Westwall Museum - Pirmasens - Germany

Address: In der Litzelbach 2, Pirmasens (See map)
Telephone: +49 (0)6331-46147
Website: http://www.westwall-museum.de

Shop: no shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: not available
Size of the museum/site: large
Year of visit: 2002
Overall rating:

Description: The Franco-German borderlands between Metz, Saarbrücken, Karlsruhe and Strasbourg have been the setting for many bloody conflicts throughout the 19th and early 20th century. During the events leading up to WW2, and during the war itself, this historic region again was strongly focussed upon by both the French and German governments. The French built the colossal "Ligne Maginot" in the area before the outbreak of war, to prevent the Germans from smashing into north-eastern France (eventually the Germans bypassed the Maginot-line completely by invading northern France through Belgium). The Germans answered by building the "Westwall" or "Siegfriedlinie", as it was also called, running all the way from the city of Kleve along the Dutch, Belgian, Luxemburg and French borders to Basel in neutral Switzerland.

This static German defenseline forms the subject of the Westwall museum, which is housed in one of the bunkers that was part of the Westwall, namely the "Festungswerk Gerstfeldhöhe". It is situated somewhere along the road from Pirmasens to Bitche (a village in France). Be sure to reserve some extra time for finding the museum when you plan your visit, because it proved to be very hard to locate during our visit!

When you succeed in arriving at the museum you'll see a few interesting items on display at the museum's carpark (among them a FLAK 88 anti-aircraft gun). The actual museum in the bunker itself starts off with some information panels about the building and functioning of the Westwall, combined with scale-models of other Westwall bunkers. After that you can stroll around the corridors of the Festungswerk, where you'll encounter some vehicles and the occasional diorama. The bunker itself isn't really spectacular, and although some of the vehicles are quiet nice and the general information on the panels is interesting, the museum hasn't got very much to offer. Nice if you happen to be in the area, but no need to make this the destination of a long journey.

The hard to find entrance of the museum.

American scoutcar and a US 2,5 ton truck in the background.

German Faun 5 used for transportation of men and equipment.

Motorcycle combination being held up by a road block.

A nice diorama, showing the interior and way of life in a German bunker.

One of the many long and wet corridors of the "Festungswerk Gerstfeldhöhe" tunnelsystem.

Heavy steel door leading to one of the engine rooms.

Scale-model of a bunker. More of these models are on display in this museum.

Tank turret dug in to defend the fortress against enemy attacks.