Adolf Hitler's final bunker has long been destroyed and buried forever, but a full-size replica now exists in Berlin intended as a monument to the downfall of the Nazi regime.
The model of the bunker is the controversial centrepiece of a new private museum, named "How Could it Happen", which opened this spring in a former World War II air raid shelter close to the location where Hitler killed himself in 1945.
The historians behind the museum say they have been accused of building a "Hitler Disney" but countered that the museum is intended to address worrying ignorance as to the realities of the Nazi regime, and to show the depths to which a civilization in the thralls of a dictatorship can fall.
Enno Lenze, a guide and board member of the museum, told The Times that he had frequently been asked questions demonstrating exceptionally low awareness of issues related to the Third Reich.
“A common question we get is why the Jews financed Hitler even though he was against them,” Lenze said. “Another frequent question is who drove the Nazis into the bunkers to gas them. Those questions came from teachers.”
Wieland Giebel, the museum's designer and curator, defended the painstaking recreation of the bunker, which includes a grandfather clock, floral sofa and an oxygen tank.
"This room is where the crimes ended, where everything ended, so that's why we're showing it," Giebel told Reuters. The bunker is behind glass and protected by video cameras. Visitors are forbidden from taking photographs.
The museum, which took four months to build and cost a reported €1.3 million, tells Hitler's complete life story, using 2,300 images, including 800 that have not been shown in public before.