8 km east of Ketrzyn (Rastenburg) at Wilczy Szaniec near Gierloz. This
is just south of the Russian border.
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|Hitler established his new headquarters near Rastenburg.
|the Stauffenberg Assassination Attempt at Wolf's Lair fails.
|an attempt by retreating Germans to blow the bunker failed.
This is a grim reminder of the thousands of Nazi slave workers who perished whilst building these bunkers, an enormous complex which covers an area of 2.5 km. This was Adolf Hitler's main headquarters between September 1941 and September 1944. Hitler spent most of his days here, except for short visits to Berlin and Berchtesgaden. These concrete bunkers, with their 6 m thick walls were built by the dreaded Todt Organisation who's supervisors were notorious for their ill-treatment of prisoners. During the German retreat in January 1945, they attempted to blow up the building, despite this there is still much to be seen today.
A twenty minute walk through dense woodland, which was well camouflaged with netting, making it invisible from the air, leads one to Führer Bunker No. 13, Hitler's personal quarters. Nearby is a plaque marking the spot where Hitler was nearly assassinated on July 20, 1944 by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg (*1907-✝1944). The plaque, in Polish and German, was unveiled in 1992 by the sons of Count von Stauffenberg. It commemorates their father and the other participants of the failed assassination attempt who were all cruelly murdered by the Nazis.
The surface building where Hitler was nearly killed was only partially constructed of reinforced concrete, so that the full effect of the blast was diffused and Hitler survived.
The grim aspect of the Wolf's Lair is in stark contrast to the fairground appearance of the adjacent area with its crowded car parks, souvenir stands, pivo stalls and amber merchants.
Text by Tony Oldham (2002). With kind permission.