Entrance to SS Vault (die Gruft) in the North Tower at Wewelsburg Castle
Behind you, as you are facing the main entrance to the Wewelsburg castle, is a huge tree and to the right of the tree is a sign with an arrow which directs tourists to "die Gruft," a room which is called "the vault" in English. Note the red rooftops of the houses in the village of Wewelsburg in the background. Wewelsburg is pronouced VAY-vells-borg.
The vault is in the basement of the North tower of the Wewelsburg castle; it was constructed between 1938 and 1943. Although never finished and never used, the vault was intended to be used as a burial place for SS leader Heinrich Himmler and the top 12 generals in the Schutzstaffel or SS.
Shown above is the stairs and the steep path down to the lower courtyard of the Wewelsburg Castle. When I visited the castle in May 2008, there were several young German boys practicing soccer in the courtyard, oblivious to the German history surrounding them.
On the left in the photo above, the path leads to the door into the ground floor of the castle, where there are steep stairs down to the vault, as shown in the photo below.
Tourist are not allowed beyond the locked gate of the vault. Few tourists today have any interest in this forgotten chapter of German history.
This page was created on July 18, 2008