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credit Bartek Plebańczyk

Wolf’s Lair and Mamerki – the dissonant heritage of the Third Reich

Such sites are referred to as “dissonant heritage”. The beautiful forests of the Masuria region, which belonged to Germany until 1945, became some of the favorite hideouts of Nazi war criminals. This is where Adolf Hitler and the German ground forces had their headquarters.


Wolf’s Lair

Near Kętrzyn is the small town of Gierłoż. Adolf Hitler built his main war quarters here, the “Wolf’s Lair”(Wolfschanze), named after his nickname. It was from here that the most important decisions on the Third Reich’s war effort were issued.

Wolf’s Lair is a town of bunkers surrounded by forest, lakes and marshes. The quarters were in use from 1941 to 1944. The 2.5 sq. m. facility was located in a thick forest, which was protected from the east by the Great Masurian Lakes system, preventing enemy access.

About 200 buildings were constructed on the Wolf’s Lair site, including 80 brick and concrete structures, in addition to wooden barracks, 2 airfields, a power plant, a train station, waterworks and two long-distance exchanges.

Hitler spent a total of 800 days here. Operation Barbarossa (the attack on the USSR) was coordinated from here, and key war decisions were also made here. Nazi criminals were hosted here, among others Benito Mussolini. Finally, one of the many attempts on Hitler’s life took place here – carried out by Claus von Stauffenberg in July 1944.

Despite the blowing up of much of the complex during the escape from the Red Army, the bunkers still hide many mysteries and impress with their size.


The bunkers at Mamerki (headquarters of the German Land Forces) are the best-preserved buildings on the Masurian route of World War II fortifications. The complex was built between 1940 and 1944 to accommodate 40 top generals and field marshals, 1,500 officers and soldiers of the Wehrmacht. A total of about 250 structures were erected.

It is here that you will find a giant bunker, whose walls and ceilings are 7 meters thick. The exits to the sewers have been preserved, as well as the entire 30-meter underground tunnel connecting bunkers number 28 and 30 in the “City of Brigid.” The Germans did not manage to blow up the shelters, and they were abandoned without a fight in January 1945.

On the premises of the Mamerki complex operates a museum dedicated to the eastern front of World War II. The 30 huge bunkers housed more than 1,000 sq. m. of exhibits, including mock-ups of the battles of Kursk and Stalingrad, a replica of the 25-meter submarine that was to sail the unfinished Masurian Canal, and a 38-meter tower from which you can admire the panorama of Lake Mamry.

There is also a replica of the famous “Amber Chamber” – an exclusive, amber-lined room once commissioned by the King of Prussia from craftsmen in Gdańsk. The decor of the chamber, which was originally located in Königsberg, was mysteriously lost at the end of the war.

Some claim that the retreating Germans hid the amber in Mamerki…




Startpunkt - Wolfschanze

Wolf’s Lair and Mamerki – the dissonant heritage of the Third Reich