'Insane And Dangerous': Claims Hitler's Bunker Makeover Could Create A Nazi 'Disneyland'
Remote and protected, Wolf's Lair was Adolf Hitler's secret headquarters from 1941 to 1944.
Close to 80 years later it's getting a makeover, with concerns it could become a Nazi theme park.
Adolf Hitler spent 850 days bunkered down in the concrete complex in northern Poland during WWII. It consisted of hundreds of buildings, a railway line and an airstrip, sprawled across 618 acres and protected by minefields and anti-aircraft guns.
This top-secret, high-security site was Hitler's first Eastern Front military headquarters and the birthplace of plans for world domination.
It was here that he launched an invasion of the Soviet Union, otherwise known as Operation Barbarossa. But the location is probably best known for the assassination attempt of Hitler by German army officer Claus von Stauffenberg in 1944.
Four people -- three of them officers -- were killed by a briefcase bomb, more than 20 others were injured, but the dictator managed to escape relatively unscathed.
The plot, known as Operation Valkyrie was turned into a movie starring Tom Cruise in 2008.
These days, the crumbling, partly destroyed, moss-covered concrete complex is visited by 300,000 tourists each year but the Polish state's Srokowo Forest District, which manages the site, is giving it a makeover to pull in thousands more visitors.
New information docks, a new entrance and even a car park have been built, while there are plans to also build a hotel and restaurant.
Apps currently guide visitors around the site where military equipment is on show, and tourists can watch a film about the history of the headquarters, with the basic entrance fee just 15 Polish Zlotty -- 5 Aussie dollars.
The district's spokesman, Sebastian Trapik, has told the BBC that a priority at the site is to reconstruct the scene of the infamous bombing, which will include life-sized "symbolic figures depicting those present at the time".
But the plan to restore the bunker and improve facilities in an area where there is little else but the abandoned Nazi bunker has been slammed by historians.
Professor Pawel Machcewicz, who is a leading Polish war historian, labelled it "insane and dangerous", outlining concerns that restoring the bunker could result in it being glorified by neo-Nazis.
"The scars left by the war should be preserved and presented as a lesson, a warning," he told the BBC. "Exhibitions should explain the history, contextualise the place, but not completely overshadow it."
He warned against creating "a moribund Disneyland, which could promote a sort of fascination with Nazi Germany and Hitler".