The view from after the war and today taken from the Neues Rathaus next to the Marienplatz showing to the right of the photo the roofless and pockmarked Altes Rathaus looking up the Tal. This building had been destroyed by lightning in 1460 and WWII bombs levelled its successor, so what is seen today is actually the third incarnation of the building designed by Jörg von Halspach of Frauenkirche fame. On 9 November 1938 Joseph Goebbels gave his hate-filled speech here that launched the nationwide Kristallnacht pogroms. The roofless Heilig-Geist-Kirche is on the right of the photo. Its spire, without the copper top, is behind the church. The Talbruck gate tower is missing completely. By the end of the war, only 2.5 percent of Munich’s buildings remained unscathed from Allied carpet bombing, which had targeted the city centre. Approximately 45 percent of the city's buildings had been destroyed, including more than 85,000 residential units. This meant that 300,000 Munich residents were left homeless.
Marienplatz during the Beer Hall Putsch. The photo on the right shows Julius Streicher, later publisher of the “Stürmer”, speaking in support of the putsch.
At the Marienplatz the Nazi column encountered a large crowd which was listening to an exhortation of Julius Streicher, the Jew-baiter from Nuremberg, who had rushed to Munich at the first news of the putsch. Not wishing to be left out of the revolution, he cut short his speech and joined the rebels, jumping into step immediately behind Hitler.
Shirer (67) Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich
Comparing how it appeared on November 9, 1938 with today
The new Rathaus with Nazi banner from 1933.
The inscription in the entrance condemning National Socialism with a rather forced statement:
„Der nationalsozialistische Eroberungs- und Vernichtungskrieg führte die Welt in eine Katastrophe. Durch das Unrecht der Vertreibung und durch Flucht verloren in Europa Millionen von Menschen ihre Heimat. Nach 1945 wurde München für mehr als 143.000 Heimatvertriebene zum neuen Lebensmittelpunkt. Sie haben maßgeblich zum Wiederaufbau und zum Leben unserer Stadt beigetragen.”
(The National Socialist war of extermination and conquest led the world into a disaster. By injustice of expulsion and by escape lost in Europe millions of humans their homeland. After 1945 Munich became for more than 143,000 refugees of homeland the new place of residence. They contributed considerably to the reconstruction and to the life of our city.)
Only a few steps away from the inscription, next to the staircase leading to the first floor, there is a plaque commemorating the Munich Jews who were murdered in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1941. Put up in November 2000, the plaque was intended to express the “sorrow and shame of Munich’ s population as well as their horror at the silence that prevailed at the time”. On 20 November 1941 one thousand men, women and children were deported from Munich to Kaunas and five days later murdered by firing squad. The deportations to Kaunas marked the beginning of the systematic annihilation of Munich’s remaining Jews. Between then and February 1945 at least forty-three deportations of Jews were transported to Kaunas, Piaski, Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. Numerous people and institutions, including employees of the city , were involved in organising and carrying out the deportations. The memorial plaque, designed by Beate Passow, was put up on the initiative of the Munich City Archive. Parallel to this the City of Munich also donated a sign of remembrance to the memorial site in Kaunas, which Beate Passow used as a model for its Munich counterpart. The artist describes her work thus: “The pane of glass shows a photo of the memorial plaque in Kowno [Kaunas] together with portraits of Jewish citizens of Munich who were deported. The crime committed in Kowno is thus given an appropriate presence in Munich as well.” The photographs were taken from the identity cards marked with a red “J” that Jewish citizens were obliged to carry with them from 1939. In many cases these photos were the last visible traces of their owners.
On the first floor is this Memorial Room. In 1951 members of the Munich City Council belonging to the Christian Social Union, the Social Democrats and the Bavarian Party tabled a joint motion to have a plaque put up in the town hall to commemorate those members of the city administration who had fallen victim to the Third Reich or died in the two world wars. A hexagonal, chapel-like room on the first floor of the wing facing Marienplatz was proposed as a suitable location for the plaque. During the 1920s this room had already been turned into a memorial to the city officials, teachers and white and blue-collar workers killed in the First World War, but it was destroyed by bombing in 1944. The newly refurbished room was opened to the public again in 1958 when the city celebrated its 800th anniversary. In the centre of the room there is an altar-like stone table on which lies a leather-bound book listing the names of those who died in the two world wars. Inscriptions on the walls commemorate both the war dead and those who suffered political persecution under the Nazi dictatorship. A stone slab in the floor is dedicated to the “employees who died in service”. Those who fell in the two world wars were placed on a par with the victims of the Nazi regime, having supposedly suffered a similar “fate”. Questions about the circumstances in which they died or of political and moral responsibility have been ignored.
The Ludwig Beck shop being built amidst the ruins and today
|Corner of the building at the entrance to Marienplatz|
The arch underneath the Old Town Hall then and now. Today it contains the Memorial to (German) Prisoners of War, dedicated in 1954 to those citizens of Munich who were still being held prisoner. It was unveiled at a time when 12,500 citizens of Munich were still registered as missing, many in the Soviet Union. The deliberately restrained stone relief by Franz Mikorey reflects the view of prisoners of war then prevailing in post-war Germany, showing three grieving women awaiting the return of prisoners of war (as the inscription tells us), whose sufferings should never be forgotten. The location was chosen given the central position of the Old Town Hall on Munich’s busy central square Marienplatz, which ensured that as many people would see it as possible.
After the war and at the same spot today with the altes rathaus behind me
The Ludwig Beck shop being built amidst the ruins and today
The original fischbrunnen in Marienplatz was destroyed in 1944; this 1954 replacement by Josef Henselmann incorporates some of Konrad Knoll's original figures.
Dieser Tanzsaal des Alten Rathauses war jahrhundertelang Schauplatz bürgerschaftlicher und stadtherrlicher Zusammenkünfte und Feste. Das nationalsozialistische Regime missbrauchte diesen Ort für die Planung antisemitischer Verbrechen. Im Verlauf einer Parteifeier am Abend des 9. November 1938 wurden die seit Tagen in vielen Städten des Reiches angezettelten antijüdischen Ausschreitungen hier zu einem deutschlandweiten Pogrom ausgeweitet. Als "Reichskristallnacht" war dieses Pogrom Vorstufe der Vernichtung des europäischen Judentums. (This dance hall of the old person of city hall was for many centuries the scene of the bürgerschaftlicher and the city's wonderful meetings and celebrations. The National Socialist regime abused this place for the planning of anti-Semitic crimes. In the process of a party celebration in the evening 9 November the 1938 for days the anti-Jewish excesses plotted in many cities of the realm were expanded here to a Germany-wide Pogrom. As “Reichskristallnacht” this Pogrom was the preliminary stage for the destruction of the European Jews.)Irving records in his book Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich Goebbels inviting Hitler, the night before Reichskristallnacht,
to his regular café, the Café Hoch on the Marienplatz, facing the city hall. Until three A.M. they talked about horses, the Romanian monarchy, punishments for reckless driving, and their future plans for Germany’s screen and stage. After that Goebbels carried on working back in his hotel, tired but unable to sleep.
The Munich City Council has been, since 1919, the local government and is elected for six years and meets in New Hall. The photo on the left shows the first meeting of July 25, 1933 of the City Hall led by the Nazis as the sole power in the city council of 17 members with a ceremony in the Great decorated boardroom. Among the attendees were the representative of the State Government, the Police Headquarters, the Reichswehr, the Protestant church council and others.
Ballroom in the Old Town Hall, 1936 and the inscription commemorating the place where the go-ahead was given for the November pogrom. It was put up on the initiative of Munich’s former Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel and unveiled in the foyer of the building in November 2000. Since this room is only open to the public on certain occasions, a replica of the plaque was mounted on the façade at the entrance to the building in May 2009.
Auferstanden aus ruinen: The Roman-Mayr-Haus on Marienplatz and its dreadful replacement- the Galeria Kaufhof. It was here that Dr. Wilhelm Gutberlet had treated Hitler for a throat infection early in the latter's political career. Gutberlet was an astrologer, a shareholder in the Völkischer Beobachter who had been described as the “Master of the Sidereal Pendulum,” who could divine the exact degree of Jewish blood in any person; he and Hitler were close personal acquaintances. Walter Schellenberg described him in his postwar memoirs as "a Munich physician who belonged to the intimate circle around Hitler."
During the 1944 bombing of Munich, both the Alten Rathauses and the Kleine Rathaus were destroyed. The former was reconstructed by Munich architect Erwin Schleich from 1953 to 1977. On the left is Hitler's "Standesamt und Altes Rathaus Muenchen" painted in 1914 which recently sold for £103,000 (130,000 euros) at an auction in Nuremberg.
When Marienplatz became too small as a market for cereals and other agricultural products, the Viktualienmarkt was created by a decree issued by King Maximilian I on 2. May, 1807. In the course of time many additions were made to the market, as for example a butchers' hall, a tripe hall, pavilions for bakeries, fruit vendors and a fish hall. During World War II this square with its cosy atmosphere was severely damaged. There was even talk of closing down the market in order to erect multi-story buildings on this important site. Instead, the municipal authorities revitalised Viktualienmarkt with considerable financial support, and the citizens of Munich enriched it with memorial fountains for the folk singers and comedians Karl Valentin, Weiß Ferdl and Liesl Karlstadt. Later, memorial fountains for the folk singers and comedians Ida Schumacher, Elise Aulinger and Roider Jackl were added.
A bird's eye view of the site in 1858 and today showing the postwar development all around
The Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, is Munich's main cathedral and with its distinctive twin towers, is also one of the main landmarks in the city. The Frauenkirche, which stands today, replaced an earlier church of the 13th century being built in 1468-88 under the direction of the German architect Jorg von Halsbach. The two towers were completed in 1488 and the church was consecrated in 1494. However, the building's famous domes atop each tower were not added until 1525. The cathedral suffered severe damage during World War II - the roof collapsed and one of the towers suffered severe damage. A major restoration effort began after the war and was carried out in several stages, the last of which coming to an end in 1994. On the right side, one can see the "New Town Hall", that was built between 1867 and 1908.
The interior after bombing in 1944, and a procession going past led by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber 31.v.1945.
The interior then and now
The damage after the war and the church today, with a reminder inside today
Hitler in triumph down Munich's Maxburgstrasse towards Marienplatz after the return of Memel, March 26, 1939 and my Grade 11s today.
Drake Winston in front of St. Michael's church at the same location. Just around the corner is the Polizeipräsidium (Hauptant - Oberstes ϟϟ und Polizeigericht):
This is where the Nazis' bureaucracy of oppression started, at Ettstasse 2. In July 1932, Heydrich's counterintelligence service grew into an effective machine of terror and intimidation. With Hitler agitating for absolute power in Germany, Himmler and Heydrich wished to control the political police forces of all 17 German states, and they began with the state of Bavaria. In 1933, Heydrich gathered some of his men from the SD and together they stormed police headquarters in Munich and took over the police using intimidation tactics. Himmler became commander of the Bavarian political police with Heydrich as his deputy. In his funeral eulogy for Heydrich in 1942, Himmler stated
After we came to power, I became Munich police chief on March 12, 1933. I immediately gave Heydrich the so-called political division of the presidium. In no time he re-organized the division, and in a few weeks transformed it into the Bavarian Political Police. Soon the division became a model for political police departments in non-Prussian German territory. On April 20, 1934, the Prussian Minister President, our Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, appointed me to lead the State Police of Prussia and appointed ϟϟ Brigadeführer Heydrich as my deputy. In 1936 the Führer appointed 32-year-old Heydrich chief of the newly created Security Police. Besides the secret police, he was responsible for all of the criminal police.
From there, the duo moved on to the police forces of the 16 remaining German states. When this prison became overcrowded, the police established the first Nazi concentration camp at Dachau outside Munich on March 20, 1933.
This was also the location for the German TV series “Derrick”. In April 2013 it was revealed that the star, Horst Tappert, had joined the infamous 3. SS-Panzergrenadier-Division Totenkopf, then employed on the Eastern Front, in March 1943. Historian Jan Erik Schulte, an expert on the history of the SS, said that the circumstances of Tappert's membership in the SS and the question of whether he was pressured or coerced to join remain unclear. The "Liebstandarte" division was the premier fighting unit of the Waffen-SS, officered by committed Nazis and guilty of numerous war crimes and atrocities (especially on the Eastern Front).
Exhibition on „Die Münchner Polizei und der Nationalsozialismus“ with Drake Winston pointing at the same spot used in the poster
On the right is a remarkable document: Reichsfuhrer ϟϟ Heinrich Himmler's speech to the ϟϟ officers responsible for carrying out the wholesale extermination of the European Jews. Delivered in Poznan, Poland on October 4, 1943. The text of the speech scrolls in both the original German and its English Translation. The recordings are the first known documents in which a high-ranking member of the Nazi government openly spoke of the on-going destruction of the Jews. They demonstrate that the Nazi government wanted, planned and carried out the Holocaust.
The Karlstor is located between the central rail station and Marienplatz and represents the very centre of the city. The photo on the left shows it during the Tag der Deutschen Kunst of June 10, 1938.
Germans being marched into captivity after the war
Hitler's supposed painting of the monument with what was left of it after the war.
A brownshirt preventing anyone from shopping at a Jewish-owned business at Karlsplatz 8 and the site today
A brownshirt preventing anyone from shopping at a Jewish-owned business at Karlsplatz 8 and the site today
Hitler's painting of Tal Road looking towards Marienplatz with Heilig-Geist-Kirche on the left and the alte rathaus straight ahead.
As he had done in Vienna, he developed a routine where he could complete a picture every two or three days, usually copied from postcards of well-known tourist scenes in Munich – including the Theatinerkirche, the Asamkirche, the Hofbräuhaus, the Alter Hof, the Münzhof, the Altes Rathaus, the Sendlinger Tor, the Residenz, the Propyläen – then set out to find customers in bars, cafés, and beerhalls. His accurate but uninspired, rather soulless watercolours were, as Hitler himself later admitted when he was German Chancellor and they were selling for massively inflated prices, of very ordinary quality. But they were certainly no worse than similar products touted about the beerhalls, often the work of genuine art students seeking to pay their way. Once he had found his feet, Hitler had no difficulty finding buyers. He was able to make a modest living from his painting and exist about as comfortably as he had done in his last years in Vienna. When the Linz authorities caught up with him in 1914, he acknowledged that his income – though irregular and fluctuating – could be put at around 1,200 Marks a year, and told his court photographer Heinrich Hoffmann at a much later date that he could get by on around 80 Marks a month for living costs at that time.
Supposedly the oldest hotel in the centre of Munich when it was founded in 1470 as the Hotel Thaltor, the Hotel Torbräu was where the SA and ϟϟ recruited and drank throughout the 1920s. The SA swore allegiance to Hitler in May 1923 and the precursor to the SS, the Stosstrupp Hitler, was established in the basement here in 1925. The Isartor is seen directly behind me.
Hitler’s first bodyguard was replaced with a new one in May of 1923, the Stosstrupp Adolf Hitler. Its members by and large came from a differing social and age group (older) than the quite young SA. The initial leader of this group was Julius Schreck, a man who superficially resembled Hitler and later served as his double from time to time. These recruits were later described by one of their own: “Hard and rough and sometimes quite uncouth were the customs, habits, and looks of the Stosstrup. They did not know ... grovelling. They clung to the right of the stronger, the old right of the fist. In an emergency they knew no command.... When ... called to action— to attack right and left—march! march!—then things were torn to bits and in minutes streets and squares were swept of enemies.... Soon we were known in village and town.”
Otis C. Mitchell (55) Hitler's Stormtroopers and the Attack on the German Republic
Joseph Berchtold, the first “Reichsführer-SS,” spoke of this and the next site across the street when recalling the events of the so-called Beer Hall Putsch:
Adolf Hitler chose the day of von Kahr's great meeting for his attempt. About eleven o'clock on the morning of the 8th of November I got the order to stand ready for the National Revolution. " My men took a last oath, to serve true to death if needs be, and we got our final instructions from Captain Goering. I busied myself all day with preparations, and then at six in the evening assembled the troops, in instant readiness for action in the Torbrau, opposite the Sterneckerbrau. I harangued my fellows, `Any one of you,' I said, `who isn't going into this thing heart and soul had better get out right now.' As no one budged by so much as an inch, I pursued, `It's our job, as Shock Troops, to bear the brunt of what's coming. We're going to run the Government out. Hitler and Kahr are united over this, they are going to set up another one .' Everyone of us gripped hands, and we were ready.Sterneckerbräu- the 'Cradle of the Nazi Movement'
Heinz (154) Germany's Hitler
The Sterneckerbräu was located in Munich's old town in the Tal 38 (originally 54) on the corner of Sterneckerstraße, very close to the Isartor. The present building originally covered three plots of land. In Jakob Sandtner's model of the city of Munich from 1570, three two-story houses can be seen. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the house at the corner of Tal and Sterneckergasse was owned by the beer brewer family Sternegger, after whom the road is named since 1696. A brewery had been there since 1557. In the 19th century, the corner house and its eastern neighbour were replaced by a four-story building with a classical façade. This was demolished in 1901, and in 1901/02, the present building was built on the site of these two buildings and an additional adjoining plot. The building was built by Heilmann & Littmann for the brewer Joseph Höcherl. The German Workers Party (DAP) of Anton Drexler met once a week in the restaurant on the first floor of the new building. On 12 September 1919, Adolf Hitler attended a meeting of the DAP on behalf of the intelligence command of the army. The meeting took place in a meeting room of the Sterneckerbräu. Drexler invited him to join the DAP. Hitler accepted on that date, becoming the party's 555th member (Wikipedia says he was memebr 55, but membership began at number 500 to make it appear that the party had more members0. In October 1919, the first branch of the DAP, which in February 1920 changed its name to the Nazi Party (NSDAP), was set up in a side room of the Sterneckerbräu. In 1921, the Bavarian nationalist and royalist league In Treue fest was founded at the Sterneckerbräu. It was banned by the Nazis on 2 February 1933, and later re-established in 1952. On 8 November 1933, Hitler opened the Museum of the Nazi Party at the Sterneckerbräu, which was also mentioned in the Baedeker. The first inventory and office furniture, as well as the members' rooms, can still be viewed there. The building survived World War II. In 1957 the restaurant was closed and the first floor was converted into a store.
This is where Hitler first came across the German Workers' Party (DAP) on September 12, 1919 whilst serving in the intelligence section of the German army. When the DAP chief, Anton Drexler, signed the Party membership form he wrote "Hittler" with two ts. This is also significant as being the site where the Nazi Party was originally organised on 24 February 1920.Of this first visit, Hitler wrote the following in Chapter IX: The 'German Workers' Party' in Mein Kampf:
It can scarcely have been a very impressive scene when, on the evening of 12 September 1919, Hitler attended his first meeting in a room at the Sterneckerbrau, a Munich beer-cellar in which a handful of twenty or twenty-five people had gathered. One of the speakers was Gottfried Feder, an economic crank well known in Munich, who had already impressed Hitler at one of the political courses arranged for the Army. The other was a Bavarian separatist, whose proposals for the secession of Bavaria from the German Reich and a union with Austria brought Hitler to his feet in a fury. He spoke with such vehemence that when the meeting was over Drexler went up to him and gave him a copy of his autobiographical pamphlet, Mein politisches Erwachen. A few days later Hitler received a postcard inviting him to attend a committee meeting of the German Workers' Party.
Alan Bullock (58) Hitler: A Study in Tyranny
In the evening when I entered the 'Leiber Room' of the former Sterneckerbrau in Munich, I found some twenty to twenty-five people present, chiefly from the lower classes of the population.
Feder's lecture was known to me from the courses, so I was able to devote myself to an inspection of the organisation itself.
My impression was neither good nor bad; a new organisation like so many others. This was a time in which anyone who was not satisfied with developments and no longer had any confidence in the existing parties felt called upon to found a new party. Everywhere these organisations sprang out of the ground, only to vanish silently after a time. The founders for the most part had no idea what it means to make a party-let alone a movement out of a club. And so these organisations nearly always stifle automatically in their absurd philistinism.
The meeting didn’t impress Hitler, but he was given a brochure titled “My Political Awakening” by founder Anton Drexler, and he read it nonetheless. Hitler was invited to the next meeting of the DAP at the Altes Rosenbad Inn and he was again ordered to attend and even join the tiny party by his Intelligence superior, Capt. Karl Mayr.
The site in 1925 and standing in front in 2007. After joining, Hitler was said to have established an office there in a former barroom with a light, telephone, table, a few chairs on loan, a bookcase and borrowed cup- boards. Thus, what would become the first HQ of the future Nazi Party was born, after Hitler changed its name, direction and leadership. Hitler would also write in Mein Kampf when he rented the site to serve as the party offices that:
In the old Sterneckerbräu im Tal, there was a small room with arched roof, which in earlier times was used as a sort of festive tavern where the Bavarian Counsellors of the Holy Roman Empire foregathered. It was dark and dismal and accordingly well suited to its ancient uses, though less suited to the new purpose it was now destined to serve. The little street on which its one window looked out was so narrow that even on the brightest summer day the room remained dim and sombre. Here we took up our first fixed abode. The rent came to fifty marks per month, which was then an enormous sum for us. But our exigencies had to be very modest. We dared not complain even when they removed the wooden wainscoting a few days after we had taken possession. This panelling had been specially put up for the Imperial Counsellors. The place began to look more like a grotto than an office.
Standing at the entrance in 2010 on the side street off Tal.
From 1933 the Sternecker housed a NSDAP museum. Today it serves Apple which may be appropriate, given that in Latin the words for 'apple' ("mālum") and for 'evil' ("malum") are nearly identical. One particularly incisive piece from the New York Times revealed the way the company exploits its own foreign workforce in Chinese concentration camps.
Hermann Otto Hoyer's 1937 representation of Hitler's political beginnings set in the Leiber Room of the Sterneckerbräu, Am Anfang war das Wort (In the Beginning Was the Word) for the Great German Art Exhibition at the Haus der Deutschen Kunst. In the summer of 1920 alone Hitler had given the following speeches here: 'Nationalism' (June 9), "About the Political Situation" (June 16), "Spa and Moscow" (July 28) and "Financial Questions" (August 6).
It was here that the soldiers' councils proclaimed the Bavarian Soviet Republic. The Hofbräuhaus was one of the beer halls used by the Nazi Party for functions and holds a particular significance in its mythology. The DAP—the future Nazi Party—held its first mass meeting there on October 16, 1919—less than a year after the war’s end—with an audience of seventy people. On February 24, 1920, in its Festival Hall, Hitler presented the Twenty-five Points that formed the political base of the Nazis (as they came to be called; it is an abbreviation of the Party’s full name, just as the Socialists were called Sozis)—this time with two thousand in attendance.
On Friday, August 13 1920, Hitler publicly denounced the Jews for the first time in his Why We Are Antisemites speech, demanding their removal from Germany altogether. On November 4, 1921, there was a massive fight between the Nazis and their opponents in the Hofbrauhaus, but Hitler managed to complete his address, despite the chaos of smashed tables and chairs and hurled beer mugs all about him. The same building was also the birthplace of the later feared Nazi street fighting organisation, the Sturmabteilungen, or SA for short.Despite worries about the attendance at the party’s first big meeting, some 2,000 people (perhaps a fifth of them socialist opponents) were crammed into the Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus on 24 February when Hitler, as chairman, opened the meeting. Dingfelder’s speech was unremarkable. Certainly, it was un-Hitler-like in style and tone. The word ‘Jew’ was never mentioned. He blamed Germany’s fate on the decline of morality and religion, and the rise of selfish, material values. His recipe for recovery was ‘order, work, and dutiful sacrifice for the salvation of the Fatherland’. The speech was well received and uninterrupted. The atmosphere suddenly livened when Hitler came to speak. His tone was harsher, more aggressive, less academic, than Dingfelder’s. The language he used was expressive, direct, coarse, earthy – that used and understood by most of his audience – his sentences short and punchy. He heaped insults on target-figures like the leading Centre Party politician and Reich Finance Minister Matthias Erzberger (who had signed the Armistice in 1918 and strongly advocated acceptance of the detested Versailles Treaty the following summer) or the Munich capitalist Isidor Bach, sure of the enthusiastic applause of his audience. Verbal assaults on the Jews brought new cheers from the audience, while shrill attacks on profiteers produced cries of ‘Flog them! Hang them!’ When he came to read out the party programme, there was much applause for the individual points. But there were interruptions, too, from left-wing opponents, who had already been getting restless, and the police reporter of the meeting spoke of scenes of ‘great tumult so that I often thought it would come to brawling at any minute’. Hitler announced, to storms of applause, what would remain the party’s slogan: ‘Our motto is only struggle. We will go our way unshakeably to our goal.’ The end of Hitler’s speech, in which he read out a protest at an alleged decision to provide 40,000 hundredweight of flour for the Jewish community, again erupted into uproar following further opposition heckling, with people standing on tables and chairs yelling at each other. In the subsequent ‘discussion’, four others spoke briefly, two of them opponents. Remarks from the last speaker that a dictatorship from the Right would be met with a dictatorship from the Left were the signal for a further uproar, such that Hitler’s words closing the meeting were drowned. Around 100 Independent Socialists and Communists poured out of the Hofbräuhaus on to the streets cheering for the International and the Räterepublik and booing the war-heroes Hindenburg and Ludendorff, and the German Nationalists. The meeting had not exactly produced the ‘hall full of people united by a new conviction, a new faith, a new will’ that Hitler was later to describe.
Nor would anyone reading Munich newspapers in the days following the meeting have gained the impression that it was a landmark heralding the arrival of a new, dynamic party and a new political hero. The press’s reaction was muted, to say the least. The newspapers concentrated in their brief reports on Dingfelder’s speech and paid little attention to Hitler. Even the Völkischer Beobachter, not yet under party control but sympathetic, was surprisingly low-key. It reported the meeting in a single column in an inside page four days later.Kershaw (86-7) Hitler
The building after the war and today
During the February 24 1929 Versammlung. The last photo shows Hermann Esser, Max Amann, Hitler, General Franz von Epp, Julius Schaub, Heinrich Himmler, and Gregor Strasser.Parteigründungsversammlung in 1935 and 1938.
During the February 24, 1936 Parteigründungsversammlung from the Fotoarchiv Hoffmann
Hitler referred in his address the first assembly that was held at the Hofbräuhaus:
It was the first major rally our Movement had ever held in which we can say that the Volk participated. For the first time the internal organization was tested in a large hall, and it worked. For the first time people came to us who wanted to listen. We certainly had not lacked the courage to summon the masses, but for a long time the masses lacked the courage to hear our call. It so happened that the man from whom I had rented the hall only gave it after I had made advance payment, although to be fair I would like to add that the situation later changed.
At that first rally we announced our twenty-five points—which our opponents ridiculed—for the first time, to implement them item for item in the years thereafter. And finally, I myself spoke to a large crowd of people for the first time in this hall, although someone had told me I had any number of talents, but speaking was not one of them. I had to assert myself at that large rally, which was not as well-mannered as it is today. Things were rather primitive, and most of the men were not wearing collars out of solidarity, so as not to attract attention.
Later my opponents conceived of the idea of calling me “the drummer” for years afterwards. In any case, that first rally was significant in that it was the first mass rally of our Party, it announced our programme and produced a new speaker.
The plaque above (shown during and after the war) commemorated Hitler's speech of February 24, 1920 in which he laid out the goals of the new Nazi Party in his 25 point programme, an event later declared to have been the founding session of the NSDAP.
These were all scraps of conventional völkisch wisdom interlaced with attacks on the treaty and on the exactions of the Entente with which no German could disagree. The principles were incorporated in the party program that Hitler together with Anton Drexler and Gottfried Feder wrote out in twenty-five points and that Hitler presented to a meeting of February 24, 1920, in the Hofbräuhaus. They had appealed greatly to the party constituency even though they had no prospect whatever of being realized in any foreseeable future. The party's program enunciated among other things the right to self-determination for Germany, with equal treatment and land and colonies to feed the German people. The Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain were to be abrogated. Only racial Germans could be citizens, and racial Germans were men and women of German blood regardless of religion, so no Jew could be a Volks comrade. Battle would be waged against the corruption of the parliamentary system based on party considerations, which took no account of character and ability. Every citizen had the same rights and duties; the general need came before the individual need; only a man who worked was entitled to an income; war profits were to be confiscated, the serfdom of interest broken. Profiteers, common criminals, and black marketers were to be executed. Trusts already nationalized were to remain so. In the interest of a healthy middle class, the party platform declared that big department stores would be communalised. It demanded land reform and the abolition of speculation in land. Poor children were to be educated by the state, child labour was to be prohibited, and health services were to be provided for mothers and children and young people. A people's army was to replace mercenary troops, and a strong central authority was to be established with complete authority over the Reich and its organisations.
The Making of Adolf Hitler: The Birth and Rise of Nazism, Eugene Davidson (130-1)
A fight that broke out on November 4 1921 made the site a Nazi shrine as it was claimed that the SA had met its baptism of fire. As Hitler wrote at the beginning of Chapter VI, The First Period of our Struggle in Mein Kampf,
During that period the hall of the Hofbrau Haus in Munich acquired for us, National Socialists, a sort of mystic significance. Every week there was a meeting, almost always in that hall, and each time the hall was better filled than on the former occasion, and our public more attentive.
The Festsaal on the third floor where, in 1920, the NSDAP held its first meeting. From Chapter VII: The Struggle with the Red Front in the Second Volume of Mein Kampf:
In the Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus I always stood on one of the long sides of the hall and my platform was a beer table. And so I was actually in the midst of the people. Perhaps this circumstance contributed to creating in this hall a mood such as I have never found anywhere else. In front of me, especially to the left of me, only enemies were sitting and standing. They were all robust men and young fellows in large part from the Maffei factory, from Kustermann's, from the Isaria Meter Works, etc. Along the left wall they had pushed ahead close to my table and were beginning to collect beer mugs; that is, they kept ordering beer and putting the empty mugs under the table. In this way, whole batteries grew up and it would have surprised me if all had ended well this time...
Until a few years ago, above each lamp the Bavarian flag was seen in the form of a swastika, painted by Hitler's supporters after he took power. After the war the owners found they couldn't paint over them as the swastikas were still visible after several coats of paint, and so decided to 'decorate' them as oddly shaped Bavarian flags. Recently the shape itself was altered as seen in the before-and-after photos above. According to Wikipedia, the Hofbrauhaus "also held a 1889 baby photo of Hitler as recent [sic] as 2006" and furthermore, according to a post at http://worldwartwozone.com:
"There is also other interesting thing - rumour perhaps. On the left hand side of the main hall is small room with sort of a racks where locals can keep their beer steins. They wash them in a copper sink, then put into mailbox size padlocked lockers. When I visited Hofbrauhaus one of the locals told us that Hitler's stein is still there. No one knows which one it is, but is worshipped. Indeed one of the racks was decorated with green applications. Apparently faithful locals decorate it every year before Adi's birthday - 20th April"
Given that Hitler was a teetotaller, it's hard to credit that...
The scene on the right is from the film "Hitler:Rise of Evil" showing Hitler (played by Robert Carlyle) speaking at the Hofbrauhaus in 1920.
The scene on the right is from the film "Hitler:Rise of Evil" showing Hitler (played by Robert Carlyle) speaking at the Hofbrauhaus in 1920.
Werner Naumann's March 23, 1945 speech Kapitulieren, niemals! at the Hofbrauhaus
The day Hitler committed suicide and now showing the entrance when the site served as the Command Post for the American 45th Division.
After the war
Nearby is the Pepperpot, founded by Erika and Klaus Mann in January 1933 which satirised the Nazis before the two emigrated to New York after Hitler's seizure of power. Erika Mann defined clearly the aims of his political-satirical cabaret: “Wir wollten die Nazis bekämpfen."
Munich Opera House at Max-Joseph Platz
In front of the opera house with two supposed Hitler paintings of it. That on the right is a 25" by 19-3/4" painting of the same building by Hitler just after a rainstorm. It was painted in München in the first half of 1914, when Hitler lived the Josef Popp residence at 34/III Schleissheimerstrasse. Popp in an interview several years later recalled:
He began his painting straight away and stuck to his work for hours. In a couple of days I saw two lovely pictures finished and lying on the table, one of the cathedral and the other of the Theatinerkirche. After that my lodger [Hitler] used to go out early of a morning with his portfolio under his arm in search of customers.
Hitler's plan for the new opera house in Munich, part of its redevelopment under the Third Reich from the book Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics by Frederic Spotts
After the bombing and standing in front today
Looking at what's left of Palais Toerring in 1946 from Max-Joseph Platz and today
Looking at what's left of Palais Toerring in 1946 from Max-Joseph Platz and today