Alternative seat of the Saarland state government

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The alternative seat of the Saarland state government is a former bunker in the northern Saarland city ​​of Wadern , where the Saarland state government should seek protection in the event of a nuclear attack . The entire facility is a listed building.

former telecommunications bunker
former telecommunications bunker


In 1957 the Federal Ministry of the Interior began planning command posts for the federal and state governments in order to be able to continue government business in the event of a nuclear war. With the reintegration of the Saarland on January 1, 1957, the new federal state was also included in the planning. The city of Wadern was chosen because the place was far outside the state capital Saarbrücken and a tunnel system and an old Wehrmacht bunker already existed here . In addition, the high altitude guaranteed a good location for the telecommunications systems.

The measures were subject to absolute secrecy. Therefore, only a very small group of people in the state building authority was inaugurated for special tasks in planning and carrying out the work on the expansion. The construction work was disguised and carried out under the guise of "improving medical care". Therefore the building designations were also SANI I and SANI II. SANI I was the code name for a tunnel system in Octavie-Allee in Dagstuhl, SANI II was the code name for the Wehrmacht bunker "Am Hals", which was to be expanded into a telecommunications center.

SANI I was to be built in three construction phases. The plan was to fortify the existing tunnel and drive two transverse tunnels into the ground that would accommodate 109 employees in 24 rooms. In a second construction phase, a third transverse tunnel was to be built that would accommodate 41 rooms for 250 people. As a final step, two more cross tunnels were to be drilled to accommodate additional government personnel. The tunnel system was to be expanded so that the employees of the most important ministries could be accommodated in the bunker, which would be necessary to maintain the state government's ability to act. However, the construction work was stopped in October 1967 because difficulties arose during the construction work. Due to the desperate budgetary situation in Saarland, in 1973 the building was temporarily refrained from continuing. So not even the construction work of the first construction phase was completed.

An old Wehrmacht bunker, which was built in 1939 as part of the western wall as part of the Aachen-Saar program as a battalion command post, was to serve as the exit structure for SANI II . The bunker WH K1 was built as a standard construction type 117a in the extension “B new” and secured with a wall and ceiling thickness of two meters of reinforced concrete. The expansion began in 1962/63. The responsible ministry provided the Saarland with the telecommunications technology with an antenna system. A telecommunication device was installed in the rooms. There should be 30 people working in shifts. In addition, living rooms were furnished, an emergency power generator, its own water supply and air conditioning. Telecommunication lines led to the alternate seat of the federal government , the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the armed forces. In contrast to SANI I, the telecommunications system was fully functional.

In addition to SANI I and SANI II, a civil defense system was built in the basement of the new building of the Hochwaldgymnasium in Wadern, in which the security personnel to guard the alternative seat was to be housed. In addition, there was an emergency system for communication, which was supposed to maintain reduced communication in the event of a failure of SANI II. Until the completion of SANI I and II, the system should also serve as an emergency escape seat.

In 1977 work on the alternative seat was completely stopped for reasons of cost. By then, the building had devoured 12 million Deutschmarks. Until November 1993 the system was still serviced by SANI. The control operations of SANI II were stopped in 1999/2000. The alternative seat was kept secret until October 2008.

Architecture and equipment

The alternate seat of the Saarland state government consists of three underground bunkers that were not connected to each other. All parts of the former facility are now a listed building. The Saarland was the first federal state that had already started planning the alternative seat in 1957. The system thus has a “pilot function” with a “high certificate value”. The Westwall bunker of SANI II was only built 72 times nationwide and is the only surviving structure of this type in Saarland. The bunker is also an important example of the post-war use of bunker structures for civil defense tasks. The preserved construction equipment represents "detailed objects as well as social and technical connections" of a bunker system.

SANI I (tunnel system, alternative seat of the state government)

The tunnel system ( location ) was already laid out in the 1930s in connection with the nearby Wehrmacht bunker on a slope west of Dagstuhl Castle and originally consisted of two tunnels with cross tunnels dug horizontally into the slope. Today the entrances lead to a parabolic cross tunnel. From there you get to a long cross tunnel. The right connecting tunnel leads to a third cross tunnel with toilets and well chamber. An emergency exit is also planned here. In addition, a fourth cross tunnel branches off here, which was not completed. It has its own access tunnel to Octavie-Allee. The new tunnels were designed as concrete tubes and should have a floor above a footbridge under which the cabling should run.

An above-ground entrance structure was built above the facility, to which the emergency exit leads via a 30 meter high ladder. A lifting crane also belongs to the structure.

SANI II (bunker, expanded to a telecommunications center)

The Wehrmacht bunker ( location ) is around 500 meters north of the tunnel system. The bunker of the standard building type 117a has two entrances, which are secured with a flanking system, entrance defenses and gas locks. Originally, the system was divided into a right part, which was used to accommodate the crew and supplies, and a left part, in which the communication and the officers' quarters were housed. The new telecommunications technology comes from 1963 from Standard Elektrik Lorenz. There was also its own power supply and air conditioning. The construction equipment has been preserved.

Civil defense facility Hochwaldgymnasium (accommodation of security personnel)

In the back of the school ( location ) a staircase leads down to a lock door through which one enters the facility. A long corridor with a generator leads to eleven rooms, which are divided into two quarters separated by a steel lock door. Each of the quarters has five rooms with 20 beds each and a hallway with sanitary facilities. Bedrooms and lounges are furnished with bunk beds and seating. The rear quarter has a battery room and an emergency exit. The construction equipment has been preserved.


The alternative seat had a separate power supply with its own transformer station on the access road to the Dagstuhl castle ruins .


In front of the entrances to SANI I on Octavie-Allee, a meadow area was kept free by Dagstuhl Castle so that helicopters could land here in an emergency to drop off government personnel.


  • The former alternative seat of the Saarland state government in the city of Wadern . Brochure for the Open Monument Day 2013, City of Wadern ( online as PDF )
  • Wulf Wein: A place of refuge just in case . Saarbrücker Zeitung, April 24, 2010 ( Online as PDF )

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. List of monuments in the Merzig-Wadern district ( Memento from May 2, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), Saarland Monuments List, Saar Monuments Office, p. 44 (PDF)
  2. ↑ Switched to "Auto" ( Memento from May 15, 2013 in the Internet Archive ), aus, accessed on October 29, 2015
  3. ↑ Foundation of the monument, in: The former alternative seat of the Saarland state government in the city of Wadern , o. P.