After the Soviets liberated the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in April 1945, they immediately occupied all buildings and structures in and around Oranienburg which they thought they could profit from such as the Sachsenhausen Camp, The SS hundertschaftsgebäude and the SS Bath and Boiler House, the Flugplatz Oranienburg and the nearby Versuchsstelle für Höhenflüge, and various administration buildings – and demolished everything else which they had no use for such as the SS- Hundeschule and other military and camp structures hidden in the Oranienburg forest.
Oranienburg was an important base for the Soviet Troops in Germany primarily because of its proximity to Berlin. After the Dog Training School and various other buildings school next to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp had been torn down, they built up, in collaboration with the NVA (Nationale Volksarmee – National Peoples Army) a munitions depot. Several large storage halls were constructed, while the rest of the area was filled up with several dozen camouflaged munition bunkers. The whole area was then protected by 2 layers are electrified barbed wire fences.
While the NVA was officially established in 1956 – battalions had secretly been built up beforehand under the guise of the Paramilitary Volkspolizei – so it is rather unclear when the munitions depot officially “opened” in Oranienburg and when the first troops moved in.
The first NVA troops to move in was the Artillerieregiment 1 (AR-1) “Rudolf Gyptner“, and they were stationed there until 1975, when they were relocated to Lehnitz along with the Bataillon Chemische Abwehr 1 (Chemical Defense Battalion). After 1975, the Motorisiertes Schützenregiment 1 (MSR-1) “Hans Beimler” was stationed at the Munitionsdepot Oranienburg. The MSR-1 had the dubious honor of being planned in for a key role for the invasion of West Berlin, had the soviets ever gone through with their threats.
After the DDR collapsed, a small portion of the NVA troops were carried over into the Bundeswehr. The rest of the former East German Army were relieved of their duty. The MSR-1 Regiment was officially disbanded on the 2nd October, 1990. As with the NVA troops, the Bundeswehr had no need for the countless military bases. The Munitionsdepot in Oranienburg was cleared of all valuable materials and left for the forest to reclaim.
While the double layered barbed wire fence still surrounds the property, it’s no longer electrified and several holes make entering a piece of cake. Theres hardly anything left worth seeing. If you’ve seen one empty storage hall, you’ve seen them all. And the same goes for munitions bunkers. While exciting at first, after seeing 2 dozen of them (with no end in sight) they no longer have the same allure.
While strolling past the bunkers, you can see recently crafted barricades, C02 cartridges and soft air pellets. It’s quite clear that depot is being used by groups of people for soft air battles. At least someones found a good use for it.
As with the SS-Hundeschule, this place is not worth visiting by itself. But combined with the SS Funkbunker Karo Ass, the Hundeschule, and the other sites hidden in the forest (which are all next to each other) it’s definitely worth stopping by.
For more Photos of the Bunkers – check out the Flickr Album: Munitionsdepot Oranienburg
How to get there: Its relatively easy to find. Head out to Friedrichsthal-Oranienburg and cycle down the Oder Havel Canal until you get about level to the klinkerwerk on the other side. There are several small dirt paths which lead into the forest. Walk down one of those for about 5 minutes and youll stumble across the fence.