Updated: Sep 19, 2019
Riese (from the German ‘giant’) is the code name of the largest mining and construction project of Hitler's Germany, started and uncompleted in the Owl Mountains in 1943-1945.
In the face of the intensifying Allied bombing raids in 1943, Hitler's Germany transferred a large part of its armaments production to the safe region of the Sudetes. A project was devised to create Hitler's new headquarters at Książ Castle and huge bunkers and underground structures hollowed out in the Góry Sowie (Owl Mountains).
To this end, in the autumn of 1943, the company Industriegemeinschaft Schlesien AG was established, to which several thousand slave labour and prisoners of war who were located in the first four labor camps were transferred to project’s location. However, due to unsatisfactory progress of works, the Todt organization took over the construction at the turn of March and April 1944.
The plans included general adaptation works at the Książ castle, the creation of large spaces hollowed under the castle, the construction of giant tunnels and underground halls in several places in the Góry Sowie (Owl Mountains), the reorganization of the entire network of surrounding roads, and the connection of the entire narrow-gauge railway network.
It was the most expensive building of military units and strategic facilities of contemporary Germany (about 150 million marks). Construction and engineering was at the highest level available at the times. Plans were changed several times. The Riese project consumed 28 thousand tons of cement and steel, that is, as much as Germany allocated annually for the construction of anti-aircraft shelters for civilians.
The works were never completed. Before the entry of the Red Army, many underground structures were destroyed, or at least the tunnels leading to them were blown up.
As we learn from Michał Miszczuk- a local guide and expert on the Riese complex - one of the most interesting things is the fact that the Germans have built far more underground corridors than what we know today. Today we are talking about six underground complexes (including Osówka) and Książ castle as the center of Riese.
The total length of all corridors in all facilities is approximately 9 km. 20 kilometers of tunnels were built already in the initial 4 months and works continued for more than a year, all the time increasing the resources (including human resources).
During the evacuation of Germans in May 1945, they covered and hid most of the constructed or already concrete rooms. Speculations are that they wanted to hide something there and what is more interesting, that something may very well still be there today!
The history of the “golden train” concentrates on search near the Książ Castle headquarters. The train has never been found, except for a tunnel. Some of the documents that have been found indicate that the Germans were building more such tunnels; exactly how many is still unknown.
Whenever a train entered the tunnel, the tunnel was flooded, the entrance was masked and the tracks were removed. No one was able to say that such a tunnel was actually created somewhere. The search for the train near Książ continues until today.
After the II WW, Poland obtained the territory of Lower Silesia, and German civilians were forced to evacuate. Immediately prior to this they put their valuables in German banks. They put them in metal deposits. Four trucks full of these deposits left the drove into the Owl Mountains.
Witnesses who claim to have seen this transport speak of four trucks that suddenly disappeared near Osówka. They did not turn back, they did not have the possibility of spraining, but they also did not leave anywhere else. Witnesses say that it looked as if suddenly, at some point, this transport entered into of the rock. Entrances in Osówka are big enough for such a transport be stored there.
There are numerous stories about the vanishing transports. They all end up in different places but in the same Riese complex area.
Many spoils of war have never been found. When building Riese in Lower Silesia, Germans were convinced that the complex would stay within Germany.
Even after the lost war, after the borders became stable they could return there and collect their hidden ‘treasures’…
Germany’s area remained pretty much same after the war but Lower Silesia found itself in Poland.
In fact, there are numerous indications that there really was something Nazi Germany could hide here and what's more interesting that ‘something’ is still there...
If it happens you are in Wroclaw or surrindings and wish to have one day tour to Riese complex, contact us firstname.lastname@example.org.
World War II enthusiasts are invited to this amazing journey in time. For details check at Riese Complex Tour.