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Hitler`s military bunker in Poland to be turned into a museum

Last Updated: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 16:16

New York: A military bunker in Northeastern Poland where some German army officers attempted to assassinate dictator Adolf Hitler in 1944 will be thrown open 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 as a place to take pottery lessons and play paintball, the News Agencies reported.

Hitler built the Wolf`s Lair as his headquarters on the Eastern front and it covered over 600 acres of remote woodland that was once the site of estates for the landed gentry of Prussia.

Wolf`s Liar is most famous for Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg failed attempt known as `Operation Valkyrie` to assassinate Hitler and take control of Germany.

On July 20, 1944 he had placed a briefcase bomb underneath the conference table in the briefing room in Wolf`s Liar as close to Hitler as he could.

However, a staff officer moved the briefcase after Stauffenberg left the room.

Hitler was shielded from the blast by the heavy, solid-oak conference table and was only slightly wounded.

Stauffenberg was captured later and executed along with other conspirators.

The place has been under lease to a private company, Wolf`s Nest, since the collapse of Poland`s communist regime.

The company turned bunkers into a restaurant and a hotel, cleared some tourist trails of debris, and made the bunker that had belonged to General Alfred Jodl - who was tried at Nuremberg and hanged - into an indoor shooting range.

Over time, according to Jan Oldakowski, 40, a director of the popular Warsaw Uprising Museum, the Wolf`s Lair became a `grotesque Disneyland`.

Aside from the restaurant and hotel, the site is in disrepair.

"At this moment, one does not feel the tragic dimension of this place," said Tomasz Chincinski, a historian who is working on the project.

"We need to work on new ways of telling history, to make young generations want, need, to learn it and understand it," the paper quoted him as saying.

Now as a requirement of issuing a new lease, the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has demanded that the company running the site transform it into a historical and educational destination with detailed outdoor exhibits and a museum.

The company has promised to restore a movie theatre to show documentaries about the war and is coordinating with forestry officials and with historians from the Museum of the Second World War ? scheduled to open in Gdansk in 2014 ? to construct a permanent outdoor exhibition about what happened at the Wolf`s Lair.

The company also plans to create trails to guide visitors through the bunkers` remains, encouraging visitors to familiarise themselves with the outpost`s history, the paper said.


First Published: Friday, September 21, 2012 - 14:26
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