| 6.6°C Dublin

Poland puts Hitler's Wolf's Lair up for rent

POLAND has put Hitler's Wolf's Lair, the massive fortified base where the Nazi leader spent much of the war and the scene of a famous assassination attempt, up for rent.

Anybody willing to pay the asking rent of €107,870 a year can take over the 13-hectare site in a secluded forest in eastern Poland, which during the war lay in German East Prussia.

From 1941 to the end of 1944 the Wolf's Lair was the nerve centre of the Nazi war machine owing to its proximity to the Eastern Front.

The Polish Forestry Service, the owners of the camp, started looking for a tenant after the old 20-year lease expired.

Hitler and his henchman built huge bombproof bunkers at the site that also housed 2,000 staff and security personnel.

Although retreating German forces dynamited most of the bunkers in November 1944, their shattered shells remain a prime tourist attraction with some 180,000 visitors a year.

"There is no way you can rebuild the bunkers," said Zenon Piotrowicz from the forestry service. "We are concerned more about having the place made more attractive to tourists, including the renovation of the hotel and restaurant."

The Wolf's Lair was also the scene of the July 1944 assassination attempt when a bomb concealed in a briefcase by Count Claus von Stauffenberg just failed to kill Hitler during a staff meeting.

Hitler's life was saved by a chance decision to hold the meeting in an outbuilding rather than in the usual confines of a bunker, and by the fact the briefcase was moved away from the Nazi leader seconds before it exploded.