It was 71 years ago today that Adolf Hitler retreated to a bunker in Berlin for the last days of the Reich as well as the last days of his life.
Today, an image of him remains in a bunker of sorts right here in KwaZulu-Natal.
The flick fringe and trademark moustache is imprinted on the wall of a derelict bunker where a World War II soldier would have used a marker to point out where a marksman’s bullets would have hit a target.
It’s like a rock painting in the Drakensberg only it’s a pencil drawing that has stood the test of time on that wall in the Bisley Nature Reserve in Pietermaritzburg.
Accompanying the pencil portrait of Die Fuhrer are other markings: troops names and the shooting scores of marksmen.
“What is now Bisley Nature Reserve was the shooting range,” historian T B “Jack” Frost, who is also editor of Natalia historical journal, told The Independent on Saturday.
The capital city’s suburb of Hayfields, then known as Hay Paddock, had in it a transit camp used by World War II troops from all over South Africa, on their way up North.
“These guys would have marched over to the shooting range to practice their shooting.”
He said they would have been “bored to hell” and drawn the graffiti.
Frost also noted that since World War II the terrain around the old shooting range had changed from open grassland to bush.
An embankment behind the bunker had been peppered with the slugs of many bullets.
“But by now many young boys have picked them up over the years to use as sinkers for fishing.”