from Adam Mickiewicz Square
at Międzyrzecz Fortified Front
to the site
at the Międzyrzecz castle
must wear boots or sport shoes and dress for a temperature around 10C regardless
of the weather forecast.
(Latin Meserici, German Meseritz) is a district town in Lubuskie province,
in the Obra valley at the mouth of the Paklica River. The town is first
mentioned in the chronicle of Thietmar of Mersenburg who recorded a visit
by the emperor Henry II to the tomb of the Five Holy Brothers in 1005 (Benedictine
monks murdered two years earlier).
system of the Międzyrzecz Fortified Region (Międzyrzecki Rejon Umocniony
- MRU) is a unique monument of 20th-century art of fortification. It is
one of the most interesting structures of this kind across Europe, comprising
installations such as anti-tank barriers, bunkers and defensive structures
over an area of nearly 80 km (50 miles). Built in the 1930s and during
the World War II in order to protect the eastern frontier of the Third
Reich, it in fact never played an essential role in war.
of the eastern border of the Third Reich started in 1932, as a result of
the crisis in political relationships with Poland. As early as 1933 fortifications
were built in Eastern Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. However, the ultimate
concept of blocking an advance on the capital Berlin had still not been
completed, thus it was provisionally decided to close the so-called Lubuska
Gateway. In May 1935 the design of these fortifications was completed,
but Adolf Hitler, the Chief of German Military Forces, was to decide about
its implementation. And so, on October 30th 1935, Hitler, accompanied by
officers from the Wehrmacht High Command, inspected the construction of
fortification and fascinated by the project, accepted the plan.
work started in spring 1936 and continued extensively for three years.
However, the successful attack on Poland in September 1939 saw a gradual
abandoning of all the work in the Międzyrzecz Fortified Front. Moreover,
the war with the USSR in 1941 and the good military situation on the eastern
front, as well as recruitment of workers by the army emptied the work camps.
When, at the end of 1943, the Russians took the initiative on the eastern
front, the Międzyrzecz Fortified Front gained importance again. However,
Hitler, not admitting the need of defence for Berlin, refused to discuss
the subject. Only when the Russians arrived at the Vistula River on 12th
January 1945, did defensive preparations start in earnest.
a result of the powerful attack of the Soviet army, after 15 days the troops
of the Red Army arrived at the advance positions of the Międzyrzecz Fortified
Front. The fortification system failed to fulfill its role. Aimed at a
long-lasting defense, it resisted for only three days. On the evening of
January 31st the Germans began to retreat from their battle positions in
the Miedzyrzecz Fortified Front. The chaos and the lack of communication
between the German troops prevented an efficient transfer of orders, and
the soldiers, hearing the battle noise behind them, retreated in fear that
they might be encircled. Only few panzerwerk crews, obeying orders, kept
fighting somewhat longer, but on the night of February 1st the Germans
deserted the fortifications.
out more at: http://bunkry.nazwa.pl/pl/index.html
at the Międzyrzecz Castle
during the reign of Casimir III the Great in 14th century, the castle replaced
an earlier stronghold and became the seat of the castellans and starosts
of Międzyrzecz. It was reconstructed in 16th century to meet requirements
of defence against artillery. To that period are dated two massive artillery
bastions (basteja) with thick walls (up to 3,5 m). The castle was severely
damaged during the Swedish wars in 17th century and it has never been rebuilt.
At the beginning of the 18th century, the elders of Międzyrzecz were residing
in a town council building constructed by the castle ruins. Archaeological
excavations were carried out there in 1950s and the remains were secured
as a permanent ruin.
can relax at the castle's premises, take a stroll around the Museum complex
which comprises an extensive parkland and a complex of historic buildings
(the town council building, the gate house and the inn) or visit the museum
which has one of the largest collections of l7th and 18th century coffin
portraits. A unique Polish custom which evolved in 17th century, this was
the most important element of funeral decorations, related to ceremonial
burials of the noblemen of Poland. Baroque portraits were usually painted
on tin, copper or iron sheets and fixed to the shorter side of coffins,
by the dead person's head. After the burial ceremonies, the portraits were
placed on church walls. Exceptional features of the Międzyrzecz collection
are coffin portraits of foreigners who settled in Poland and took over