Better known in French as "Grand quartier general allemand 1940".
In the extreme South of Belgium, between Couvin and the French Rocroi is a small bunker called "Abri d'Hitler", with 2 wooden barracks. It is a large site in a wooded area.
The site is located near a church and a pub. Time seems to have stood still in the village. The coffee tasted great, but the atmosphere was like in the war. The church is a different story. In 1940 Hitler ordered the church bell to be removed and a water tank was placed in the church tower for the men. Memorial services are still regularly held here. When we were there in June 2000, many old-timers came for a service.
There are 2 permanent exhibitions in the barracks:
In a particularly realistic framework, a picture is sketched of life at the German headquarters during the French campaign in June 1940. On the other hand, of the local resistance movement during the occupation.
Video montages are shown in Dutch, French, English and German. It is decorated in such a way that if you have first been in the 2 barracks and so you have heard and seen the story. Then you will be led outside to the bunker. This bunker is so small that it can only accommodate 2 to 3 people. It also says that this bunker was only for Hitler. From there a walking route has been mapped out, which leads you to a stone-built omega.
Hitler stood in this place when he addressed his commanders. This form was deliberately chosen, because the commanders then stood in a semicircle around Hitler. Furthermore, the walk goes along a stream, where a kind of rack is able to hold on to. Hitler walked in here when his feet bothered him. Medicinal effect was attributed to this stream. A little further is an air-raid shelter. In this air-raid shelter, made of stones and sandbags, Hitler's men first sat there. After Hitler left here, this bomb shelter was taken into use by the resistance movement. Who hid people in hiding there. These included British pilots who had been shot and smuggled across the border by the resistance movement. Injured people were also cared for here.
The route you walk is told in various places, as mentioned above, via a sound system. Again, you can indicate in which language at the start of the walk.
We thought it was a very special place, but you will not find it anywhere in the books. The place is a bit difficult to find, but with a good map and explanation you will go a long way. And it is definitely worth a visit!
For current visiting hours, please visit the website of the museum.
Do you have more information about this location? Inform us!
- Text: Ron & Agnes van Os
- Photos: Dirk Vanfraechem (1), Bert Jans (2, 3, 4)