Hitler’s Headquarters to Become a Museum
The military headquarters of the eastern front of Adolf Hitler’s army was constructed approximately twelve kilometers from the city of Vinnytsya, Ukraine, hidden in the pine forests. This World War II military installation was known as Führerhauptquartier Wehrwolf, and was used by the Nazi’s from 1942 to 1943. Construction began in 1941 and this top secret project was completed in 1942. Thousands of Soviet prisoners of war were used to construct the Wehrwolf headquarters and most lost their lives here. Opening the site as a tourist attraction and museum will pay tribute to these prisoners.
The complex was constructed by forced labor. Even though Hitler had a small timber building with a concrete bunker and yard, the complex did have many luxuries. Wooden cottages and bunkers made up the rest of the accommodation for Hitler’s army, and were protected by barbed wire fences, observation points and underground tunnels. Wehrwolf also featured a swimming pool, barber shop, cinema theatre, tea house and even a bath house. Power was generated on site, along with artesian wells for fresh water and a vegetable garden to ensure that Hitler could enjoy an abundance of produce. After the Nazi’s took their leave in 1944, steps were taken to seal off the complex and underground compartments by order of Stalin. All that remains are the ruins of some of the buildings, the recreational area and the swimming pool. A memorial was erected near the site in memory of the laborers.
An onsite museum will be opened on 9 May 2011, which is Victory Day, the anniversary of fascism being defeated. The site will then be opened to the public as an attraction and memorial. Mykola Djiga, the head of local administration, commented: “It is time to make the Wehrwolf headquarters a tourist destination, a memorial to the victims of fascism.” He went on to say: “This museum should remind us about the time that our people endured, their sacrifices and heroism. It should also show the face of the fascist enemy. We must show what enemy we had defeated.”