I’ve been staying in the Polish city of Szczecin . During WWII it was the German city Stettin , a shipbuilding center . There was also an automobile factory in Stettin . The city was bombed heavily , especially in 1944 , and much of it was reduced to ruins , especially around the port .
Not too far away is the small city of Police . It had been the German city of Politz . Near Politz the Germans were producing synthetic airplane fuel from coal . An extensive factory was scattered throughout a forest there , and it was an allied bombing target , too .
The Germans built heavily fortified structures in the forest , and defensive bunkers . A small city further away from Politz became a decoy city . When the bombers came the decoy city was lit up a bit while the factory and Politz were blacked out .
Upper floors of the larger factory buildings were designed to collapse when hit with bombs , and to absorb the shock , so that vital lower floors were protected .
Smoke was released , too , during raids to hide topographical details .
It seems the factory was not hit much . Surrounding fields were peppered with bomb craters , and the decoy city was hit , and the town of Politz was extensively destroyed , but the factory itself was well hidden and it was mostly spared of destruction .
I had a great tour of the place , the decaying ruins still scattered around , from a local guy, a soldier in the Polish Army , who knows the place like the back of his hand . I went there once before with him years ago and we climbed , that time , down into cramped bunkers , and around crumbling concrete structures .Now a local group of history buffs has built up a little museum in a couple of the bunkers . It’s full of scavenged items recovered from the forest : helmets and weapons and bomb fragments . They have also added maps from war days , and identity cards of some of the prisoners who were interned on the site , etc .
This is a picture of my guide , Marcin , the soldier . Like the old joke about the bus driver who takes his family for a drive on his day off —- what Marcin does on his day off is help out at the military museum . He wanted to share his excitement about the WWII history of the place and he knew I would appreciate the experience .