Michael and I have been working tirelessly preparing 'Schloss Itter' for its debut which will now come much later than anticipated.
However, today, (April 1st 2020) I can welcome all through the doors for a sneak preview into one of its darkest chambers.
In the autumn of 1942 the Nazi high command were becoming desperate. Significant Allied gains across northern France, had progressed into areas from which V1 rockets had previously been launched with devastating effect. As the V1's were forced to retreat, their limited range rendered them useless in pursuit of their cowardly terror attacks upon London and the south-east. In response, the Nazi high-command began to devise schemes which might extend their shelf-life.
Unbeknown to many, indeed to history itself, Schloss Itter played host to the Nazi top secret 'Dachs Werks', a classified facility wherein the most eccentric minds of the Third Reich conceived heinous equipment with which to pursue their cause.
The V1 problem proved to be a challenge too far it would seem, as attempts to extend its range such as making the wings flap and injecting the engines with lightweight oxygen all proved futile.
In desperation, Hitler ordered that the stockpiled weapon be readied for the ultimate defence of his Austrian stronghold wherein, and if necessary, he would be prepared to make his last stand.
As proof that fiction is often more ridiculous than fact, we can reveal some of the secrets of the Dachs Werks here today, April 1st, 2020, having uncovered some old documents from the Itter vaults.
Clearly, these archive documents detail the development of the weapon, and show how military planners were to maintain the V1's effectiveness as fuel supplies became scarce.
Some photographs from the period have survived too.
The facility was overseen ruthlessly by Katja Kitzler who reported directly to the Nazi high command. Never without her clipboard Katja was a hard task master determined to keep her team focused on the task in-hand. So feared was she, that her colleagues set her feet in concrete to prevent her running and telling tales on them.
Wilhelm Schwarzenplunger (Billy to his friends) was the chief mechanic and artisan with the thermal lance. It is thought that Wilhelm was a Swedish secret agent who had been working undercover for a Nazi sympathising industrialist hoping to cash-in on the reconstruction of Europe. It is alleged that he used his spare time at the Dachs Werks to perfect automated furniture production.
Although we may never know for sure, it is believed that many of his signature 'Billy' bookcases have found their way into homes the world over.
Dr Ivan Fecktion, the infamous immunologist, was plagued* with a constantly streaming nose. He was the real genius behind the Dachs Werks, until his experiment with launching a V1 using a medieval siege catapult. During this experiment he unfortunately caught his index finger in the trigger mechanism causing a severe swelling. After that fateful occasion he became known (behind his back) as Dr Wurstfinger.
Professor Bergen A. S. Frantz was an experimental chemist charged with developing cellulose based rocket fuel. His 'herbology' experiments within the lab however were not appreciated by Fraulein Zimmermädchen.
On one occasion she caught him extracting cellu-oil from her prize winning mandrakes without her permission, and they never spoke again!!
Professor Frantz would occasionally moonlight as a Vet, and was often seen in his uniform of armpit length rubber gloves.
We hope you have enjoyed this visit to the Schloss Itter Dachs Werks.
Stay safe everyone, and take care.