Kłomino – A Ghost Town in Poland

They call Kłomino the only ghost town in Poland and it is recognised as such by the Polish government. It is located near Szczecinek in north-western Poland.

The village began life as Westfalenhof in the former German province of Pomerania. It was a small and unassuming place but in the 1930s, the Wehrmacht constructed a large military base and by 1939, 60,000 troops had made the sleepy little village their home.

German troops in Westfalenhof
German troops in Westfalenhof.

After Germany invaded Poland to start World War II, a prisoner of war camp was opened in Westfalenhof. Nearly 10,000 Polish soldiers and citizens had been arrested during the invasion and detained at the POW camp. In June 1940, it was renamed Oflag II D Gross-Born. It was then used to detain French POWs who had been detained during the invasion of France. The camp evaded the horrors that occurred in so many other German facilities.

German soldiers having lunch at the camp.
German soldiers having lunch at the camp.

The base was liberated by the Soviet Union in 1945 and the Red Army took permanent possession of it, keeping it as Soviet territory on Polish soil. The town became off limits to anyone but the Red Army. It was renamed Grodek but did not appear on any Polish maps. It housed 6,000 Soviet soldiers.

When the Soviet Union collapsed and their Russian successors eventually pulled out in 1993, the Polish military stepped in and the government began the process of selling the entire village. No buyers were found and nobody seemed keen to settle in the newly renamed Kłomino. The Polish Army maintained a presence in the area for about a year before leaving it to the local civilian authorities.

Kłomino is Poland’s only ghost town
An abandoned apartment building in Kłomino.

Ruins of an apartment building in Kłomino
The apartment blocks were used to house soldiers.

Unbelievably, the town is not completely empty. The current population is 5 and although there are no shops, buses or other services, none of those in residence are interested in leaving, happy to live in the former Soviet ghost town and away from the rest of the world.

The ghost town of Kłomino in Poland
The door of the apartment block was blocked up but the windows have been broken rendering it pointless.

An apartment building in the Polish ghost town of Klomino
An eerie view of an abandoned apartment block in Kłomino.

This is the actual advert used by the Polish government to try sell Kłomino:

Complete ex-Soviet military village capacity for over 1,000 families, 82.78 ha of land with its own lake and barrack style buildings, 11 buildings in varying condition including a firing range and canteen. Nearest town 4 km. 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.

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