Adolf Hitler led the German people into World War II with deadly, evil, and disastrous consequences. Under Hitler’s reign, the genocide of the Jewish people became the order of the day and nobody felt like they were safe, not even in their own homes.
While much is known about Hitler and his many different schemes, new pieces of his plots are still coming to light today. In fact, one of the Hitler’s biggest secret projects is still mostly a mystery to historians and archaeologists.
For instance, deep in the mountains of Poland stands an abandoned underground dig site. It was known as Project Riese, and it shows just how far Hitler was willing to go to make Germany and himself supreme.
For years, archaeologists have speculated on the purpose of Hitler’s long-abandoned construction site known solely as Project Riese. Many hypothesize that increased allied bomb threats forced Hitler to move most of his operations below ground, and Project Riese was one of them.
Hitler chose Albert Speer, his Minister of Armaments and War Production, to run this top-secret project. He picked Owl Mountain, in what is now modern-day Poland, to be the primary location for his very own big dig.
Hitler ordered that an entirely new company, called the Silesian Industrial Company, be put together specifically for this project. He knew that it would take an impressive amount of manpower. The purpose of Project Riese must have been critical if he was willing to spare able-bodied men to help construct it.
While most young and able German men were put to work on the front lines, prisoners from Italy, the Soviet Union, and Poland were recruited to do most of the back-breaking hard labor that was required. This included building roads, ditches, and air ventilation systems.
The hardest part of the project involved boring through the stone of the mountain to make tunnels. Again, this was a task given to the POWs, under the supervision of experts from Ukraine and Germany. The rock was nearly impenetrable, which made for a good defense from the Allied forces, but it was difficult when it came to construction.
Because the rock was so solid, the crew was able to construct tunnels that were much higher than your average manmade underground cave. The conditions for the workers were dangerous and dirty, and many men lost their lives on the project.
However much progress was being made, it wasn’t enough for Hitler. He ordered the construction of 13 more concentration camps and put their prisoners to work on Project Riese. In addition to all of these new imprisoned laborers, 900 SS workers were employed to guard them.
A completely accurate tally of how many people worked on Project Riese was lost during the war, though experts put the number at more than 9,000 people altogether. Of that number, at least 5,000 died during its construction or were later executed.
Near the end of World War II, the Russian army began to march toward this part of Poland. Hitler was forced to pull back his own forces from the project, abandoning most of the prisoners who had worked in the depths of the mountain.
According to sources close to Hitler, the Owl Mountain portion of Project Riese was only the beginning of a much larger project. The rest of Hitler’s vision included the Książ Castle, which was located not too far from this massive underground project.
Hitler and his men seized the castle and set to work transforming it into a veritable fortress. They added secret elevators and tunnels that led out of the castle through the basement. Many speculate that this is how Nazi gold was transported throughout Poland, though to this day, that gold has never been discovered.
It is amazing how, so long after Hitler’s regime of terror and evil was defeated, we are still discovering more and more of his unhinged plans for world domination. Whatever he had planned for Project Riese, thankfully, he was never able to carry them out!
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