Pniewo – Ostwall

In the small village of Pniewo in western Poland there is a museum at a preserved part of the Ostwall. Ostwall, or Festungsfront im Oder-Warthe Bogen, was built on orders from Hitler between 1933 and 1938. Its strongest defensive positions were in the Miedzyrzecz area between the Oder and Warta rivers. This was within the german border at that time. In connection with Germany’s attack on Poland in September, 1939, Ostwall was never used for its original purpose. In 1944, Ostwall was strengthened in to face the upcoming Soviet offensive. The Soviet Red army advanced quickly past Ostwall because the Germans did not have time to man or equip it before the overpowering Red army attacked. Ostwall consisted of about 100 fortifications linked together with an extensive underground road network 15 – 40 meters deep and large enough to cope with double railways. The fortifications themselves consist of concrete bunkers (panzerwerks) on several floors. The entire Ostwall had electricity, water, sewage and ventilation. After the war, the Soviet Union blew up parts of Ostwall.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished with museum (2010).

Location: 52°22'15.74" N 15°30'11.85" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

The underground tunnels can only be visited with a guide. About 30,000 bats live in parts of the tunnels and these are protected as parts of Ostwall is a nature reserve. There is another museum in another part of Ostwall about six kilometers from Pniewo in Boryszyn. In addition to these two museums, there are ruins along the entire Ostwall.

Follow up in books: Kaufmann, J.e.: Fortress Europe: European Fortifications of World War II (2002).