Showing posts with label Fürth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fürth. 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 Schwabacherstraße 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.
The Volksschule at Schwabacherstraße 86 in the summer of 1934 during preparations for the referendum on the creation of a new head of state of the German Reich which resulted in 89.9% (Fürth: 90.6%) of voters confirming the merger of the offices of the President and the Chancellor in the person of Adolf Hitler (August 19, 1934)

The former Braunes Haus, the Nazi Party headquarters in Fürth, on Nürnberger Straße 7 in 1935 and 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.
In front of the Jewish Museum of Franconia which opened in 1998. Inside archaeologists had discovered a Mikvah (ritual bath). Behind is the Fürth town hall in the background.  Below is a photograph of the rathaussaal during the Nazi era. Jews were collected at the entrance before being deported. The period photo shows Julius Streicher on the balcony above the entrance in 1933 (and me in front today) at a time when there were 1990 Jews in Fürth; by early 1938 this number had been lowered to 1400. In November 1938, there were about 1200 when the synagogue was destroyed in the Kristallnacht pogroms, and 132 Jews were deported to Dachau. All but an handful of those who remained in Fürth after Kristallnacht either fled while they still could (abroad or to other areas in Germany) or were deported to concentration camps and/or death camps; virtually all those who remained in Germany were deported to their deaths. By 1944, perhaps 23 Jews were left in Fürth. Overall, 1068 Jews from Fürth died in the Holocaust. After the end of the Second World War, a Displaced persons camp for Jewish Holocaust survivors was established in Fürth (Finkenschlag). In 1945 it housed 850 inhabitants; it was shut down in July 1950.
The Stadttheater and 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. It is now claimed after evidence recently unearthed by a German academic, political scientist Stefanie Waske, that Kissinger once discussed a coup with disgruntled Nazis to overthrow the West German government in the 1970s.  Kissinger and Richard Nixon were aggrieved at the left-leaning government of the day’s burgeoning friendship with the hardline East German government.  Kissinger became the contact man for a secret spy network made up of old Nazis and elite aristocrats aimed at torpedoing the plans formulated by Chancellor Willy Brandt.

Just south of Fürth, Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now with the church in the background. 
Zirndorf has come to the point where it is the latest in the summer of 2016's war against Europeans as a bomb attempt took place near a migration centre in Germany via a suitcase full of aerosol cans. The targeted building provides refugee accommodation and houses a branch of the country's office for asylum-seekers. Photographs from the scene showed police officers surrounding the remains of a suitcase on a footpath, which lies about 200 metres from the reception centre.  It was not immediately clear who was behind the blast or whether there were any casualties.  The area in northern Bavaria had by then seen two attacks by Muslims in the past ten days. Failed Syrian asylum seeker Mohammad Daleel succeeded in blowing himself up in a suicide bombing outside a music festival in tAnsbach after having pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Isis.  Earlier the same day another of the countless young Arab men of fighting age launched an attack in Reutlingen, killing a pregnant woman with a machete and injuring several others.

 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)
After the end of World War 2, US troops occupied the aerodrome Fürth-Atzenhof . They used the site continues as barracks and gave this the 11th May 1949 the name Monteith Barracks. Previously, it was initially named "Army Air Force Station Fürth" and in November 1946 called "Fürth Air Base, Germany". The grounds of the airfield was almost undamaged into the hands of Americans. The last German commander of the air base, Colonel Pollak, led the order to destroy the building not so preserved the valuable buildings. The Americans cleared initially the grounds of the all around lying plane wrecks that had been left behind because of lack of fuel by the German Luftwaffe. Then used units of the US Air Force on the pitch. Here finally were many surplus aircraft - which had no further use after the war - destroyed. 
The baracks were named after First Lieutenant Jimmie Monteith who was born July 1 1917 in Low Moor, Virginia and participated as a member of the L-Company of the 16th Infantry Regiment on the landing of the Allied Forces in Normandy on D-Day in which he was killed near Colleville-sur-Mer after having collected a few scattered soldiers through a minefield, returning to his unit and finally storming a tactically important objective. Eventually German troops broke through the defensive line of the company and killed Lieutenant Monteith who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honour.

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 on the left, and from a Nazi-era postcard on the right
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 from an earlier visit.

 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
Looking along Markusturm in 1934 towards the  Röderbogen in 1934 and today
 The Wehrmacht marching down Herrngasse in 1939
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 from the top of the rathaus between the Röderturm and Galgenturm during the NS-zeit and today
The Weißer Turm then and now from both sides and on the right 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

The Hegereiterhaus 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

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. 
Judengasse then and now. This has been its name since 1371 when Jews and Christians had lived side-by side. This is the only surviving late mediaeval Jewish street in Europe. Such streets were in most mediaeval cities of German-speaking countries which were the enclosed living quarters of Jews who were mostly traders. Such accommodation also considered the religious principles of the Jews themselves, who sought to fulfil the commandment to live no more than a thousand steps from the synagogues.
Judenstrasse between the wars and from the same site. My bike is shown in front of house no. 10 which still contains a Jewish ritual bath, known as a mikvah, which is still filled with groundwater.
The Klingentor and Feuerleins Erker on Klingengasse
 Little Drake Winston in front of the Georgsbrunnen dating from 1608. On the right is another fountain nearby 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.
The 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 on the left and from the other side within the walls showing the Gasthaus zum Breiterle then and now
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. 
 The holes from the plaque are still evident at the latter
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 Spitaltor before the war
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 

Hitler driving through the town towards the Pleinfelder Tor and the rathaus, then and now
 The schloss from a 1944 postcard and the Schlosskirche after the war with an American GI surveying the looted art recovered from the Nazis, and today


The church on former Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today. The war saw 75% of Allersberg destroyed.