Aliens and Adolf Hitler might not seem to have much in common. But lying in isolated mountainside in one of the most secluded areas of the Canary Islands lies an spacious villa that has given birth to mysterious legends about both
This spacious villa lies hidden from the world nestling between the mountains and the wild Atlantic ocean on Fuerteventura. It can only be reached after a hair raising drive along a dirt track in the mountain borders. The sheer isolation of Villa Gustav Winter holds a mystery which has yet to be explained.
This mystery starts with the appearance and position of the villa itself. It is surrounded by land which has exactly the same shape and proportions of the island of Fuerteventura itself. And the villa’s location within this enclosed replica corresponds geographically to its true position…
Was this location and shape the result of exact mathematical positioning, a signal to some alien life form or just sheer fluke? The truth will probably never come to light but theories abound.
German-born Gustav Winter arrived on Fuerteventura in the 1930s. He worked for a large company that had just acquired a great expanse of land in the south of the island – the peninsula of Jandia.
Winter became known for his mysterious dark glasses and accompanying black dog and was responsible for building the first port at Morro Jable. However, it is not for these reasons that he is best remembered. His name will always be connected to the small isolated hamlet of Cofete where he built the villa that later gave birth to countless myths.
Originally, the villa was said to have been built to establish agriculture in the region. It was modelled on a villa built in the Black Forest in 1893. But rumours began spreading after the appearance of armed guards accompanied by large dogs started guarding the walls of what was becoming more of a fortress than a villa.
Anyone trying to get to the villa had to first identify themselves to the guards who would then call Winter. If they were granted permission to enter, they then had to travel along a dirt track road which, according to urban legend, was built by political prisoners held captive at a concentration camp at Tefia. An airport runway was also built there and put at Gustav’s disposal.
Rumours were flamed after accounts from people allowed into the villa described the five rooms in the attic as being completely tiled over, of a large kitchen and of vast dark cellars and caves stretching under the villa and into the mountainside. Were the tiles to stop any radio signals being picked up by eavesdroppers?
And why would such an important engineer as Gustav, who held the rank of Colonel and who was at the forefront of an important shipyard in Bordeaux, hide himself in the middle of nowhere to practice farming while his country was at war? He was a man of considerable importance – at a time when his country needed him most, would he really hide himself away in a fortress in a remote island with its close proximity to the sea and an airport runway? Would he really shelter in a fortress built of solid walls with ample cellars and a kitchen large enough to feed a small army?
Allied ships were frequently attacked by German submarines that surrounded and protected this small island from prying eyes.
Historical accounts now tend to suggest that Villa Winter acted as a safe house for top escaping Nazis most probably heading to America. It’s isolated location next to the Atlantic and its natural mountain shelter would have been an ideal rendezvous point for Nazi leaders arriving by submarine and seeking a safe haven until they could slip into anonymity after the war.
Another myth that has grown is that the villa was a halfway house not only providing safe haven but also a hospital where plastic surgeons operated to give their overlords new faces to match their new identities.
In an interview shortly before her death, the widow of Gustav Winter firmly denied the allegations levelled at her late husband over the years. She denied that the villa had ever had connections to the Nazis or that it was built as a hideaway for Adolf Hitler – she said the infamous villa was built for the simple reason of exploiting agriculture in the area.
But the sheer size of Villa Winter, its isolation and the constant guard patrols would tend to suggest that this was never destined to be a family home ringing with the sound of laughter from happy children