World War II Sites



Werwolf or Werewolf in German is an abandoned bunker of Adolf Hitler situated in Werwolf Forest 8 kilometers North of Vinnytsia, Vinnytsia Oblast in Ukraine.


Location: Vinnytsia, Vinnytsia Oblast  Map


History of Werwolf

WerwolfF├╝hrerhauptquartier (Fuhrer Bunker) Werwolf was constructed near villages of Kolo- Mikhailovka and Stryzhavka between December 1941 and June 1942 shortly after German forces droved Red Army from the region in the course of Operation Barbarossa in 1941. In December 1941 Blitzkrieg or Lighting War hit a brick wall of Soviet resistance and worsening weather conditions. It came clear that Eastern Front would not be resolved in a matter of months, but over a coarse of extended period of time that required new headquarters for the German high command. Its construction involved over 4086 prisoners of war, local Ukrainian peasants and German engineers under supervision of Organisation Todt. Local historians claim that all of them were massacred upon completion of the project. Although some sources claim that over 14,000 people were used to build Werwolf and all of them were subsequently murdered by the Germans. Their mass burials are located in a village of Stryzhavka.


Ground level of Werwolf consisted of 81 structures that were visible above ground. Most of them were made of wood with concrete base. Some eye witnesses claim that underground structures went as deep as seven levels below ground. Three concrete and steel bunkers provided defence of the compound while barb wire around its perimeter provided extra protection. Other defences included anti- aircraft guns, tanks, anti- tank ditches, minefields and other lines of defence. Accommodation of Adolf Hitler consisted of a modest log cabin with a private courtyard with his own concrete bunker for air raids. Additionally a small garden was planted for Hitler who was a vegetarian. Electricity was produced by a small power plant, white 120 meter deep artesian well provided water for the inhabitants of the compound.


Werwolf also contained features that was supposed to turn military headquarters into a small version of Germany in Ukraine. It had a barber shop, sauna, hospital, cinema, bathhouse and a swimming pool intended for the Fuhrer of the Third Reich, although Hitler never swam in it. A small airfield provided connection between Werwolf with the rest of Germany. Additionally you could reach Berlin by taking a train from Eichenbein train station.


Adolf Hitler visited this most eastern most headquarters on three separate occasions. In addition of Fuhrer Werwolf was visited by Marin Borman, Reichsfuhrer Himmler, Reich Marshal Goering and other many high ranking Nazi German officials. The first visit lasted between 16 July and 30 October 1942. Here despite very hot weather of 45C he managed to get severe case of influenza. About the same time he signed decree Number 45 that split Army Group South into two directions. One was suppose to capture Stalingrad, while another was intended to capture Caucasian mountain with its rich oilfields.


Second visit lasted between 19 February to 13 March 1943. Here he signed an order Number 5 that ordered German Army or Whermacht to destroy Red Army contingent at Kursk. Later it became known as the Battle of Kursk. This largest tank battle in history ended in complete defeat of panzer tank corps. Additionally Adolf Hitler narrowly escaped assassination when he took a flight back home on 13 March 1943. German Resistance planted a bomb on the plane, but unfortunately it failed to explode.


Third and last visit lasted between 27 August and 15 September 1943. General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein asked Hitler for 12 divisions to hold strategic region of Donbass in the Eastern Ukraine. His army group "South" was unable to hold against advance of the Red Army.


After Soviet counter offense drove German presence from most of the Soviet Union Hitler ordered destruction of the Werwolf in 28 December 1943. German soldiers destroyed buildings above ground with powerful explosions while underground entrances were walled up. In March 1944 Red Army liberated Vinnytsia Oblast and explorer Werwolf. Stalin paid particular attention to the Hitler's headquarters and sent a special envoy to find any documents that could be pertained to alleged Nazi German nuclear program. They failed to recover any valuable information.