Wolf's Lair is an abandoned military headquarters
for the high command of the Third Reich including Adolf Hitler. It
is one of the most famous of Fuhrer headquarters or
Fuhrerhauptquartier. It is the site of failed attempt to assassinate
Hitler on July 20, 1944.
5 miles (8 km) from Kętrzyn, Warmian- Masurian
Wolf's Lair is located
near a town of Kętrzyn
in Warmian- Masurian
It was constructed in several phases. The first
started in 1940- 41 then followed in 1942- 43 and final additions
were made in winter, spring and early autumn of 1944. The whole
complex consisted of concrete
structures, wooden huts and barracks. It was impossible to hide the
construction project of this magnitude, but in all papers, maps and
official documents Wolf's Lair was listed as Chemische Werke Askania
or Chemical Plant Askania. Construction was carried out by
organization Todt and employed 2- 3 thousands of workers.
The name of Wolf's Lair was
inspired by old Norse mythology and neo- Pagan occultism that laid
in the heart of National Socialist World view. Adolf Hitler adopted
this name in the early 1930's in hopes this nickname will provide
spiritual defense against all adversaries. Those close to him often
referred to him by this name and many of the bunkers and
headquarters had "wolf" in its root.
From its very beginning Wolf's Lair
was designed as a personal residence for Adolf Hitler and his
closest entourage. He spend 830 days within walls of
Wolf's Lair during his disastrous campaign
against Soviet Union that started with Operation Barbarossa in June
22, 1941. From here Hitler ordered movement of his troops and whole
armies. He spend a last night in Wolf's Lair
on November 20, 1944. He was forced to leave it due to approaching Red Army
during the Baltic Offensive.
Lair is most famous for a failed assassination
attempt by a conspiracy of German Nazi officers. Colonel Claus von
Stauffenberg planted a bomb on July 20th, 1944. The bomb took off,
but it didn't kill Hitler. Instead conspirators were arrested and
subsequently executed on the orders of Fuhrer.
Wolf's Lair is an open air museum open to the
public. It was the largest of all Hitler's headquarters. In a sense
it is a military town of its own. It contains 80 bunkers and other
fortified buildings spread in a thick forest. Bunkers were protected
by a wall thickness of 6.4 meters at its wall, while the roof
thickness was protected by up to 8 meters. In total Wolf's Lair covered a total area
of 250 hectares with over 200 buildings. During construction of Wolf's Lair engineers tried to
save the trees as much as they could. Dense forest protected the
sight of buildings of the military complex. Additionally they
planted shrubs and grasses on top of buildings to conceal their
shape and layout (see the picture below).
Visiting Wolf's Lair
Keep in mind that Wolf's Lair is
fairly large. It can be smart to take the picture of the map that is
located at the entrance to the compound. It is easy to get lost in
the dense forest.
Wolf's Lair was divided into several zones. Zone
1 was obviously reserved only Adolf Hitler and his staff. Here there
was the operational headquarters of the Wehrmacht to the north of
the railway. The main staff building was surrounded by several rings
of barbed wire, watchtowers, minefields, anti- aircraft and machine-
Zone 2 surrounded Zone 1 and
contained civilian and military offices as well as rail station of
Wolf's Lair. Headquarter commandant lived in the south region of
this zone. While South- East regions of Zone 2 was inhabited by
officials of Military Aviation (Luftwaffe), Navy (Kriegsmarine),
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Armaments.
Zone 3 of Wolf's Lair was located
between Zone 2 and minefields that surrounded the whole compound.
Here military guards carried their watch of the periphery, while
anti- aircraft kept the skies safe from enemy attacks. After the end
of World War II
Wolf's Lair was abandoned. Between 24th and 25th
January 1945 Red Army blew up main buildings of the Wolf's Lair.
Some of the bunkers can be accessed, but it is too dangerous to go
below ground. Polish and Red Army spent over 10 years demining the
area. They discovered about 54 000 mines and more than 200 000
different ammunition. Right picture show the monument dedicated to
all Polish soldiers and officers who perished while removing this
deadly material from the grounds of the Wolf's Lair.