We think of the world as a crowded place -- in an era when even Mt. Everest has cell phone coverage, you wouldn't think that anything could go undiscovered for long. But you'd be surprised -- for instance, nearly seven decades after World War II ended, stuff is still turning up -- and we're not talking about an old rusty Luger here or a set of dog tags there. We're talking about stuff like...
#6. A Bunker for Goebbels and Hitler's Bodyguards Discovered in the 90s
Just as Godwin's Law states that every argument approaches the mention of Nazis the longer it drags on, so too does every construction project in Berlin approach Nazi bunkers the deeper it digs. Even today, it seems like the city can't put a shovel to ground without accidentally unearthing another cement time capsule of evil from the 1940s.
For instance, while trying to build a Holocaust memorial in 1998, construction workers stumbled across Joseph Goebbles' bunker. It somehow survived devastating munitions attacks at the end of the war, was sealed up and then just...forgotten about. Goebbles, if you aren't familiar, was the man who led the political charge for Nazism as the Minister of Propaganda and was the strongest advocate of Jewish genocide, so finding his underground fortress in the exact spot dedicated to a holocaust memorial was, well, a bit awkward.
dpa via Berliner Kurier
Really though, it's hard to think of a better "fuck you" to Joseph.
But really, they're used to it by now over there. Just eight years earlier, right after the Berlin Wall came down, Germany wanted to celebrate its reunification by having Pink Floyd's Roger Waters perform The Wall: Live in Berlin, in the exact spot where the wall used to stand. But before they could build the stage, they had to sweep the area for mines since that's the kind of thing you have to do in an area that's affectionately been nicknamed the "Death Strip" for thirty years. Sure enough, while searching for munitions, workers accidentally found something much, much bigger: a secret bunker belonging to "SS Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler," Hitler's aptly named Personal Bodyguard Division. It was filled with helmets, a few weapons and huge, intricate wall murals because Hitler was, after all, an artist first and a crazy murderer second...chronologically anyway.
Despite this being a monumental discovery for historians, Berlin sealed off the SS bunker almost as soon as they found it, because they didn't want anyone turning it into a shrine to Hitler. Sadly, we don't have any descriptions or photographs of the murals. To this day the complex is only marked by an innocuous sign. However, if you know where to dig, don't mind illegality, and you have a good jack-hammer guy then there's always the chance you can see them for yourself.
"In the first room, you'll see the works from Adolf's 'feces' period."
#5. A Nazi surveillance Post in North America Discovered in 1981
Canadian War Museum via The Weather Network
While German U boats would occasionally shoot holes in ships off the coast of North Carolina during WWII, we generally think of fighting Nazis as an away game for Canada and the United States. So you can imagine how surprising it was when Canada found out in the early 80s that Germans once mounted a fully armed expedition into their country without anyone even noticing.
Because attacking vast, frozen continents always worked out so well for them.
In 1943, Germany was hoping to get a heads up on weather patterns originating in the west by dispatching a U boat to set up an Automated Weather Station in Newfoundland. Knowing weather patterns was a crucial advantage to the allies and the Germans knew that if they were going to stand a chance, they absolutely needed to be able to predict storms. So to keep this invaluable station safe in an enemy country they went to extraordinary lengths to disguise it. Specifically, they marked it as property of the "Canadian Weather Service," and that's it. Apparently this complex camouflaging strategy was more than enough because they fooled every Mountie that ever encountered the station for almost forty years.
It wasn't until the late 70's that a retired engineer stumbled onto evidence of its existence while working on a book about, we shit you not, Nazi weather stations. Even though the book somehow never gained cultural traction, this single discovery certainly did. The Canadian authorities located the station in 1981 based on his evidence, almost 40 years after it was erected and the whole thing has become a highlight of the Canadian War Museum, which we also promise totally exists.
Canadian War Museum via uboat.net
"In our next exhibit, we'll see the field Tim Hortons that supplied our men with coffee on the beaches at Normandy."
#4. A Forest Swastika Remained Unnoticed Until 1992
Reuters via Wikipedia
Every once in a while, a nightly news show will try to terrify their audience by bringing a black light to a rundown motel and then using it to reveal all the horrific things that have been coated on the bed sheets and walls for years. Well each year, Mother Nature does more or less the same thing just outside Zernikow, Germany using the magic of fall colors to reveal a goddamned 40,000 square-foot swastika in the middle of a pine forest. And no, it's not just a cruel accident of nature.
"It's the symbol for 'good luck,' kids!"
The formation was only discovered in 1992, when a pilot happened to spot it (presumably thinking he'd been zapped through a time portal). No one in Zernikow is eager to admit that they know who is responsible for planting it (some say it was villagers in the area pledging loyalty to the Nazis, while others claim it was a Hitler Youth project). Regardless, it's hard not to be impressed by the magnitude of the endeavor. Keep in mind that there wasn't a lot of commercial airline traffic in Germany in the late 1930s and certainly none in that particular area, so the creators of the swastika had to have the foresight to predict future airline travel, or else they did it with the hope that a giant symbol of hatred might be the first things aliens would see when they visit (which of course is why it went undiscovered for about 40 years).
And while there are a lot of ways to show your allegiance to a fascist regime, none are so subtle 10 months of the year, and staggeringly flamboyant for two. The swastika is made up of deciduous larch trees in a coniferous forest, so it's not until their leaves yellow in the fall that the swastika even shows up, but for that brief window of time, it's so bright it can probably be seen from space.
"Uh, Houston, I think we're gonna hang up here for another four years or so."
Locals cut down some of the trees once they discovered it to avoid embarrassment, though most of the larches grew back and it was still clearly a swastika right up through 2000 when they finally removed enough of the trees to obscure the image. Clearly there was some synchronicity among allegiant Nazi villagers during the time because in 2006 another forest Swastika popped up in Tash-Bashat, Kyrgyzstan. This time, the symbol was made out of around 600 Fir trees, and still stands to this day. Either this was a pet project for whatever Germany's equivalent for a Parks and Rec Department is or there was one serial swastika tree planter gallivanting around Europe, like a Nazi Johnny Appleseed. We sort of prefer to imagine the latter.