Prepare to get knee deep into history where the desperate German war industry went underground to avoid Allied bombardment, burying their factories and assets in disused mines or newly-built tunnel systems, hundreds of which were under construction all over the Reich by the war’s end.
Join KDIH in a six-day tour of the underground installations in central Germany, along with associated forced labor sites. Participants will visit the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, entering the tunnels where the Nazis assembled the infamous V-2 rockets and V-1 flying bombs, as well the secret REIMAHG factory complex for the assembly of the Me-262 jet fighter, and an exclusive visit to the underground factory which made the jet engines for these aircraft.
In addition to underground production sites, many mines were used to store valuable assets; the tour will take participants over 500 meters underground through an elevator shaft into one of Germany’s vast salt mines, with a visit to the room where Patton’s army famously discovered the Reichsbank’s gold reserves in 1945.
During the last years of the war, tens of thousands of slave laborers were forced to work on the Nazis’ ambitious construction projects, and the tour will include stops at Buchenwald, one of the first concentration camps established and one which provided the labor for many of the underground sites, as well as Ohrdruf, the first concentration camp liberated by US troops, where inmates had to dig tunnels for an unfinished headquarters for the Nazi government.
Other sites will include an underground jet fuel refinery, where Jewish-American POWs were forced to excavate over a dozen tunnels in the last months of the war and a natural cave that was transformed into a secret aircraft factory.
Brief Schedule (See Brochure for Full Details)
Monday, 13 May. Pick up at FRA, sightseeing in Weimar and reception dinner. Stay overnight in Weimar, Germany.
Tuesday, 14 May. Buchenwald Concentration Camp and Berga Concentration Camp / Schwalbe V, where Jewish-American POWs were forced to build an underground jet fuel refinery. Stay overnight in Weimar.
Wednesday, 15 May. Mittlebau Dora Concentration Camp walking tour in the morning. Heimkehle, Junkers aircraft factory, and Ellrich (aka Mittelbau II) in the afternoon. Stay overnight near Kahla, Germany.
Thursday, 16 May. REIMAHG sites (secret Me-262 jet fighter factory) starting at the Museum in Kahla and continuing up the Walpersberg to the former Me-262 runway. Stay overnight near Kahla.
Friday, 17 May. Kamsdorf, the secret underground jet engine factory for ME-262s in an abandoned iron mine. This will include parts of the factory not normally open to the public, guided with flashlights and helmets. Cultural event in the afternoon: Visit to the 13th century Leuchtenburg Castle. Stay overnight near Kahla.
Saturday, 18 May. Visit and commemoration ceremony at Ohrdruf, the first concentration camp liberated by U.S. troops, and the Jonastal Valley, where inmates worked on a secret bunker. Afternoon tour of the Merkers Salt Mine, where Patton’s Army discovered the Reichsbank gold reserves as portrayed in The Monuments Men. Drive back to FRA.
What Makes This Tour so Unique?
This tour will be led by Graham Gaulke, with the REIMAHG portions being led by Patrick Brion, both of whom have been exploring, researching and documenting the underground world of Third Reich armament manufacturing for years!
Graham Gaulke’s passion for exploring the Third Reich’s underground manufacturing sites (“Untertage Verlagerungen”) began a decade ago, when he explored an underground aircraft factory in Waltenheim, France. Since then, Graham has visited and documented dozens of aboveground and underground sites; and he has combined these visits with archival research in Washington, D.C. and in other archives. As a result, Graham has developed a thorough understanding of the Third Reich’s efforts to move its arms productions underground and the inextricable relationship that this has had with forced labor. Graham has attended several concentration camp commemorations and his photographs can be found on the information panels at several historical sites and on his website, https://graham-gaulke.format.com.
Patrick Brion, currently living in Kahla, Germany, has been actively researching and working to preserve some of these sites since the Wall came down in 1989. He will be leading the REIMAHG portions of the tour. More details can be seen on this website: https://www.walpersberg.de.
Download the Tour Information Here and Sign-up Today!
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