Gustav Winter was born in 1893 in Zastler in the Black Forest, close to Freiburg.
During World War I, he resided abroad, in Argentina and England, among other places.
In 1915, Gustav Winter arrived in Spain via England. He completed his technical training and began working on diverse technical projects in Spain.
In 1928, Winter built the power plant CICER on Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, which opened in October 1928 after a construction period of just a few months. A masterpiece of German engineering. During his time working on Gran Canaria, Gustav Winter also visited Lanzarote and Fuerteventura and was fascinated by the wild, pristine nature and beauty of the Jandía peninsula.
In 1937, Winter was given the opportunity of leasing Jandía and made plans to industrialize it. He initially wanted to construct a cement factory, followed by a fish factory. But as war broke out, neither of the projects were ever realized. Winter concluded a lease contract with the heirs of Conde de Santa Coloma in Burgos for the entire peninsula of Jandía; in the same year, he travelled to Berlin to raise the necessary financial contribution for his project from Hermann Göring. Soon afterwards, between July and August 1938, he embarked on a small expedition with specialists and arrived in Fuerteventura on board the ship “Richard Ohlrogge”, aiming to explore the area, take photos, and create maps. The first rumors of the establishment of a secret submarine base on Fuerteventura began to surface.
From 1940 to 1944, Winter worked at a German navy ship harbor in France. In the meantime, the Jandía peninsula was blocked off from the rest of the island of Fuerteventura, with the only access point secured by a gate and armed guards.
On October 23, 1940, a meeting took place between Adolf Hitler and Francisco Franco. Hitler showed interest in building a base on the Canary Islands, but Franco declined after Hitler failed to fulfil his own demands.
Between March and July of 1941, six German submarines were proven to have received supplies at the Las Palmas harbor from the ship Corrientes: U-124, U-105, U-106, U-123, U-69, U-103.
In 1941, a notary certified a sales contract for the Jandía peninsula. Ownership was signed over to three Spanish natives. The name of their company was “Dehesa de Jandía S.A.”. Administrator: Gustav Winter.
On April 6, 1943, a British fighter plane bombed the U-167 in Canary waters. At the last minute, the crew managed to reach the south of Gran Canaria, where they eventually abandoned, evacuated, and sank the ship themselves on the captain’s orders.
In 1945, Gustav Winter and Elisabeth Althaus met in Madrid.
In 1946, inmates of the concentration camp in Tefía began building roads in Jandía.
In 1948, Gustav Winter and Elisabeth Althaus relocated to the Canary Islands. Gustav Winter created the Casas de Jorós tomato plantations, had wells built, and attempted to reforest the mountains of Jandía.
Around 1950, the Jandía peninsula experienced several days of explosions, following which Villa Winter emerged in its current form after receiving approval for an expansion.
In 1962, the Dehesa de Jandía S.A. transferred all of Jandía to Gustav Winter, as compensation for developing the peninsula and building the infrastructure.
In an interview with the German magazine Stern in 1971, Gustav Winter claimed that he hadn’t built the villa until late 1958. In the same year, Winter died in Las Palmas aged 78.
The heirs of the villa began renovating it in 1985. Up until the early 1990’s, a private security company shielded the villa from curious visitors. The Gran Canaria-based construction company Lopesan S.A. has owned the villa since 1996.
The book MYTHOS WINTER – Die Wahrheit über den deutschen Ingenieur Gustav Oskar Winter (The Myth of Winter – The Truth About the German Engineer Gustav Oskar Winter) will be published in a German, Spanish, and English version in September 2018. Illustrated with numerous images, maps, and photos, it will unveil the secret of the legend of Winter on Fuerteventura …