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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Founded: 1941
Category: Castles and fortifications in Poland


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User Reviews

Arick McNiel-Cho (7 months ago)
A fantastic historical location. Under new ownership and they were making it ready for the season. Nice walking path. Get the information book in the gift shop and not at the entrance vendor. Much better price! Seeing the magnitude of the bunkers is very impressive! Also really liked the museum setup recreating the briefing room where the failed assassination attempt occurred.
Matthijs Iseger (11 months ago)
Wolfsschanze" was the codename of one of the Fuhrer headquarters in Europe and stood near Kętrzyn, in northeast Poland. Plans for the construction of this bunker complex was made in the autumn of 1940. About 2,000 persons worked and lived here in the period 1941-1944. The "Wolfsschanze" became famous because of the failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler at this place on 20 July 1944. The dictator was only slightly wounded.
Kelly Kasepuu (17 months ago)
We arrived before noon and the parking lot was practically empty. Exploring around took a couple of hours and around noon the parking lot was very full so I advise you to plan your visit to the earlier hours. The site itself was quite interesting and informative without the guides too (there were couple of people who offered guiding services but we politely said no).
Konstanty Keda (17 months ago)
A lot of bunkers, however almost all ruined, so you can not enter. There was only one English speaking guide (we were just after lift of quarantine). Reasonably priced (10PLN for student and 5 for car parking). Would recommend to visit with a guide
Magdalena Huzarska (17 months ago)
Visited after having been there a couple of years back. Now it's a lot better, especially with infrastructure for tourists. I didn't take the guided tour, but that would probably allow to get to know more about the place. Definitely for WWII fans. Especially that there are more sites in the area.
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