Inside the Haunting Remains of Secret WWII Bunkers
Photographer Reto Sterchi takes us through a Swiss military shelter built into the mountains.
Echoes of Switzerland’s secretive past still linger, buried deep in the mountains and foothills of its deceptively bucolic landscape. It reverberates in thousands of tunneled bunkers conceived as a tactical fortress against Hitler’s advance. Known as the “Defense du Réduit” strategy, the bunkers were built as a hideout for government and army commanders in case of an invasion. These cavernous war rooms, used right up until the late 20th century, were the country’s last hope of survival.
But it is the mystery rather than the history that led photographer Reto Sterchi to document what he calls the “Swiss Mountain Myth.” As a boy, he used to play by a river at the foot of the Alps where the ruined remains