Anlage Süd

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The surviving military railway tunnel at Stępina, which was part of Anlage Süd, July 2011.

Anlage Süd (English: Installation South) was a pair of railway headquarters built for Adolf Hitler in southern Nazi-occupied part of Poland during the Second World War. Two reinforced tunnels were built near the rail line between Rzeszów to Jasło. One bunker was located in the village of Stępina (45 km southwest of Rzeszów at 49°52′18.58″N 21°35′19.04″E / 49.8718278°N 21.5886222°E / 49.8718278; 21.5886222), the other was in the town of Strzyżów (30 km southwest of Rzeszów at 49°52′13.31″N 21°48′40.96″E / 49.8703639°N 21.8113778°E / 49.8703639; 21.8113778). They were initially used for a two-day meeting between Hitler and Italian fascist leader, Benito Mussolini, on 27–28 August 1941.[1]

Bunkers[edit]

The former railway bunker at Stępina where the train of Benito Mussolini stayed in August 1941.

Both 480-metre long railway tunnels at Stępina and Strzyżów were built by the Todt Organization using Polish slave labor from nearby concentration camps. The shelters were constructed to be 8.3 metres (27 ft) wide and 12 metres (39 ft) high with reinforced concrete walls 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) thick.[2]

The tunnels were surrounded by barracks, personnel bunkers, and watchtowers. Other buildings were used for operations, administration, and maintenance. Inside each bomb-proof tunnel, there was a rail track and a platform.[1] The tunnel portals were protected by two-wing armoured doors with firing embrasures for the guards.[1] Purpose-built track connected the tunnels with the Rzeszów-Jasło railway.[2]

Usage[edit]

After the headquarters was completed in summer 1941, Hitler first visited on 27 August for a meeting with Mussolini. Both leaders arrived by train. Hitler’s train (German: Führersonderzug) stayed in the bunker at Strzyżów while Mussolini's engine and carriages were at Stępina. The actual meeting to discuss the war with Soviet Russia, which lasted several hours, was held aboard Hitler’s train, which he never left. The next day, his train was the first to depart.[1]

Hitler revisited the bunkers once more by train in October 1941. Other prominent visitors to use Anlage Süd included Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel and General Irwin Rommel.[2]

By the summer of 1944 the facilities were abandoned because of the Soviet advance. When the Russians captured the tunnels in August 1944 they used them as field hospitals.[2]

After the war, the Stępina bunker was used for mushroom production. Today it is a museum.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Hoffmann, Peter (2000). Hitler's Personal Security. Da Capo Press. pp. 26–36. ISBN 0306809478. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Military tunnels". Subcarpathian Voivodeship Travel Portal. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 

External links[edit]