Fuhrer’s Headquarters and Other Official Sites

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Berghof

The Berghof was Adolf Hitler’s home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. Other than the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, Hitler spent more time at the Berghof than anywhere else during World War II. It was also one of the most widely known of his headquarters, which were located throughout Europe.

Rebuilt, much expanded and renamed in 1935, the Berghof was Hitler’s vacation residence for ten years. In late April 1945 the house was damaged by British aerial bombs, set on fire by retreating SS troops in early May, and looted after Allied troops reached the area. The burnt out shell was demolished by the Bavarian government in 1952.

Führerbau

Hitler’s official residence in Munich, September 1938.

Führerbunker

The Führerbunker (English: “Leader’s bunker”) was an air-raid shelter located near the Reich Chancellery in Berlin, Germany. It was part of a subterranean bunker complex which was constructed in two major phases in 1936 and 1943. It was the last of the Führer Headquarters (Führerhauptquartiere) used by Adolf Hitler.

Hitler took up residence in the Führerbunker on 16 January 1945 and it became the centre of the Nazi regime until the last week of World War II in Europe. Hitler married Eva Braun here during the last week of April 1945, shortly before they committed suicide.

After the war both the old and new Chancellery buildings were levelled by the Soviets. Despite some attempts at demolition, the underground complex remained largely undisturbed until 1988–89. During reconstruction of that area of Berlin, the sections of the old bunker complex that were excavated were for the most part destroyed. The site remained unmarked until 2006, when a small plaque with a schematic was installed. Some corridors of the bunker still exist, but are sealed off from the public.

Wolfsschanze or Wolf’s Lair

Wolf’s Lair (German: Wolfsschanze) was Adolf Hitler’s first Eastern Front military headquarters in World War II. The complex, which would become one of several Führerhauptquartiere (Führer Headquarters) located in various parts of occupied Europe, was built for the start of Operation Barbarossa – the invasion of the Soviet Union – in 1941. It was constructed by Organisation Todt.

The top secret, high security site was in the Masurian woods about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the small East Prussian town of Rastenburg (now Kętrzyn in Poland). It was guarded by personnel from the SS Reichssicherheitsdienst and troops from the Wehrmacht’s armoured Führer Begleit Brigade. Although three security zones surrounded the central complex where the Führer bunker was located, an attempt to kill Hitler was made at Wolf’s Lair on 20 July 1944.

Hitler first arrived at the headquarters on 23 June 1941. In total, he spent more than 800 days at the Wolfsschanze during a 3½-year period until his final departure on 20 November 1944. In the summer of 1944, work began to enlarge and reinforce many of the Wolf’s Lair original buildings, however the work was never completed because of the rapid advance of the Red Army during the Baltic Offensive in autumn 1944. On 25 January 1945, the complex was blown up and abandoned 48 hours before the arrival of Soviet forces.

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German Military History with a focus on World War 2 History including other areas of German History