find the Lagezimmerbunker. This structure looks a bit different than what we were expecting to see since it feels like a mixture of Second World War ruins with something newer. It was only when we were researching for this article that we realized that the bunker was used by the police as a training facility. This is why there are some modifications to the ruins!
The Lagezimmerbunker is different from the other bunker we explored. It had space for canons and big guns above it. Probably be used in the case of enemy aircraft in the area.
The primary use of this bunker was as a war room where Navy officers could have meeting rooms, communication stations, and other spaces where they could conduct the war effort from. But none of these places is visible today.
Following the end of the Second World, there was an attempt to demolish the bunker, but it seems like it wasn’t very successful. We had an impression that the ceiling cracked down but didn’t move much. When you visit the bunker, you can walk above it and see what we mean.
What remains of the Lager Koralle today
During the Battle of Berlin, the Red Army advanced close to the bunker complex. An order came to leave Lager Koralle and go to Objekt Forelle, an alternative camp near Plön in Schleswig-Holstein. The order was issued on April 19th, 1945, and, a couple of weeks later, the Second World War was over.
Lager Koralle didn’t last long under the Red Army command. Large parts of the bunker complex were blown up and destroyed by Soviet troops. The ruins that you can see in the pictures here are what remains.
How to find Lager Koralle
If you want to explore an abandoned bunker complex around Berlin, Lager Koralle is a fascinating historical location. The Lagezimmerbunker and the Luftschutzbunker are really easy to reach, and you can follow the map below to go there.
Don’t forget to bring your camera and a good flashlight whenever you go to Lager Koralle or any urban exploration location. A flashlight would be pretty good since there are places where it might be hard to see, and hitting your head is never a good call.
If you want to visit the underground bunker, you should reach out to Team Delta, who takes care of the place, and see what they can do to help you out.
Lager Koralle: Exploring the Abandoned Bunker Complex of Oberkommando der Marine