Klomino Ghost Town - Poland
Klomino in Poland is the only officially recognised ghost town in the country and rose and declined because of military influences.
In the Second World War it was developed as a garrison town and training area for the German Wermacht. After the war the country the town came under the influence of the occupying Russian forces and was renamed Grodek. It maintained its military purpose and became the base for the Red Army in Poland. Such was the secrecy that surrounded the town, it only appeared on Russian maps. In 1993 with the success of the Solidarity movement in freeing Poland from Russian control, the town received its Polish name Klomino and was left abandoned as a reminder of the years of occupation.
Today, the ghost town of Kłomino is found in a sparsely populated, forested area of the former German province of Pomerania. It began life as a small village called Westfalenhof early in the 20th century. In the 1930s, after Hitler’s invasion of Poland, the German military planners built a large military base here. Polish sources indicate that in 1939 up to 60,000 soldiers were based there.
In that same year the Germans built a prisoner of war camp nearby housing 6,000 Polish soldiers and a further 2,300 civilians arrested during the invasion. The numbers were swollen by the arrival of French army officers, numbering over 3,700.
When the Russians took over the country following the rout of the German forces in 1945, they acknowledged the country of Poland but insisted that the Red Army base at Grodek remain Russian territory, banning all Poles from entering the town. Grodek was adapted to suit the needs of the 6,000 Russian soldiers billeted there and any unwanted buildings were torn down with the materials sent to help repair bomb damaged Warsaw.
When the Russians left in 1993 the town was renamed Klomino and initially remained empty, guarded by the Polish army before being handed over to the local civilian authorities.
Rather bizarrely, the authorities found they had no use for the town nor the desire to do anything with it and so it was put up for sale as a whole lot priced at 2 million euros. The property agent’s advertisement went as follows:
Complete ex-Soviet military town with capacity for over 1,000 families, 82.78 hectares of land with its own lake and barrack style buildings, 11 buildings in varying condition including a firing range and canteen. Nearest town 4 kms. Offers invited around 2 million euros. Only partial information available as costs will vary depending on type of project proposed and subsequent EU subsidy availability.
Not surprisingly, even before the property bubble burst, there was little interest and the town was withdrawn from the market. The authorities tried to persuade Poles to settle there but so few agreed that the project collapsed and Klomino was left to the ravages of nature.
Despite several suggestions for its regeneration, nothing has materialised for the unloved town and today it has but five inhabitants. Klomino today is in a sorry state of repair with buildings looted for whatever could be sold including bricks, tiles and any wood.