Category: Hitler

Category: Hitler

Top 10 tourist attractions in Poland

Where to go, what to see!

From Poland’s lake district Masuria with over 2,000 lakes to true wilderness areas like The Bialowieza Forest to the stunning Tatra Mountains, you will find that Poland has something to offer every visitor.  Here’s our Top 10 recommended tourist attractions in Poland:

  1. Auschwitz

    It is widely agreed that everyone should visit Auschwitz at least once in their lives, it is a stern reminder of the horrors that human beings can inflict on each other and for some people, a life-changing experience. Auschwitz was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during the Second World War. Auschwitz is the German name for Oświęcim, the town the camps were located in and around; it was renamed by the Germans after they invaded Poland in September 1939. Auschwitz is ranked number one on the Top 10 tourist attractions in Poland, not because it is an attraction as such, but because in our opinion it needs to be seen. – Further information

    Auschwitz

  2. Wieliczka Salt Mine

    The Wieliczka Salt Mine, located in the town of Wieliczka in southern Poland, lies within the Krakow metropolitan area. The mine continuously produced table salt from the 13th century until 2007 as one of the world’s oldest operating salt mines. The mine’s attractions for tourists include dozens of statues and an entire chapel that have been carved out of the rock salt by the miners. About 1.2 million persons visit the Wieliczka Salt Mine annually – Further information

    Wieliczka Salt Mine

  3. Zakopane

    Zakopane is a town in southern Poland. The location is informally known as “the Winter Capital of Poland,” and lies in the southern part of the Podhale region at the foot of the Tatra Mountains, the only alpine mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. It is the most important Polish center of mountaineering and skiing, and is visited annually by some three million tourists – Further information

    Zakopane

  4. Tri-City

    Tricity (also Tri-City) is an urban area consisting of three Polish cities: Gdańsk, Gdynia and Sopot. They are situated adjacent to one other, in a row, on the coast of the Gdańsk Bay, Baltic Sea, in Eastern Pomerania, northern Poland. There’s plenty to do around Tricity, there are lots of tourist attractions and a lively nightlife scene not to mention all the fun of the seaside! Either enjoy sunbathing or take part in any of the many watersport activities on offer. From theatre to Rock concerts to quality restaurants, its all available in the Tricity area – Further information

    Beach holidays

  5. Tatra Mountains

    The Tatras are the highest mountain range in the Carpathian Mountains. Although considerably smaller than the Alps, they are classified as having an alpine landscape. Their high mountain character, combined with great accessibility, makes them popular with tourists and scientists. The area is a well-known winter sports area and includes the resort of Zakopane, the “Winter Capital” of Poland – Further information

    Tatra Mountains

  6. Czestochowa

    Czestochowa is a city in south Poland on the Warta River. It lies among the picturesque Jurassic rocks of Krakow Czestochowa Upland, topped with the ruins of Medieval castles. The town is known for the famous Pauline monastery of Jasna Góra that is the home of the Black Madonna painting, a shrine to the Virgin Mary. Every year, millions of pilgrims from all over the world come to Częstochowa to see it – Further information

    Black Madonna

  7. Masuria

    Masuria is an area in northeastern Poland famous today for its many thousands of lakes. Today, the region’s economy relies largely on eco-tourism and agriculture. The lakes offer varieties of water sports such as sailing and holiday activities. The whole area has become a prime destination for yachtspeople and canoeists, and is also popular among anglers, hikers, bikers and nature-lovers – Further information

    Masuria

  8. Kashubia

    Kashubia is a lake district in North Poland. It is surrounded by many hills made by Scandinavian glaciers. Among larger cities, Gdynia contains the largest proportion of people declaring Kashubian origin. However, the biggest city of the Kashubia region is Gdańsk, the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the traditional capital of Kashubia – Further information

    Kashubia

  9. Bieszczady Mountains

    The Bieszczady Mountains are pleasantly devoid of the trappings of mass tourism and offer visitors the opportunity to discover the, ‘Wild East’ without venturing into Ukraine or the Soviet Union. The scenery in the region is wild and rugged and includes flora such as the Dacian Violet, Carpathian Beech and the Hungarian Violet, all species which cannot be seen further West. The wildlife in the area include bears, lynx, beavers, wolves, European bison and red mountain deer – Further information

    Bieszczady Mountains

  10. Wolf’s Lair

    Wolf’s Lair in Poland is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler’s first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartier (Führer Headquarters) or FHQs located in various parts of Europe. The complex was blown up and abandoned on 25 January 1945, but many of the bunkers were so thick that their damaged walls and ceilings remain – Further information

    Wolf's Lair

We hope that you enjoyed reading the Top 10 tourist attractions in Poland. For further Top 10 lists and detailed tourist information about Poland, please visit our travel partner, the Poland Travel Agency.

 


Wolf’s Lair

Wolfsschanze

Wolf’s Lair in Poland is the standard English name for Wolfsschanze, Adolf Hitler’s first World War II Eastern Front military headquarters, one of several Führerhauptquartier (Führer Headquarters) or FHQs located in various parts of Europe.

Operation Barbarossa

The complex, which was built for Operation Barbarossa, the 1941 German invasion of the Soviet Union, was located in the Masurian woods, about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg, now Kętrzyn in Poland.

Hitler first arrived at the Wolf’s Lair late on the night of 23 June 1941 and departed for the last time on 20 November 1944. Overall, he spent over 800 days there during that 3.5 year period.

The complex was blown up and abandoned on 25 January 1945, but many of the bunkers were so thick that their damaged walls and ceilings remain. The remains are located in Poland at the hamlet of Gierłoż (German: Forst Görlitz) near Kętrzyn.

The decision to build the Wolf’s Lair was made in the autumn of 1940. Built in the middle of a protecting forest, and located far from major roads. The complex occupied more than 6.5 km2 (2.5 sq mi) and consisted of three separate security zones.

The bunkers at Wolfs Lair

The most important of which was Sperrkreis 1 (Security Zone 1), in which was located the Führer Bunker and concrete shelters of members of the inner circle such as Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann, OKW chief Wilhelm Keitel and “chief of operations” OKW Alfred Jodl.

There were a total of ten bunkers in this area, all camouflaged and protected by 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) of steel-reinforced concrete. Hitler’s was on the northern end, with all its windows facing north to avoid direct sunlight. Both Hitler’s and Keitel’s bunkers had rooms in which military conferences could be held.

Sperrkreis 2 (Security Zone 2) included military barracks and housing for several important Reich Ministers like Albert Speer, Joachim von Ribbentrop and Fritz Todt as well as Hitler’s escort battalion, the Führer Begleit Brigade.

Sperrkreis 3 (Security Zone 3) made up the outer security area of the compound, complete with land mines, special security troops and guard houses.

Close by was a facility for the Wehrmacht Operations Staff, and army headquarters was located several kilometres to the northeast of the FHQ complex. All these installations were served by a nearby airfield and train lines.

About two thousand people lived and worked at the Wolf’s Lair at its peak, among them twenty women.

Assassination attempt at Wolf’s Lair

The Wolf’s Lair was the location of the July 20 plot to kill Hitler. During the period of reconstruction of the Führer Bunker in the summer of 1944, the daily strategy meetings were moved to the little building known as the Lager barrack, where staff officer Claus von Stauffenberg carried a bomb hidden in a briefcase into the meeting room and placed it just a few feet away from Hitler.

At 12:43 p.m. the bomb devastated the interior of the building but left Hitler only slightly injured. However, four others died from their wounds a few days later. The force of the blast was diminished because a staff officer unknowingly moved the briefcase on the opposite side of a thick wooden table leg from where von Stauffenberg had placed it, probably saving Hitler’s life. It is believed that had the bomb exploded in the massive concrete Führer Bunker as originally intended, everyone in the structure including Hitler would have been killed.

The Escape

Just moments before the blast, the would-be assassin and his adjutant, Lieutenant Werner von Haeften rapidly made their way from the conference barrack toward the first guard post just outside Sperrkeis 1. After a short delay they were allowed to pass and proceeded along the southern exit road toward Rastenburg airport.

By the time they reached the guard house at the perimeter of Sperrkreis 2, the alarm had been sounded. According to the official Gestapo report, “at first the guard refused passage until von Stauffenberg persuaded him to contact the adjutant to the compound commander who then finally authorized clearance”. It was between here and the final checkpoint of Sperrkreis 3 that von Haeften tossed a second briefcase from the car containing a second bomb which was also intended to explode in the conference barrack.

It is believed that had this bomb also been placed with the other, everyone inside would have been killed. Checkpoint three, the final barrier located at the outer reaches of the Wolfsschanze, was expected to prove impenetrable, but the two men were simply waved through to the Rastenburg airport.

Operation Valkyrie

Thirty minutes after the bomb blast the two men were airborne and on their way back to Berlin and Army general headquarters. It was in this building, called the Bendlerblock, that “Operation Valkyrie”, a covert plan to react to the breakdown in civil order of the nation and suppress any revolt was transformed into the secret plot to assassinate the Führer of the German Reich.

However, when it was discovered that Hitler was still alive, the plan was doomed and along with it von Stauffenberg, his adjutant Werner von Haeften and co-conspirators General Friedrich Olbricht and his chief of staff Colonel Albrecht Mertz von Quirnheim, who were arrested and executed in the courtyard of the Bendlerblock on the evening of July 20, 1944.

The Red Army reached the nearby border of East Prussia in October 1944. Hitler departed on 20 November and two days later the order was given to destroy the complex.

The actual demolition did not take place until the night of 24-25 January 1945. Many tons of explosives were required to do the job; one bunker required an estimated 8 tons of TNT. The Red Army took the site without a shot two days later, on 27 January. It took until 1955 to clear over fifty-four thousand landmines which surrounded the installation.

For further information about World War II sites and detailed tourist information about Poland, please visit, the Poland Travel Agency.