Showing posts with label Kelheim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kelheim. Show all posts

Nazi Remains on the Danube

Between 1933 and 1945 most of the members of the then small Jewish community of Straubing were murdered or forced to emigrate; today its Jewish community numbers just under a thousand.  During a rally in June 1940, when Straubing and Bogen held its Kriegskreistag, some 20,000 people gathered at the Großdeutschlandplatz. Among the speakers were Gauleiter Wächtler and Gauamtsleiter Erbersdobler. In July 1940, the Donau-Zeitung reported that the Straubing Kreisleiter, Anton Putz, had flown toward France and not returned.  In 1944 and 1945, Straubing suffered from several American air raids during which time the local military hospital was destroyed to the extent of 80 percent with a loss of 45 patients.
On the main street during the Nazizeit and with wife and baby Drake Winston and looking the other way down Ludwigplatz towards the stadturm and tibertiusbrunnen 
1935 and today
The publishing house at Ludwigsplatz 32 where the anti-Nazi Straubinger Tagblatt was eventually closed down by the Nazi regime. On 29 May 1935 its publisher Georg Huber Sr., who had been denounced for anti-Nazi statements, was taken into 'protective custody.' That same day the Nazis had organised a rally against the Straubinger Tagblatt which was then banned for two days. On 2 September 1935 it finally closed for "political unreliability."
Festzug des Volksfestes  along Frauenhoferstraße
The schlossplatz
The arms used in the top-left canton on the reverse of the Straubing Deutschland Erwache standard reflects the change made in 1923 by the Nazis to remove the French influence shown in the fleur-de-lis, which were added in the 18th century. The arms have since been restored officially, but the spitaltor dating from 1628 shows the version favoured by the Nazis.
The two pages shown are from Deutschland Erwache - The History and Development of the Nazi Party and the “Germany Awake” Standards.

Rosengasse then and now.Embedded in a wall on the right is this inscription in Hebrew, a duplicate of what is now in the town museum. Roughly translated, it reads
The crown of our race fell with the death of our father Rabbi Azariah, the son of Jose, who stepped into another world on the eve of Shabbat, the 26th, the month of Iyar, the 88th 
The synagogue at the turn of the century, and standing in front today. It survived Reichskristallnacht out of fear of any conflagration affecting the neighbouring buildings.
The period photos show German women forced to clean the synagogue which had been desecrated on Reichskristallnacht before posing in front. In his book Hitler and Nazism, Dick Geary writes specifically how "[i]n Straubing Nazi excesses against local Jews ended in murder."
Leistnerstrasse after the bombing with American soldiers after the war 
The Agnes Bernauer chapel 
The  Bernauer Turm in 1941 and today
Auferstanden aus Ruinen
On April 28 1945 the SS blew up the Schloßbrücke Straubing,over the Danube to retard the allies' advance.

Overlooking the Danube and towards the bridge is this reichsadler, created by Munich sculptor Fritz Schmoll.
What is now the Amtsgericht Straubing on Kolbstrasse 11
The Hans-Schemm-Schule and today, renamed St. Jakobsschule.
The main market street in Straubing during the Nazizeit...
...and on October 14, 2009 when 1,250 garden gnomes with their right arms raised in a Hitler salute were presented by creator Ottmar Hoerl, who had already displayed his provocative gnomes in Belgium, Italy and two German art galleries; the first one in public in Germany despite the law prohibiting the public use of the Hitler gruss.

The Salzstadl from the 1940 book Regensburg: Eine Stadt des Reiches published by Gauverlag Bayerische Ostmark in Bayreuth and today.   It was here in Regensburg that former Chancellor Franz von Papen, who more than anyone else jobbed Hitler into office, was held after having been sentenced to eight years’ hard labour at the Nuremberg trials.
While he was in Regensburg he was set upon by an SS man in the washhouse who beat him bloody, fracturing his nose and cheekbone and splitting his lips and eyelids. He was sewn up by another prisoner, a surgeon. Papen says he was singled out for special treatment. Meanwhile he was convinced that the right way to get out was to appeal for a shorter sentence rather than a retrial, which might have taken years to bring about. 
Giles MacDonogh (403) After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
Regensburg was the home to both a Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft factory and an oil refinery, both of which were bombed by the Allies on August 17 1943 by the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission, and on February 5, 1945, during the so-called Oil Campaign. Although both targets were badly damaged, Regensburg itself suffered little damage from the Allied strategic bombing campaign, and the nearly intact medieval city centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city's most important cultural loss was that of the Romanesque church of Obermünster, which was destroyed in a March 1945 air raid and was not rebuilt (the belfry survived). Also, Regensburg's slow economic recovery after the war ensured that historic buildings were not torn down to be replaced by newer ones. Between 1945 and 1949, Regensburg was the site of the largest Displaced persons (DP) camp in Germany. At its peak in 1946–1947, the workers' district of Ganghofersiedlung housed almost 5,000 Ukrainian and 1,000 non-Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons. With the approval of the American Military Government in the American Allied Occupation Zone, Regensburg and other DP camps organised their own camp postal service. In Regensburg, the camp postal service began operation on December 11, 1946.
The wife standing in front of one of the finest Gothic cathedrals in Europe which is still allowed to have on its façade the judensau (Jews' Sow), an example of antisemitic propaganda used by the authorities to ostracise the Jewish minority. There is a plaque that reads euphemistically:
The sculpture should be regarded as a witness in stone to a bygone era and should be seen in connection to its time; It is repugnant for the viewer of today in its anti-Jewish expression.
Hitler exiting the rathaus on October 22, 1933 and the site today.
During the war in 1942 and today
Adolf Hitler Brücke was inaugurated on December 21, 1935, by the Bavarian Minister for the Interior, Adolf Wagner, who dedicated it "to the glory of the state, the glory of the Bavarian Ostmark and the glory of National Socialist Germany". Work began with the north span, between the Lower Wöhrd and Weichs; work on the south span, between Weißenburgstraße and the Lower Wöhrd, began in summer 1936. In 1937 the north span opened to traffic and repairs immediately began on the Stone Bridge. On 18 June 1938, the south span and the Frankenbrücke both opened, and on 16 July Minister Wagner ceremonially christened the bridge. Several thousand people attended the festivities and the fireworks that evening. The bridge was designed by Roderich Fick, with engineering work by Gerhart & Zenns. Fick wanted the new concrete bridge to appear as slender and serene as possible to contrast with the Stone Bridge.  On 23 April 1945, the bridge was blown up to slow the Allied advance, and largely destroyed. It has since been replaced by the Nibelungenbrücke.
Albert Allmann's reichsadler that had graced the Nibelungenbrücke until it had been removed after the bridge's restoration. For the 1938 Adolf Hitler Bridge, Munich sculptor Allman was commissioned to carve a group of maidens and a monumental Nazi eagle. Allman had little experience as a monumental sculptor; he was known for art deco nudes. He requested porphyry, an extremely durable stone, for the eagle but was required to use granite. He began work over a year late; when the bridge was dedicated, the eagle was not yet ready and was ineptly added to the official photographs by retouching. When completed in 1939, the 9-metre eagle weighed 12 tonnes and had cost RM18,000. In March 1940 it was installed at a semicircular lookout between the two parts of the bridge.  The eagle was mounted on the 1950 Nibelungen Bridge as a federal eagle, facing east, with the swastika omitted from the oak garland in its claws. It was frequently defaced with graffiti and painted various colours. The maidens were also placed on the new bridge.  On 11 July 2001, as part of the preparations for moving the 1950 bridge before its demolition, the eagle and the maidens were moved into storage. It was announced at the time that the city would find an appropriate use for the eagle, but as of 2008 it was still in storage, despite a 2003 invitation for proposals from well known artists and an exhibit of the suggestions, which included wrapping it in the manner of Christo and permitting nature to reclaim it by letting grass grow over it. Other ideas have included smashing it and reassembling it randomly, and a local entrepreneur once offered to buy it and put it in his garden.
History of the Brückenadler

Oskar Schindler's Residence 1945-1950
It was here, off Goliathstrasse, that Oskar Schindler briefly lived after the war, all but penniless.
The morning after Reichskristallnacht in Regensburg: Jews led down Arnulfplatz, Ludwigstraße and Maxstraße to the railway station
On the night of November 9, Sebastian Platzer, head of the NSKK driver training school in Regensburg, was ordered by his superior, Wilhelm Müller-Seyfferth, to set fire to the local synagogue together with the NSKK men under his command. In characteristic fashion, the NSKK, the SA, and the ϟϟ fought over who would get to carry out the arson attack. Arrests of Jewish families began directly thereafter, and the next morning – under the supervision of Müller-Seyfferth – the SA and the NSKK forced the Jewish men to do degrading drills. Finally, all of the Jewish men in Regensburg were led to the train station on a “march of shame” [Schandmarsch] under a poster that read “Exodus of Jews” [Auszug der Juden]. Some were deported to the Dachau concentration camp; others were taken to the Regensburg prison. A total of 224 Jewish men from the entire administrative district of Lower Bavaria and Upper Palatinate were sent to Dachau. In the end, only eleven survived the camps and could be released in May 1945 by the Allies.
The Nazis’ use of the phrase “Exodus of Jews” was particularly cynical since it alluded to the exodus of Jews from Egypt, a central liberation theme in Jewish tradition. This phrase was used in later waves of persecution and killings. At the train station a reminder of Reichskristallnacht appears on a mural on the wall at the entrance.
However, the persecution of the Jews took place much earlier in Regensburg's history. The original Synagogue was erected between 1210 and 1227 on the site of the former Jewish hospital in the centre of the ghetto. In 1519 following the death of Emperor Maxmilian who had long been a protector of the Jews in the imperial cities, the town, which blamed its economic troubles on its prosperous Jewish community, expelled the 500 Jews. The Jews themselves had demolished the interior of their venerable synagogue, on the site of which seen behind me a chapel was built in honour of the Virgin. Two etchings made by Albrecht Altdorfer just before it was destroyed on February 22, 1519 provide the first prints of an actual architectural monument. Just in front is a memorial created by Dani Karavan in 2005 that depicts the foundation of the Synagogue. Dani Karavan website

The synagogue alight during Reichskristallnacht, November 8-9 1938...  
 ... and the current synagogue today, with memorial plaque to the events of the past

The house on the right of the photograph showing Regensburg in flames after allied bombing remains at Donaustaufer Straße, although it's uncertain for how much longer.
The Americans were only a short distance away, and few people were prepared to go down in flames as the enemy took the town. Next morning some women started going round shops, spreading the word that there was to be another meeting that evening in Moltkeplatz, in the city centre, to demand that Regensburg be handed over to the Allies without a fight. Nearly a thousand people, many of them women with children, turned out. As the crowd started to become restless, it was addressed by a prominent member of the cathedral chapter, Domprediger Dr. Johann Maier, who, however, was able to say only a few words before he and several others were arrested.
When [Gauleiter] Rucksdeckel heard what had happened, he ordered that Maier and the other 'ringleaders' be hanged. A rapidly summoned drumhead court lost no time in pronouncing the death sentence on Maier and a seventy-year-old warehouse worker, Joseph Zirkl. They were hanged in the early hours of 24 April. The terror apparatus had still functioned. But with the Americans on the doorstep, the town's military commandant, its head of regional government, the Kreisleiter and the head of police suddenly vanished into the night. Gauleiter Rucksdeckel had also disappeared. The way was all at once clear for emissaries to hand over the city on 27 April, still largely undamaged by the war.
Kershaw (342-3) The End
 For a personal account of the American entry into Regensburg May 1, 1945:
Chapter 22: Regensburg, Germany

Porta Praetoria- Germany’s most ancient stone building, a gateway dating from 179 C.E. under Emperor Marcus Aurelius for the new Roman fort Castra Regina ("fortress by the river Regen"). It was built for Legio III Italica and was an important camp on the most northerly point of the Danube corresponding to what is today the core of Regensburg's Old City or Altstadt east of the Obere and Untere Bachgasse and West of the Schwanenplatz.  Giant blocks of stone were used to construct this gate in the northern wall of the Roman military camp. It survives as a reminder of Castra Regina, the Roman settlement.On the right is the Römerturm (also called the "Heidenturm") at the former Moltkeplatz and today. During the war a two metre-thick reinforced concrete ceiling of the tower was reinforced.


The Regensburg Walhalla
Built by Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1830-41 at the 'hall of fame' for German heroes, on 7 June 1937, Hitler installed the bust of Anton Bruckner, (who was one of his favourite composers), in the Regensburg Walhalla; Wagner, of course, had already been honoured in the Walhalla.
On the night of 13th-14th January, 1942 after a hearing of Bruckner''s Seventh Symphony, Hitler remarked:
This work is based on popular airs of upper Austria. They're not textually reproduced, but repeatedly I recognise in passing Tyrolean dances of my youth. It's wonderful what he managed to get out of that folklore. As it happened, it's a priest to whom we must give the credit for having protected this great master. The Bishop of Linz used to sit in his cathedral for hours at a time, listening to Bruckner play the organ. He was the greatest organist of his day.
Hitler’s taste underwent several significant changes. During most of his life, Bruckner held little appeal.  Hoffmann did not so much as mention the composer’s name when once identifying Hitler’s favourites. Even after becoming chancellor, Speer noted, his interest ‘never seemed very marked’.
The composer had, however, symbolic importance to him, both as a ‘home town boy’ and as a rival to Brahms, so beloved in Vienna. It was a fixed part of the Nuremberg rallies for the cultural session to open with a movement of one of his symphonies. In June 1937 he was famously photographed paying his respects to the composer, standing in mute homage before a monument at ‘Valhalla hall of fame’ near Regensburg as Siegmund von Hausegger and the Munich Philharmonic played the magnificent Adagio of the Seventh Symphony.
Why Hitler staged that event is not known. Speculation has ranged from the theory that it was intended as a cultural precursor of the annexation of Austria the following year, to the notion that it was out of nostalgia for his ‘beautiful time as a choirboy’ and Lembach Abbey - with its Bruckner associations. Undoubtedly the Hitler felt a personal kinship. Both had come from small Austrian towns, grew up in modest circumstances, had fathers who died at an early age, were autodidacts, and made their way in life despite great obstacles. On a number of occasions he contrasted the Austrian Catholic Bruckner, whom the Viennese shunned, to the north German Protestant Brahms, whom they idolised. Then, suddenly in 1940 he developed a passion for Bruckner’s symphonies.  He even began mentioning him in the same breath with Wagner. ‘He told me,’ Goebbels noted in his diary, ‘... that it was only now during the war, that he had learned to like him at all.’ The enthusiasm steadily grew. By 1942 he placed Bruckner on a level with Beethoven, and categorised the former’s Seventh Symphony as ‘one of the most splendid manifestations of German musical creativity, the equivalent of Beethoven’s Ninth’. His feelings about Bruckner, man and composer, are best conveyed by remarks he made after listening to a recording of the first movement of the Seventh at his military headquarters in January 1942:

'Those are pure popular melodies from Upper Austria, nothing taken over literally but ländler and so on that I know from my youth. What the man made out of this primitive material ! In this case it was a priest who deserves well for having supported a great master.' 'The bishop of Linz sat for hours alone in the cathedral when Bruckner, the greatest organist of his time, played the organ. One can imagine how difficult it was for a small peasant lad when he went to Vienna, that urbanised, debauched society. A remark by him about Brahms, which a newspaper recently carried, brought him closer to me: Brahms’s music is quite lovely, but he preferred his own. That is the healthy self-confidence of a peasant who is modest but when it came down to it knew how to promote a cause when it was his own. That critic Hanslick made his life in Vienna hell. But when he could no longer be ignored, he was given honours and awards. But what could he do with those? It was his creative activity that should have been made easier.
Brahms was praised to the heavens by Jewry, a creature of salons, a theatrical figure with his flowing beard and hair and his hands raised above the keyboard. Bruckner on the other hand, a shrunken little man, would perhaps have been too shy even to play in such society.'
From then on Hitler did everything possible to promote Bruckner and to enlist him in his vendetta against Vienna. St Florian, where the composer’s career had begun, was to be turned into a pilgrimage site in the manner of Bayreuth. ‘He wants to establish a new cultural centre here,’ Goebbels noted. ‘Simply as a counter-weight to Vienna, which must gradually be shoved aside . . . . He intends to renovate St Florian at his own expense.’ Accordingly, Hitler financed a centre of Bruckner studies there, had the famous organ repaired and augmented the composer’s library.
He even designed a monument in his honour to stand in Linz, and endowed a Bruckner Orchestra which he was determined to make one of the world’s best. The publication of the Haas edition of the composer’s original scores was subsidised from his own funds. And he dreamed of constructing a bell tower in Linz with a carillon that would play a theme from the Fourth Symphony.

Spotts (230-233) Hitler and the Power of Aesthetics

Among the busts of renowned speakers of Germanic languages is this of Sophie Scholl.


From 1892 until 1894, Adolf Hitler and his family lived here in Passau. The city archives mention Hitler being in Passau on four different occasions in the 1920s for speeches.
Hitler mentions it on the first page of Mein Kampf:
my father had to leave that frontier town which I had come to love so much and take up a new post farther down the Inn valley, at Passau, therefore actually in Germany itself.
According to John F. Williams in his book Corporal Hitler and the Great War 1914-1918: The List Regiment, "[f]rom his childhood – much of which was spent in the German border town of Passau – Hitler had been brought up to consider himself Bavarian."

Adolf Hitler nearly drowned when he was four years-old but was saved by a local priest, historians have claimed. Newspaper clippings have emerged detailing how a child – who experts believe was Adolf Hitler – was rescued from a river in Passau, Germany, in January 1894.  The infant is not named in the article, which was uncovered in a German archive, but it matches a story recounted by priest Max Tremmel in 1980. He said his predecessor Johann Kuehberger told him he had rescued Hitler when the Nazi leader was a child. Residents of Passau, where Hitler grew up, also claimed the priest's story was true.  The account of the incident remained uncorroborated until recently when the article emerged.  The Donauzeitung-Danube newspaper described how "a young fellow" was pulled out of the River Passau by a "brave comrade" after he fell through thin ice. The priest is said to have dived into the icy water after spotting the child struggling to stay afloat in the strong current.
 Anna Elisabeth Rosmus, a German author who lived in Passau, said the tale was known by most people in the town in book Out of Passau, Leaving a City Hitler Called Home. "Everyone in Passau knew the story. Some of the other stories told about him were that he never learned to swim and needed glasses," she wrote. "In 1894, while playing tag with a group of other children, the way many children do in Passau to this day, Adolf fell into the river. The current was very strong and the water ice cold, flowing as it did straight from the mountains. Luckily for young Adolf, the son of the owner of the house where he lived was able to pull him out in time and so saved his life."  Hitler told his Nazi generals that he used to play cowboys and Indians on the banks of the river but never admitted to falling in the water.
Hitler lived here at Theresienstrasse 23 until May 1, 1893 before his family moved across to the other side of the Inn.
Apparently the red building today at what is now Kapuzinerstrasse 5 (renamed Klara-Hitler-Strasse 5 in honour of Hitler's mother) is the site of another Hitler residence.
Nazis marching down the Rindermarkt June 17, 1923 in front of what is now the Hotel Passauer Wolf  
Tag der Arbeit on May 1, 1933 in Ludwigsplatz

The Passauer Tölpel then and now with baby Drake Winston in 2011
Three years later

The Residenzplatz with the Wittelsbacherbrunnen in front of the Dom
The St. Christopher mural on Pfaffengasse in 1941 and today
On the day Hitler finally killed himself, the Kaiserin-Elisabeth-Brücke was blown up, since rebuilt
The Hängebrücke in 1938 and its current incarnation

Passau has recently been the scene of demonstrations by and against neo-nazis after the town's police chief Alois Mannichl had been stabbed in front of his home by a neo-nazi.

 SA saluting and marching in front of Hitler; 18,000 marched past
Standing with Drake Winston at the same spot
Hitler in front of the public gallery which cost 5 marks a seat
Hitler and Roehm leaving the rathaus which hasn't changed after all these years. 
 Wife and son on the High Street in front of the rathaus.  In the postcard in the background can be seen the Befreiungshalle


The Befreiungshalle ("Hall of Liberation") is an historical classical monument upon Mount Michelsberg above the city of Kelheim upstream of Regensburg on the Danube. On October 22 1933 Hitler gave two speeches in front of the Befreiungshalle on the occasion of a parade by the SA. He stated of it: "This monument of unification is a symbol for us of that to which we aspire in our struggle: ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Wille." On the right I have attempted to photoshop a photo of Himmler, Roehm and Hitler in front with as it appears today.