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History

60 Million years ago The island-shaped mountain appears from the middle Buntsandstein and feldspar layers with clay.
Early history Germanic ritual area.
Middle Ages Three sand quarries are used for excavating construction materials Forestry
Wine is cultivated on the southern slope
An important trading route passes over the mountain towards Gotha.
1893/1897 Discovery and excavation of kaolinized feldspar sand by the Kahla porcelain factory and the mill owner Melzer from Grosseutersdorf.

In the south-eastern and south-western areas of the mountain two independent subterranean sites are excavated.
The two sites lie on a north-south axis and consist of various 70 metre to 220m long tunnels, around 3.5m wide and 4m high.

1943 Continued strategic area bombing by the British Royal Air Force and the American USAAF on German cities and military industrial complexes force the Reichswirschaftsministerium to act.
1944 Adolf Hitler orders the transfer of militarily important production into subterranean facilities.

The Thuringia area has an important role in the War, due to its location, military infrastructure, and the existing mines and tunnel systems.

Of the 41 facilities registered, the Walpersberg had the best conditions for an underground production installation.

Expropriation of the Kahlaer and Melzer sand quarry by the Reich ministry for Armament and War production

The sand quarry in Kahla has at this time a total mining surface of 10,000 m²

Through the initiative of the Gauleiter of Thuringia, Fritz Sauckel and Hermann Göring, Reichsmarshall of the German air force, the "REIMAHG" is founded.

The "REIMAHG" is part of the National-Socialist industrial organisationIts "Gustloff-Werke" in Weimar. Its purpose is the mass production of the Me262 jet fighter.

April, 11th - Construction in and around the Walpersberg Mountain starts with participation from over 100 companies.

At the same time 10 main camps and 18 sub-camps are created, where until the end of the War 15,000 people will be drawn from all over Europe.

Fritz Sauckel, Nazi plenipotentiary-general for labour mobilization, organises the necessary labourers.

Forced labourers, prisoners of war and civilian employees from thirteen different countries are recruited, as well as Germans that were obliged to work, and boys and girls of the Hitler Youth and Bund Deutscher Mädel (League of German girls)

In April construction starts and the first forced labourers from Italy arrive. By November their numbers will rise to 12,000.

None of the camps was completely finished by the end of the War.

1945 January - at this time the following is ready:

"REIMAHG" hospital in the Hummelshain Castle with four major sick barracks in the castle park

Shipping station with railway connection towards OrlamĂĽnde

40 tunnels each 400m long, used as working areas
75 tunnels, total length 15 km
7 main entrances
2 assembly halls, 100m x 30m
4 major steel concrete bunkers, 100m x 20m
5 large wooden sheds, 100m x 20m

The runway, 1100m x 33m, on top of the mountain with an elevator system for the aircraft

August `44 until April `45 - Allied aerial reconnaissance by the ACIU and the OSS

The factory and its role are discovered by Constance Babington-Smith, who works in Medmenham, England at the Allied Aerial Interpretation Unit.

February 21st - the first take-off by an Me262 and production of other Me262 jet aircraft start. The total of assembled aircraft lies between 20-26 aircraft.

Production is partially done in the subterranean factory, the so-called "Stelle 0". All other underground construction is still underway.

April - the US 89th Infantry Division, a unit of the US Third Army, commanded by General Patton, enters in Thuringia.

The remaining forced labourers are registered, taken care of and repatriated.

Special allied units, like CIOS and USSTAF inspect the "REIMAHG"

April, the factory is guarded by the Belgian 16th Fusilier Battalion.

In July, the Soviet military administration in Thuringia under the command of General Tschuikow, takes over the region.

1946-1952 The Soviet army confiscates all assets of the "REIMAHG" and starts disassembly of the installation. All equipment is transported by rail towards the Soviet-Union. The disassembly is followed by a systematic destruction of all external buildings, main entrances to the mountain, runway and subterranean areas.
1953-1974 Some of the tunnels are reutilised as storage for potatoes and by the East-German drill core archive.

1965 - Construction and inauguration of a memorial site on the former "REIMAHG" area.
On a yearly basis, commemorations for the victims and survivors of the factory take place.

1974 - Demolition of the old memorial and inauguration of a new memorial site in the Leubengrund near Kahla.

1975-1990 Extension and opening of a part of the subterranean area by the National People`s Army of the German Democratic Republic.
1990-1997 Due to the German reunification, the Bundeswehr takes over the area until the closure of the depot. The former military area is given to the financial department in Erfurt.
2003 Our close and long cooperation with the competent ministry in Erfurt enables us to organize a commemoration in the former "REIMAHG" area.

Numerous former forced labourers came back after 29 years: back to the place where they suffered so much.

2004 With major international participation the second commemoration takes place.

Commemorative plaques are installed and the tunnels are open for the public.

Other commemorations take place in the neighbouring towns, where the former camps were located.

A major open evening event with a strong international atmosphere is organised.

Our work will now be continued as a Foundation. The statutes and articles are prepared in close cooperation with functionaries, ministries and the University of Jena.

2005 Main event this year is the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Liberation.

For the first time, an international youth camp working around projects concerning forced labour is organised.

Ambassadors, Consuls and a large number of international guests come from Italy, Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, Belarus, Germany, Chile, USA and the UK to participate at this special event.

Inauguration of new commemorative plaques. More will follow in the near future.

A nocturnal commemoration around and inside the Hummelshain Castle, the former hospital of the "REIMAHG", is organised.

An open evening event with all guests takes place in Kahla. The complex preparation for setting up the Foundation continues.

Preparation for a extensive informative book about the history of the "REIMAHG" begins…