WWII in real time

German city of Kassel has been devastated by Royal Air Force bombing raid, with over 1800 tons of bombs causing a vast firestorm. https://t.co/D4lJQAwquO RealTimeWWII photo
The first exchange of prisoners of war between UK & Germany has begun in Sweden: most of the 4340 Allied troops released today have been captives for over 3 years. Over 3000 are seriously ill, & are being swapped for German PoWs in similar condition.
17 Allied countries have formed a new body, the United Nations War Crimes Commission, to investigate reports of Axis atrocities. https://t.co/kX5xmfhvGX RealTimeWWII photo
After pursuing retreating Axis forces across Ukraine, Red Army have reached the Dnieper river- Russians are at the gates of Kiev. https://t.co/iLMrqlmLhy RealTimeWWII photo
~110,000 people, 16,000 of them Allied prisoners of war, have died laying 258 miles of track across the Thai-Burmese border: horrific conditions including brutality from Japanese guards, sickness, & starvation. https://t.co/VRGajWc3yo RealTimeWWII photo
Japanese occupiers have opened a new railway linking Burma to Thailand, built in three years of breakneck construction by conscripted labourers & Allied prisoners of war, who call it the “Death Railway”. https://t.co/r4Ws4NAhEa RealTimeWWII photo
On Hitler’s orders, German police in Rome have arrested 1,259 Jewish Italians, for deportation to death camps in Reich. Most of the city’s 8000 Jews have fled into hiding, forewarned by friendly Italian officials.
Nazi propaganda brands those Italians who have chosen to join fight against Germans "fratricides" (kin-slayers) & shows Americans & British laughing at them. Germans still occupy most of Italy & keep over 1 million disarmed Italian soldiers as prisoners. https://t.co/C7T9Mm2UyN RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor prisoners must cross two barbed-wire fences & run across a minefield to flee the camp, under machine-gun fire from SS & collaborator guards. ~300 Jewish escapees die in the attempt, ~150 remain behind. Just over a hundred escape into surrounding forest.
As SS begin to miss the dead officers, inmates begin their breakout, inspired by inmate Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish Soviet commissar: "Our day has come. Most of the Germans are dead. Let's die with honour. Remember, if anyone survives, he must tell the world what happened!" https://t.co/7w4nsBGfHY RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor conspirators spend afternoon killing SS officers, incl. acting Commandant Johann Niemann. Camp's head tailor, a prisoner, asked SS-Untersturmführer to remove his pistol, to try on a leather jacket taken from a murdered Jew. Other inmates then slew the Nazi with an axe. https://t.co/JUfy5hDk6p RealTimeWWII photo
Sobibor will soon be closed; slave labourers know they will be killed, from labels found sewn inside clothes of Jewish "Sonderkommandos" of other camps: "We worked at Bełżec for one year and did not know where we would be sent next… Be aware you will be killed also! Avenge us!"
Sobibor is the fourth most deadly Nazi death camp: ~200,000 people have been killed here in last 18 months, with almost all Jewish inmates gassed on arrival. 600 are kept as slave labour, worked to death while helping to maintain camp & dispose of corpses. https://t.co/Ri4NHgPByP RealTimeWWII photo
Prisoners of Sobibor extermination camp, in German-occupied Poland, have rebelled against their Nazi guards, killing 11 SS men & staging a breakout. 300 inmates have rushed the camp wire under machine-gun fire. https://t.co/yhAaz2ilqs RealTimeWWII photo
Mussolini, now the puppet dictator of northern Italy, "rules" from small town of Salò, with a few loyal Italian troops, unable to command German forces occupying most of the country. https://t.co/wlWZMyxXC0 RealTimeWWII photo
Italian troops who have escaped capture by Germans will now march alongside Allied armies to recapture their country from the Nazis: https://t.co/RJJjlcrONw RealTimeWWII photo
One month after surrendering to Allied forces, government of Italy has switched sides & declared war on Nazi Germany, its former Axis partner. https://t.co/7JNBsVWkV0 RealTimeWWII photo
Portugal has agreed to permit bases for British warships & planes in the Azores, off Atlantic coast of Africa; despite officially being neutral between Axis & Allies, Portuguese government references 570-year-old treaty with UK, signed in 1373, to justify military bases. https://t.co/roFQbBE4R4 RealTimeWWII photo
Nazis struck on Jewish New Year, assuming Danish Jews would be praying at home. SS raids across Copenhagen have arrested ~400 people, but 1000s are in hiding or have already escaped. 90% of Denmark's Jewish population are safe. https://t.co/ZKmjCJaMgY RealTimeWWII photo
Thousands of Danish Jews have now fled to neutral Sweden to avoid arrest by the Nazis, hidden from German occupiers & smuggled out of country on fishing boats by their fellow Danes. https://t.co/hLMKYGFXEW RealTimeWWII photo

The Preservation Group

About us and our Plans

Bunker 13 initially met in 2007/8. We are a group of like-minded people who formed a group together to protect the bunker as it is an extremely important historic building having significant roles in WW2 and used during the Cold War also. The bunker was and is at risk as a vacant building. A target for vandals and other criminal activity. Our challenge was to find a new use for the bunker that preserved and celebrated its past while having a minimal effect on the residents living around the bunker.

We have devised a plan which we think will work for all concerned as it will relieve the residents from the burden of being responsible for the maintenance of an empty Grade 2 listed building which they cannot use. While ensuring the bunker is preserved for future generations having a new active role educating and enriching lives with the bunker experience. No one who has visited the bunker even in its current empty state leaves feeling anything other than enthralled and amazed it still exists and is sitting empty wasting away.

The project has many challenges.

1)The bunkers position in the centre of a residential development.

2)The buildings condition which, although good for a war time structure that has been neglected for many years,  will need a lot of restoration work and updating to make it safe and usable again for access by the general public.

3) Restoration costs a lot of money so making the aims and objectives of the project fit the criteria necessary to be eligible for funding by various funding sources such as Heritage Lottery, Historic England, Architectural Heritage Trust etc.

4) Untangling the mine field of ownership / lease of the building which is extremely complex due to Taylor Wimpey who built the housing development having set up a framework which created a means to fund maintenance on the bunker in perpetuity tying the residents financially to the bunker.

For the bunker to be eligible for the sort of level of funding required to restore the building it has to have a new purpose and be an asset serving the community once more. A chance encounter outside the front of the bunker with a group of youths early in the formation of Bunker 13 sparked the idea of the bunker being an Educational resource. The group had entered the Central Grange estate intent on breaking into the bunker to use the building as a play den as they had done on a number of occasions previously while the development was still an active building site. We were confronted by the gang who asked various questions about the building which informed us that we had in front of us the perpetrators of numerous break ins to the bunker. However when we spent time with them educating them of the buildings original use and importance the gangs attitude changed from hostility at our re-securing the building to one of genuine interest asking if they could help in the restoration and from that day forward the break ins stopped.

Our plan is to open the bunker as an educational resource to teach children about various different aspects of WW2 and the Cold War as the bunker had a use in both era’s informing of the bunkers history and the wars in general making it invaluable to schools as these eras are part of the national curriculum. This qualifies the building for multi streams of funding. The next problem is how to do this when the building is in the centre of a residential development. Our plan is set out below in order.

  1. Obtain funding for initial phase of feasibility studies/building surveys to quantify costs and to obtain a lease/freehold value for the bunker.
  2. Negotiate lease or freehold of the bunker.
  3. Restore and fit out the bunker for educational visits and occasional public visits.

Maintaining the Residential Environment

All of the plans to restore and repurpose the bunker have to be done with the residents of Central Grange in mind and involved to ensure we keep impact on them to a minimum while benefiting the residents by removing the financial burden of the bunker from their shoulders. To do this logistics and planning are key and however our plans are simple.

  1. All access to the bunker will only be by in advance pre booking. No one will be admitted without prior booking to stop unwanted foot fall of people onto Central Grange.
  2. All access to the bunker and Central Grange will be via the bunker bus. Which will drop off outside the bunker no loitering straight into the bunker. Whilst in the bunker the bus will leave site only returning at the pre set time to pick up visitors directly after their time-controlled visit. The bus then leaves site. We estimate 3 bus tours per day maximum.
  3. In the main this will be during school term time and only between the hours of 9.00am >4.00pm. Minimising the impact of the bunker being active.

The above plans will mean that even if you live in front of the bunker entrance you will not see activity involving people entering the bunker if your working hours are 9am>5pm.

To also enhance the appearance of the bunker we will ensure the guard houses are painted and well maintained the current temporary but aesthetically ugly security grills will be a thing of the past and we will sympathetically plant shrubs to mask the disused mast bases behind the main guard house. We will also remove the cattle fencing around the various air vents, make sure they are properly maintained and find a better way to protect them which is pleasing on the eye if possible.

We will always consult with the residents and make changes where required.

Bunker 13 

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