Wolf's Lair

'Wolf' was a nom de guerre that Hitler had used to refer to himself since the early 1930s. He had several bases whose names were inspired by this, such as as Wolfsschlucht (I and II) in Belgium and Werwolf in Ukraine.

The German name for the Wolf's Lair was Wolfsschanze. Schanze translates into English as a 'sconce' – which is a small protective fortification, such as an earthwork – often placed on a mound as a defensive work for artillery.

The Wolfsschanze, or Wolf's Lair, is in Poland, but the nearest large city is Kaliningrad – a Russian exclave, about 50 kilometres to the north. The Wolfsschanze is about 200 kilometres north of Warsaw, and a little less to the east of Gdansk. It's now a ruin.

In July 1944, the Wolfsschanze was the scene of an assassination attempt on Hitler, when staff officer Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg carried a briefcase bomb into a daily conference meeting and placed it just a few feet away from Hitler. For various reasons, although the interior of the building was devastated and four other people present died from their wounds a few days later, Hitler was only slightly injured. Von Stauffenberg, his adjutant Werner von Haeften and several of their co–conspirators were arrested and shot the same evening.

© Haydn Thompson 2017