Wolf's Lair (Wolfsschanze) was Adolf Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which would become one of several Führer Headquarters located in various parts of occupied Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa - the invasion of the Soviet Union - in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.

The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian woods about 8 km from the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn). Three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer's bunker was located. These were guarded by personnel from the SS Reichssicherheitsdienst and the Wehrmacht's armoured Führer Begleit Brigade. Despite the security, an assassination attempt against Hitler was made at Wolf's Lair on 20 July 1944.

Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3½-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In the summer of 1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf's Lair original buildings, however the work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in autumn 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces. The Red Army captured the abandoned remains of the Wolfsschanze on 27 January without firing a shot. It took until 1955 to clear over 54,000 land mines which surrounded the installation. Today only impressive concrete ruins exist.

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Kętrzyn, Poland
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Details

Founded: 1941
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jørn Nielsen (2 years ago)
A very interesting place if you are historically interested.Hire a guide to show you around and tell you about the things,because else there is not much information around the bunkers.
Arvydas Pretkelis (2 years ago)
Nice place to remember 2nd world war. Really unique historical place to visit.
Jānis Irbe (3 years ago)
Gloomy yet informative. The megastructures within the site give creeps. Suggestion to owners: historical railway could be restored and interiors of bunkers could be made accessible for visitors.
Richard Jonsson (3 years ago)
An Interesting historical memorial. Suggest you make the tour with a guide, much more interesting that way.
Vykintas Valužis (3 years ago)
Despite that there are almost only a ruins here, it's really nice and interesting place. It's a quiet forest and also historical site which makes it good to spend some time walking here. Just don't make a mistake like me: you should probably get a guide. Because I didn't, and there's not much information written there, so I probably missed a lot...
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The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.

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The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.

Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.

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