Hegewald


In late July 1942, SS chief Heinrich Himmler moved to his new Ukrainian field headquarters, Hegewald, about two kilometers south of Zhytomyr. The headquarters was located next to a former Soviet military airfield and consisted of several barracks, exhibition hall, communication center, conference hall, office barracks, etc. About 100 SS officers and about 1000 SS police officers were stationed in and around Hegewald. When the Soviet Red Army advanced westward in the summer of 1943, Hegewald was evacuated. Himmler headquarters were destroyed by SS forces in November and December 1943. It was also in the Hegewald area that Himmler in March 1943 placed a colony of more than 10,000 people (non German citizens of German origin) from Poland and Ukraine. These were more or less self-sufficient colonies Himmler planned to build in Eastern Europe after the Germans won the war. The original inhabitants were forcibly deported (in Hegewald’s case 15,000 Ukrainians) or enslaved to serve the new inhabitants. Even the people were forcibly deported, in several cases against their will they had been categorized as Germans in accordance with the Nazi racial doctrine. This is despite the fact that they have lived outside Germany for several generations, but were now forced to move to new settlement areas. These great migrations were one of Himmler’s favorite projects.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished (2019).

Location: 50°12'38.74"N 28°40'02.32"E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

Hegewald’s design still seems to be a mystery. The photographs from Hegewald are taken inside Himmler’s study room at Himmler himself and his co-workers and not outdoors, which makes it difficult to get an idea of how Hegewald actually looked ut. How many barracks and bunkers were there? where were they? There is in any case a preserved bunker that judging by its thickness and size has been a protective bunker and then probably Himmlers and his closest collaborators. The bunker is now an integral part of dilapidated wooden sheds/houses, of which several of the sheds have been built together with the bunker. Most likely, the bunker is used as a storage room by the locals.

Follow up in books: Longerich, Peter: Himmler: A biography (2009).