Tunnel Complex Rzeczka
Tunnel complex Rzeczka lies between the villages of Walim and Rzezka, named Wüstenwaltersdorf and Dorfbach when this region belonged to Germany, long before the Second World War. Construction on Project Riese and Rzeczka started in 1943 and the Germans kept on digging until the Russian army took over the region in 1945. The tunnels and chambers were dug out by forced labourers, prisoners of war and political prisoners from concentration camps nearby, camps like Gross Rosen, Auschwitz and Dachau. Most of the labourers were prisoners of war from Russia and Italy. A smaller camp was created near the construction site. From 1943 Gemeinschaftslager I, civil work camp one, was set up in a textile factory, from 1944 Ausenlager AL Wüstenwaltersdorf was founded. This sub camp, with mostly Jews from Greece, was closer to the tunnel complex.
Entering the tunnels
Complex Rzeczka has three tunnels, two are connected with a concrete side tunnel. The third tunnel can only be reached from the outside. Total tunnel length of complex Rzeczka is 500 metres long with a surface area of 2500 square meters, its volume holds 14000 cubic meters. Rzeczka holds little concrete, some chambers and ceilings, most of the tunnels and chambers are dug out stone walls and are still rough and very uneven. Only eleven percent of the tunnels are made out of concrete. There is a concrete room with a guard chamber next to it, near the entrance of the first tunnel. A rusty MG42 for close cover is placed in a gun position as impression. There is more to the complex which you unfortunately can’t visit. There is a deeper level, fully flooded, and some air pipes run straight up a ceiling but do not show on top of the mountainside.
In and in front of the museum there are lots of items which not originally from the tunnels, but they give a good impression and make the site more vivid. The tubes on top of the ceiling in the connecting hall between tunnel one and tunnel two are a few of those items, like the mine cart and other items in the tunnels.
Wear sturdy weather resistant footwear for the tunnels are wet and dirty. Helmets are handed out at the ticket box for some tunnels are no more than 1,70 metres high.