Machern is the site of the former STASI bunker for the Leipzig region, and is thus very similar to Körbelitz, but fully equipped. It is now operated as a public museum. Machern is c. 17 km east of Leipzig. The STASI HQ in the city is now a public museum also. The east German revolt against communism originated largely in Leipzig.
The 'cover story' for this bunker was that it was holiday chalets for waterworks employees! There were already genuine chalets nearby (and still are), and additional ones, including fakes, were built. The bunker had been
stripped out, but has been re-equipped. It is a 5.2-hectare site, the bunker built entirely by the STASI and local officials / police were not allowed knowledge of it. There were 2,400 STASI personnel in Leipzig. When a
30,000 - strong anti-communist demonstration was expected, STASI and police were assembled to cope with that number but in the event 75,000 demonstrators turned up and the Leipzig city HQ was seized. The Machern
bunker was abandoned and subsequently discovered. The bunker diesel exhaust was positioned beside a chalet chimney to deceive thermal imaging! Entrances (two, with sliding horizontal steel panels as at Körbelitz) are inside a surface building. A receiving radio antenna looked 'like a tree' and was hard to spot amongst genuine trees and artfully positioned screens blocked views of important parts of the site (such as air intakes / Diesel exhausts) There were boundary dog runs and a fire engine was kept on site. Construction materials were stockpiled off site, and brought onto the site via a rear entrance, not along the road passing the established holiday homes. There was a remote transmitting aerial. The bunker had NBC protection. It was built 1969 - 72 (one of the first to be built) STASI were established c. 1953 following an anti-Russian uprising in East Berlin
which was put down by tanks and troops. It was said the STASI should have known about and prevented this, thus a system (approximately an equivalent of our MI5 / MI6) was set up to control the whole DDR which was divided into 15 regions, each with a bunker such as this, sub-districts also had bunkers! Police, the Communist Party, and the Army also all had bunkers but the STASI had the 'best' bunkers. Party bunkers had very poor protection! They were planning the 'liberation' of West Germany! There would have been 'camps' for the imprisonment of foreigners and 'undesirables.' Most documentation has been destroyed, and few ex-STASI personnel have ever been charged or convicted of offences as there is too little evidence, and too costly in
legal proceedings? In the event of war there would have been three KGB 'advisers' at Machern, although in fact no Russians were ever on-site.
In the event of war it was assumed Leipzig (25 km distant) would have been lost as a result of nuclear attack but the Machern bunker might have continued active for six days (it was assumed the war would last three days!) What would the Machern bunker occupants have restored, and for whom?!
Technical data on air-filters and related plant was classified information and exact knowledge of contents would lead to strategically important knowledge of what gases were expected. The STASI had a 'map falsification'
department (but of course our own OS maps never told the whole truth either!) There is a 'bicycle' driven style filtration plant just to ensure air circulation and 12 hrs air reserves held in cylinders (druckluft) Battery reserves were prioritised for working the signals equipment.
Of 85 staff there were five women for cooking / cleaning! Flush toilets were used unless bunker was sealed, in which case then chemical toilets were used. Provision was made for the storage of waste and corpses. Badly
contaminated or irradiated personnel were to be pushed outside and abandoned. Diesel oil was stored being sufficient for 35 days. Körbelitz is a later, improved design STASI bunker.