The Mysterious Woman Of Andrews Barracks

A personal memory from 70s Berlin, courtesy of US expat Rose Waterrose…

In the late 70s I lived in Berlin for two years. My husband was in the military and was stationed at Field Station Berlin. We lived in an apartment off base on the corner of Ringstraße and Finckensteinallee about a mile from the Andrews installation.

We walked in and out of those front gates a thousand times. After a while I began to notice an older woman standing across the street on the corner. At first my mind just acknowledged that she was there.

Then I began to wonder why she was there. Her posture was stooped and even if she stood straight, she probably wasn’t anymore then five feet tall. Always shroud in very dark garments, dark shoes and a dark scarf around her head.

You could barely see her face. Even during the hottest part of the summer she wore the same clothing. The closest I ever saw her was from the other side of the street. I was very young, hardly knew any German and would have never considered walking up to her and talking to her. But, I was very curious about her.

Andrews holds a rich and dark history. It began life as a Prussian Cadet School, housed Hitler’s SS, then the Russians, contained the 1936 Olympic pool, then the US Army Security Agency. It was also the center point for the ‘Night of the Long Knives.’

It was a place that when you visited you had that creepy, goose bump reaction. (there were many of those places in Berlin for me, including one room of our apartment) We visited Andrews often to pick up mail, visit with friends, watch a movie, or visit the small PX (Army and Air Force Exchange Service).

At some point we asked the gate guard what the old woman’s story was. There seemed to be two stories. The first was that this woman’s husband had gone to Andrew’s on the night of the long knives and was never seen again.

The other story was that her son had been a member of the SS and had gone into Andrew’s and never came out. Either, or both stories could be true.

It was rumoured that there were many tunnels and passages below the installation and that many people entered and never returned. There were stories that the Olympic pool once held hundreds of dead bodies. I didn’t know that story until recently, but can say that I never swam in that pool because the entire building gave me the creeps.

I have searched for her story on the internet, but have only found a few references to her made by American military personnel. Perhaps I would find something if my German was better.

It always gave my heart a pang when I saw the woman. It never mattered the time of day or the weather… she was always there. I imagine that many people stopped to talk to her during her early sentinel days, but after a period of time just saw her as a fixture, always there. She was very old when we were there and I have thought of her many times and wondered how much longer she stood vigilant.

Rose now lives in Arizona, USA, where she creates original, colourful handicrafts. You can find the original version of this story at her blog and see her wonderful work here.

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Comments

  1. Kim Lapacek says:

    What an intriguing story. Very well written and makes me wonder too…

  2. Debi Babcock says:

    What a hauntingly beautiful story. I admit to feeling a certain amount of goosebumps myself while reading this story. Well done.

  3. waterrose says:

    Thanks so much for featuring my story about Berlin. If anyone remembers this woman or knows her real story, I would love to hear it.

  4. PussDaddy says:

    I really enjoyed your story, sad and somewhat tragic though it was.

    PussDaddy

  5. bruce says:

    i lived on Andrews in Berlin in 1971 to 1975. There were many ghosts and ghost stories i experienced and was told. It was a very dark place. So bad was the energy alot of people would not go into the basements of those buildings.

  6. David Daniels says:

    I was in Berlin from 77-80 & 83-86 at Andrews/FSB. I never heard of this woman but there was one similiar to this who used to hang out at the cemetery near the main px. The cemetery was across from the Army chapel in the BB housing area. Basically dressed the same way and was always there like she was waiting for someone that wasn’t coming back.

  7. waterrose says:

    I never saw the lady at the cemetery by the PX. Would be interesting to know if it was the same lady.

  8. tom pierson says:

    I lived at Andrews from 77 through 79 and saw this woman many times too. I once approached her and ask her if she needed help but she scurried away without speaking. We heard the same story about her husband entering but never exiting.

  9. Michael Chartrand says:

    I was part of Company B USASA Field Station Berlin from 1975 to 1977. I saw this woman many times outside the gates mumbling to herself. The story was then that her husband had been taken in for questioning by the SS in the frenzy that followed the July 20th plot to assassinate Hitler. He supposedly never came out again. It reminded us that for some, WWII was still not over, even 30 some years after the event. The whole place gave me the creeps and I was very glad to leave when my enlistment ended.

  10. Sp5 cenner says:

    Was stationed at Andrews and “the hill” in 1976/77. I don’t remember seeing any “old lady” across the street from the main gate. Spent a few weekends trying to find these tunnels and “creepy” places that the “old guys” would be telling us newbies, but never seen anything that gave me the creeps there. Best story though that I heard was the dog at one of the joints across the street who would stare at a empty chair for quite a period of time from time to time. Story went, he was seeing a ghost.

  11. Dave says:

    Was at Andrew and the Hill 76/77/78. Never noticed any “old Lady” across the street from the main gate.

  12. Larry Crowder says:

    This is a true story. I saw the same older lady and was taken by the story of her sad fate also.

    When I saw her in 1974 when I first arrived in Berlin. She was wearing a dark black fur coat and her gaze was transfixed on the gate. I saw her in a regular basis. After my family came I moved into housing do not remember seeing her again. I do recall she seemed to always could be there late in the afternoon around four o’clock .
    Larry Crowder

  13. Larry Crowder says:

    This is a true story.

    I saw that same older lady and was taken by the story of her sad fate also.

    I saw her in 1974 when I first arrived in Berlin. She was wearing a dark black fur coat at the time, and her gaze was transfixed on the gate. I saw her in a regular basis In the afternoon when people normally got off work.

    After my family, came and I moved into housing, I do not remember seeing her again.
    Larry Crowder

  14. Vernon Kinslow says:

    I served from April 66 to July of 69 at Andrews Barracks with the ASA Field Station Berlin. I was mail clerk most of the summer of 66, moved to the motor pool for a year or so then to work for S4 as a warehouseman then to the supply room as a clerk. I talked to my father while on leave in the summer of 69 and found out he had been stationed at Andrews barracks right after WWII, he got drafted too late to fight, but ended up being part of the occupation troops in Berlin.
    He told me about the mess that the American troops had to clean up after the Russians moved out of the American sector and left what was to be Andrew Barracks to the GIs. The swimming pool was full of the bodies of SS soldiers that the Russians shoot when they took over that area. The Russians took all of their SS prisoners captured at Andrews, made them pick up German bodies and put them into the pool. They then shot prisoners 10 or 12 at a time and forced the next group to be shot to dump those bodies in the pool. They then locked the door to the pool and left the mess to be cleaned up many months later by someone else.I think the old man was telling the truth because the things he described and he looked like he was going to be ill remembering being part of the detail to empty the pool.
    I remember stories about the building across the square from ASA Company A and B having to be searched at night because of the noises coming from restricted areas and no one ever being seen. I do know several times in the summer when the wind was from that direction there was a stench like an old slaughter house coming from that building.

  15. Labrys says:

    I hope you don’t mind, but I will undoubtedly link to you in a day or two for your story of this woman. I, too, was at Andrews….from 1974 to 1979 and saw her almost daily as the trick bus left the gate to go to the Field Station. I’ve told many people about her.

    I heard the same stories about Andrews, and I admit more than one night would walk outdoors and turn on my heel and walk back inside with the hair on my neck rising.
    But I never saw anything and my barracks room was apparently unhaunted.

  16. Susan says:

    We were stationed in Berlin from 1992-94 and swam in the pool on Andrews. I only went once because it was very dark and creepy. Just felt eerie.

  17. Ken says:

    I was there in 76/77 and don’t remember seeing any old woman across the street, nor any feelings of the base being haunted. Heard stories of the tunnels under Andrews, but never found anyone who had actually seen them, all had “heard about them” from someone else. Spent a lot of time across the street at the various bars and such as well and would have had to pass by this lady if she was there.

  18. Tom Batsios says:

    Worked at Tberg for over 3 years. Never heard of any noises other than my moans trying to make it to the end of the 50meter pool. My wife would make 3 laps for everyone of mine. Nothing strange. No tunnels or disappearances, or ghosts or old SS. The same stories went around for Flint Kaserne in Bad Toelz. So many floors below, even flooded and people go missing and so forth. The only difference with me and my wife was that we did not drink to excess or did any drugs. That helped with stupid stuff like these stories…

  19. Martina says:

    I was born in berlin . I lived across Andrews Barrakes from 1977 till 1984. I never seen this women. I lived above the Italian restaurant Almolino. Went next door to the home bar and went dancing down the road at a club called Nashville. I never ever seen this women or heard anyone talk about her. I been on post many times since I end up marrying a soldier. I had a blast on post. We went to the px, watched plenty of movies and watched numerouse baseball games. Had company picnics and hung out at the barraks. No one ever talked about this women. I heard plenty of stories about the SS and Hittler staying there years earlier. But that was to be expected ,it is Berlin the Capitol of Germany . We do have plenty of history. I assume most of these story’s were made up during a bone fire roasting marshmallows .

  20. Lee Lienhard says:

    I was stationed at FSB H&S Co. from Nov 1975 – Sept 1977. My MOS was 31J20 (teletype mech) and worked on the “Hill”. I never noticed this woman and I went out that gate every day bicycling to work. Oh well guess I was watching traffic. Some of my buddies were McIver, Britta, Indermill, Foster, Prince, Lee, and many more that I can’t remember. I never got any creepy feelings at all and I did swim in the pool. I used to run the outside perimeter of the compound at night (it was almost an exact mile) to get exercise and even then never felt creepy. I do remember a rumor that the top floor of the H&S main building being removed because of ghost sightings and nazi paraphernalia show up there. In some of the old photos of Hitler inspecting his troop I can actually see my old rooms window. It was a crazy 22 months….

  21. Bob Lippincott says:

    Was there from 74-77. I remember that best curry-wurst stand was right outside of those gates. Many a night after heavy drinking did my friends and I enjoy curry wurst and pommefrits.

    The lady was there often but I don’t think it was always. Rumor had it that she would also visit a graveyard and that she was looking for someone.

    There were some creepy buildings like the laundromat and there were many tunnels throughout Berlin not just at Andrews. Templehoff probably had the most. The pool never had bodies in it because during the war it was used by the SS and then the Olympics they would not have put bodies in there.

    Andrews had an underground tunnel that connected the pool, main building, Hq and HQ, special troops the mess hall,the Det A, the ASA, and the Mp. We kept equipment in it and yes it was spooky. We only used the top two levels of the tunnels but supposedly there were 2 more that had been flooded because of the suspicion that there may have been traps.

  22. John A. Fossler says:

    Served in Berlin (B Co, ASA & T-Berg)from May,1973 thru August,1977. Was housed in the B Company Barracks from 1973 to 1974, when I got married. Remember seeing the Lady on occasion, but did not get the facts of her story. I swam in the Olympic pool, but never felt the creepy feelings others are mentioning. Never found any tunnels or the like, and did not go into the bunker at Andrews (was not allowed when I was there).

  23. MCGUFF says:

    I remember that lady. She was there every day, Late afternoon…. MARTINA, …I was there at Home Bar and dated Monica Hieute, 1978. If you see this,contact me Please. mcguffda@gmail.com

  24. Mónica says:

    I’m looking for someone who served in Andrews Barracks during the 60’s, possibly until 1973-74 and could have died in an aircraft accident. He was married and had a son, lived in Königsberger Strasse or very near. He was German. I am looking for information as I am researching the life of this soldier. If any knows something about him or think they remember him, I would love to hear from them. You can email me to eowyn-net@hotmail.com. Thanks!

  25. jeff n. says:

    I was 05H2L27 and had a room at the west end of the barracks on the second floor.I would play my 12 string in the shower at night, the acoustics being fantastic with all the tile. Swam in the cavernous pool many times. Never saw the lady but heard of a tunnel or two. One was under the parking lot and the snow would mark its route when it melted and it ran towards our barracks mate on the south side of the Karserne. That building was razed in the seventies.

  26. Jeff tucker says:

    I was at McNair barracks 1980 1982 us army l married a German girl still got her.was at Andrews for training soma met my wife down the street from there at the club nashville time Flys by seems like yesterday.

  27. sue smith says:

    I worked at Andrews Pool from 1977-79 and remember being told about the shootings in the pool and seeing the old lady outside every day. I saw a huge swastika on the wall of the underground plant room and also the entrance to one of the tunnels. staff at the pool talked about the ghost, and that lights would come back on after they had been turned off and the last person had left the building. It only happened to me once, and I didn’t hang around to check what was going on, but just threw the keys into the guard house and left rapidly. I am not a superstitious person, but this was chilling. In spite of these stories and occurrences, I enjoyed working at the pool and worked with a fantastic group of staff.

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