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Ketrzyn, Poland

The Wolf's Lair

This Nazi ruin was the site where Hitler was almost blown up by a suitcase bomb. 

Hidden deep in a Polish forest, the remains of the Nazi stronghold known as The Wolf’s Lair (Wolfsschanze) are slowly being reclaimed by nature, but the room where Operation Valkyrie nearly blew up Hitler with a suitcase bomb can still be found.

Built in 1941, miles removed from the nearest village, The Wolf’s Lair was Germany’s secret headquarters on the Eastern Front. The heavily fortified concrete bunker buildings were protected behind multiple layers of security and the location of the site was a well-kept secret, ensuring that the Nazi leaders could strategize in relative safety. In fact Hitler would spend the better part of the war’s final years at the site. Of course they were mainly looking to protect from outside threats. Thus when a German colonel, looking to put an end to Hitler’s mad rule, concocted a plan to assassinate the Führer, he chose The Wolf’s Lair as the place to do it.

Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg was able to sneak a suitcase bomb into a meeting room where he knew Hitler would be. Even after the meeting Stauffenberg had planned to set off the bomb in was moved to a different space and a different time, he was able to detonate the bomb with Hitler in the room. Miraculously, and unfortunately Hitler survived the blast with minor injuries. However The Wolf’s Lair had been compromised. Given the blast and the swiftly approaching Russian forces, the Nazis abandoned the base by the next year and destroyed most of it with explosives.

Despite the destructive tactics of the Nazis, large portions of the heavily fortified base remained intact and have simply sat amongst their Polish forest surrounds for decades. The ruins are now covered in moss and lichen, but can still be freely visited by anyone with the will to set out into the forest on a hunt for Nazi relics.

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