- Location: In Gierloz village about 8 km east of Ketrzyn in northeast Poland.
- Attraction Type: Historical place
- Significance: Adolf Hitler’s headquarters in Poland
- Best Time to Visit: May to September
- Visiting time: Daytime
- How to reach: By road from Ketrzyn
- Nearest International Airport: Frederic Chopin International Airport in Warsaw
Visiting Wolf’s Lair is like being in the midst of Gothic fantasy. The sinister aura exuberated by the remains of this expansive bunker complex makes it a very popular tourist attraction. Hitler, along with the high officials of the Socialist Party or the Nazi Party made this site their veritable head-office prior to Operation Barbarossa, the offensive on Russia in 1941. It was demolished prior to the German retreat after being dealt a heavy defeat by the Russian army. Wolf’s Liar, along with Aushwald, is a living testimony to the unbelievable monstrosities perpetrated in the wake of the Second World War.
History of Wolf’s Lair
Adolf Hitler built Wolf’s Lair in the quiet and secluded hamlet of Gierloz, in what was then a part of the German province of East Prussia. The idea was to provide a safe haven for the Nazi officials and soldiers, including rank and file and higher officials of the Nazi ranks before the Russian invasion of 1941. The self-sufficient complex had as many as 80 rooms, 50 among them being bunkers. It was served by its own electric and water supply as well as a nearby airfield. What the most fascinating was the way it was literally whisked away in the interiors of a deserted wilderness, perfectly camouflaged with barbed wired and other defensive strategies.
Hitler spent an eventful 800 days at the bunkers of Wolf’s Lair before leaving it for the last time on 20th November 1944, in the face of immense military pressure from the Russian frontline. The Nazi plan failed to come to fruition, and the Russians victoriously approached Angerburg, the Germans thought it wise to blow up the entire complex before the Wehrmacht retreat. Probably, this ambitious project was Hitler’s labor of love and was too close to his heart to let the Russians use it.
Wolf’s Lair or Wolfsschanze bears testimony to the glorious Operation Valkyrie, the resistance attempt of German soldiers to assassinate Adolf Hitler and bring an end to his reign of terror for once and for all. Led by Claus von Stauffenberg, this was the most serious and well-planned attempt on the life of the Furor, one that he barely escaped. The incident took place on July 20, 1944, and was probably the first indication that a fascist dictator would not necessarily be accepted always even by his own
Nothing much of Wolf’s Lair really survived the demolition, but whatever remains have been left, continues to be an endearing attraction for tourists. Admirers of Claus von Stauffenberg and lovers of World War II history love to visit this place. This site bears testimony to some of the most defining incidents of World War II. A Wolf’s Lair tour is an opportunity for you to almost relive the WWII experience. A museum presently houses a large number of World War II memorabilia. There is also a monument dedicated to the courage and zeal of the participants of Operation Valkyrie.
While touring Wolf’s Lair in Gierloz you might put up in Ksiezycowy Dworek, or Hotel Wilczy Szaniec. Alternatively, you could stay in Wanda and Koch in Ketrzyn about 8 km away.