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Project Riese - Führer headquarters and arms production in the Owl Mountains

Contents:

1. Object Drunkards Caves (Osowka)

2. Object Ramenberg (Sobon)

3. Object Wolfsberg (Wlodarz)

4. Tannhausen Castle (Palac Jedlinka)

5. Fuhrer's headquarters at Schloss Fürstenstein (Zamek Książ)

From 1943, the National Socialists built extensive tunnel systems in the Owl Mountains near Waldenburg (Wałbrzych) in which weapons were to be produced. The tunnel system is called the Riese complex. The tunnels under the Fürstenstein Castle in Waldenburg are also counted as part of the Riese complex. Forced laborers had to drive the tunnels into the mountains with primitive tools. Thousands did not survive the inhumane working and living conditions.

The management of the building project was initially taken over by Industriegemeinschaft AG and, in April 1944, by Organization Todt. The tunnel systems were intended to serve as an underground armaments smithy. Here should  the Jäger ME 262 and the V2 are produced. The Germans stuck to their plans in the Owl Mountains. Reason: Lower Silesia was considered the "air raid shelter of the Reich" because the way to this point was too far for the Allied bombers. That changed in September 1943 when Allied troops landed in Italy. But the
The construction work carried out over 13,000 forced laborers, for whom four large and 12 small camps were set up. They were subcamps of the Groß-Rosen concentration camp. The Riese complex was not completed until the end of World War II.

The National Socialists kept what they built in the Owl Mountains strictly secret from the population. The planning documents were lost or destroyed in 1945. It was the ideal breeding ground for rumors. After the Second World War, suspicions repeatedly emerged that the Germans had hidden an armored train full of gold and stolen art treasures in a tunnel in the Owl Mountains. Most recently in 2015. A Pole and a German claimed that they had located the train with a ground penetrating radar. With official support, the treasure hunters began extensive excavations. They did not find anything and gave up the project in 2018.

We had booked the tour with WildOst Historytours from Ebersbach. Many thanks to Frank and Katrin for the pleasant care.

 

 

A touristic tunnel system with washrooms, halls and corridors with a total length of 1,600 can be found at the Säuferhöhen near the village of Wüstewaltersdorf (Walim)  m, partly concreted, partly in the raw state . The lines of defense can be seen at the entrance. The barrel of a rotten German MG42 machine gun protrudes from the opening in a concrete wall. In the many tunnels you can also see the various construction phases of these rooms. In the area of the guard rooms there is a barrier caused by the collapse of the ceiling of the corridor. Here you can discover the traces of the preparatory work. It all seems scary.  Many aisles are  but not yet poured with concrete. The construction work must have stopped abruptly, old tools are still lying around everywhere and drill bits are in the walls. The guided tour is very interesting.

Remains of foundations and cast concrete buildings can be seen above the tunnel. The "casino" was the former planning and coordination barracks for the entire construction process above and below ground of the "SÄUFERHÖHEN". It measures a length of about 60 m and a width of 14 to 16 m. The roofs had mostly retracted ceilings in order to achieve a natural camouflage through vegetation.

A concrete slab with a side length of about 30m is particularly mysterious. This concrete slab is equipped with many complicated passages, channels and locks that lead into the depths of the earth. The underground part of the property is inaccessible. The power plant is located at the height of the shaft above the tunnels. A connection with the underground part of the complex cannot be ruled out. The outlines should resemble those of the first GDR research reactor in Dresden-Rossendorf from the 1950s. Hence, it is believed that the Nazis wanted to build the first nuclear reactor here.

A few meters further on the ridge height there is an approx. 5x5 m large hole in the earth, that is only  is provisionally secured with warning tape. This ventilation and transport shaft is approx. 40 m deep.  Among other things, the shaft supplied the underground tunnels with fresh air and was also used to transport materials. In earlier years it was even possible to abseil down in the tunnels here.

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Objekt Säuferhöhen (Osowka)

Bei den Säuferhöhen in der Nähe des Ortes Wüstewaltersdorf (Walim) kann ein touristisch erschlossenes Stollensystem mit Waschräumen, Hallen und Gängen mit einer Gesamtlänge von 1.600  m, zum Teil betoniert, zum Teil im Rohzustand besichtigt werden. Am Eingang sind die Verteidigungslinien zu sehen. Aus der Öffnung einer Betonwand ragt der Lauf eines verrotteten deutschen Maschinengewehrs vom Typ MG42 heraus. In den vielen Stollen kann man auch die verschiedenen Bauphasen dieser Räume erkennen. Im Bereich der Wachräume befindet sich eine Sperre, verursacht durch den Einsturz der Decke des Ganges. Hier kann man die Spuren der Vorarbeiten entdecken. Das wirkt alles schon unheimlich.  Viele Gänge sind  jedoch noch nicht mit Beton ausgegossen. Die Bauarbeiten müssen abrupt abgebrochen worden sein, es liegt auch noch überall altes Werkzeug herum und Bohrmeißel sind in den Wänden. Die geführte Tour ist sehr interessant.

Über den Stollen sind Reste von Fundamenten und aus Beton gegossenen Gebäuden zu sehen. Das „Kasino“ war die ehemalige Planungs- und Koordinationsbaracke für das gesamte Baugeschehen ober- und unterirdisch der „SÄUFERHÖHEN“. Sie misst eine Länge von etwa 60 m und einer Breite von 14 bis 16 m. Die Dächer hatten größtenteils eingezogene Decken um somit eine natürliche Tarnung durch Bepflanzung zu erlangen.

Besonders geheimnisvoll ist eine Betonplatte mit einer Seitenlänge von ungefähr 30m. Diese Betonplatte ist ausgestattet mit vielen komplizierten Gängen, Kanälen und Schleusen, welche in die Tiefe der Erde führen. Der unterirdische Teil des Objektes ist unzugänglich. Das Kraftwerk befindet sich auf der Höhe des Schachtes oberhalb der Stollen. Eine Verbindung mit dem unterirdischen Teil des Komplexes kann man nicht ausschließen. Die Umrisse sollen denen des ersten DDR-Forschungsreaktors in Dresden-Rossendorf aus den 50iger Jahren ähneln. Daher wird angenommen, dass die Nazis hier den ersten Atomreaktor bauen wollten.

Einige Meter weiter auf der Kammhöhe klafft eine ca. 5x5 m große Loch in der Erde, das nur  notdürftig mit Warnband gesichert ist. Dieser Lüftungs- und Transportschacht ist ca. 40 m tief.  Der Schacht versorgte unter anderem die unterirdischen Stollen mit Frischluft und wurde auch zum Materialtransport genutzt. In früheren Jahren konnte man sich hier sogar in den Stollen abseilen.

Objekt Ramenberg (Sobon)

2. Object Ramenberg (Soboń)

Its entrance is about a few 100 m north of the last buildings in the village of Kaltwasser. The initial part of this adit is fairly flat under the surface of the slope. This corridor collapsed over a length of almost 100 m from the entrance. At this point, a shallow crawl has emerged. At this point we had to put on chest-high waders. Feet first we squeezed through the narrow entrance and then stood in the cave in knee-deep water. Our expedition went about 300 m into the undeveloped tunnel. In the water  we repeatedly encountered indefinable objects. Ulf is even propped up and was completely soaked. At some point we couldn't go any further, the tunnel in front of us had collapsed. Even in the state of a transport tunnel system, the intended labyrinth allows a later production or relocation facility to be closed. That was pure adventure, only with flashlights through the old tunnels! In the vicinity of the entrance one could still see the course of the dismantled railway line into the tunnel. In addition to foundations, it was interesting to see the remains of hundreds of hardened sacks of concrete in the forest. They looked like a memorial.

Objekt Wolfsberg (Wlodarz)

3. Object Wolfsberg (Włodarz)

The Wolfsberg complex is located 811 meters above the village of Hausdorf-Jauernig. The facility is partly developed for tourism and can be visited . Wolfsberg is the largest currently known complex. The length of the accessible corridors is approximately 3000 meters.

It consists of 4 tunnels with a length of 180 and 240 meters. These are connected with a system of corridors and halls, which run at right angles to the tunnels. A transport shaft leads from one of the aisles to the surface. This transport shaft is 40 m deep and has a diameter of 4 meters.

Many of the tunnels are filled with water. This is where the essential part of the tour begins; A rubber dinghy tour through the flooded tunnels. A guide was in every boat, everyone got a headlamp and a paddle and off we went. Sometimes the tunnels were so narrow that we had to duck, then we rowed in halls as big as cathedrals that were even built on several floors. That was really fun.

Outside the facility, the owner of the facility has set up some military vehicles from the People's Republic for viewing. You will also find many concrete foundations, remains of concrete barracks and petrified cement sacks.

Objekt Dorfbach (Rzeczka)

Der Komplex befindet sich auf der rechten westlichen Seite der Straße, welche Wüstewaltersdorf (Walim) mit Dorfbach verbindet (Rzeczka). Diese Anlage ist touristisch erschlossen und kann besichtigt werden. Der Komplex besteht aus drei ca. 40 m entfernte Gänge, welche miteinander verbunden sind. Ein Teil ist schon mit Beton ausgekleidet, ein Teil jedoch befindet sich noch in rohem Zustand. Zwischen den Gängen 1 und 3 befindet sich eine große über 80 m lange Halle (10 m hoch), die sich im Rohbauzustand befindet. Der mittlere Teil der Halle ist noch nicht zu Ende gearbeitet. Die Anlage verbirgt auch Ihre Geheimnisse. So gibt es über der begehbaren Anlage definitiv einen weiteren Stollen. Dieser Stollen wurde mit 4 ca. 6cm dicken Rohren mit dem darunter liegenden MG-Stand verbunden. Die Rohre dienen der Entlüftung. Bei einem Versuch mit Rauch und einer Kamera wurde festgestellt das ein starker Zug die Rohre entlüftet. Niemand konnte sagen, wo der Rauch an die Oberfläche kommt.

Der Zutritt ist nur im Rahmen einer Führung möglich. Deutsche Besucher erhalten einen Audioguide.

Schloss Tannhausen (Palac Jedlinka)

We found Tannhausen Castle by chance and unplanned .  The castle was  from the National Socialist People's Welfare (NSV) the last owner, the Böhm family, because of them  bought from financial problems.  In early 1944, the  NVS stopped setting up hospital in the castle. The castle was confiscated by the military authorities to use it as the headquarters for the  To use Schlesische Industriegemeinschaft AG. Bunkers with armored gas-proof doors were built in the basement.  The palace and the nearby town of Bad Charlottenbrunn became the headquarters for the Riese project.

The castle itself is surrounded in a U-shape by several outbuildings, in which many cars were parked during our visit that were being screwed on. We parked at the castle entrance. The facility looked shabby and seedy. That was in 2008, today there is a nice hotel there. We went through the gate and saw a sign "Museum". After a while a young man came who could speak neither German nor English. But somehow we agreed, paid  four zloty admission and he led us through the partly gutted castle, in which the local kolkhoz resided after the war. Suddenly he opened a dark room that we should enter. He turned on the light. We were now in a room full of Nazi votaries. The man proudly handed me a German carbine that I was asked to examine. A self-painted picture of Adolf Hitler hangs over the desk. Mannequins wore Nazi uniforms. My friend Fred should definitely wear a black Nazi leather coat. He was really proud to be able to show us that. That was surreal. It went on in the basement. There were imitation gold bars in a kind of cave  illuminated. That was the missing gold treasure of the Breslau Reichsbank. There was glass and china in a cupboard. Our guide presented us with a large ashtray that read "Bremen". I showed him the super thumb.

That was my most unusual museum visit.