Showing posts with label Augsburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Augsburg. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Swabia

 The planned gauforum
Augsburg was historically a militarily important city due to its strategic location. During the German re-armament before the Second World War, the Wehrmacht enlarged Augsburg's one original Kaserne (barracks) to three: Somme Kaserne (housing Wehrmacht Artillerie-Regiment 27); Arras Kaserne (housing Wehrmacht Infanterie Regiment 27) and Panzerjäger Kaserne (housing Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 27 (later Panzerjäger-Abteilung 27). Wehrmacht Panzerjäger-Abteilung 27 was later moved to Füssen.  During World War II, one subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located outside Augsburg, supplying approximately 1,300 forced labourers to local military-related industry, most especially the Messerschmitt AG military aircraft firm headquartered in Augsburg. This is also the hometown of Jakob Grimminger, famous for having been awarded the honour of carrying the blood-stained Blutfahne from the Munich putsch.  In 1941, Rudolf Hess without Adolf Hitler's permission secretly took off from a local airport
Looking down Augsburg's Maximiliansstraße in 1938 and today

The street in 1941, the year that Rudolf Hess flew from an aerodrome near Augsburg to the United Kingdom at 17.45 on Saturday, May 10 alone over the North Sea to Scotland to meet the Duke of Hamilton before crashing in Eaglesham in an attempt to mediate the end of the European front of World War II and join sides for the upcoming Russian Campaign. The Reichswehr Infanterie Regiment 19 was stationed in Augsburg and became the base unit for the Wehrmacht Infanterie Regiment 40, a subsection of the Wehrmacht Infanterie Division 27 (which later became the Wehrmacht Panzerdivision 17). Elements of Wehrmacht II Battalion of Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 99 (especially Wehrmacht Panzerjäger Kompanie 14) was composed of parts of the Wehrmacht Infanterie Division 27. The Infanterie Regiment 40 remained in Augsburg until the end of the war, finally surrendering to the United States when in 1945, the U.S. Army occupied the heavily bombed and damaged city.  Following the war, the three Kaserne would change hands confusingly between the American and Germans, finally ending up in US hands for the duration of the Cold War. The former Wehrmacht Kaserne became the three main US barracks in Augsburg: Reese, Sheridan and FLAK. US Base FLAK had been an anti-aircraft barracks since 1936 and US Base Sheridan "united" the former infantry barracks with a smaller Kaserne for former Luftwaffe communications units.  The American military presence in the city started with the 11th Airborne Division, followed by the 24th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Seventh Corps Artillery, USASA Field Station Augsburg and finally the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, which returned the former Kaserne to German hands in 1998. Originally the Heeresverpflegungshauptamt Südbayern and an Officers' caisson existed on or near the location of Reese-Kaserne, but was demolished by the occupying Americans.

Propaganda during the Reichstag elections of November 12, 1933. The sign above the clock reads "Wir wollen kein Volk minderen Rechts sein." From Hakenkreuz und Zirbelnuß. Augsburg im Dritten Reich (Filser and Thieme).


After February 1944 bombing and today, showing how much has been reconstructed
The wife in front of the Augustus statue at Maximiliansplatz 
Being dismantled in 1940 for safety during the war
The turn of St. Michael from the Zeughaus (armoury), shown then and now
The Herkulesbrunnen then and now showing the repositioning of the statue postwar
The Maypole in front of St. Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey May 1, 1935 and at the end of Margaretenstraße
The Mercury statue being returned July 31, 1947 and taken away 60 years later for refurbishment
The Weberhaus (Weavers' House) behind the Merkurbrunnen
The St.Georgs brunnen
Hitler in Augsburg
Welcoming Hitler on his March 17, 1937 visit
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now renamed Königsplatz

 Annastrasse and Adolf Hitler Platz and the site's proposed redevelopment

Jakoberstraße after the war and now, showing the extent of the reconstruction
Looking at Jakobskirche from the JakobertorStadttheater
The Stadttheater in August, 1934
Hitler at the Stadttheater
Hitler attending a performance at its re-opening May 24, 1939
Nazi demonstration outside the Stadttheater on March 23, 1933 and a neo-Nazi demonstration at the same site on December 2, 2006. 
Hitler in front of the Stadttheater on March 19, 1937 and the building today, sporting a banner denouncing racism at another recent demonstration. It was in a speech at Augsburg on November 21 that year that Hitler made the demand for colonies when he declared: "What the world shuts its ears to today it will not be able to ignore in a year's time. What it will not listen to now it will have to think about in three years' time, and in five or six it will have to take into practical consideration. We shall voice our demand for living-room in colonies more and more loudly till the world cannot but recognize our claim."
Bürgermeister Kellner speaking in the Goldener Saal of the rathaus in 1934 during the so-called Machtergreifung. On the right is the same room today, showing how much has been reconstructed from so little.
Looking down at Rathausplatz from the Perlachturm in 1940 and today; the right shows Metzgplatz looking towards Rathausplatz
The rathaus after the bombing of February 25-26 1944 and today. The right shows the town in 1945 looking down Karlstraße.
The cathedral
Just from the train station down Prinzregentstr. is the Landratsamt (District administration office) with the reichsadler still above the door and state-protected by a mesh screen.

The building with an example of a vehicle registration plaque from the Landsrat during the NSDAP era. Also on the façade is what appears to be NS relief typical of the time for the German Workers' Front.

The Augsburg tax office on Peutingerstraße laid out the tax laws in paragraph 1, sentence 1 of its Tax Adjustment Act of October 1934: " The tax laws are interpreted by Nazi ideology." Citizens were asked to list the number of "Aryan" children they had whilst those seen as living outside the community- Jehovah's Witnesses, forced labourers , Sinti and Roma, Jews were targeted. The confiscation of Jewish property was initiated from the Alltagsgeschäft but later centralised with the start of the deportations in 1941.
The Fuggerhaus on Maximilanstrasse then and now with the building after the war on the right
The  Fuggerei - the world's oldest social housing complex still in use. 
Nazi reliefs still adorning façades

Haus Theodor Wiedemann Strasse 35 still has two Nazi reliefs; the left shows a relief representing a link between the Roman Empire and the Third Reich whilst the right shows under the claws of an eagle a tank and the navy, with above it the air force bombing and the army. The tank and lightnings are toward the east aligned. If one puts the realm eagle on a map, heading direction the north, the view is against France. The line of sight of the NSDAP Reichsadlers was modified to the right (the east).
Above the doors at Richthofen Strasse are reliefs representing the Deutschen Arbeitsfront, Hitlerjugend and the NS Frauenschaft; only the swastikas have been removed form the devices.

Huge Nazi eagle overlooking Reinöhlstrasse

Reliefs celebrating the 1936 Olympic Games at Gentnerstrasse 53 -59; note the Hitler hairstyle in the second relief. The relief found at Firnhaberstrasse 53 at the bottom-right shows a stylised representation of a Messerschmidt BF 109 - the most important fighter of the Luftwaffe.
Site of Augsburg's 'Liberation'
I hadn't heard of this 'Augsburg Liberation Movement' which helped the American 3rd Infantry Division 'liberate' the town from the Germans (apparently only after it became clear the war was days from being lost) until I came across this plaque. Google-searching the group in English found only one entry for it.
The Synagogue

The synagogue before and after the war, with the signs reading "Entry Forbidden for the General Public", but also mentioning a Jewish Service on Friday and Sunday. In 1913 the local Jewish community had the architects Lömpel and Landauer build a synagogue in the town centre which was dedicated in 1917. Described as "possibly the most significant art nouveau synagogue in Europe" it was seriously damaged during Kristallnacht but survived before finally reopening in 1985.
Nearby is the main railway station- Hitler at the Augsburger Hauptbahnhof November 21, 1937 and today, remarkably unchanged
Augsburg was also the setting for Göring's surrender to the allies. On the right is colour footage of Göring's first day as a prisoner in the town.
May 11, 1945, he was taken out of the back door of the two-storey suburban house in Augsburg to meet fifty Allied newspapermen. Gripping a pair of matching grey suede gloves, he slumped into an easy chair and mopped at his brow as the shutters clicked. After five minutes they allowed him to move into the thin shade of a willow tree. The questioning resumed. Heaping blame for the first time in public on Martin Bormann, he insisted that it must have been Bormann and not Hitler who had nominated Dönitz as the new Führer. “Hitler,” rasped Göring, “did not leave a thing in writing saying that Dönitz was to take his place!”
He publicly revealed that he had opposed Hitler’s attack on Russia. “I pointed out to him,” said Göring, “his own words in Mein Kampf concerning a two-front war. . . . But Hitler believed that by the year’s end he could bring Russia to her knees.” He revealed to the newspapermen his unhappiest moment of the war. “The greatest surprise of the war to us was the long- range fighter bomber that could take off from England, attack Berlin, and return to its home base. I realized,” he added disarmingly, “that the war was lost shortly after the invasion of France and the subsequent breakthrough.”
Asked inevitably about the Nazi extermination camps, Göring was dismissive. “I was never so close to Hitler as to have him express himself to me on this subject,” he said. He was sure that these atrocity reports were “merely propaganda. Hitler,” he concluded, recalling that trembling right hand signing the documents, “had something wrong with his brain the last time I saw him.”
Irving (691) Göring: A Biography
 Ludwigstraße before the RAF and today

The Wertachbrucker Tor, before the war and after its 1998 restoration
Ulrichsplatz on Maximiliansstraße     
The Annahof in 1930    
The Annakirche einst und jetzt and the interior before and after its bombing  
Stephansplatz with what was left of the church and closter in October 1947 and now

Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now. 

Hitler himself had, on October 11 1932, launched a speechmaking campaign comparable in magnitude to his “Flights over Germany” here where he declared
Herr von Papen was of the conviction that his emergency decree for the stimulation of the economy would bring brilliant results by November 6, and thus he scheduled the date for the Reichstag election sixty days after its dissolution. And I was of the conviction that the nation would see in these sixty days that this effort at “stimulating the economy” was the greatest feat of bungling and patchwork one can imagine. I was of the conviction that one question would be answered before even four weeks had passed, namely the question why I refused to enter this Cabinet on August 13. This will be decided on November.

It was not, however, the opponents in question who reproached me for refusing to join the Cabinet; it was the so-called “friends” in the bourgeois camp. At this point, I might ask with the same justification: how was it that you dared to invite me to join this Government?

Did you really believe that I worked for thirteen years to deliver the result of this work to the mercy of political lunacy? And it would have been lunacy had I staked everything on one horse, long aware that it was unfit for the race. Influence was one thing I would not have had in the Cabinet, but the responsibility was something they would have graciously surrendered.

I have no qualms about assuming the responsibility, and I mean the entire responsibility, but I do have qualms about assuming it in areas where I have no influence. If Fate had chosen those forces which today thirst for power to be Germany’s leadership, it would be a crime to resist. However, I do not believe that Fate could have chosen these men, because otherwise they would have made an appearance earlier. It is not possible for someone who was a silent member of the Centre Party until five months ago to then one day suddenly become the “brightly enlightened leader” to the Third Reich. I did not fight Marxism in order to erect a different class regime in its place. I have stood before millions of German workers in these thirteen years and have struggled for their support. But I did not fight to betray them now in the end.

Above all, my opponents are mistaken about my tremendous resolve. I have chosen my path, and I will adhere to it until the end. Whether or not I gain power is not as important as the fact that I carry out what I have promised. Similarly, the Party is not for sale and cannot be bought from me. Do not make the mistake of believing that I would lend out this Movement even for a second or allow others to use it for their work.
This was the hometown of Nazi politician Franz Xaver Schwarz and the "angel of death" Josef Mengele, SS officer and Auschwitz physician. The town's memorial to the victims of the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele, composed of a display board around which single eyes (around 50 created by pupils from Dossenberger-Gymnasium) and pairs of eyes (around 25 by the 6th form art foundation course pupils from Maria-Ward-Gymnasium) are grouped. The single eyes and pairs of eyes were modelled from clay in lessons and baked after air drying. From the “clay eyes”, the foundry finished the final step of making silicon formed wax models, through the manufacturing of moulds. The memorial was unveiled on the 8th March 2005. According to Mengele's son Rolf, his father returned to the Gunzburg area toward the end of 1948 and stayed in the nearby forests until the spring of 1949. Mengele told Irene that he expected her and Rolf to follow once he had established himself in Buenos Aires. But Irene would not agree to go with him. Mengele's flight was arranged and paid for by his family through former SS contacts in the Gunzburg area. 

This was a town that had driven out its 309 resident Jews after the Nazis came to power. There was a widespread readiness to believe that the allegations against Mengele were false. And broadcasts across Germany by the overseas service of the BBC claiming that the SS had engaged in monstrous acts of carnage, were viewed as Allied victory propaganda.

 From an article by noted plagiarist Gerald L. Posner and John Ware, Chicago Tribune Magazine, May 18, 1986
 The Frauenkirche then and now

  Nördlingen (Swabia)
The town of Nördlingen was unknowingly built inside a meteorite impact crater, and now all of the buildings are composed of tiny diamonds. 
The town hall and Zur Sonne in 1935 and today. Hitler spoke in Nördlingen on October 11, 1932 attacking von Papen’s Government:
Either they govern as we wish—then we will bear the responsibility—or they do not govern as we wish—then the others bear the responsibility. I do not believe in any regime which is not anchored in the Volk itself. I do not believe in an economic regime. One cannot build a house from the top, one must begin at the bottom. The foundations of the State are not the Government, but rather the Volk. And my answer to the bourgeois parties and politicians who have been sleeping since November 1918 while National Socialism has been working is this: now your time is up, now it’s our turn. When Herr von Papen says: “Herr Hitler, you are only here because there is a crisis,” my answer is, “Yes, and if good fortune were here, I would not be needed, and I would not be here, either!”
Stairs of the rathaus as depicted in 1927 by the painter Richard B. Adams (now in the stadtmuseum)
Seeking refuge from the rain at the Deininger Tor and an earlier comparison of the Löpsinger Tor
The Bergertor
The Hotel we stayed in then and now- the Wengers Brettl. In front of the building next to it are these stoplerstein- reminders of the Jewish family who lived next door and later murdered in the Holocaust.
The reichsadler remains in situ on top of the fountain
View from the Holzmarkfrom a Nazi-era painting of 1936 by Friedrich Gabler and then-and-now
The Engelapotheke and Brettermarkt in 1918 and today

The site of the Battle of Schellenberg (or Battle of Donauwörth) on July 2 1704, during the War of the Spanish SuccessionJohn Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, was marching from Flanders to Bavaria and came to the Danube river. The French decided to make a crossing of the Danube at Donauwörth, where they were surprised by Marlborough's troops and after heavy fighting pulled back. This allowed Marlborough to capture Donauwörth and cross the Danube without any problem. About 5,000 French troops drowned while trying to escape. As for the 22,000 Allied troops engaged, over 5,000 had become casualties, overwhelming the hospitals that Marlborough had set up in Nördlingen.  Amongst their fatalities were six lieutenant-generals, four major-generals, and 28 brigadiers, colonels and lieutenant-colonels, reflecting the exposed positions of senior officers as they led their men forward in the assaults. No other action in the War of the Spanish Succession claimed so many lives of senior officers. The large casualty figures caused some consternation throughout the Grand Alliance and whilst the Dutch cast a victory medal showing Baden on the obverse and a Latin inscription on the other side, there was no mention of the Duke of Marlborough although the Emperor wrote personally to the Duke: "Nothing can be more glorious than the celerity and vigour with which ... you forced the camp of the enemy at Donauwörth".
The High Street then and now
 View of the High Street from the Rathaus
The view from the Rathausplatz
 The Fuggerhaus on the left
The Färbertor
The Christuskirche flying the Nazi banner and today...
... where it has recently courted controversy after one of its paintings was identified as showing Hitler beside Christ. Recent cleaning of the painting - first unveiled when the Christus Church in the northern Bavarian city of Hof was consecrated in 1939 - shows an uncanny likeness to the former Fuehrer.   There is the toothbrush moustache, the hair parted on one side and the staring, maniacal eyes which made him a dark Messiah to so many Germans. Evangelical pastor Martin Goelkel, who recently left after eight years at the church some call the 'Nazi Temple,' believes the likeness is just co-incidental but its discovery so long after it was painted is causing a stir among his flock.  'Some people have called this a Nazi place over the years but I don't think this is true,' he said.  'It was designed and inaugurated in a severe time for Germany, no question, but if I interpret the pictures correctly they are now about the glorification of the powerful during this time.  'On the contrary; the individual is made aware that his life belongs to Christ no matter how powerful he feels personally - there is another power over him, a stronger power. This is no Hitler homage, in my eyes. We find people asking something of Christ, there is someone kneeling before him. God resists the proud, but the humble he gives his grace to. Hitler, however, stands imperiously at the side, alone, wearing boots, his robe somehow militaristic. Haughty and arrogant.  'He looks like a rabbit before slaughter. He is a man on the edge, an outsider.'  He claims that in all the years that the church has been open for worship no-one has objected to the Hitler painting near the altar. But now there are rumblings of discontent with some parishioners calling for him to be erased.  'It is not right under any circumstances that the biggest mass killer in history should be featured in a painting in a house of Christian worship,' one of the flock said in a recent interview on Radio Bavaria.  Pastor Goelkel added that he thought the painting should not be removed. 'This image is a central challenge to Nazism: Christ is in the middle. The powerful can stand idle as much as they want,' he said.

Adolf Hitler Straße, now Königstraße, with the Mitteltorturm 
1924 Adolf Hitler was serving in Landsberg part of the imprisonment to which he had been sentenced after the failed Hitler Ludendorff Putsch. Here Hitler wrote his programmatic work Mein Kampf. Besides Hitler sat in Landsberg prison a further c