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
See all sites in Kętrzyn

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Founded: 1941
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jørn Nielsen (6 months 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 (7 months ago)
Nice place to remember 2nd world war. Really unique historical place to visit.
Jānis Irbe (8 months 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 (8 months ago)
An Interesting historical memorial. Suggest you make the tour with a guide, much more interesting that way.
Vykintas Valužis (13 months 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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