Showing posts with label Magdeburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magdeburg. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Saxony-Anhalt

The fire station and war memorial in 1940 and now
The Grundschule Radewell in 1942 and today  
The corner of Hauptstrasse and Merseburger Strasse
Looking towards Merseburger Strasse

The Friedensschule in the 1930s and today


The corner of Hohe Strasse and Regensburger Strasse


Views of Gärtnerstrasse a century apart

The town hall bedecked with swastikas and today
The Dom with the memorial to the SA in front during the NSDAP era, now gone.
The memorial replaced one removed by the Nazis (today inside the cathedral)- Barlach's Magdeburger Ehrenmal, ordered by the city to be a memorial of World War I, and expected to show heroic German soldiers fighting for their glorious country. Barlach, however, created a sculpture with three German soldiers, a fresh recruit, a young officer and an old reservist, standing in a cemetery, all bearing marks of the horror, pain and desperation of the war, flanked by a mourning war widow covering her face in despair, a skeleton wearing a German army helmet, and a civilian (the face is that of Barlach himself) with his eyes closed and blocking his ears in terror. This naturally created a controversy with the pro-war population (several nationalists and Nazis claimed that the soldiers must be foreign since true Germans would be more heroic), and the sculpture was removed. Friends of Barlach were able to hide the sculpture until after the war, when it was returned to the Magdeburg Cathedral. 
 Alfred Rosenberg, in Blut und Ehre. Ein Kampf für deutsche Wiedergeburt. Reden und Aufsätze von 1919-1933 (Munich, 1934), described Barlach’s Magdeburg War Memorial thus: ‘A mixed variety of short, undefinable sorts of people wearing semi-idiotic expressions and Soviet helmets are supposed to symbolise German home guards! I believe that every healthy SA man will pass the same judgement here as any conscious artist.’
Hitler spoke here at the Stadthalle on October 22, 1932
Hasselbachplatz then and now

After the war. Magdeburg was where the Soviets took Hitler's remains (and those of Eva Braun and Goebels and his family)  from the Reich Chancellery by the Soviets in May 1945 and in June 1945 were buried in a forest near Rathenau, Germany and then later in the year, disinterred and reburied in Madgeburg at the site of a Soviet Red Army garrison. They remained there until early 1970 when the garrison was turned over to the East Germans. In order to prevent the burial site from being discovered and turned into a fascist shrine, the bodies were disinterred, burned, and the ashes crushed/ground up, and dumped in the Biederitz River.The Russians claim that a fragment of Hitler's skull and his jawbone are in the FSB (former KGB) archives although DNA analysis has shown that the remains are from those of a woman aged 20-40 years of age.
When the Soviets’ Operation Myth was launched in 1946 to establish the real sequence of events leading to Hitler’s death, some of Hitler’s personal staff were brought back to Berlin and the bunker, in order to point out the precise details of the suicide and subsequent burning in the garden. The bones, for the time being, were stored in Magdeburg. Of particular importance were the objects in Hitler’s personal collection. For them an aircraft was laid on as Stalin wanted his bones examined by his foremost experts. The Führer’s skull was eventually put into a paper bag and deposited in the State Archives.
(385) After the Reich
Dessau has changed considerably since it was under the hakenkreuz, as the sourroundings around the statue of Leopold I. von Anhalt-Dessau ("Der alte Dessauer") in front of the Marienkirche shows. Dessau is famous for its college of architecture Bauhaus. It moved here in 1925 after it had been forced to close in Weimar. Many famous artists were lecturers in Dessau in the following years, among them Walter Gropius, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. The Nazis forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1931, and it was not reopened until 1986.  The city was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids in World War II on March 7, 1945, six weeks before American troops occupied the town. Afterwards it was rebuilt with typical DDR concrete slab architecture (Plattenbau) and became a major industrial centre of East Germany. Since German reunification in 1990 many historic buildings have been restored.
The Johanniskirche used to be situated on Horst-Wessel-Platz as seen in this 1942-franked postcard
Hitler spoke here at the Kristallpalast in 1931
The rathaus in 1938, after the war (having been bombed March 4, 1945), and today 
On October 23, Hitler dispatched a telegram expressing his condolences to the widow of Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter Loeper in Dessau who had died following a prolonged illness. Three days later Hitler attended Loeper’s funeral in Dessau where his body was interred at the Napoleonsturm, calling him an “apostle of the Movement.” From Hitler's eulogy delivered at the Friedrich Theatre:
When Fate is especially fond of a man and wishes to bestow upon him the best thing in the world, it will give him loyal friends, men who are resolved to share with him equally both joy and sorrow, men whom nothing can lead astray, men who, particularly in days of need, stand by him firm and resolute. I have been given a most generous share of this happiness and good fortune such as perhaps only few people in this world have.
Yet this happiness of so many years turns to pain when I now see how this and that member of the community of fighters is called to his Maker. When I speak here today, I am speaking as the happy—yet now so unhappy—Führer who must now accompany a member of his old guard to the grave, a man the likes of whom are rare even in our Movement.
Once he came to me when one could expect nothing more from this Movement than sacrifices and troubles, persecution and abuse. And truly it was only love of Germany which led him to that host of inseparable men who were determined to take up and pursue the battle for a new Germany against all odds. This man, with his boundless love of Germany, also had an unshakeable faith [in Adolf Hitler]. This faith was combined, in his case, with a unique loyalty [to Adolf Hitler]. He was one of the most loyal members of the old guard. During the time of struggle, we never spoke about it; no one would have understood it anyway. But today, at the bier of my dead comrade in arms, I must express it in words for German youth, that they may aspire to the same.
The new Reich was not given to us; it had to be hard won in battle, and in this fight only an over-abundance of love for Germany, of faith, of willingness to sacrifice, and of loyalty allowed [us] to triumph. That is something the German Volk must know. For it is my wish that the names of these first apostles of our Movement go down in German history for all eternity. Party comrade Loeper was a zealot, but he was more than that: a strong, self-sufficient man as hard as granite. He was persistent as only few are, untiring in his work and never swaying from the conviction: in the end we must succeed!
Hence for many of us this Party comrade was a model, in his unselfish modesty too, in his personal simplicity and in his lack of emotionalism: he was strictly a helper devoted to our great mutual cause.
Formerly the captain of the pioneers of the World War, he became a captain and pioneer of the National Socialist Weltanschauung, of our Revolution, and thus of our new German Reich. By having waged this battle in his lifetime, he lives on for us in death. He is a man for the German future. He deserves to be distinguished from the masses of hundreds of thousands and millions and be held up before the nation for all time! And this applies particularly to German youth. They shall hear this, and they shall learn from it. They shall once again realize that the old fealty was not only a virtue of the Teutons. The new Reich was built up with this virtue as its basis. This Reich would not be standing today were it not founded upon this fidelity [to Adolf Hitler].
A wonderful life has thus come to a close. Yet today we are all overcome by deep sorrow that our Party comrade, our Gauleiter and our Reichsstatthalter has been forced to leave us so soon, one of the old guard. Our hearts bleed when we see how our ranks slowly begin to thin out.
But as the old passes, so the young grows to take its place. For this old guard did not live in vain, did not struggle and fight in vain. From their work and their influence has sprung forth the richest of blessings—and Party comrade Captain Loeper was one of the most blessed of men.
On May 29, 1938 Hitler attended the opening of the new theatre in Dessau, the first building of its kind to have been completed during the rule of the National Socialist regime. 
SV Dessau 05 w
The town football club giving the Hitler salute and today. SV Dessau 05 was founded in July 1905 as FC Adler. Thirty years later in 1935, after the re-organisation of German football under the Third Reich, Dessau played in the Gauliga Mitte, one of sixteen new upper class divisions. The club quickly emerged as a strong side, capturing three division titles from 1937–39, finishing second the next two seasons, and then winning another three consecutive titles from 1942–44. However, Dessau was never able to achieve any kind of success in the subsequent playoff rounds of the national championships, making it past the preliminary rounds only once in six attempts. In 1942, the team advanced as far as the quarterfinals of the Tschammerpokal, predecessor of today's German Cup.  After World War II most organisations in Germany, including sports associations and football clubs, were dissolved by the occupying Allied authorities. The club was re-formed in late 1945 as Blau-Weiss Dessau.

Neustädter Tor in 1935 and today 

The Alltagskirche Torgau. Outside Germany, the town is best known as the place where, during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met forces of the Soviet Union coming from the east during the invasion of Germany on April 25, 1945, which is now remembered as "Elbe Day". Units of the American First Army and the Soviet First Ukrainian Front met on the bridge at Torgau, and at Lorenzkirch (near Strehla), 20 miles to the south. The unit commanders met the following day at Torgau for an official handshake. This marked the beginning of the line of contact between Soviet and American forces, but not the finalized occupation zones. In fact the area surrounding Torgau initially occupied by U.S. forces was later, in July 1945, given over to Soviet forces in compliance with the Yalta agreement. After the war, in 1949, a film called Encounter at the Elbe was released from Mosfilm about this meeting of the two armies.  According to journalist Andy Rooney, who was a correspondent in Europe at the time, the Red Army raided the Hohner accordion and harmonica factory at Torgau at the time. There was nothing surprising about that, Rooney said; armies have been plundering civilian property for ages. What was surprising was that half of the soldiers in the Red Army seemed to know how to play a musical instrument. There was a woman, a singer, who had been held prisoner at Torgau during the war, Rooney said, and the Russians freed her. She gave an impromptu concert in the town square, and the sound of her voice rising above the combined accordions and harmonicas playing in unison was something one would never forget.[citation needed]  Torgau was one of the prisons where Reinhold Eggers spent his post war imprisonment after being sentenced by the Soviets. Eggers had been the Security Officer at Oflag IV-C during the war, Colditz Castle. 

  Steinstraße in 1940 and today. Staßfurt had been the home of Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, who had served as Minister of Finance of Germany from 1932 to 1945 and as Leading Minister of the German Reich (Chancellor) in May 1945.  He had been appointed to the post by Franz von Papen in 1932. At the request of President Paul von Hindenburg, he continued in that office under Kurt von Schleicher and Adolf Hitler. During May 1945, after the suicides of Hitler and his designated successor Josef Goebbels, he also served in the historically unique position of Leading Minister of the German Reich, the equivalent of a Chancellorship, in the short-lived Flensburg government of President Karl Dönitz. Schwerin von Krosigk also held the essentially nominal offices of Foreign Minister and Finance Minister in the provisional government that controlled only a small, progressively shrinking portion of Germany, due to the rapid advance of the Allied forces who finally dissolved it and arrested its members.  Besides Adolf Hitler himself, Schwerin von Krosigk and Wilhelm Frick were the only members of the Third Reich's cabinet to serve continuously from Hitler's appointment as Chancellor until his death. 

In the early weeks, Finance Minister Schwerin von Krosigk, who had met Hitler for the first time when the cabinet was sworn in on 30 January, was not alone in finding him ‘polite and calm’ in the conduct of government business, well-briefed, backed by a good memory, and able to ‘grasp the essentials of a problem’, concisely sum up lengthy deliberations, and put a new construction on an issue. 

By receiving the golden NSDAP Party Badge from Adolf Hitler given for honour on January 30, 1937 he became a member of the NSDAP (membership number: 3.805.231). He also joined the academy of German Law in 1937. At the 1949 Ministries Trial, he was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to 10 years in gaol, but was granted amnesty in 1951. He later worked as an author and publicist.

 Alsleben an der Saale 

What had been the NSV ((National Socialist People's Welfare) Erholungsheim, now the town's school
The hometown of one of Germany's greatest war heroes, the U-boat ace Gunther Prien, these two photographs show clearly the radical changes since the war. 

Schloßstraße with the Schloßkirche on the left and the Stadtkirche from the market square July 29, 1941 and now, from where Luther preached his famous invocavit sermons and which, in 1547 during the Schmalkaldic War, the towers' stone pyramids were removed to make platforms for cannon.
In 1988, the Sculptor Wieland Schmiedel was commissioned to produce a commemorative plaque paying homage to the victims of the Holocaust. It's currently in the consistory of the church, whilst the judensau showing Jews sucking the tits and anus of a pig is allowed to be exhibited outside on the façade.  Inscribed over the obscene scene are the words Schem Ha Mphoras, claimed to posses a power Jews have which they keep protected from gentiles. This phrase is actually repeated in the commemorative plaque which reads 
 "Gottes eigentlicher Name, der geschmähte Schem Ha Mphoras, den die Juden vor den Christen fast unsagbar heilig hielten, starb in sechs Millionen Juden unter einem Kreuzeszeichen."
("God's original name, the maligned Shem Ha Mphoras, which the Jews held holy before the Christians, died in the six million Jews under the sign of the cross.") That the cross was the twisted cross of the Nazis as opposed to the Christian one, and that the phrase did not simply "die" shows how insincere and forced German attempts to say something about their collective guilt are.

The Thesentor on which Luther nailed his 95 theses. A former student's History Extended Essay on Luther's Use of Language in Allowing the Protestant Reformation to Succeed received an A from the IBO.


Postcard showing the town flanked by Hitler and Hindenburg on the 1000th anniversary of the 933 Battle of Riade, where King Henry the Fowler gained his great victory over the Hungarians in the vicinity.

Regenstein Castle 
Burg Regenstein is a ruined castle that lies three kilometres north of Blankenburg. Of this once relatively impregnable castle, which was built in the early and high Middle Ages on a 294 metre high sandstone rock towering over the surrounding area, only ruins are visible today. Several internal rooms, carved into the rock, have survived, as have the ruins of the keep. The castle is surrounded by remnants of a more recent fortress. According to legend, once upon a time one of the most beautiful young women in the land was imprisoned in the dungeon of Regenstein Castle, because she had spurned the love of the Count of Regenstein. Using a diamond ring she scratched a hole in the rock, which became so large after a year that she was able to crawl through and escape. After her escape, she returned with her family to the castle, but the count had fled. A little later, she noticed thick smoke gushing from a crack in a rock wall. When she looked through it, she saw the count in purgatory. Then, out of pity, she threw him her ring to him in order to enable the spirit of the count to rest. 

Schierke i. Harz
Erholungsheim (convalescence home) Barenberg in Wernigerode which, after the war, was included in the new state Saxony-Anhalt. 

Burg Saaleck

On the morning of 24 June 1922, Walther Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated as he set off for work from his villa in the Berlin suburb of Grunewald. From another car one assassin picked up a long-barrelled machine-pistol and opened fire whilst the other assassin lobbed a hand grenade into the back of the limousine. The two killers, Erwin Kern and Hermann Fischer, drove into a side street, took off their leather gear, disposed of the machine-pistol and calmly walked away as police cars sped past them on their way to the scene of the crime. The police mounted the largest manhunt Germany had ever seen: ‘Wanted’ posters appeared all over the country, and police forces were issued with descriptions of the men. The two assassins made their way here to Saaleck Castle whose custodian was a sympathiser, but the police tracked them down. Kern was killed in a shoot-out and Fischer committed suicide; both were in their mid-twenties.
Kern and Fischer were buried in the cemetery below the castle and their grave became, inevitably, a holy place for the Hitler regime, which had a large memorial stone placed there. This was still in situ in the 1980s, though the inscription had been removed by the East German authorities. After German reunification, Saaleck became once more a gathering point for the far right. The stone was therefore removed altogether in 2000. But last July it was reported that a large roughly worked stone had been smuggled into the cemetery by night and placed at the grave. It bore a crudely incised inscription with the names Fischer and Kern and the date they died: July 17.

The rathaus on Adolf-Hitler-Platz, built in 1509.  A bombing target of the Oil Campaign of World War II, the Brabag plant northeast of Zeitz used lignite coal to synthesize ersatz oil – forced labour was provided by the nearby Wille subcamp of Buchenwald in Rehmsdorf and Gleina.The firm Braunkohle-Benzin AG (BRABAG), whose synthetic fuel was supposed to reduce dependence on foreign oil, deployed up to 8,000 prisoners in four plants; in Zeitz alone, 5,000 Jewish prisoners were deployed.


 Under the direction of an American soldier, German civilians from Gardelegen are shown on the left carrying wooden crosses to the site where they were ordered to bury the bodies of concentration camp prisoners killed by the SS in a barn just outside the town. It had been widely reported that members of the local population provided support to the SS during the operation. It took place on April 13 when more than a thousand prisoners, many of them sick and too weak to march any further, were taken from the town of Gardelegen to a large barn on the Isenschnibbe estate and forced inside the building. The assembled guards then barricaded the doors and set fire to gasoline-soaked straw. Prisoners who escaped the conflagration by digging under the barn's walls were killed by the guards. The next day, the SS and local auxiliaries returned to dispose of the evidence of their crime. They planned to incinerate what remained of the bodies and the barn, and kill any survivors of the blaze. The swift advance of the 102nd Infantry Division (United States), however, prevented the SS and its accomplices from completely carrying out this plan.  On April 14, the 102nd entered Gardelegen and, the following day, discovered the atrocity. They found the corpses of 1,016 prisoners in the still-smouldering barn and nearby trenches, where the SS had had the charred remains dumped. They also interviewed several of the prisoners who had managed to escape the fire and the shootings. U.S. Army Signal Corps photographers soon arrived to document the Nazi crime and by April 19, 1945, the story of the Gardelegen massacre began appearing in the Western press. On that day, both the New York Times and The Washington Post ran stories on the massacre, quoting one American soldier who stated:      
I never was so sure before of exactly what I was fighting for. Before this you would have said those stories were propaganda, but now you know they weren't. There are the bodies and all those guys are dead.  
On April 21, 1945, the local commander of the 102nd ordered between 200 and 300 men from the town of Gardelegen to give the murdered prisoners a proper burial. Over the next few days, the German civilians exhumed 586 bodies from the trenches and recovered 430 bodies from the barn, placing each in an individual grave. On April 25, the 102nd carried out a ceremony to honour the dead and erected a memorial tablet to the victims, which stated that the townspeople of Gardelegen are charged with the responsibility that the “graves are forever kept as green as the memory of these unfortunates will be kept in the hearts of freedom-loving men everywhere.” Also on April 25, Colonel George Lynch addressed German civilians at Gardelegen with the following statement: 
The German people have been told that stories of German atrocities were Allied propaganda. Here, you can see for yourself. Some will say that the Nazis were responsible for this crime. Others will point to the Gestapo. The responsibility rests with neither — it is the responsibility of the German people....Your so-called Master Race has demonstrated that it is master only of crime, cruelty and sadism. You have lost the respect of the civilized world.
The Post office on the former Adolf-Hitler-Straße from a period postcard.


The Turnhalle with the grave of 'Turnvater' Jahn and his house, then and now
Between 1825-1852, Freyburg was the home in exile to 18th century gymnastics educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. He was widely regarded as the founder of modern gymnastics and left behind the world's first gymnasium in Freyburg. He is buried in Freyburg and his memorial in the town as shown during the Nazi era and today has become a pilgrimage site for gymnasts such as Olympic champion Klaus Koeste and world champion Erika Zuchold. 
The swastika has taken on a number of meanings over time: Thor's hammer, a sun wheel, a wolf trap, a mill wheel. It has been depicted as crossed lightning bolts, the four "Fs" of Turnvater [father of gymnastics] Jahn (frisch = lively, fromm = devout, fröh­ lich = cheerful, frei = free),and as a fertility sign. In the twentieth century Kerensky's provisional government in Russia used the swastika on its bank notes as a symbol of independence.
Hilmar Hoffmann (15) The Triumph of Propaganda: Film and National Socialism 1933-1945

 Looking along Hallesche Straße towards St. Jakob's church

Halle (Saale)

 Looking down rathausstraße before the war's destruction and today. During the war, the Außenlager Birkhahn, a subcamp of Buchenwald, was located in Halle, where prisoners from Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, Netherlands and other nations were forced to work in the Siebel aircraft plants, making combat aircraft. The plant was later dismantled. In Ammendorf, a large factory owned by Orgacid produced mustard gas.  Near the end of the war there were two bombing raids carried out against the town: the first on March 31 1945, the second a few days later. The first attack took place between the railway station and the centre of the city and the second bombing was in the southern district. It killed over 1,000 inhabitants; 3,600 buildings were destroyed and many heavily damaged. Among them, the Market Church, St. George Church, the Old Town Hall, the City Theatre, historic buildings on Bruederstrasse and on Grosse Steinstrasse, and the city cemetery. On April 17 1945, Halle was occupied by American troops, and the red tower was set on fire by artillery and destroyed. In addition, the Market Church and the Church of St. George received more hits. However, the city did not sustain further damage because a planned aerial bombardment was cancelled, after the former naval officer Felix von Luckner negotiated the surrender of the city to the American army. In July, the Americans withdrew and the city was occupied by the Red Army.