In 1951 in the small Polish village of Babie Doly, about 30 km from Gdynia, some workers were still removing the rubble left by WWII. Among fragments and ruins, their scrapers met huge reinforced concrete slabs: they had obviously come across an underground military structure, similar to many others found in the area. They raised one of these walls, uncovering the entrance of a bunker for food storage, abandoned by the Nazis six years before, during their retreat from Poland. But, to the surprise of the onlookers, two men emerged from the underground. Blinded by the light, with beards touching their belly, they were obviously in a daze. When the sunlight reached his eyes, one of them dropped stone-dead. The other man, instead, received first aid and, once he had regained consciousness, he told a terrifying story.
He was a German 32-year-old soldier; in 1945, he was in the food depot with five mates when their own troops blew up the entrance with dynamite. The six men were therefore trapped between the reinforced concrete walls of the bunker, without tools to try and dig an escape. Despite their bad luck, they could at least rely on the air that entered through a ventilation fan, unbelievably left undamaged by the explosion; on the other hand, the food packed under there was enough to guarantee their survival for many years, waiting for somebody to come and set them free. But it was increasingly unlikely that they could be tracked down: a World War had just been lost and most likely their names had been deleted as missing in action – just six more casualties in a conflict that had caused millions.
The six men used to drink the rainwater that filtered through the cracks in the walls and dripped from the ceiling; sometimes they happen to wash themselves using a bottle of Rhine wine, taken from the pantry. A few months after they had been imprisoned under ground, two of them could no longer bear that situation and killed themselves. The others had no choice but to put the corpses in two big sacks for the flour.
After some time, two other soldiers fell ill and died of unknown causes. There were only two survivors left, cut off from the world, buried with four corpses and the prospect of ending their existence in that terrible prison.
Days went by, one after the other, until in 1949 they ran out of candles. Everlasting darkness came, and they could no longer perceive the passing of time. You can easily understand that, in a situation like this, even the strongest mind is likely to waver or get definitely lost in madness.
Two long years went by, life on the surface had started again, a destroyed Country needed to be rebuilt. But in their underground grave, the two men had stopped talking; maybe sometimes, breaking the silence, one of them blathered something, just to make sure that the other was still alive. Maybe every now and then they heard sounds, the vibrations of a lorry passing by, maybe they tried to scream, but in vain. Their voices, as their lives, were sealed between the bunker’s walls.
Liberation came at last: as already mentioned, after six years underground, the heart of one of the two survivors was unable to withstand the shock. The other soldier, whose name hasn’t been passed down, but that showed impressive determination to survive, came back up to life.
The Polish workers couldn’t believe his story at first; but, as they descended to the bunker, they found four big jute sacks with the corpses of just as many German soldiers, almost perfectly mummified by the underground’s dry air.
This story, as reported by United Press, was the inspiration for two movies: Nasser Asphalt (1958), where the episode is presented as a canard invented by a young journalist to cover the lack of outstanding scoops from the front and The Blockhouse (1973), adapted from a novel with the same name that sets the events in Normandy instead of Poland and whose protagonists are Peter Sellers and Charles Aznavour.