Showing posts with label Düsseldorf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Düsseldorf. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (2)

Continued from Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (1)
Wewelsburg (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Original plans of the SS-project of August 5, 1940, signed by Heinrich Himmler and architect Hermann Bartels.
 
After the war and today 

Wewelsburg is apparently the only triangular-shaped castle in Germany, built at the beginning of the 17th century in the village of Wewelsburg. After 1934, it was used by the ϟϟ under Heinrich Himmler and was to be expanded into the central ϟϟ-cult-site. After 1941, plans were developed to enlarge it to be the so-called "Centre of the World". In 1950, the castle was reopened as a museum and youth hostel. (The youth hostel is one of the largest in Germany.) The castle today hosts the Historical Museum of the Prince Bishopric of Paderborn and the Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum.
Himmler with NSDAP-Reichsorganisationsleiter Robert Ley in 1937 and with his architect Bartels
While travelling through Westphalia during the Nazi electoral campaign of January 1933, Himmler was profoundly affected by the atmosphere of the region, with its romantic castles and the mist- (and myth-) shrouded Teutoburger Forest. After deciding to take over a castle for SS use, he returned to Westphalia in November and viewed the Wewelsburg castle, which he appropriated in August 1934 with the intention of turning it into an ideological-education college for SS officers. Although at first belonging to the Race and Settlement Main Office, the Wewelsburg castle was placed under the control of Himmler's Personal Staff in February 1935.  
Alan Baker (98-99) Invisible Eagle: The History of Nazi Occultism
In 1934 Himmler signed a 100-mark 100-year lease with the Paderborn district, intending to renovate and redesign the castle as a Reichsführerschule ϟϟ after Karl Maria Wiligut advised him based on the Westphalian legend of the "Battle at the birch tree". It was to be enlarged to a ϟϟ-Führerschule. Besides physical training, a uniform ideological orientation of the leading cadre of the ϟϟ was to be realised. Courses for ϟϟ-officers in pre- and early history, mythology, archaeology, astronomy and art were intended and, from 1939, the castle was also furnished with miscellaneous objects of art, including prehistoric objects, objects of past historical eras, and works of contemporary sculptors and painters (mainly works by such artists as Karl Diebitsch, Wolfgang Willrich, and Hans Lohbeck—that is, art comporting with the aesthetics of National Socialism). In 1938 Himmler ordered the return of all Death's head rings (Totenkopfringe) of dead ϟϟ-men and officers to be stored in a chest in the castle as a symbol of the ongoing membership of the decedent in the ϟϟ-Order. The whereabouts of the approximately 11,500 rings is still unknown.

Himmler's plans included making it the "centre of the new world" ("Zentrum der neuen Welt") following the "final victory" but only detailed plans and models exist. It was to be finished within twenty years. The complex was to be a centre of the "kind accordant" religion (artgemäße Religion) and a representative estate for the ϟϟ-Führerkorps (SS leader corps) If the plans had been realised, the entire village of Wewelsburg and adjacent villages would have disappeared. The population was to be resettled and the valley flooded.
The guardhouse has had its ϟϟ runes chipped out, but in a way that makes them easily recognisable
The North Tower then and now

The Obergruppenführersaal and mausoleum beneath the Obergruppenführer hall then and now
 
Inside the vault at the very top of the roof, a swastika remains. This "vault, built after the model of Mycenaean domed tombs was hewn into the rock which possibly was to serve for some kind of commemoration of the dead. The room is unfinished. The floor was lowered 4.80 meters. In the middle of the vault probably a bowl with an eternal flame was planned. In the middle of the floor a gas pipe is embedded. Around the presumed place for the eternal flame at the wall twelve pedestals are placed. Their meaning is unknown. Above the pedestals wall niches existed. In the zenith of the vault a swastika (which ends run out in an ornamental way) is walled in. Despite its antisemitic connotation the swastika (Hakenkreuz) was also understood as "the symbol of the creating, acting life" (das Symbol des schaffenden, wirkenden Lebens) and as "race emblem of Germanism" (Rasseabzeichen des Germanentums). The vault has special acoustics and illumination.
 Before and after the war
Düsseldorf 
The Reichsausstellung Schaffendes Volk (The Reich's Exhibition of a Productive People) of 1937 was held in the North Park district of Düsseldorf, Germany, along one mile of the Rhine shoreline. It was opened on May 8, 1937 by Hermann Göring. Through October of the same year it attracted more than six million visitors. Planned in secret and deliberately designed as a rival to the 1937 International Exposition of Modern Life in Paris, the exhibition was meant to showcase the domestic accomplishments of the National Socialists in new housing, art, and science during their four years in power. The fair's director was Dr. Ernst Poensgen. The exhibition was laid out in four main divisions: industry and economics, land utilization and city planning, material progress (with an emphasis on progress in synthetics), and arts and culture.
The two huge horses and horsemen sculpted out of granite for the Reichsaustellung Schaffendes Volk. Due to wrangles the exhibition, opened in the presence of Goering, ran with these monumental statues in an unfinished state - the right hand one extremely so. It was only in 1940 that the sculptor, Edwin Scharff, was allowed to complete the project, having suffered a ban at the hands of the regime in the meantime.
The fountains here were the centre piece of the exhibition. This was the so-called Wasserachse, which was the centrepiece of the Gardenschau , surrounded by 12 Sculptures. In the background, the former Ehrenhalle der Partei which contained the administrative offices for the Reichs Exhibition, ticket booths and a restaurant.
The statues carved for the exhibition may still be seen, such as Zimmermann's 'Bauer,' 'Bäuerin,' Hoselmann's 'Falkner' and Zschorsch's 'Winzerin' shown here. There were originally a dozen but some are missing.
The Marktplatz during an induction ceremony for 10-14 year old boys into the “Deutsche Jungvolk“ of the Hitler-Jugend in either April 1937 or 1939.

Düsseldorf's Adolf Hitler Platz with its Kugelspielerin has now reverted back to Graf-Adolf-Platz
Die Kugelspielerin in the 1930s and today

Hitler’s two-and-a-half hour speech to the Industry Club took place here at the Parkhotel on January 27, 1932, probably the most important speech Hitler gave before becoming chancellor a year later, helping overcome the skepticism of many in the business community about the putative socialism of the Nazi Party. The speech, later published as a pamphlet, was carefully constructed to appeal to the economic and political interests of his affluent and influential audience. Hitler emphasised the importance of personality, the distinction of the German nation, and the beneficence of struggle. His critique of democracy and praise of racial and political hierarchy struck a responsive chord. Study of this speech my help to understand why so many of Germany’s conservative economic elite were prepared to accept Hitler’s leadership despite his record and reputation as Jew-baiting rabble-rouser.
Hitler’s major argument was that only the Nazis could prevent the eventual triumph of Bolshevism in Germany. Only the Nazis could provide the Weltanschauung to overcome the debilitating class conflict Marxism had supposedly created, the Weimar multi-party “system” had fostered, and the depression had exacerbated. Only they could restore unity to the nation, and the nation to its former greatness. Only they could hold democracy and its discontents in check. Hitler projected an optimistic attitude of self-reliance that closely corresponded to the entrepreneurial mindset of successful businessmen. They would readily have agreed with him that it was inconsistent and counterproductive to adhere to the “leadership principle,” individual achievement and competition, and private property in the economy, but to favour democracy, the egalitarian principle, pacifism, and internationalism in politics. What democracy is to politics, Hitler warned, communism is to the economy. 
The talk has an inspirational quality that enabled Hitler to evoke enthusiasm even among serious and level-headed people. Hitler took the line that Germany, with its inherent racial value, could solve the problems of the depression without depending on outside help. He portrayed the Nazi Party as motivated by idealism and faith, qualities that alone could save the nation from distributional conflicts and left-wing subversion. He also made frequent use of historical references, invoking the Thirty Years’ War as an example of the perils of national disunity, and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 as an example of the unified national purpose that Germany would have to recapture if it wished to regain the power and prosperity it once had. His refusal, however, to blame Germany’s troubles solely on the Versailles Treaty or the world economic crisis was directed against the government of Chancellor Brüning, who contended that German revival could be brought about simply by ending or reducing German reparations payments.
Hitler’s speech is also noteworthy for what it did not contain. In deference to his hosts, a business group that included some Jews and persons of mixed ancestry, Hitler avoided any explicit denunciation of Jews. He knew that the anti-capitalist implications of rabble-rousing anti-Semitism would not endear him to “respectable” conservatives. He did not exercise similar restraint, however, in asserting the superiority of the “white race” and its right to colonial dominance. He apparently assumed that this was an uncontroversial point of view that most of his audience shared. Anti-Semitism was implied, on the other hand, in his reference to the “ferment of decomposition,” a phrase first applied to the Jewish influence in the ancient Roman Empire by the great classical historian Theodor Mommsen.
 Introduced by the industrial magnate Fritz Thyssen, he spoke before the Industry Club in Düsseldorf. As at nearly all major speeches in 1932, he was attired in a dark-blue, double-breasted suit with a black tie. Most of the captains of industry gathered at Düsseldorf witnessed Hitler’s oratory for the first time, and most of them were unquestionably opposed to him at the commencement of his two-and-a-half-hour address. They mistrusted the NSDAP—its very name hinted of Socialism—and expected at best a crude rendering of party propaganda. Although Hitler essentially expounded the same themes he treated in his mass rallies, the skeptical leaders of industry soon fell prey to his oratorical skill. Here Hitler again utilized his standard method of tiring his audience. For one and a half hours he held forth on lengthy “philosophical” explanations of the alleged causes of the world crisis, on the values of the individual and the Volk, on the principles of struggle and achievement, on the Herrensinn in economics and politics, etc. When he had reached the conclusion that all of his listeners, including those who were antagonistic, were thoroughly confused and hence incapable of any intellectual resistance, he proceeded to the more tangible passages and confronted his now highly receptive audience with the imminent threat of Communism. At this point he began juggling with figures and percentages. He claimed point-blank that fifty percent of the German population had Bolshevist leanings; the question was how to create a strong and healthy Germany under these circumstances. Soon he began to cite nationalistic slogans to his awakening audience. The World War, he claimed, had been lost due to the spiritual aberration of Marxism. Only the Machtstaat could combat the disease in the economy. It was essential for Germany to maintain an army of eight million reservists. A single supreme command should govern the state, just as in the army or, even better, in a company! He himself had been a mere nameless German soldier “with a very small zinc number on his breast”; today he and his Party comprised the German Volk’s only remaining assets. And even if he were only the drummer of national Germany, this in itself would be a great statesmanlike deed. The means for Germany’s recovery were “the restoration of a healthy, national, powerful body politic, intolerant and relentless against those who do not acknowledge the vital interests of the nation and otherwise open to friendship and peace with anyone who wants friendship and peace.” These closing words brought Hitler tumultuous, long drawn-out applause. But this was not all: he was granted access to German industry’s Nibelungenschatz, a secret fund for combating Bolshevism. This meant that the Party’s strained financial situation was restored to good order for the approaching presidential election. As Goebbels noted, it was improving “from day to day.” 
Domarus (87-88) The Complete Hitler 

Another place name that has reverted Albert-Leo-Schlageter-Allee to Königs-Allee

Schloss Jägerhof in 1935 with the swastika above and today. In 1795 during the Napoleonic Wars the Jägerhof was almost blown up by the French revolutionary troops. During this time however, the Jägerhof served as a military hospital for the French and remained so until the visit of Napoleon in 1811, It was hastily renovated and equipped so that the Emperor and his wife Marie Louise could feel at home during their ​​four-day visit.
During the French occupation in 1925, the building was confiscated and used as the seat of its headquarters.  Due to the considerable pressure of the NSDAP Gauleiter Friedrich Karl Florian, its lease had been illegally dissolved so that on 30 January 1937 the building could serve the Gauleitung which had been sitting here during the heavy air raid of June 12, 1943 in which the castle was severely damaged. It was eventually rebuilt in 1950 by Helmut Hentrich as can be seen in the then-and-now comparison. 
The Nazi eagle over the entrance of police headquarters at Jürgensplatz remains, but is covered by a plaque reading "All are equal before the law." Built from 1929 to 1932, this served as headquarters for representatives of the ϟϟ Upper Section West, the 20th ϟϟ regiment, the 6th ϟϟ Rider standard and the 4th ϟϟ Lieutenant Colonel.
In June 1933, the ϟϟ-group leader Fritz Weitzel was appointed to President-Polizeiprä. Weitzel was had joined the ϟϟ at the age of 22, and was only 29 years old when he was police chief although he was considered in Nazi circles as incompetent.
From 30 January 1933 to 8th May 1945, 7101 men and 851 women imprisoned as opponents of the Nazis. Many prisoners were handed over to the Gestapo for interrogation.
 St. Benediktus  behind the ruins of the Hitlereiche guesthouse and now
  The city was a target of strategic bombing during World War II, particularly during the RAF bombing campaign in 1943 when over 700 bombers were used in a single night. Raids continued late into the war. As part of the campaign against German oil facilities, the RAF raid of 20–21 February on the Rhenania Ossag refinery in the Reisholz district of the city halted oil production there. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Düsseldorf in mid-April 1945. The United States 97th Infantry Division easily captured the city on 18 April 1945.
 
The grave in Nordfriedhof cemetery of Ernst Eduard vom Rath, a German diplomat remembered for his assassination in Paris in 1938 by a Jewish young man, Herschel Grynszpan, which touched off Reichskristallnacht- the so-called Night of Broken Glass.

Grevenbroich

The former Gauschulungsburg, now Haus Welchenberg. It was built in 1925-26 on the occasion of the thousandth anniversary of the Rhineland, with the membership of the region was celebrated to the German Empire and Prussia. Already in 1927-28 it was extended by cultivation at a hostel.  The global economic crisis and the resulting political changes complicated the financing of the house; 1932 lived only 20 orphans. After the seizure of power by the NSDAP it became a Gauführerschule. During the war forced labourers were housed here. When the Americans occupied Neuenhausen on 3 March 1945 they took over Welchenberg as the last bastion of the Nazis after considerable damage and was subsequently sacked by the population.  Once there Polish civilian workers and homeless families were provisoanlly housed. By 1949 it was converted into a tuberculosis hospitaluntil the mid-1980s with the establishment of the new Grevenbroicher district hospital.

Moers am Niederrhein
A target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, the Steinkohlenbergwerke (English: coal mine) Rheinpreussen synthetic oil plant in Moers, was partially dismantled post-war.

 
Königlichen Hof then and now

Mülheim an der Ruhr 
One memorial that hasn't survived is this, replacing the earlier one form the Great War shown in the Nazi-era postcard and today.
Military parade at Viktoriaplatz before General Klutman to mark Hitler's birthday in 1939. 
In the last free parliamentary elections on 6 November 1932, the Nazi Party received 28.3% of the vote in Mülheim and thus was the strongest party. In comparison, National Socialism in Germany, overall, received 33.1% of the vote. As in other cities of the Ruhr, the NSDAP was indeed the strongest party, but the Communist Party had 24.27% and the SPD had 13.53%, which means that these two parties of the left, together, had 37.81%, a larger share of the vote. Nevertheless, Mülheim was enthusiastic over the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor, and celebrated this with a torchlight procession.

Beginning in mid-February 1933, the first houses were searched, especially in the Dümpten neighbourhood, for suspected Communists. At the end of February, 200 SS, SA, and Stahlhelm members officially became auxiliary policemen of the city, and they arrested many political opponents. In the first local elections after seizing power, the Nazi Party took 45.1% of votes. In the first council decision, Hitler and Hindenburg were awarded honorary citizenship of the city.

On 30 September 1938, the "quasi-expropriation" of the Jewish community in Mülheim occurred. With a council decision, the synagogue at Viktoriaplatz was forcibly sold for only 56,000 Reichsmarks to the Stadtsparkasse. A few weeks later during Kristallnacht on 10 November, the Jewish house of worship burned down. The Mülheim fire department acted only to prevent the fire from spreading to neighbouring structures.

In June 1941, an Arbeitserziehungslager (Nazi labour camp) was established at the Essen-Mülheim airport. It was administered by the Cologne Gestapo. The guards were 26 policemen from the Essen police department, and the work of setting up the camp was carried out by the airport company. By March 1945, an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 people were in the camp, and 130 of the prisoners died.

During the years 1943 and 1944, the city was repeatedly the target of British air attacks. The most severe attack took place in the night of 22 to 23 June 1943. In three closely successive waves, 242 Lancaster, 155 Halifax, 93 Stirling, 55 Wellington, and 12 Mosquito bombers targeted the city. The main objectives were the downtown area, the railway lines, the tube stations, the facilities of Schmitz-Scholl (a manufacturer of Wehrmacht supplies), the Reichsbahn repair shop, and the harbor. The attack caused 530 deaths among the urban population and 1,630 buildings (64% of the city's buildings) were damaged or destroyed. Approximately 40,000 residents had to be evacuated afterward.

Another aerial attack, which actually was on the city of Oberhausen, came on the night of 1 and 2 November 1944. Bombs fell on the Dümpten neighbourhood. There and in surrounding neighbourhoods 33 inhabitants were killed. On 24 December 1944, the last serious attack occurred as a result of Germany's Ardennes offensive, which received air support from the Essen-Mülheim Airport. That airport was attacked by 338 British bombers. A total of 74 inhabitants of the city lost their lives, of which 50 were killed by a direct hit on the bunker on Windmühlenstraße.

The end of the war came to the city on 11 April 1945. To defend against the advancing troops, there were 200 soldiers of the 183rd People's Grenadier Regiment in the Mülheim area who were theoretically supported by approximately 3,000 members of the Volkssturm. In the morning, the first soldiers of the 17th U.S. Airborne Division advanced from Essen to the neighbourhood of Hot in the city centre. In the urban area, only along Kämpchenstraße was there any fighting. A short fight there between some Volkssturm and the Americans resulted in the deaths of two Volkssturm and three GIs. Mayor Hasenjäger handed the city over to the Americans at 9:40 am. A few months later, America was superseded by Britain as the occupying power.
 
The Wehrmacht marching down Schloßstraße, now pedestrianised
 
 First day at school, 1939; note the hakenkreuz in the background
  The Nazi eagle that adorns the Kolpinghaus on Steinkopfstraße which, from 1936, served as the Nazi Party headquarters.
The synagogue before (during an SA demonstration in 1934), during and after Reichskristallnacht November 8-9, 1939
Wallstraße before the war and today
  Bombentreffer at a Flak station on Wiener Platz in May 1944 and the site today
The city under intense bombing October 29, 1944
In his postwar memoir, Hajo Herrmann, flying with the so-called 'Wild Boars' to intercept the enemy bombers, described the situation:
We were not flying above General Hintz's flak but over Cologne-Mulheim, in the area of the 7th Flakdivision, which was illuminating bombers and fighters indiscriminately. They fired on us without paying any heed to our flashing belly and navigation lights. Searchlight beams were concentrated around us, and ahead of us we heard the thunder of our artillery. In the intoxication of that summer night's battle we forgot the countless flak splinters and other dangers that faced us, and we tore into the witch's cauldron hot with anger and spurred with enthusiasm. This was Wilde Sau pure and simple.
However, even without the assistance of the flak, Herrmann still owed a large part of his unit's success to ground-based air defenses. In fact, the wild boar procedure relied completely on either searchlights or flak to provide illumination for the initial intercept, thereby allowing the fighters to press home their attacks. Admittedly, it was the fighters that finished off the bombers, but ground-based air defenses provided the necessary conditions for ensuring this outcome.
Westermann (142) Flak German Anti-aircraft Defences 1914-1945
An example of a single building transformed through war- Freiheit 54 in 1930, 1945, 1995 and today
 
The current 'Kulturbunker' today and in use during the war in 1943

Siegen (North Rhine-Westphalia)
The Siegener Krönchen einst und jetzt
 
Kölner Str
 Zaungasse
What's left of the Nikolai Kirche; the Kaiser Wilhelm Denkmal was destroyed in 1942 
During the war Siegen was repeatedly bombed by the Allies owing to a crucial railroad that crossed through the town. On 1 April 1945, the US 8th Infantry Division began the Allied ground assault against Siegen and the dominating military-significant high ground north of the river. The battle against determined German forces at Siegen continued through 2 April 1945, until organized resistance was finally overwhelmed by the division on 3 April 1945.


Hilchenbach

The Jugendherberge in Hilchenbach, kreis Siegen, then, when it served the Hitlerjugend, and today

Bochum (North Rhine-Westphalia)


Generaldirektor of the Bochumer Vereins, Walter Borbet, an key executive of the United Steel Works, with Hitler at the Werk Höntrop on April 14, 1935 and the site today.
On 9 November 1938, Kristallnacht, the Jewish citizens of Bochum were attacked. The synagogue was set on fire and there was rioting against Jewish citizens. The first Jews from Bochum were deported to Nazi concentration camps and many Jewish institutions and homes were destroyed. Some 500 Jewish citizens are known by name to have been killed in the Holocaust, including 19 who were younger than 16 years old. Joseph Klirsfeld was Bochum's rabbi at this time. He and his wife fled to Palestine. In December 1938, the Jewish elementary school teacher Else Hirsch began organising groups of children and adolescents to be sent to the Netherlands and England, sending ten groups in all. Many Jewish children and those from other persecuted groups were taken in by Dutch families and thereby saved from abduction or deportation and death. Because the Ruhr region was an area of high residential density and a centre for the manufacture of weapons, it was a major target in the war. Women with young children, school children and the homeless fled or were evacuated to safer areas, leaving cities largely deserted to the arms industry, coal mines and steel plants and those unable to leave.  Bochum was first bombed heavily in May and June 1943. On 13 May 1943, the city hall was hit, destroying the top floor, and leaving the next two floors in flames. On 4 November 1944, in an attack involving 700 British bombers, the steel plant, Bochumer Verein, was hit. One of the largest steel plants in Germany, more than 10,000 high-explosive and 130,000 incendiary bombs were stored there, setting off a conflagration that destroyed the surrounding neighbourhoods. An aerial photo shows the devastation.
Another example of vandalism directed towards a relic of the Nazi era was this kriegerdenkmal honouring the fallen of the 4th Magdeburg Infantry Regiment No. 67 of the Great War. Based on a design by the sculptor Walter Becker and inaugurated in August 1935, it consisted of Ruhr sandstone brick, in front of which were two larger than life warriors who symbolised the imperial army and the Nazi Wehrmacht. The monument was an example of Nazi martial arts and his consecration was an attempt to prepare  the population ideologically for future military conflict.
In February 1983, an unknown party sawed through the bronze figures; they have not been replaced.
The Nazi eagle over the entrance to the former air raid shelter at Boltestraße 38, dated 1941-1942, remains, denuded of its swastika. Peukert, in Die KPD im Widerstand (88) reports that in the city of Bochum leading Communists were brutally beaten by the SA, pummelled through the streets and left lying at a street corner. This event led to an "atmosphere of paralysis" among the workers.
 Much of Bochum has been lost, but the rathaus has remained all but intact. It was in Bochum on January 8, 1942 that the state funeral ordered by Hitler for the leader of the war economy and chairman of the Bochum Association, Dr. Walter Borber, took place with Reich Economics Minister Frick conveying the “Führer’s last greetings.”
 The town centre of Bochum was a strategic target during the Oil Campaign. In 150 air raids on Bochum, over 1,300 bombs were dropped on Bochum and Gelsenkirchen. By the end of the war, 38% of Bochum had been destroyed. 70,000 citizens were homeless and at least 4,095 dead. Of Bochum's more than 90,000 homes, only 25,000 remained for the 170,000 citizens who survived the war, many by fleeing to other areas. Most of the remaining buildings were damaged, many with only one usable room. Only 1,000 houses in Bochum remained undamaged after the war. Only two of 122 schools remained unscathed; others were totally destroyed. Hunger was rampant. A resident of neighbouring Essen was quoted on 23 April 1945 as saying, "Today, I used up my last potato... it will be a difficult time till the new [autumn] potatoes are ready to be picked – if they're not stolen." The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Bochum in April 1945. Encountering desultory resistance, the US 79th Infantry Division captured the city on 10 April 1945. After the war, Bochum was occupied by the British, who established two camps to house people displaced by the war. The majority of them were former Polish Zwangsarbeiter, forced labourers, many of them from the Bochumer Verein.  More than sixty years after the war, bombs continue to be found in the region, usually by construction workers. One found in October 2008 in Bochum town centre led to the evacuation of 400 and involved hundreds of emergency workers. A month earlier, a buried bomb exploded in neighbouring Hattingen, injuring 17 people. 
 
The Neues Rathaus and war memorial


Hermannsdenkmal (North Rhine-Westphalia)


Postcard with the caption roughly translated
Where once the leader of the Germans released the German land from the enemy
Blow Hitler´s victory flags, powerfully into the new age.
During World War I the monument became an instrument of military propaganda, which implied that the current war would end with a German victory like the battle fought by Arminius or the war of 1870/71. In 1915, the number of annual visitors exceeded 50,000 for the first time. In the Weimar Republic the monument became a popular meeting point for associations and societies of the nationalist, monarchist and reactionary right whilst the government kept its distance. The 50th anniversary of the statue's inauguration from August 1 to 19, 1925 thus was an event dominated by the political right. On August 8-9, around 50,000 visitors attended a procession. Adolf Hitler visited the monument in 1926 and after 1930 the Lippe NSDAP used the location for a number of assemblies. After the Machtergreifung of 1933, the Detmold government tried to have the Hermannsdenkmal declared the official Wallfahrtstätte der deutschen Nation (pilgrimage site of the German nation) but was turned down by the Nazi government in Berlin. The Nazi leadership preferred to organise events at locations of its own choosing, with better transport facilities. The monument featured as a symbol in Nazi propaganda material, but as a place for assemblies it was mostly used only by the Hitlerjugend and local branches of the various Nazi organisations. In 1936, the monument had 191,000 visitors. Events in 1935 (the monument's 60th anniversary) and 1941 (100 years since the foundation stone was laid) were smaller than the 1909 and 1925 celebrations and focused on glorifying Hitler and glamorising him as the successor of Arminius.


This monument in North Rhine-Westphalia commemorates the Cherusci war chief Hermann (Arminius) at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in which the Germanic tribes under Arminius recorded a decisive victory in 9 AD over three Roman legions under Varus. Of Arminius, Hitler remarked in rejecting "Czech aspirations for the creation of a national army" that
To teach a nation the handling of arms is to give it a virile education. If the Romans had not recruited Germans in their armies, the latter would never have had the opportunity of becoming soldiers and, eventually, of annihilating their former instructors. The most striking example is that of Arminius, who became Commander of the Third Roman Legion. The Romans instructed the Third in the arts of war, and Arminius afterwards used it to defeat his instructors. At the time of the revolt against Rome, the most daring of Arminius's brothers-in-arms were all Germanics who had served some time or other in the Roman legions.
One of my senior's research essay on the actual location of the battle of Teutoburg Forest

Herford (North Rhine-Westphalia)


This gravestone prompted controversy recently when it was apparently only now realised that it sported a swastika, a banned symbol here in Germany (despite covering numerous official state buildings here as checking out the link to hakenkreuzes will show). For everyone else, however, up to three years in gaol or a fine is the punishment stipulated by the the Penal Code.
The grave itself is to the memory of Hermann Pantförder, a member of the NSDAP since 1925 who died in a car accident on the way from Bielefeld to Herford. At his death, he led over 1,000 storm troopers and was responsible for a number of NSDAP buildings in the area.
In the end, the matter appears to have been resolved when persons unknown took it upon themselves to partially chip the offending symbol away.
 
The town's railway station was once located on Horst-Wessel-Platz as shown in the period postcard.

Jöllenbeck
 
 The memorial and its eagle have survived intact 

Bielefeld  (North Rhine-Westphalia) 
Reichsminister Dr. Robert Ley unveiling a statue produced by the Berlin sculptor Ernst Paul Hinckeldey to "Bielefelds bestem Sohn" June 14 1939. Horst Wessel was born in Bielefeld September 9, 1907 and became the Nazis' most famous 'martyrs' after his murder on February 23, 1930. As a teenager Horst Wessel was a leader among the youth group of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party. He would often lead the group into brawls against Communists. But when the organization began viewing him as too extreme he became more involved with the National Socialists and the Stormtroopers (the SA). Eventually in 1926, he abandoned his studies of law at Berlin’s Friedrich Wilhelm University to become a full-time Stormtrooper; as a leader of the SA, he often made speeches and led marches and fights against Communists in the streets. While Berlin was a mainly Liberal and Communist city, with his charisma Horst Wessel began winning over the support and votes of many Berliners for the National Socialists.  He was the author of the lyrics to the song "Die Fahne hoch", usually known as Horst-Wessel-Lied, which became the Nazi Party anthem and, de facto, Germany's co-national anthem from 1933 to 1945. His death also resulted in his becoming the "patron" for the Luftwaffe's 26th Destroyer Wing and the 18th ϟϟ Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division during World War II.After his murder by the German Communist Party in 1930 he became the subject of a major Nazi feature film (Hans Westmar, 1933), becoming the archetypal Nazi hero; much of his legend, a major plank of Nazi mythology, began on the pages of Der Angriff. More about this site at Bill's Bunker
 
The site where Wessel was born, then and as it appears today on August Bebel Strasse (formerly Horst-Wessel-Strasse)
The swastika being raised at the rathaus on March 6, 1933
 
The Altes Rathaus from an old print and today 

The Naturfreundehaus when used by Hitlerjugend and today, the swastika replaced with a different device. Kershaw records how the Social Democrats in Bielefeld reported that in August 1941
strong feeling about the ‘provocative behaviour of Jews’ had brought a ban on Jews attending the weekly markets ‘in order to avoid acts of violence’. In addition, there had been general approval, so it was alleged, for an announcement in the local newspapers that Jews would receive no compensation for damage suffered as a result of the war. It was also keenly felt, it was asserted, that Jews should only be served in shops once German customers had had their turn. The threat of resort to self-help and use of force against Jews if nothing was done hung in the air. Ominously, it was nonetheless claimed that these measures would not be enough to satisfy the population. Demands were growing for the introduction of some compulsory mark of identification such as had been worn by Jews in the General Government since the start of the war, in order to prevent Jews from avoiding the restrictions imposed on them.
The Ausstellungshalle after the war, with the roof having fallen through, and its current incarnation. Hitler had spoken here on November 16, 1930.
 
The Alte Hauptpost then and now
 The Musikhalle in Bürgerpark 
Hitler's picture projected onto it in honour of his birthday, April 20, 1933
In 1944, B-17 Flying Fortresses bombed Bielefeld on September 20 (the gas works) & October 7, and the RAF bombed on December 4/5. In 1945, B-17s bombed the nearby Paderborn marshalling yard, the "Schildesche Railway Viaduct" was bombed on January 17, 1945, and on March 14 the Grand Slam bomb was used for the very first time against the viaduct. American troops entered the city in April 1945.  Founded in 1867 as a Bielefeld sewing machine repair company, AG Dürkoppwerke employed 1,665 people in 1892; it used Waffenamt code "WaA547" from 1938 to 1939 as the Dürkopp-Werke, and merged with other Bielefeld companies to form Dürkopp Adler AG in 1990.  Due to the presence of a number of barracks built during the 1930s and its location next to the main East-West Autobahn in northern Germany, after World War II Bielefeld became a headquarters town for the fighting command of the British Army of the Rhine - BAOR (the administrative and strategic headquarters were at Rheindahlen near the Dutch border). Until the 1980s there was a large British presence in the barracks housing the headquarters of the British First Corps and support units, as well as schools, NAAFI shops, officers' and sergeants' messes and several estates of married quarters. The British presence was heavily scaled back after the reunification of Germany and most of the infrastructure has disappeared.
Nazi flags and eagles covering the Theatre in 1936, the year Nazi party member Alfred Kruchen took over the directorship. 
 A German couple lured women to their village home with personal contact ads, then trapped, tortured and killed at least two of them, authorities said Tuesday.  Police said they were not ruling out more deaths from what one newspaper dubbed the "house of horrors", where one woman's body was cut up and burnt in the fireplace.  The 46-year-old man, identified by Bild daily as Wilfried W., and his ex-wife, Angelika B., 47, were arrested last week, accused of tormenting a woman through almost two months of captivity.  The couple was caught after their car broke down with the badly wounded 41-year-old woman inside. She died hours later in hospital from a head injury.  On Tuesday prosecutors and police said the female suspect had admitted to at least one more killing by the couple, and to trapping several more women over the years.  The second victim was a 33-year-old woman, whose body the couple had stored in a deep-freezer, then cut into pieces and incinerated in their fireplace.  The woman had died on August 1, 2014 as a result of "severe physical abuse", in the village house in the western town of Hoexter, said chief prosecutor Ralf Meyer.  Meyer stressed that investigators could not rule out that more people were killed, although police at this stage had no evidence of further deaths.  "We are looking for more victims" who survived, said Ralf Oestermann, chief of the homicide division in the nearby city of Bielefeld.  He also told a press conference that the male suspect had denied all charges of abuse and torture and had placed all the blame on his ex-wife.  Meyer said police had no evidence of sexual abuse in the case.  The couple married in 1999 and filed for divorce in 2013, the same year the man married the 33-year-old woman who later died, police said.  Oestermann said the male suspect had also "massively abused" his co-accused ex-wife.
 
Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia)
 Prinzipalmarkt festooned with swastikas and today. 

In the 1940s The Bishop of Münster, Cardinal Clemens August Graf von Galen, was one of the most prominent critics of the Nazi government. In retaliation for his success (The New York Times described Bishop von Galen as "the most obstinate opponent of the National Socialist anti-Christian program", Münster was heavily garrisoned during World War II, and five large complexes of barracks are still a feature of the city. Münster was the headquarters (Hauptsitz) for the 6th Military District (Wehrkreis) of the German Wehrmacht, under the command of Infantry General (General der Infanterie) Gerhard Glokke. Originally made up of Westphalia and the Rhineland, after the Battle of France it was expanded to include the Eupen - Malmedy district of Belgium. The headquarters controlled military operations in Münster, Essen, Düsseldorf, Wuppertal, Bielefeld, Coesfeld, Paderborn, Herford, Minden, Detmold, Lingen, Osnabrück, Recklinghausen, Gelsenkirchen, and Cologne. Münster was the home station for the VI and XXIII Infantry Corps (Armeekorps), as well as the XXXIII and LVI Panzerkorps. Münster was also the home of the 6th, 16th and 25th Panzer Division; the 16th Panzergrenadier Division; and the 6th, 26th, 69th, 86th, 106th, 126th, 196th, 199th, 211th, 227th, 253rd, 254th, 264th, 306th, 326th, 329th, 336th, 371st, 385th, and 716th Infantry Divisions (Infanterie-division).  A secondary target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, Münster was bombed on October 25, 1944 by 34 diverted B-24 Liberator bombers, during a mission to a nearby primary target, the Scholven/Buer synthetic oil plant at Gelsenkirchen. About 91% of the Old City and 63% of the entire city was destroyed by Allied air raids. The US 17th Airborne Division, employed in a standard infantry role and not in a parachute capacity, attacked Münster with the British 6th Guards Tank Brigade on 2 April 1945 in a ground assault and fought its way into the contested city centre, which was cleared in urban combat on the following day.
 
Nazi eagle actually commandeered to decorate a Munster shopping centre.
 
At the top of the city's Hauptklinik at 56-58 Esmarchstrasse is a Nazi eagle with the caduceus replacing the swastika.The relief itself dates from 1937-8 and the warriors on the Tympanonrelief created by Hermann Kissenkötter are now lacking their weapons.

 Gremmendorf (Munster)
The Fliegernachrichtenkaserne, later taken over by the British who renamed it the York barracks, replacing the hakenkreuz with the holy Union flag. The reichsadler remains however, albeit in a dilapidated state  


Bad Hamm

The front of the Kurhauses Bad Hamm, the swastika- bedecked Badehaus now gone. During the war 55 air raids destroyed nearly 60% of the old city and left only a few historical buildings.  The suburbs of Hamm "had been almost razed to the ground. People who had fled from collapsing bunkers and had got stuck in huge crowds in the streets had burning phosphorus poured over them, rushed into the next air raid shelter and were shot in order not to spread the flames."


Übach-Palenberg
 
The rathaus in September 1938 and today
Werne (North Rhine-Westphalia)

The war memorial during the Third Reich and what's left of it today. During the war, 471 citizens of Werne died and 500 more disappeared without trace. The town was forced to accommodate nearly 4,000 refugees. 
As lead architect for the renovation of Wewelsburg for SS castle already was appointed in 1933 by Hermann Bartels "Reichsführer SS" Heinrich Himmler. Since 1934, the Wewelsburg was leased to the SS. Himmler, the Ostwestfalen had met during the Lippe election campaign in 1932/33, has been advised by leading Nazis from the region, in particular Adolf von Oeynhausen, the Wewelsburg. Himmler initially planned a training center for SS officers. A small crew of SS scientists was set. From the war started new plans were directed to make the Wewelsburg a gathering place for the SS-group leaders (generals), especially on special occasions. Handed specifications Himmler saw before the suspension of arms of the group leader (1937), the organization of an annual group leaders meeting with swearing (1938) and storage of skull rings of deceased ring carriers (1938). The Crest action was canceled. Regular group leader meetings did not take place. Only in June 1941 called Himmler together a group of SS functionaries to explain them the war aims of the Russian campaign. The collection of skull rings appears to have been applied. According to locals American GIs took such rings 1945th  The construction work of the SS reached - despite the rather vague substantive ideas - considerable. In the early years of the Wewelsburg received a completely new interior, which was decorated in part with SS ornamentation. The exterior of the Wewelsburg was "castle-like" by removing the plaster, deepening of trenches and construction of a new bridge designed.  In the years 1936-1937 and 1939-1941 caused to the forecourt two big SS administration building. In the village a villa for the chief architect and houses were built for SS personnel. From 1940, the plans took under the influence of the architect commissioned by Himmler Hermann Bartels to gigantic proportions. In the area of ​​the village of Wewelsburg a new castle in a three-quarter circle should arise with a radius of 635 meters around the old buildings around. Residents should be evacuated.  To realize the current and planned construction work in the war, the SS built a concentration camp in Wewelsburg. The camp consisted in May 1939, first of a detainee command, which was subordinate to the main camp of Sachsenhausen. From 1941 the camp was raised (at the now third location on the outskirts) on the state of stock a concentration camp. It existed until April 1943. The remaining prisoners were organizationally subordinated to the Buchenwald concentration camp. 1,285 Of the total 3,900 verified prisoners from almost all occupied by the Wehrmacht countries did not survive the camp.  In March 1945, Himmler ordered the demolition of the castle and the adjacent administration building. The Wewelsburg was completely gutted, as the guard house; the adjacent office building was completely destroyed. [7] importance  After Karl Hüser, said today authoritative scientific work to Wewelsburg is thanks to the "Cult and Terror Centre of the SS", [8] the "SS ideologues" have assumed that a Saxon Wallburg was first predecessor building, namely from the "time of the defensive struggles of King Henry I. to 930 against Hungary or, Huns'", which they would have "even in accordance with the first written records about the Wewelsburg" of Annalista Saxo found. [9]  Himmler was namely 1935 alerted to Henry I, as Hermann Reischle who represented him as assistant curator in the "Ancestral Heritage", [10] told him on October 24, 1935, that the town of Quedlinburg to support for hosting the celebrations 1000. death of Henry I. on July 2, 1936 nachsuche. He called this celebration "propaganda [...] almost a godsend" and wrote: "Their rationalizing we can achieve what could be fought only with difficulty in years propagandistic way else with a large impact. For this reason alone the decisive participation of the SS and that our influence on the preparation and organization of the ceremony must be strongly encouraged. "[11] Shortly thereafter, on November 6, 1935, took Himmler the Wewelsburg in his" personal staff "and imposed a (1939 renovated) reporting ban on all operations at the castle. In December 1935, he put firmly, "that the SS should be the sole carrier of the celebrations on July 2, 1936, the town of Quedlinburg." [12]  How Himmler dealing with Henry I, to have the late acquaintance he regretted in his death anniversary speech on 2 July 1936 affected the Wewelsburg, can be tapped only through circumstantial evidence. [13] Such was the transformation of Wewelsburg the State Conservator Robert Hiecke equally responsible as well as initiated by Himmler conversions to the collegiate church of Quedlinburg and the Widukind-Memorial in Enger. [14] [15]  A renewed Ostkolonisation including "Wehrbauerntum" should take its starting point in the Wewelsburg. This is apparent in Himmler's written order in January 1939 and the architect of a triptych in the castle-hall. Image 1 pointed to this proposal a warlike SS attack, said a senior SS men dead (or mortally wounded) as is; only from death sprout new life. Figure 2 shows a field that is plowed in the new country from the SS-military peasants. Figure 3 shows an in newly created Eastern German village with families and many children. [16]  For Henry I heard as the main launch winning relic of the Ottoman dynasty, the Holy Lance. [17] She was for Albert Brack man with whom Himmler exchanged about the Ottos since 1938, [18] the "Lance of holy warrior and martyr Mauritius". [19] in the continuation of Otto Hofler German theory, in which they had become the spear of Wotan, [20] however could be further interpreted as a symbol of Germanic rulership. [21] the lance was obvious reference point for the construction plans Hermann Bartels' where the triangular castle floor plan as a tip of a first of the Holy lance simulated Lanz form, later a spear resembled the straight Burg access as long shaft. [22] on the Wewelsburg are however because of not remaining unnoticed importance of the castle for the SS as a founding all references to the Holy lance estimated from the 10th century exclusively as rumors or phenomena fantastic literature, esoteric and right after 1945 [23].  Jan Erik Schulte said in 2009 the importance of the castle for Himmler to read only from the Wewelsburg settled legend of the "Battle of the birch tree". As description of a final battle between East and West it had made the background for Himmler's invitation of SS Group Leader in June 1941 before the invasion of Russia. [24] Much more sense arises but it, Himmler's relationship to reality not only by a legend, but the Wewelsburg war announcement hedged based on the model to Ostpolitikern and Ostkolonisatoren stylized Albert Brackmann ruler Henry I and Otto I to see. Because brackish man in 1939 after the start of the Polish campaign a "world-historical" written reflection on crisis and construction in Eastern Europe to order the SS, which in 7000 copies went to the Wehrmacht in 1940. [25] (see. Also "plan Otto").  For Brackmann namely lay claims to eastward expansion moved the Slavs against in the beginning with the Ottos 1000 year "German" success story. It was commonplace of Ostforschung. On October 6, 1943, Himmler referred in his Posen speech on a "most remarkable gatherings of party functionaries" (Bradley Smith / Agnes Peterson) after his appointment as Minister of the Interior specifically on the achievements of Henry I, whose kingdom authority he the forthcoming solution wartime problems implored. [26] Like the Ottos had been mainly exploited preußischerseits effectively and comprehensively, was found in the reaction of the Polish Western research after 1945 under the protection of the "Pan-Slav communism" (Eugen Kogon, 1947) with a well on 1000 years estimated national claim struggled and with explicit and repeated reference to the Ottos on the "Reslawisierung" once Slavic territories urged.