Showing posts with label Siegestor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Siegestor. Show all posts

Munich's Ludwigstraße

Hitler paid tribute to this street which links the Feldherrnhalle, sacred to the Nazis, to the Siegestor, where Maxvorstadt spills over into Schwabing and which serves today as a symbol of peace, in a speech on May 22, 1938 in Munich where he declared

Do you think a Ludwigstrasse would ever have been constructed had it been up to the citizens and other institutions of Munich? Great architectural solutions can only come about through a central plan, and this is the way it will be once again today... when the Ludwigstrasse was built, Munich had scarcely 70,000 inhabitants. Today Munich has a population of more than 800,000 and Berlin has more than 4,500,000. Nobody shall dare to come up to me to say that the new streets we are building are too wide.
Although the street itself owes more to Maximilian I who dreamed of turning Munich into a city of art and culture, an ‘Athens on the Isar’  with its uniform and well- proportioned row of neoclassical architecture a credit to court architects Klenze and Gärtner, the Nazis left their mark.

SA men marching on the corner of Ludwigstraße and Galeriestraße onto Odeonsplatz. It was here that Hitler spent most of his time before taking power of Germany in 1933-

Cafe Heck

Just off Odeonsplatz and overlooking the hofgarten beside the residenz, this was a main Hitler site. The photo on the left shows him with his main acolytes from Geoff Walden's Third Reich in Ruins.

According to Kershaw, much of Hitler's time 
was spent lounging around cafés in Munich. He specially liked the Café Heck in Galerienstraße, his favourite. In a quiet corner of the long, narrow room of this coffee-house, frequented by Munich’s solid middle class, he could sit at his reserved table, his back to the wall, holding court among the new-found cronies that he had attracted to the NSDAP. Among those coming to form an inner circle of Hitler’s associates were the young student Rudolf Heß, the Baltic-Germans Alfred Rosenberg (who had worked on Eckart’s periodical since 1919) and Max Erwin von Scheubner-Richter (an engineer with excellent contacts to wealthy Russian émigrés).
 The same site July 26 1933 with a visiting group of 411 Italian fascist youth and today.
Hanfstaengl with Hitler at Cafe Heck. The former wrote in his book Hitler: The Missing Years that "whenever he was in Munich, he was usually to be found with his inner circle at the Cafe Heck, in the Galleriestrasse, which became his Stammtisch after leaving Landsberg" (page 132). The video on the right shows a scene in Rise of Evil when Hanfstaengl, played by Liev Schreiber, introduces himself to Hitler.
In the rather dire Hitler: Rise of Evil, the unappealing Hanfstaengl is portrayed with considerable sympathy by Liev Schreiber, a rather problematic characterisation In the film he is portrayed as a noble (and decent-looking) character who almost despises Hitler which obviously follows Hanfstaengl`s own gloss over view of himself which he gave in his biography after the war. In fact, Hanfstaengl was an anti-Semite completely in the thrall of Hitler.
In the September 4 entry of his diary, William Shirer described Hanfstaengl as
an immense, high-strung, incoherent clown who does not often fail to remind us that he is part American and graduated from Harvard, made the main speech of the day in his capacity of foreign press chief of the party. Obviously trying to please his boss ,he had the crust to ask us to“report on affairs in Germany without attempting to interpret them.” “History alone,” Putzi shouted,“can evaluate the events now taking place under Hitler.” What he meant, and what Goebbels and Rosenberg mean, is that we should jump on the bandwagon of Nazi propaganda. I fear Putzi’s words fell on deaf, if good-humoured, ears among the American and British correspondents, who rather like him despite his clownish stupidity.

Zentralministerium für den gleichgeschalteten bayerischen Staat
With the launch in 1933 of the Gleichschaltung, to unify all state institutions under Nazi control, the various Bavarian ministries were united into a central ministry which was moved here to Ludwigstraße 2 in 1940. Within ruled the two most powerful men in Bavaria- Ministerpräsident Ludwig Siebert and Gauleiter Adolf Wagner. When the former died in 1942 and the latter suffered an heart attack, Paul Giesler took over all posts to enjoy absolute power until the end of the Third Reich by which point he had attempted to have all the surviving inmates at Dachau murdered.
On the morning of 28 April 1945, the group Freiheitsaktion Bayern under Rupprecht Gerngroß attempted to occupy this building but was suppressed by ϟϟ units, an event commemorated by a plaque on the wall of the building within the inner court:
 The commemorative plaque was put up in 1984 on the initiative of the Maxvorstadt District Committee. The original application to have it mounted on the side of the building facing the street was vehemently rejected by the Bavarian Ministry of Agriculture.
After the war, this building served as the headquarters of the U.S. Military police and later the American Consulate General from where "Voice of America" was broadcast. In 1955 the building was returned to the Bavarian authorities and is now the official residence of the Bavarian State Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry. 
In 1946, a square near the English Garden in Munich was renamed Münchner Freiheit in honor of the “Freiheitsaktion Bayern” and those who lost their lives in the uprising.
Landeszentralbank- Reich Bank Head Office in Bavaria

Ludwigstraße 13 was the site of the Herzog-Max-Palais, birthplace of Elisabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen consort of Hungary as the spouse of Franz Joseph I. A plaque commemorates this but ignores the fact that the building itself was built to serve the Nazis.
The building had been demolished by 1937 to make way for Heinrich Wolff's commission on Hitler's request. In fact, the building had been halted by 1941 due to the war with only the first floor finished and wasn't completed until 1951. Today it serves as the Bavarian State Central Bank.

 The site six months after the fall of the monarchy when a demonstration took place in front of the Bavarian war Ministry in the afternoon 22 of April 1919, and the building today.
Heinrich Himmler (holding the Imperial German Army flag) and SA leader Ernst Röhm in front of the Kriegsministerium (now the Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv und Staatsarchiv München) on Ludwigstraße during the Munich Beer hall Putsch. Himmler would later be instrumental in the latter's death on the Night of the Long Knives. 
The future overlord of the SS empire was at this time still in his twenties, a well-educated and intelligent former agricultural student who had briefly worked for a fertilizer firm and reared chickens. With his short-back-and-sides haircut, small moustache, round glasses, and unathletic build, he resembled a small-town bank clerk or pedantic schoolmaster. Whatever appearances might have suggested, he had, however, few peers in ideological fanaticism and, as time would prove, cold ruthlessness. The young nationalist idealist, already imagining dire conspiracies involving ‘the red International’, Jews, Jesuits, and freemasons ranged against Germany, had joined the NSDAP in the summer of 1923, influenced by the man whose murder he would orchestrate eleven years later, Ernst Röhm. It was at Röhm’s side that, on 8 November that year, the night of the putsch, he had carried the banner at the head of the Reichskriegsflagge unit engaged in attempting to storm the Bavarian War Ministry. 
Kershaw Hitler
After this 1934 purge, Röhm's face was eliminated from the photograph by painting in an additional barricade element obscuring his face as seen in the doctored version on the right.
Roehm, at the head of a detachment of storm troopers from another fighting league, the Reichskriegsflagge, had seized Army headquarters at the War Ministry in the Schoenfeldstrasse but no other strategic centres were occupied, not even the telegraph office, over whose wires news of the coup went out to Berlin and orders came back, from General von Seeckt to the Army in Bavaria, to suppress the putsch...
By dawn Regular Army troops had drawn a cordon around Roehm’s forces in the War Ministry...
Shortly after noon the marchers neared their objective, the War Ministry, where Roehm and his storm troopers were surrounded by soldiers of the Reichswehr. Neither besiegers nor besieged had yet fired a shot. Roehm and his men were all ex-soldiers and they had many wartime comrades on the other side of the barbed wire. Neither side had any heart for killing...
Roehm surrendered at the War Ministry two hours after the collapse before the Feldherrnhalle.

Despite the friendly picnic-like atmosphere Shirer describes it, according to Ernst Röhm in his book Die Geschichte eines Hochverräters, Martin Faust and Theodor Casella, both members of the armed militia organisation Reichskriegsflagge, were shot down accidentally in a burst of machine gun fire during the occupation of the War Ministry as the result of a misunderstanding with II/Inf.Regt 19. The best account of the putsch I've found was in Anthony Read's The Devil's Disciples: Hitler's Inner Circle which states that "Two of Röhm's men were also shot dead as they tried to break through the army cordon around the War Ministry to join the battle." (100)
I can't find anything more than that about the incident; most books (of course) focus on Hitler's role and limit or ignore their examination of the peripheral events. This includes Evans's The Coming of the Third Reich which, despite a chapter entitled "The Beer-Hall Putsch", spends just over a single page on the actual events of that day (193-4).

The Staatsbibliothek on Ludwigstraße then and now. Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, and built again by Gärtner, housing 9.1 million volumes, nearly 400,000 maps and subscriptions to over 42,000 periodicals; one of the largest libraries in the German-speaking world.

1949 photo of the thousands of books from the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in the Haimhauser Schlosskapelle; site of my school. During the 1944 bombing, the library's collection was distributed throughout 28 sites in Oberbayern.
 The street leading off Ludwigstraße next to the Bavarian State Library is called Walter-Klingenbeck-Weg 31 in memory of the young resistance fighter Walter Klingenbeck. He got together with a group of other young people in the late 1930s to listen to forbidden radio stations. They also experimented with their own radio station with the intention of broadcasting anti-fascist propaganda. The friends painted large V (for victory) signs on the walls of Munich houses to herald the approaching victory of the Allies. The street was renamed in his honour in 1998 due to its proximity to the Catholic church of St. Ludwig to which Klingenbeck belonged.
In January 1942 eighteen-year-old Walter Klingenbeck was denounced to the Gestapo and sentenced to death for “helping the enemy and preparing to commit high treason”. He was executed on 5 August 1943 in Munich’s Stadelheim gaol.
  Ludwigstraße 11; it can clearly be shown the legacy of the war in that the building on the corner has been completely removed. 

 St. Ludwig Universitätskirche 
Model of the Haus der Deutsche Kunst at the "Glanzzeiten deutscher Geschichte (Great Events in German History)" parade on the 1937 "Day of German Art" (in front of St. Ludwig’s church on Ludwigstrasse)

Munich University
After the Great War in the early Summer of 1919, Hitler
became active in the Bavarian army persuading German troops that Communism was wrong. Part of his training consisted in attending a course at Munich University. At this point he became acquainted with the völkisch (i.e. radical nationalist and racialist) thinker, Gottfried Feder, who was helping to organise the event. The lectures Hitler attended there included titles such as: ‘Socialism in Theory and Practice’, ‘Russia and the Bolshevik Dictatorship’, ‘German History since the Reformation’, ‘Germany 1870–1900’, ‘The Meaning of the Armed Forces’, ‘The Connection between Domestic and Foreign Policy’, ‘Foreign Policy since the End of the War’, ‘Price Policy in the National Economy’, ‘The Forced Economy in Bread and Grain’ and ‘Bavaria and the Unity of the Reich’. Many of these topics could have served as headings for the talks Hitler himself gave in the early 1920s. They must have made a massive impression on a man who unquestionably absorbed information like a sponge.
This was also the site of the apprehension of Hans and Sophie Scholl of the White Rose (Weiße Rose), a non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany, consisting of a number of students from the University of Munich and their philosophy professor. The group became known for an anonymous leaflet campaign, lasting from June 1942 until February 1943, that called for active opposition to Hitler's regime. The core of the group comprised of students from this university- Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans Scholl, Alex Schmorell, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, Traute Lafrenz, Katharina Schueddekopf, Lieselotte (Lilo) Berndl, and Falk Harnack. Most were in their early twenties. A professor of philosophy and musicology, Kurt Huber, was also an associate with their cause.
The Scholls and Probst were the first to stand trial before the
Volksgerichtshof-the People's Court that tried political offences against the Nazi German state-on 22nd February 1943.
They were found guilty of treason and Roland Freisler, head judge of the court, sentenced them to death. The three were beheaded. All three were noted for the courage with which they faced their deaths, particularly Sophie, who remained firm despite intense interrogation (however, reports that she arrived at the trial with a broken leg from torture are false), and said to Freisler during the trial, "You know as well as we do that the war is lost. Why are you so cowardly that you won't admit it?"
On the right is the trailer for the multi-award winning drama Sophie Scholl: The Final Days. Academy Award Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, Sophie Scholl is played by Julia Jentsch in a luminous performance as the young coed-turned-fearless activist. Armed with long-buried historical records of her incarceration, director Marc Rothemund accurately recreated the last six days of Sophie Scholls life from arrest to interrogation, trial and sentence.
Denkmal Flugblätter Weiße Rose

Just in front of the entrance on Geschwister-Scholl- Platz is this memorial to the Weiße Rose showing biographies and reproductions of the last leaflets.
On February 18, nearly two thousand copies of this flyer were distributed by Hans and Sophie Scholl in broad daylight throughout the university building on Ludwigstrasse and were thrown over the balcony of the inner, glass-covered light well. They were observed by a caretaker, who immediately took them to the university rector, Professor Walther Wüst, a Colonel in the ϟϟ and an intimate of Himmler’s. Wüst held the two in his office until the Gestapo came to take them away. Hans and Sophie Scholl together with Christoph Probst were tried before the People’s Court on February 22. Graf, Schmorell, and Huber followed a few months later. (Schmorell had tried to flee to Switzerland, but had been hindered by deep snow. A former girlfriend, Gisela Schertling, allegedly betrayed him after recognizing him in a Munich air raid shelter. The sentence for all was death by guillotine. When Hans put his head on the block, he shouted: “Long live freedom!” Sophie said to her parents, who had come to say good-bye from Ulm: “This will make waves.” But as courageous as her remarks were at the time, they were not prescient.
Kater (129) Hitler Youth

As early as November 1945 and hence before the university forecourt on the western side of Ludwigstraße was renamed Geschwister- Scholl-Platz, the then Minister of Culture Franz Fendt announced the city’s intention to erect a memorial to the resistance group at this location. The plain plaque made of Jura marble and designed by Theodor Georgii was mounted the following year next to the entrance to the main assembly hall. The Latin inscription commemorates the seven members of the White Rose who were executed as martyrs and who had had to die an inhumane death because of their humanity. However, only the date reveals that they died under the Nazi regime. The text ends with a quotation from the “Epistulae morales” of the Roman philosopher Seneca: “It is only in this way that the true spirit can be tested, – the spirit that will never consent to come under the jurisdiction of things external to ourselves.” In 1957 the plaque was moved to the wall of the northern upper gallery – the place from which Hans and Sophie Scholl dropped their pamphlets into the inner courtyard and where another memorial was unveiled during the celebrations to mark the restoration of the courtyard the following year.
In the atrium upon which the leaflets had been dropped is a permanent exhibition to them as well as a single memorial and a bust of Sophie School alone despite her questionable involvement in the resistance movement. The bust was created by Nicolai Tregor, initiated and financed by the Weiße Rose Stiftung e.V. and was unveiled on 22 February 2005, the anniversary of the execution of Hans and Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst. The unveiling was done by the actress Julia Jentsch, who played Sophie Scholl in Marc Rothemund’s prize-winning film Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (Sophie Scholl – The Final Days). Two of my students wrote their IBDP internal assessments on Sophie Scholl and the White Rose.
Giving a tour of the University for ISTA 2012, accompanied by students

On the corner of the University building in the red brick wall of its library is another memorial- one of the "Scars of Remembrance" (also referred to as “Wounds of Memory”) showing bullet holes from the last days of the war:

The work is part of a much larger European project by the artists Beate Passow and Andreas von Weizsäcker who in 1994/95 set out to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Second World War by drawing attention to the holes made by bombshells and grenades that are still visible on streets and squares, buildings and works of art in a total of seven European countries. Using a series of square panes of glass the artists subtly alert us to the wounds of war in our everyday environment that one would otherwise scarcely notice.

Residence of the Scholls
Near Munich University at Franz-Joseph-Strasse 13 is where the Scholls had lived, with only a plaque on the wall serving to remind people. When Drake Winston and I visited, a white rose had been stuck under it:

The members of the White Rose, particularly Hans and Sophie Scholl, have become the most famous and most admired members of the German resistance. Munich alone now has almost thirty sites to keep their memory alive, whether in the form of memorials and street names or institutions named after them. Since 1980 the Bavarian branch of the German Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association and the city’s Department of Art and Culture have awarded an annual “Geschwister-Scholl Prize” whose prize-giving ceremony is held in the main assembly hall of the Ludwig Maximilian University.

Across from the University is the
House of German Justice (Haus des Deutschen Rechts)
Constructed by Oswald Eduard Bieber and inaugurated in 1939, this served as Hans Frank's headquarters as Bavarian Minister of Justice and Reich Commissioner for the Gleichschaltung of jurisdiction in the Federal States before being made Governor-General of occupied Poland. To him the Haus des Deutschen Rechts was an "NSDAP ideal set in stone."
Across from Munich University, the Nazi eagle has been removed, but everything else remains the same.

With baby Drake Winston in front with Siegestor as it appeared after the war photoshopped in. It was through the arch and past Ludwigstrasse that Hitler led the annual commemoration of the failed Beer Hall Putsch.
The solemn procession had led through the Siegestor (Victory Arch) and the Ludwigstrasse, past the burning pylons. It was doubtless an impressive ceremony, this laying out of the dead in the dark of night, witnessed by scores of honorary formations acting as guards of honour.
Doramus (728) The Complete Hitler

Beside the University and Haus des Deutschen Rechts is the Siegestor (Victory Gate)

This gate, modelled on Constantine’s arch in Rome and looking like a miniature version of Paris’s Arc de Triomphe, was commissioned by King Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1840 and completed in 1852, in honour of Bavarian troops who had triumphed against Napoleon. Crowned by a triumphant Bavaria piloting a lion-drawn chariot, like the Brandenburg Gate it is supposed to now represent a reminder to peace; Severely damaged in WWII, the arch was turned into a peace memorial whose inscription at the rear reads Dem Sieg geweiht, vom Krieg zerstört, zum Frieden mahnend: "Dedicated to victory, destroyed by war, reminding of peace". The painting on the right is Das Größere Opfer (the Greater Sacrifice) by Adolf Reich, 1943.

 Before and after the war
During the Tag der deutschen Kunst and after the war.
Purported painting by Hitler of the arch and after the results of his war
 Private First Class Lawrence W. Bartlett (1924-1985), Niagara Falls, New York, examines the four fallen lions which once adorned the top of the Siegestor June 13, 1945.
The remains are left haphazardly on display not far from the Nazi museum

 Akademie der Bildenden Künste München
In 1945 with the Siegestor in the background and today
In 1945 and today