In former East Prussia, the traces of World War II are always presented in the forests. Mosquitoes, ticks and flies nowadays guarding the place where Himmler’s bunker was, but that’s no deal breaker when it comes to finding some remains.
This time you need to keep track of where you put your feet. Minefields and barbed wire covered most of this area in the brushy leaves forest until 1945. Do they have located all the mines? No idea, but try to find at least something which is similar to a path, to be secure.
During one distance, I actually go on something that looks to have been an important way. On the side are old stones engraved with numbers raised. Most likely it was at this road the leader of the dreaded SS, Heinrich Himmler, was traveling in his limousine to his headquarters.
When I walk along the way I see clearly visible pits after dugouts. The forest is almost like a Swiss cheese. Around 100 SS soldiers guarded the area and the many bunkers around the clock.
The bunkers here are built in 1941 in connection with the attack on Russia, Operation Barbarossa.
The headquarters name “Hochwald” comes from the nearby forest on a hillside. However, quite quickly they began to call it “Schwarzschanze”. Schwarzschanze could be translated to something like “black redoubt” and was related to the serving SS soldiers all-black uniforms.
I have left the road, walk and climb on each other through the woods. I have coordinates, but still, I only see the forest and remains of defensive positions.
Finally, gazing across a field and see a pile of rubble that looks strange (picture above). I go that way. The place is found and now the bunkers will be explored.
I must have gone in circles. Is still just 1.5 km from where I parked the car. Here, I could spend an entire day. Consider the historical items that might be found on the ground and certainly also some collapsed underground passages.
Hochwald was only active for about 4 years. It was in the same situation as Adolf Hitler’s headquarters “Wolf’s Lair”. The Germans tried urgently to blow up buildings in connection with the Red Army’s rapid advancement.
Himmler used several headquarters during World War II. Hochwald is the best preserved.
Getting into the main bunker, that one Himmler used, was no problem with a flashlight. Below we see among other the meeting room.