Muzeum Sztolni Walimskich

Walim is a village in Silesia, 15 km. south-east of Wałbrzych, and close to the present-day border with the Czech Republic and to the Góry Sowe (Eulengebirges or Owl Mountains). Until 1945 the area was part of Germany and the village was called Wüstewaltersdorf.

A museum opened in 1995 reveals the scale and horror of part of the Riese project carried out in 1943-45 by the Nazi authorities creating vast underground (and effectively bomb-proof) caverns, possibly intended as a bunker where the Nazi élite might have made a last stand, possibly as a military headquarters or perhaps as a weapons research facility or factory. The work began in 1943 under a company called Schlesische Industriegemeinschaft AG but management was taken over in April 1944 by the Organisation Todt. The tunnels were built by forced labour, and employed many prisoners from concentration camps in the vicinity. It is estimated that some 5,000 workers died during the construction of the tunnels. The total length of the known tunnels is 8.5 km. although it is suspected that some were sealed off in the closing weeks of the war and have remained undiscovered. Most of the tunnels go through hard gneiss rock, but are nevertheless lined with concrete.

Visitors approach the museum over a Bailey Bridge of the Second World War across the Walinka River and can see an exhibition of documents relating to the project in a guard house at the entrance. Once underground visitors can explore some of the tunnels and see some of the vast underground chambers, 10-12 m. high and 10 m. wide that may have been intended as workplaces. There is evidence of ventilation systems, tunnel boring machines and underground railways. The museum is the starting point for a trail linking together places associated with the Riese project.

Muzeum Sztolni Walimskich
3 Maja 26
58-320 Walim
+48 (0) 74 - 8457300