Air-Raid Shelter "Monument"

In a park in the city of Hamburg stands the largest Bismarck monument in the world. It is almost as tall as the statue of "Christ the Redeemer" in Rio de Janeiro (although admittedly, the Bismarck statue has a larger pedestal).

It was built in the years 1901 to 1906 to honor the former German chancellor who had died in 1898.

The monument has a total height of 34.3 meters (base and figure) and weighs 625 tons.

The actual figure of Bismarck is 14.8 meters high. The height of the head is 1.83 meters, the length of the sword is ten meters.

Bismarck-Denkmal in Hamburg

Centrally inside, just below the figure, there is a 15-meter-high circular space made of brick masonry, slightly tapered at the top. The inner diameter of this drum is 3.70 meters. The cavities in the monument base originally served to ventilate the structure.

During the war years 1939 to 1941, the hollow spaces of the monument were converted into air raid shelters for up to 950 people. They were intended primarily for passers-by, visitors to the port area, and direct residents. Intermediate ceilings and partition walls were installed using 2,000 tons of concrete. Eight honeycomb-like rooms were thus created inside around the 15-meter-high stone drum beneath the statue. Stairs lead to the lower levels of the shelters. After 1941, a golden swastika was placed in the cone top of the round room. Painted on the wall is a giant eagle carrying an oak wreath in its talons. Inside this wreath is probably a whitewashed swastika. In addition, there are other murals in the interior, including coats of arms and a swastika as a sun wheel (see also Black Sun) and - out of context - quotes from Bismarck in fracture.

The monument's substructure, damaged by bombing during World War II, was repaired by late summer 1950 at a cost of 50,000 marks. Until then, the former air-raid shelter inside the Bismarck monument was a welcome night shelter for homeless youths.

Due to the concrete load of the air-raid fixtures, the walls of the base were stressed, cracks appeared in the walls, there are stalactites inside, and the figure would allegedly lean, the local press said.

Since the beginning of 2020, the Bismarck Monument has been restored at a cost of 8.9 million euros.


Visited: December 12, 2019

Location: Hamburg, Germany

Status: Active

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