It is the Centre of Military Technology and a part of the Leon Wyczółkowski District Museum in Bydgoszcz. Exploseum is located next to the Bydgoski Park Przemysłowo-Technologiczny Sp. z o.o. (Bydgoszcz Industrial and Technological Park Sp. z o.o) at the Nobel Street. Today you will find an interactive exhibition that traces the secrets of the nitroglycerineproduction, the history of arms, weapons and explosives in this old German factory buildings where explosives used to be produced. A separate exhibition relates the stories of the forced labor of the Third Reich factories.
Tour duration: 2 hours
Factory full of secrets
In the empty factory interiors of seven buildings that are interconnected with tunnels, one can see, hear and touch everything, which is connected with the history of industrial plants, production technology and forced labour of thousands of people. It is here that the Third Reich built their weapons and explosives.
There were 40 000 names, dates of birth, addresses and metal tags of 110 x 50 millimeters. Those identification tags were sufficient to single out forced laborers, including prisoners of war working in the DAG Bromberg, one of the largest armaments factories which had been erected on the occupied Polish soil.
1600 metal ID tags were found after the war,. In Exploseum – you will find 300 of them, each designates someone’s life. Poles, Germans, Russians, Czechs, Italians, Yugoslavs, French and English – canaries and hummingbirds, as they were called since the direct contact with chemicals caused hair and skin discoloration.
Barracked in several camps, from 1939 to the end of 1944, they worked for the DAG Fabrik Bromberg, the industrial might of the Third Reich. Englishmen were treated best, Jews and Russians were heavily mistreated. Digitized memories of working and living conditions in the factory are presented at the exhibition and they are also available at www.pamiecbydgoszczan.ukw.edu.pl
The Armed Combat Association, headed by Henry Szymonowicz, alias Marek, operated in the factory almost from the very beginning of the occupation. Resistance gained information and military intelligence, whereas Kazimierz Janowski, a factory worker and a radio technology expert, produced radio transmitters and receivers for the soldiers. Leszek the White was the head of this group. He was brutally murdered after the war by the executioners of the Homeland Security Office (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego). Bydgoszcz patriots specialised in sabotage. On 24 June 1944 Operation Cream, the greatest act of military deception in Pomorze (Pomerania region), was carried out to destroy a unique equipment in the factory. The explosion was prepared by an Armia Krajowa organisation (Home Army) that operated at the DAG Fabrik Bromberg. Broken reactors and two-storey building without a wall left by the Germans, were demolished no sooner than in the years 1958-1960. German engineers, developers of new technologies and Polish and Russian workers were killed during the explosion. Work on the construction of factories got sabotaged in different ways, according to Leon Pawlikowski who worked in factories as a teenager: “much harm was not done, but at least some, for example, as soon as Germans had a break, we took away their saws, hammers, screwdrivers – we threw them into the ditch and covered them with sand. Germans came back from the break, shouting: sabotage, sabotage. Such was the mischief-making. “
When Adolf Kämpf, a German chemist, was appointed the director of DAG Bromberg (1941), the factory comprised hundreds of buildings. By the end of 1944, there were more than a thousand of them. Their facades were painted green, the roofs were covered with a thick layer of soil and planted. Each building was top secret. That was the place where the Reich got their armory from, they produced nitroglycerin there, TNT and nitrobenzene (used in V1 missiles). The forced labourers worked in the production of nitroglycerine and TNT until 1945. It was not until a few days before the liberation of Bydgoszcz that German personnel had been evacuated. Adolf Kämpf was one of the last men to leave the factory. DAG Bromberg arms factory was very important for the German arms industry. They built a mock-up factory in the immediate vicinity of the factory. It consisted of hundreds of wooden boards, which imitated the production buildings. The factory mock-up did not survive, but the industrial architecture of the Third Reich did along with the unique underground tunnels. Today Exploseum – the Centre of Military Technology DAG Fabrik Bromberg covers only 1% of the former DAG area. In the seven empty factory buildings that are interconnected via tunnels, you can see, hear and touch the history of the factory, defense industry, slavery and the Bydgoszcz story beneath. Iconography, multimedia and interactive solutions were used to create stories about the DAG Bromberg factory.
Winter season (November – March)
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9.00-16.00
Thursday: 9.00 – 18.00
Saturday, Sunday 10.00-16.00