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

Remaining Nazi Sites in the Upper Palatinate

Regensburg
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 shown during the war in 1942
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.

Haidplatz 

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.

Kelheim
 SA saluting and marching in front of Hitler; 18,000 marched past
Drake in front of a walled Jewish grave stone located on the façade of the town chemist's at Donaustraße 16. Translated, it reads "This is the grave stone of Mrs. Orgea, daughter of R. Yehuda, who died on 6th of the month of Tammuz on Friday in (5) 009 [July 9, 1249]." On the right is the same spot during the Nazi era with an anti-Semitic bas relief, "the Jewish Pig," placed above which a new plaque has replaced. It had been made in 1519 to commemorate the expulsion of Jews from the town. 
A pamphlet published during the Nazi period showing the relief and grave stone.
 
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."
   
Himmler, Roehm and Hitler in front with as it appears today.

Abusina
Excavations at the beginning of the 20th century of the principia and me during the 2016 Römerfest at Kastell Eining, a Roman auxiliary fort on the Danube 30 km from Regensburg (Castra Regina). The name Abusina was derived from the Abens, a tributary of the Danube. The site was originally a timbered earth fort erected by the Cohors IV Gallorum in 79-81 CE, located where the Danube crossing branches off from the Roman road and running parallel to the Raetian limes. The stone fort at 1.8 hectares is rather small for the requirements of a fort and probably accommodated only one vexillation.     
 The fort was rebuilt under Antoninus Pius (139-161) and was occupied by the Cohors III Britannorum equitata, or part of it as seen in the so-called Caracalla altar, a replica of which I am standing beside. It was ravaged by an Alemannic assault in 233. The Romans disbanded the fort, including its headquarters, about 254 and it was temporarily occupied by Germanic forces. The fort was abandoned by the Romans about 410.

Flossenbürg
The sole crematorium oven examined by a US Army officer April 30, 1945 and today.
The execution site in the Flossenbürg concentration camp, seen here after liberation of the camp by US armed forces and today, now a memorial to the resistance.

When the Nazis came to power on the 30th January 1933 the first steps to concentration camps were taken. After the Reichstag was set on fire well prepared sting operations were held to arrest opponents of the Nazi’s and to put them into prison. Such great numbers of people were arrested and taken into prison that the existing prisons were soon overcrowded and alternative places were prisoners could be held needed to be established. On the 21st March 1933 the first concentration camp was set up in an old gunpowder factory in Dachau (Bayern). It developed itself as the prototype of the National Socialistic concentration camp.

In the beginning of 1938 in Flossenbürg, close to the present Czech border, a similar camp was set up. This camp was built by prisoners form Dachau. There were several reasons why Flossenbürg was chosen to house a concentration camp. For example because of the presence of large quantities of granite in this area and the availability of a railroad which one could use for the transport of granite, prisoners, troops and equipment.
In 1934 more than 4.000 people were housed in Flossenbürg. Halfway 1944 a lot of Polish and Hungarian Jews were also taken to Flossenbürg. By the end of 1944 there were 8.000 prisoners housed in the camp whereas the camp was intended in fact for only 5.000 people. A lot of people were executed in the camp, among them some prominent people. On the 9th April 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Wilhelm Canaris, Ludwig Gehre, Hans Oster, Karl Sack, Theodor Strünck and Friedrich von Rabenau were killed here. In May 1945 the camp was liberated by the Americans. After that it was for a time in use as a hospital for the surviving prisoners.

Soon it was decided that Flossenbürg should be preserved as a monument (Gedenkstätte) and a museum. Today you can find here the cemetery, the Kommandatur, a chapel, guard towers, a monument and an pyramid consisting of the ashes of the prisoners that died in the concentration camp.
Three guard watch towers remain
The “Kommandantur” of concentration camp Flossenbuerg was used by the administration of the camp for registration of the inmates and assignment to work either in the Flossenbuerg quarry, the nearby Messerschmitt factory or one of the several sub camps. All inmates had to pass through the central portal of the Kommandantur and where lead to the prisoner camp lying behind the building.
In 8th of April 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was transferred as one of the last of over 100.000 prisoners to the camp. As a member of the “Bekennende Kirche” and of the wider circle of organizers of the failed plot to kill Hitler on the 20th of July 1944 he was brought to Flossenbuerg together with other members of this circle on personal order of Hitler and Kaltenbrunner. 

After escape attempts or alleged acts of sabotage, inmates were hanged to serve as examples on the roll-call square which was visible from almost everywhere in the camp.
Pastor Bonhoeffer together with Admiral Canaris, Generalmajor Oster, Heeresrichter Dr. Sack and Hauptmann Gehre where sentenced to death on the day of their arrival by Lagerkommandant Kögel in a setup show trial due to “Hoch- und Landesverrat”.

Many Flossenbuerg inmates died of starvation, exhaustion or random violence. Certain ethic, especially jewish people and other groups of inmates became target of planned mass killings by the SS starting 1941.
The victims were led out of sight of the other prisoners but always watched by the watchtowers to a closed section of the camp - called valley of death - where they were killed and their bodies burned. Over 30.000 lost their lives in the Flossenbuerg concentration camp between 1938 and 1945.
In the morning of the 9th of April Bonnhoefer, Canaris, Oster, Dr. Sack and Gehre where murdered one after the other after having to completely undress in front of the detention barracks.
On April 23rd, the US Army reached the Flossenbuerg concentration camp, where they found 1,500 critically ill inmates. The majority of surviving prisoners had departed on death marches. The last death march prisoners were finally liberated by Allied troops on May 8th.
After freeing the camp the US Army ordered all inhabitants of Flossenbuerg to exhume the dead bodies found within the camp and to bury the remains in a newly create cemeteries in the middle of the village of Flossenbuerg. The cemetery still exists in the same place today.
 The 'Square of Nations' memorial to the nationalities of the prisioners that were interned and died in Flossenbürg.
At the entrance, the original gate posts emblazoned with the standard legend 'Arbeit Macht Frei' have been placed.
In Flossenbürg, members of the punishment company were compelled to load heavy stones on their backs at the foot of the slag heap and run around with them in the morass until they finally collapsed. There was also the “moor hole,” a swamp one hundred meters long and forty meters wide in a small hollow; at its deepest point, a grown man could stand with his head barely protruding above the surface. Granite blocks were loaded on the backs of prisoners, and they were then forced to run at double time down the slope. Those who collapsed under the heavy load while still on dry ground were beaten and forced to rush further down into the moor hole. They were supposed to “rest” down there for a while, with the stone slabs supported on their shoulders. If they still had some strength, they survived; if they were too weak, the stones pressed them down into the swampy morass. 

Grafenwöhr
 
Around June 25 1938, Hitler attended manoeuvres on the training grounds at Grafenwöhr, close to the Czechoslovakian border, where American paratroopers assigned to Destined Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) took part in a military exercise on February 1, 2014.  
 
The water tower on Truppenübungsplatz in 1935 and today
The rathaus in period photos bears the sign "Grafenwöhr grüßt die siegreichen Truppen"- Grafenwöhr greets its greatly-honoured troops.


Kemnath
 24 kilometres southeast of Bayreuth is this town, shown when its high street was Adolf-Hitler-Straße and today.

Neumarkt

Bird's-eye-view then and now

A Nazi memorial to Dietrich Eckart, one of the important early members of the NSDAP and a participant of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch. It was to him that Hitler had dedicated the second volume of Mein Kampf in which he is described as a martyr and is referred to in the last sentence of the book:
And among them I could also reckon that man who as no one else has devoted his life to the awakening of his, of our nation in writing, poetry, thought and finally in the deed.
Incredibly, it still remains in his hometown. Hitler was here on October 29, 1933 where he spoke at its unveiling. Eckart's 1925 unfinished essay Hitler-Eckart: Der Bolschewismus von Moses bis Lenin: Zwiegespräch zwischen Hitler und mir ( Bolshevism from Moses to Lenin: Dialogues Between Hitler and Me") was published posthumously, although it has been shown that the dialogues were an invention.
Hitler in Neumarkt
Hitler visiting the town
 
Nazi propaganda over Untere Marktstraße and today

March by the Reichsarbeitsdienst, looking the other way on Obere Marktstraße
Gasthaus Zum Hechten
The Gasthaus Zum Hechten at Untere Marktstraße 3; today the building appears to have been completed replaced. Not surprising given the damage the town received during the war:

 
The Unteres Tor during the war with Nazi fresco and as it appears today

Obere Marktstraße-Klostergasse with the church still in the background

The rathaus in 1935, after the war and as it appears today

The railway station during the Third Reich and now
 
The Sparkasse then and now
Waldmünchen
Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now

Auerbach 

Another former Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now. At the end of the war Auerbach on the far side of Deggendorf had 10,488 prisoners and 238 foreigners, as well as a women’s section.