The derelict military bunker at the centre of a German officer's botched plot to blow up Hitler will be opened to the public as a museum.
The Wolf’s Lair, located in the Masurian woods in northeastern Poland, has been open to the public since the end of World War II, but mainly for much criticised paintball games or as an indoor shooting range.
It was one of Hitler’s key military headquarters during the war. But is most famous as the place Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg tried to kill the dictator by placing a briefcase bomb underneath the table during a staff meeting on July 20, 1944.
New image: Tourists wander around the remains of the Wolf's Lair in Poland, which will now open as a museum to educate visitors about its history
The plan was to kill Hitler and replace him with a government which would negotiate a truce with the Allies, ending the war.
Having left the conference for a pre-arranged phone call, Colonel von Stauffenberg, whose fate was thrown back into the spotlight due to 2008 movie Valkyrie starring Tom Cruise, left the hut shortly before the bomb detonated. However, a staff officer had moved the briefcase shortly after von Stauffenberg’s departure which saw Hitler protected from the blast and the dictator survived with minor injuries.
Von Stauffenberg was captured and executed alongside three conspirators and all their relatives were sent to concentration camps.
A total of 200 were executed as a result of the assassination attempt.
Overgrown: Part of one of the derelict bunkers on the 600 acre complex which once had its own train station
Title: Wolf's Lair, Wolfsschanze in German, was named after Hitler's self-appointed nickname: Herr Wolff
Four months after the bomb, Wolf's Lair was destroyed by the Nazi forces as the Soviet Red army advanced in 1945. Soon after it became a tourist attraction.
Nearly 70 years later, due to lax legislation, tours of the overgrown bunkers have been less informative than the Polish Government see fit and tourists can even pose for photographs in Nazi uniforms.
‘At this moment, one does not feel the tragic dimension of this place,’ historian Tomasz Chinciski told The New York Times.
Wolfsschanze meeting: Adolf Hitler and Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini, far left, in the Wolf's Lair listening to General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Staff of German Army
After the bomb: The aftermath of the assassination attempt at Wolf's Lair. Hermann Goering, pictured in a light uniform, inspects the wrecked room
Inside the lair: Hitler inside the Wolf's Lair shortly after surviving Colonel von Stauffenberg's attempt on his life
He is involved in the development of Wolf's Lair and underlines the importance of not forgetting its past.
He said: 'We need to work on new ways of telling history to make young generations want to learn it and understand it.'
The current lease of the premises is held by Wolf’s Nest, who have had the contract since the collapse of Poland’s communist regime.
Hiding place: One of the 80 buildings at the complex, which was built to protect Hitler from the Soviet Army during Operation Barbarossa in 1941
Critics have called their tours of Wolf’s Lair a 'grotesque Disneyland’ operation and have called for them to stop.
In a bid to profit from ‘Nazi tourism’, Wolf’s Nest, a private company, built a restaurant, a hotel and even an indoor shooting range located in the offices of General Alfred Jodl, a Nazi Army Commander sentenced to death at Nuremberg.
But due to the remote location, Wolf’s Nest have not had much success in luring tourists to the bunker and the 600-acre complex is in despair with overgrown buildings and pathways.
In an effort to re-build the bunker, Wolf’s Nest have agreed to work with historians, according to The Independent.
Two visitors at the Wolf's Lair scan a map of the area with explanations of the purposes for each building
Tour guide: The site plan reveals there were two casinos, a cinema, a sauna and two tea rooms
Poland’s Ministry of Culture and National heritage gave strict instructions to the company that no new lease would be granted unless the company meet educational requirements.
The hideout - whose name references Hitler's nickname, 'Herr Wolff' - consisted of 80 buildings at its peak including its own power plant and a railway station.
The complex, built in 1940, was heavily camouflaged and surrounded by a minefield, which took ten years to clear after the war.
Immortalized: The attempt to assassinate Hitler was brought to life in the Tome Cruise movie 'Valkyrie'
Never forget: A commemorative plaque in German and Polish reads ' In memory of the resistance against National Socialism'
Reuters photographer Ina Fassbender recently traveled with a group to a former East German bunker near the city of Ilmenau. Built in the 1970s as an emergency shelter for the district's command unit, the bunker has now been transformed into a museum. For 109 euros ($150 USD), visitors can participate in a "reality experience" in which they wear National People's Army (NVA) uniforms and are treated as East German soldiers for a night.
Thomas Krueger, dressed as an East German National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee, or NVA) major waits outside the "Bunker-Museum" in Rennsteighoehe, near the eastern city of Ilmenau, on October 12, 2013. The museum is a former East German bunker, built in the 1970s to shelter the district's command unit in an emergency. The 3,600-square-meter bunker now offers visitors the chance to stay there overnight as part of a historical "reality experience". (Reuters/Ina Fassbender)
The former NVA identity card of Hans-Georg Tiede, shown before the reality event overnight stay at the "Bunker-Museum" in Rennsteighoehe, Germany, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Guests dressed as NVA soldiers arrive for their overnight event at the Bunker-Museum near the eastern city of Ilmenau, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A sign on the bunker entrance reads "Entry only NVA", photographed on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Ingolf Bracher, dressed in an NVA soldier's uniform, poses during a reality event in the Bunker-Museum in Rennsteighoehe, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Marco, dressed as an NVA officer, opens the door to the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Protective gear designed to protect the wearer from chemical weapons, inside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Participants dressed as NVA soldiers look at weapons displayed inside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Glass tubes to control contamination by the chemical poison Sarin, inside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
The Bunker-Museum's telephone exchange room. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A can with tomato sauce for a school kitchen, displayed in the Bunker-Museum in Rennsteighoehe, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A paper in an old typewriter, with text typed on it that reads "Dear friends of the bunker. We are happy that you are here tonight", during the reality event overnight at the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
37 year-old Andrea Friebe, who works as fitness coach, dressed in an NVA soldier's uniform, poses in the Bunker-Museum.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A sign of the former Republic DDR, displayed inside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Thomas Krueger, dressed as an NVA major, waits outside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
The Hoppmann family poses in the sleeping room of the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
The Hoppmann family tries on gas masks during their reality event in the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
65 year-old Hans-Georg Tiede wears a gas mask in the Bunker-Museum. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A man dressed as an NVA officer watches over people during their reality event near the eastern city of Ilmenau, Germany, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A man dressed as an NVA major speaks to the participants of the reality event at the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
A man dressed as an NVA soldier stands guard outside the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Thomas Krueger speaks to his guests at the Bunker-Museum in Rennsteighoehe, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Participants dressed as NVA soldiers prepare dinner during the overnight event at the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Marco, dressed as a NVA officerr, reads a roster during the overnight event in the Bunker-Museum, on October 12, 2013.(Reuters/Ina Fassbender) #
Participants in the overnight reality event sleep in bunks in a room of the Bunker-Museum, near the eastern city of Ilmenau, Germany, on October 12, 2013. (Reuters/Ina Fassbender)
Hiding in secret underground bunkers, eating wild birds and pets and saving secretaries but not wives: How government elites planned to survive a nuclear attack
- The US has a secret network of bunkers primarily built during the Cold War era to protect government officials in case of an atomic bomb
- Presidents Kennedy, Eisenhower, Roosevelt and Truman knew there was only enough room for an elite few, but still assured citizens they would be safe in the event of a nuclear war
- There is a bunker for officials under the White House, near Camp David and several scattered around the US
- The wives of public officials would not be admitted to the elite hideout but secretaries would
- There was also a plan to survive off rabbit meat, wild birds and civilian pets when food rations ran out
- President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice were ushered into the bunker under the White House on 9/11
Revealing the hidden military BUNKERS cleverly blended into Switzerland's landscapes
The Swiss are mainly known for clocks, chocolate and skiing - but military guile can also be added to that list, as these amazing images show.
Photographer Leo Fabrizio, over a period of years, discovered remarkable camoflaged bunkers that blended into Switzerland's fields, mountainsides and woodland.
He said, as reported in polarinertia.com: 'The bunkers are an integral part of a finely developed popular defense military system in Switzerland, a military with historically strong links to the landscapes.'
Fabrizio, whose pictures of the constructions appear in 2004 book Bunkers, added: 'After the cold war ended many of the bunkers became obsolete. The tendency is to forget them or even to renounce them, my approach on the contrary, aims to expose them from a new angle.'
The Swiss were so determined to make the bunkers' cloaking effective that artists and theatre set designers were even brought in to oversee the assembly process.
Here we showcase some of Mr Fabrizio's images, which show that the Swiss truly were masters of disguise.
The Swiss are mainly known for clocks, chocolate and skiing - but military guile can also be added to that list, as these amazing images show
There is more to these concealed chalets than meets the eye, as they are not quaint lodges but military bunkers in disguise
The Swiss used artists and theatre set designers to ensure that the bunkers blended in with their surroundings
This bunker has been cleverly blended into a moutain rock face, with the door frame only just visible to the naked eye
Fabrizio said 'the bunkers are an integral part of a finely developed popular defense military system in Switzerland, a military with historically strong links to the landscapes'
The Swiss are known as expert clock makers, but these images show that their military guile is also noteworthy
Troops were able to hide in the bunkers knowing that their enemy would need to be extremely lucky to spot them
Many Swiss residents had no idea that there were hidden bunkers situated in the middle of their villages
A requirement of the chalets was that they could deceive the human eye at a minimum distance of 20 metres
Up close and it's clear that this is a bunker, but from a distance, it would be very difficult to determine its true purpose
Fabrizio's pictures appear in 2004 book Bunkers - a publication that took years to put together
Inside Mussolini's wartime bunker: First pictures of fascist leader's secret lair that he had built to protect him from RAF strike on his Rome headquarters
- Experts said the underground chamber was the dictator's 'last bunker'
- It was only discovered after engineers stumbled across an iron hatch
- Bunker contains nine rooms but was never finished before he was arrested
- The chamber, under the former fascist headquarters, will be open to public