Showing posts with label Erlangen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Erlangen. Show all posts

Middle Franconia


No city in Bavaria has more historic buildings in proportion to its inhabitants than Fürth – over 2,000. This photograph of Schwabacher strasse on the left shows Jews forced to wear the yellow star. This is the town where Hitler's photographer, Heinrich Hoffmann, was born on September 12, 1885. The other photos show Schwabacher strasse 1941 and me standing at the same spot today.
Hitler spoke at Geismannsaal on March 27, 1928. It had served as the main hall of Fürth's Geismann brewery was the largest ballroom and meeting place in the city centre. The building was bombed in 1943 and eventually torn down altogether in 1982, with only a few reminders left of its original building.

The Schulhaus at Schwabacherstr. 86  during the national plebiscite over the decision to join the offices of Reich president and Chancellor in the person of Hitler on 19 August 1934 and today.
The Jewish museum with the Fuerth rathaus in the background. Jews were collected at the entrance.

The Stadttheater then and now
The railway station in 1940 and today

American war-criminal Henry Kissinger was born here on the first floor at Mathildenstraße in 1923. His family had fled Nuremberg before Kristallnacht. He later joked that Anwar Sadat, who had learned German in prison, spoke with a better accent than he did. Apparently Kissinger, during his first visit to Israel, had to be "persuaded" to visit Yad Vashem, and accepted only when he was told that every other foreign minister visiting Israel had done so.
How Can Anyone Defend Kissinger Now? The Nixon tapes remind us what a vile creature Henry Kissinger is.

Just south of Fuerth, Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now with the church in the background.

Altdorf bei Nürnberg
Adolf Hitler Platz then and now, extensively revamped

This town of 100,000 is located just over ten miles north of Nuremberg. There are two notable examples of reichsadlers still existing:
The Amtsgericht
The reichsadler of the doorway of the Amtsgericht on Sieboltstraße 2


The entrance to Friedrich-Rückert-Schule at the Ohmplatz with a detail of the shield (dated 1936) and one of the carvings adorning the side of the door.
 Around the corner over another doorway is this disturbing reminder... Schoolchildren continuing to support the Nazi eagle, albeit without swastika. The school can be seen behind this monument celebrating the reunification of Germany on October 3, 1990
Erlangen Schloss in 1936 and today 
 The headquarters of Siemens in the Himbeerpalast then and now
 The Bayerischer Hof on the site of what had been the Colosseum where Hitler had spoken several times.
The Wehrmacht.marching down Heuwaagstraße in 1939
 “Juden sind hier nicht erwünscht”- Jews not wanted here on Nürnberger Tor, now gone
The hakenkreuz over the Frauenklinik on the 'Day of Potsdam' on March 21, 1933 nearly two months after Hitler had been "jobbed into office by the old guard" as chancellor of the Reich. This day of Hitler's visit to the aged President Hindenburg, who wore the uniform of the Imperial Field Marshal, was directed by Joseph Goebbels as a solemn act of state. This propaganda event was presented as a "legitimate heir" after the end of 1918, the lost empire. On the "Day of Potsdam" almost all public buildings were decorated with flags in the German empire with the swastika flag.
Until 1945, more than 500 women were sterilised at this Erlanger hospital for alleged hereditary disease. Almost all were of German nationality, most were unmarried, childless, and 26 to 30 years old. But women near menopause had surgery; the ages ranged from 13 (the youngest) to 48.Many of the women were inmates of the Hospital and Nursing Home Erlangen. Most sterilisation sentences were justified by the diagnosis "schizophrenia" (51%). "Congenital idiocy" was given in 29% of cases as a ground for sterilisation. Most sterilisation procedures were performed in the first years after the Act. In 1935, for example, every 16th woman to be included in the gynaecological department underwent forced sterilisation in the hospital. Some women were made barren by X-rays. The operation, however, was the method of choice. The gynaecologist squeezed the fallopian tubes with a clamp and tied them. For the doctors, it was done quickly. For the women, however, the operation meant a fateful intervention in body and life.
Ernst Rudin's Institute for Genealogy and Demography became one of the leading centres for race hygiene in Germany. Rudin, a psychiatrist,co-authored a book with Arthur Gutt and Falk Ruttke, a lawyer, which was a commentary on the Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring passed on 14 July 1933—the Sterilisation Law. The law stated that an individual could be sterilised if he or she suffered from a "genetic" illness including feeblemindedness, schizophrenia, and epilepsy. What began as legislation in America had finally also been realised in Germany. The Sterilisation Law was just the first step in measures to eliminate a whole group of people considered to be either genetically defective or racially inferior.
Macrakis (127-128) Surviving the Swastika: Scientific Research in Nazi Germany
Wehrmachtunterkunftheim (later the American Monteith Barracks)

The Mühlgraben from a Nazi-era postcard and today 
Dr.-Martin-Luther-Straße by Ludwig  Mößler from the book Fränkische Städtebilder. Nürnberg/ Rothenburg/ Dinkelsbühl published in 1940 and today
Looking the other way from the marktplatz towards the Hotel Goldene Rose and Protestant Church, wife and son taking a tour from the back of a horse-drawn carriage.

 Rothenburg ob der Tauber 

Rothenburg held a special significance for Nazi ideologists. For them, it was the epitome of the German 'Home Town', representing all that was quintessentially German. Throughout the 1930s the Nazi KdF organisation  (Strength through Joy ) organised regular day trips to Rothenburg from all across the Reich. This initiative was staunchly supported by Rothenburg's citizenry – many of whom were sympathetic to National Socialism – both for its perceived economic benefits and because Rothenburg was hailed as "the most German of German towns". Indeed, in October 1938 Rothenburg expelled its Jewish citizens, much to the approval of Nazis and their supporters across Germany.  The creation of an ideal Nazi community served as a reminder to the peoples of Germany of the way the Nazis wanted them to live as a family and as a community; Rothenburg simply exemplified this Nazi ideology in terms of an idealised family life. Additionally, other German towns followed the 'example' set by Rothenburg for the Nazis, this began a trend of Nazi German Nationalism which led to the creation of an "ideal" Nazi community in Rothenburg. This then grew to reveal the ideal Nazi family, as illustrated in propaganda of the time. This ideal lifestyle was taken further when an approved upbringing for the sons of Nazi Germany was introduced; first growing up in a Nazi or Hitler Youth organization, then serving to protect the ideals of both Nazi Germany and the Fuhrer Adolf Hitler as a civilian or as military personnel, thus forming the core idea of Nazi patriotism, protecting their own beliefs. In many ways Rothenburg demonstrated key elements of Nazi ideology and epitomised their desire to expand National Socialist thinking throughout Germany and in all areas with German speaking people across Europe. 
Certificate of Honorary citizenship given to Hitler dated March 27, 1933 and signed by the mayor, Dr. Liebermann, and which was sent in time for Hitler's birthday.                                                                                                                                                  One day, towards four o’clock in the morning, when all of us were completely worn out and scarcely listening, Hitler came out with the surprising thesis that these towns ought to reproduce the tight, crooked patterns of medieval German cities. It was a grotesque idea, to place huddled Rothenburgs or Dinkelsbühls in the broad Russian plains with their enormous available space. But Hitler could summon up reasons. The tighter the circumference of the city walls, the better the inhabitants could defend themselves. The density of medieval cities was a direct result of the insecurity and the feuds of those times, he argued, not cultural backwardness. In the immediate vicinity of these German-style cities Hitler wanted to establish industries. All the raw materials and coal you wanted were available in ample quantities, he pointed out. Armament works also had to be planned for, so that our armies posted on the borders of Asia would have no supply problems. . . . 
Albert Speer, Spandau. The Secret Diaries, 1976, pp. 156–7
Dedication of the SA-Sturmfahne by the protestant minister and NSDAP member Max Sauerteig from Ansbach in front of the Seelbrunnen on Kapellenplatz in 1933
Looking from the other direction, comparing the damage from the war with today
The main square and rathaus during the Third Reich, in 1945, and in front today
Heinrich Himmler and  SA-Führer Ernst Röhm in front of the entrance to the rathaus in 1929.
The entrance to the old rathaus within the portal behind
Soldiers swearing the oath to Hitler in front of the rathaus
Hitler leaving the Hotel Eisenhut on April 16 1935 with me in front today; the façade is unchanged... is the interior for the most part- the lobby shown as it was in 1936 and today
The Marktplatz then and now; the Loewen Apotheke is still operating 
Hermann Göring and Gauleiter Julius Streicher in front of the Gasthof Marktplatz during their June 23, 1935 visit whilst the centre shows Major Kraus presenting the Rothenburger Soldatenkmeradschaft flag the same year and me at the site today
Attacks on Rothenburg's Jews began immediately after the Nazis took power.  On August 6 1933 they paraded leather dealer Leopold Westheimer through the streets barefoot (seen here in the market square in front of Untere Schmiedgasse) for "racial defilement" with a sign around his neck reading  “Ich Judenschwein wollte ein arisches Mädchen schänden!” (I am a Jewish pig who wanted to desecrate an Aryan girl.) Westheimer was later murdered in the Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Oil paintings by Ludwig Mossler from the book Fränkische Städtebilder. Nürnberg/ Rothenburg/ Dinkelsbühl published in 1940 and today
The Wehrmacht marching down Herrngasse in 1939; now the building behind is devoted to Christmas
Further down at Herrngasse 17 was the Headquarters of the NSDAP district leadership, shown  in a 1936 drawing by Ernst Unbehauen- note the reichsadler beside the door.
Featured inside the building was artwork by Rothenburg Ernst Unbehauen. Here above the door to the main hall is a Nazi eagle to which four men are depicted raising their arms in the Hitler salute symbolising the rising of the people, party and state towards the idea of ​​the  Führer whose bust stood on the opposite wall. One represents "the simple man of the people," another an SA man, followed by a political fighter and a soldier.
The Reichsarbeitsdienstlager Abteilung 6/282 Rothenburg in the mid-1930s and as it appears today. The RAD ('Reich Labour Service') was a major Nazi organisation set up to help mitigate the effects of unemployment on German economy, militarise the workforce and indoctrinate it with Nazi ideology.

Looking along Markusturm in 1934 and with Drake Winston today.
Another view of the Röderbogen in 1934 and from the back towards Rödergasse
Looking from the top of the rathaus between the Röderturm and Galgenturm during the NS-zeit and today
The Weißer Turm then and now 
As it appeared in a 1934 Nazi propaganda image by Hans Prentzel seen from Galgengasse, bedecked with swastikas
Hitlerjugend before the Galgentor  July 28, 1939
and the Topplerschlösschen
The Waldschwimmbad, opened with Nazi fanfare by NSDAP district leader Zoller and Mayor Dr. Liebermann in 1935 on the outskirts of the town, is now surrounded by suburbia. It had originally been surrounded by pine trees with fountains, showers with fresh water inflow, a lawn for sunbathing, and  a 5,000-square-foot playground.

The Burgtor
The Burgtor

On May 1, 1933, in the presence of  Oberbürgermeister Dr. Liebermann and representatives of the SA, SS other NSDAP organisations, a so-called Hitler Oak was planted within the Castle gardens by members of the Hitler-Jugend Gefolgschaft VIII Rothenburg. Shown after the war during the American occupation, its ultimate fate is unclear.
Also within the Burggarten in 1934, Bavarian Prime Minister Ludwig Siebert formally presented a memorial by Johann Oertel commemorating Hitler's seizure of power- the Machtergreifung. Long gone, another memorial has been erected inside the Castle garden walls- the Jewish Memorial Stone in front of St. Blaise Chapel which remembers Rothenburg Jews who were killed in the pogrom of 1298, erected exactly 700 years later. This event, which culminated in the burning to death of the remaining Jews within the castle as shown at the top of the memorial, was celebrated by the Nazis as shown in the propaganda above. By October 10, 1938, the last seventeen Jews of Rothenburg were driven out of the town. Their fate too remains unknown. 
In Rothenburg ob der Tauber, anti-Semitism became a central component of the tourist experience. In 1937, the town erected four wooden, handcrafted plaques on its medieval gates. They bore stereotypical images of ‘the Jew’ and a number of anti-Semitic texts, which visitors could purchase in the form of postcards. KdF holidaymakers were greeted there with speeches about local anti-Semitic agitation in the Middle Ages.
The Hegereiterhaus
 Little Drake Winston in front of the Herterichbrunnen dating from 1608

Another fountain beside the Hotel Bären on Hofbronnengasse which was the site of a 1929 battle between the SA and members of the Sozialdemokraten
The Goldenes Fass  during the Nazi era and today. Here in November 1937 NSDAP-Zelle 7 met where its cell-leader Kathmann asked rhetorically what would become of Germany if there were only praying, but no fighting men had been available.
The Gasthaus Schwarzes Lamm then and now- November 9, 1937 commemorations had paid especial tribute to "the skilful leader of God," the Hereditary Farm Law, the four-year plan and the Winterhilfswerk.
Tauber bridge, blown up by German troops in 1945. Rebuilding took a good year and it was reopened on 10 November 1956. 
The Rödertor from a Nazi-era print and today
On February 4, 1936 Nazi foreign group leader Wilhelm Gustloff was assassinated in Davos, Switzerland. He had joined the Nazi Party in 1929, expending much effort into the distribution of the antisemitic propaganda book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, to the point that members of the Swiss Jewish community sued the book's distributor, the Swiss NSDAP/AO, for libel. Gustloff was shot and killed in 1936 by David Frankfurter, a Croatian Jewish student incensed by Gustloff's antisemitic activism. This would play into Nazi propaganda as more supposed proof of of a "conspiracy of world Jewry". As an aside, Gustloff would later give his name to the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a German passenger ship which would be sunk on 30 January 1945 by a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea while evacuating German civilians, officials and military personnel from Gdynia (Gotenhafen), its 9,400 victims making it the largest loss of life in a single ship sinking in history.
Franconian Gauleiter Julius Streicher chose, on his 51st birthday, to use this incident to once again inflame anti-Semitism for which he would later be hanged at Nuremberg. Above is the plaque that was placed in the Rödertor with NSDAP district leader Karl Steinacker shown at its dedication in February 12 1936. The plaque read
"World history mentions the names of the people who perished at the Jews. Their tragic end is a terrible reminder for the people who are still alive. 12 February 1936. Julius Streicher "
Other such Judentafeln were placed in the town's mediaeval gates:
Those at Klingentor, Galgentor and Spitaltor respectively.
American soldiers in front of the Spitalbastei on April 17, 1945. We went on a 'Nightwatchman's tour' and were told the incredible story of how it had been saved- The month before, German soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg to defend it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes, killing 37 people and destroying 306 houses, 6 public buildings, 9 watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet of the wall. The U.S Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy knew about the historic importance and beauty of Rothenburg- his mother had visited the town before the Great War and sketched as many scenes as possible. When she returned to the United States, her impressionable son would study the picture of the city that hung in the McCloy living room and vow to one day visit himself. Now, he was responsible for saving it.   He ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers not use artillery in taking Rothenburg. Battalion commander Frank Burke (Medal of Honour) ordered six soldiers of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division to march into Rothenburg on a three-hour mission and negotiate the surrender of the town. First Lieutenant Noble V. Borders of Louisville, Kentucky; First Lieutenant Edmund E. Austingen of Hammond, Indiana; Private William M. Dwyer of Trenton, New Jersey; Private Herman Lichey of Glendale, California; Private Robert S. Grimm of Tower City, Pennsylvania; and Private Peter Kick of Lansing, Illinois were sent on the mission. When stopped by a German soldier, Private Lichey who spoke fluent German and served as the group’s translator, held up a white flag and explained, “We are representatives of our division commander. We bring you his offer to spare the city of Rothenburg from shelling and bombing if you agree not to defend it. We have been given three hours to get this message to you. If we haven’t returned to our lines by 1800 hours, the town will be bombed and shelled to the ground.” The local military commander Major Thömmes gave up the town, ignoring the order of Adolf Hitler for all towns to fight to the end and thereby saving it from total destruction by artillery. American troops of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division occupied the town on April 17, 1945, and in November 1948 McCloy was named Honourable Protectorate of Rothenburg. After the war, the residents of the city quickly repaired the bombing damage. Donations for the rebuilding were received from all over the world and the rebuilt walls feature commemorative bricks with donor names (hence the numerous plaques from Japanese).

What remained of Galgengasse after the war and its reconstruction