Showing posts with label Stadelheim. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stadelheim. Show all posts

The Resistance in Munich

Platz der Opfer des Nationalsozialismus
Square for the Victims of National Socialism
  
The site after the war with the monument to Schiller dating from 1863 which had been moved to the northeastern end of Maximiliansplatz for traffic reasons in 1959. A temporary memorial was placed on the site in 1965. After Andreas Sobeck’s memorial had been erected in 1985 the granite stone was given a new inscription and moved to Platz der Freiheit (Freedom Square) in the district of Neuhausen, where it serves as a memorial to the members of the resistance who fell victim to the Nazi regime.
 
Looking as if it was set up as a mere afterthought, an eternal flame burns in memory of victims of the Nazis. When it was first erected, it was shut off each night until enough of a protest had been made. By October 2012 it was missing altogether.
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In March 2008 a Mexican tourist posed the Nazi salute at Platz der Opfer des Nationalsozialismus whilst her husband took a photo. A passer-by reported them to the police and they were fined €450: Mexikanerin posiert mit «Hitler-Gruß» an Münchner NS-Gedenkstätte


Palace of Justice (Justizpalast)
The left from a 19th century postcard

During the National Socialist era and today. This was the site of the Nazi's "People's Court." Members of the White Rose (Weiße Rose) were tried here on February 22, 1943.

After the war
Comparison of the building after the war and today
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Nazi judge Roland Freisler presiding over the 1944 trial for the July Plotters. Nicknamed "Raving Roland", Freisler was infamous for his bombastic courtroom behaviour. He mostly issued death or lifetime prison sentences, having reached his verdict before the trial actually began. According to Norman Davies in his book No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945 (p. 308), Freisler was killed by a British bomb that came through the ceiling of his courtroom as he was trying two women, both of whom survived the explosion.
Commemorative plaque in the Palace of Justice for Jewish lawyers persecuted by the Nazis, unveiled on 30 November 1998. The unveiling marked the sixtieth anniversary of the day when Jewish lawyers were forbidden to practice their profession, thus excluding them from the legal profession and robbing them of their livelihood. A directive issued by the Bavarian Minister of Justice Hans Frank in April 1933 had already required Jewish lawyers to present a special pass to gain entry to the court building. The plaque, initiated by the Munich Chamber of Lawyers, commemorates by name those Munich lawyers who were persecuted, driven out and murdered on account of their Jewish background.
Commemorative plaque for Father Rupert Mayer, a Jesuit priest and leading figure of the Catholic Widerstand in the Third Reich in Munich where he spoke out against the persecution of Christian groups from the pulpit of St. Michael's in the town centre. On 16 May 1937, the Gestapo ordered him to stop speaking in public which he obeyed whilst continuing to preach in church, speaking out against anti-Catholic baiting campaigns and fought against Nazi church policy. He preached that Man must obey God more than men. His protests against the Nazis landed him several times in Landsberg prison (the same gaol in which Hitler spent almost 9 months after the Beer Hall Putsch in 1924), and in Sachsenhausen concentration camp under the Kanzelparagraphen, a series of 19th-century laws that forbade the clergy to engage in political activities. From late 1940, he was interned in Ettal Monastery, mainly because the Nazis were afraid that he would die in the concentration camp, and thereby become a martyr. In 1987 he was beatified by Pope John Paul II.
The permanent exhibition in the historic courtroom 216 (now 253) of the Palace of Justice with portraits of Willi Graf, Prof. Kurt Huber, Alexander Schmorell, Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst.  It was in this room that the death sentences for Professor Kurt Huber, Willi Graf and Alexander Schmorell were pronounced on 19 April 1943. During the opening ceremony Munich’s former Mayor Hans-Jochen Vogel said the most important thing about this exhibition was not that it provided an- other memorial to the White Rose – ten years after the opening of the DenkStätte Weiße Rose (White Rose Commemorative Site) at Munich University – but rather “that it is being staged in this room”. The documentation of the trial also signals an increasing willingness on the part of the German judiciary to critically examine its own past, including the fact that many members of the Nazi judiciary remained in their posts even after 1945.

Bürgersaalkirche
 The Bürgersaal Church in the middle of the pedestrian zone in the centre of Munich focusses on Father Rupert Mayer. The prayer and assembly hall of the Marian Men’s Congregation was one of the places where Mayer preached and is also where he is buried. For some it has become a place of pilgrimage and remembrance. After several trials and detention in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp the unyielding priest was held under arrest at the Ettal Monastery in Upper Bavaria until the end of the war. After the war he returned to Munich, where he died on All Saints’ Day 1945 after suffering a stroke whilst giving a sermon. He was initially buried at the Jesuit Cemetery in Pullach, but three years later his remains were transferred to the crypt of the Bürgersaal Church in a ceremony attended by 120,000 people. The museum at the back of the church documenting the life and work of the pastor, who was widely respected and became a symbol of Catholic resistance to the Nazi regime, was opened in 2008.

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.
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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. The pamphlets, portrait photos and historical texts reproduced on ceramic tiles are made to look as if they had been dropped accidentally and trodden into the ground. They invite passers-by to pause for a moment and follow the traces of the White Rose.The memorial was conceived by the Berlin sculptor Robert Schmidt-Matt in 1988 as an entry for the third “RischArt Prize”, an art competition staged by a large Munich bakery. Originally intended as a temporary installation, in 1990 it was purchased by the City of Munich and the university thanks to the initiative of the Weiße Rose Stiftung e.V. (White Rose Foundation) and a petition started by the medical student Gregor van Scherpenberg and has remained on show to the public ever since. The pavement memorial is not the only one keeping alive the memory of the White Rose near the main university building. 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 our- selves.” 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.
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- “The DenkStätte Weiße Rose” was opened in a room below the inner courtyard on 28 June 1997. The site documents in an impressive way the life and work of the resistance group as well as the intellectual environment in which it operated. The memorial site receives several thousand visitors every year, including many students (including my own, shown here during the ISTA 2012 tour, from Germany and abroad. Around the atrium one will find a single bronze relief by Lothar Dietz on the western side of the courtyard showing the seven resistance fighters as stylised figures portrayed as a silent procession of sacrificial victims, and a bronze bust of Sophie Scholl alone in the northwestern corner of the courtyard, made by Nicolai Tregor. The bust was likewise 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


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.



Directly in front of the Staatskanzlei is the Memorial for the Resistance
Leo Kronbrust’s memorial was unveiled on 24 July 1996 by the Bavarian Minister president Dr. Edmund Stoiber. It is engraved on one side with a line of block letters reading "Zum erinnern zum gedenken" ("To Recall and to Commemorate") under which is a reproduction of a handwritten letter by Generalfeldmarschall Erwin von Witzleben who was arrested the day after the attempted July plot. 
Wir wollen hier nicht urteilen über die verschiedenen möglichen Staatsformen, nur eines will eindeutig und klar herausgehoben werden: jeder Mensch hat einen Anspruch auf einen brauchbaren und gerechten Staat, der die Freiheit des Einzelnen als auch das Wohl der Gesamtheit sichert.
Freiheit der Rede, Freiheit des Bekenntnisses, Schutz des einzelnen Bürgers vor der Willkür verbrecherischer Gewaltstaaten.
Das sind die Grundlagen des neuen Europa.
(We will not pass judgement on the various possible forms of government as only one will be raised clear and unambiguously: every person has a right to a useful and just state that guarantees the freedom of the individual and to he general welfareFreedom of speech, freedom of religion, the protection of individual citizens from the arbitrary will of criminal regimes of violenceThese are the foundations of the new Europe.)
During his trial he was forced to appear in court without his belt and false teeth. On August 8, 1944 he was executed by being hanged by piano wire from a meat hook.
Although defined as the central Bavarian memorial for all the resistance fighters who fell victim to the Nazi regime, the memorial conveys an in- complete picture. It fails, for example, to mention the Social Democratic and Communist resistance fighters or individuals like Georg Elser. Since the 1990s the memories of these resistance fighters have been kept alive above all by citizens’ initiatives.

Site of the Bürgerbräukeller
The Bürgerbräukeller in 1923 and after the 1939 assassination attempt.
The Bürgerbräukeller was one of the large Munich beer halls located on Rosenheimer Street. Today, the Hilton Munich City Hotel is on the site. From 1920 to 1923 it was one of the Nazis' preferred gathering places and it was there, on 8 November 1923, that Hitler launched the so-called Beer Hall Putsch.
Hitler decided to mobilise his forces for the night of 10–11 November 1923 with the aim of marching on the government in Munich and then on to Berlin. When Commissioner Kahr called a meeting in the Bürgerbräukeller for 8 November, Hitler and his entourage feared they would be upstaged. While Kahr was in the middle of a rambling speech denouncing Marxism, Hitler and a handful of followers burst in.
Jumping onto the podium, he fired a shot at the ceiling and announced that the building was surrounded by 600 heavily armed men. He said the national revolution was under way. In due course Field Marshal Ludendorff, a German hero from the First World War and the darling of the nation’s radical right, turned up wearing full dress uniform in order to lend support to Hitler.
This was the logical culmination of Hitler’s beer hall politics. It was also the action of a man who believed passionately in the German nation and wanted to hold it together at all costs. It was a step his audiences expected him to take.
Housden (54-55) Hitler- Study of a Revolutionary?
After Hitler seized power in 1933, he commemorated each anniversary of the failed rebellion by giving a speech in the Bürgerbräukeller to the surviving veterans of the Putsch.
Hitler speaking at the Bürgerbräukeller on November 9, 1938- night of Reichskristallnacht.
In 1939, an anti-Nazi workman, Georg Elser, concealed a time bomb in the Bürgerbräukeller, set to go off during Hitler's speech on 8 November. The bomb exploded, killing seven people and injuring sixty-three, but Hitler escaped unharmed; he had cut his speech short and left about half an hour early. Elser was arrested, imprisoned for 5 ½ years and executed shortly before the end of the war. The building suffered severe structural damage from Elser's bomb and was never rebuilt. In subsequent years, Hitler held his annual Pustch commemoration gatherings at the Löwenbräukeller.
Few now accept Bullock's original claims in Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (567-8) of collusion which he himself disavowed in his later book Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives, that
Elser, who had been given the photograph of the Biirgerbraukeller and released a quarter of a mile
from the Swiss border, was arrested as soon as he tried to cross it. The German Press seized on his Communist connexions, and a lurid picture was drawn of a conspiracy in which Otto Strasser as well as the British Secret Service figured prominently. At one time a big trial was to have been staged, with the two kidnapped British agents in the dock, and Elser as the chief witness carefully coached to prove that the assassination had been organized by the British. The fact that the trial was never held suggests that, in some way, the Gestapo gambit had failed. The timing had been a little too perfect, and the German people remained stolidly sceptical of their Fuehrer's providential escape.
The building was eventually demolished in 1979 and today there is a memorial plaque dedicated to Elser. It reads: "An dieser Stelle, im ehemaligen Bürgerbräukeller, versuchte der Schreiner Johann Georg Elser am 8. November 1939 ein Attentat auf Adolf Hitler. Er wollte damit dem Terror-Regime der Nationalsozialisten ein Ende setzen. Das Vorhaben scheiterte. Johann Georg Elser wurde nach 5 1/2 Jahren Haft am 9. April 1945 im Konzentrationslager Dachau ermordet." (Here, in the former Bürgerbräukeller, the carpenter Johann Georg Elser made an assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler 8 November 1939. He wanted to set thereby an end to the terror regime of the National Socialists. The project failed. Johann Georg Elser was murdered after 5 1/2 years detention on 9 April 1945 in the concentration camp Dachau.
Elser's apartment
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The non-descript address here at #94 Turkenstr. was where, in 1939, Georg Elser rented a room before attempting to blow up Hitler at the Burgerbraukeller in November, 1939. Nearby a square is named in his honour.
Between 1933 and 1945 tens of thousands of Germans were actively involved in various forms of resistance to the Nazi regime and many thousands suffered death or long periods of incarceration in prison or concentration camp as a result. Among these actions were a series of concerted efforts to overthrow the regime between 1938 and 1944. They were undertaken by a number of partially inter-linked circles, consisting mainly of army officers, senior civil servants, clergy and individuals formerly associated with the labour movement. Their actions culminated in the unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Hitler by planting a bomb in his military headquarters in East Prussia on 20 July 1944. Though the bomb went off, Hitler survived. It is these efforts and the people associated with them that have been the main focus of interest, both for historians and the wider public, because they represented the form of resistance most likely to succeed in destroying Nazism; these men had thought longest and hardest about the alternatives to Hitler and it is they who form the subject of this book. However, we should not forget that there were many other resisters, unconnected with these conspiracies, such as the simple Württemberg carpenter, Georg Elser, who very nearly killed Hitler with a bomb in a Munich beer hall in November 1939. They showed equal courage and commitment in their resistance.
The Memory Loops link to this site is: http://www.memoryloops.net/en#!/342/ which provides information from primary sources about Elser.

Unlike those of the White Rose, the resistance efforts of Georg Elser, who attempted to assassinate Hitler by planting a bomb in Munich’s Bürgerbräukeller on 8 November 1939 and was shot in Dachau concentration camp on 9 April 1945, for a long time went unacknowledged; nor was he himself commemorated. Starting in the late 1960s several attempts were made to have a street named after Elser. It was not until January 1997, however, that a small square off Türkenstraße that Elser had passed every day on his way to the Bürgerbräukeller was named Georg-Elser-Platz, chiefly thanks to the unflagging efforts of the Munich Georg Elser Initiative.
 
To mark the seventieth anniversary of the assassination attempt in 2009, moreover, a permanent art installation mounted on the façade of the school building on Türkenstraße adjacent to the square was also dedicated to Georg Elser. The neon lettering reading “8 November 1939” by Silke Wagner was the winning entry in a competition held by the city’s Department of Art and Culture. “Georg Elser,” says Silke Wagner, “earned himself a place in the history of resistance to the Nazi dictatorship. The object of the memorial can only be to remind people of this. The work directs the viewer’s gaze to the most important thing – the assassination attempt.” Each day at exactly 9.20 p.m., the time of the explosion, the red neon tubes light up one after another, writing the historic date 8 November 1939 in lights. At exactly 9.21 p.m. the lights go out again and the work “disappears” from public view. The abstract monument thus confines itself to the central message and through this deliberate reduction interrupts our habitual view of the square, alerting us to that single moment when the history of the twentieth century might have taken a different course. An earlier memorial to Georg Elser was installed in the pavement in front of the building housing the GEMA – the fascist music performing rights and copyright authority that prevents any form of music from being enjoyed in Germany unless being paid for the privilege first– in 1989. Located in the district of Haidhausen, the semi-fascist organisation GEMA now occupies the site of the former Bürgerbräukeller which was demolished in 1979.

Just across the street is Alter Simpl:
At #57 the name and bulldog logo of which provides a link to the Private Eye-type satirical magazine Simplissimus, banned in 1944 by the Nazis for being critical of them.

 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 prison. 
Over the radio he had heard about the massive destruction of Rotterdam at the hands of German troops invading Holland. By 1941, he had gathered around him a number of equally outraged young Catholics, formerly from Catholic youth groups like his own, St. Ludwig. At first they listened to enemy radio stations, which could have cost them their lives even then, but later they printed and duplicated flyers with slogans such as “Down with Hitler,” and they painted the British victory symbol “V” on Munich residences. In 1941 and 1942, they assembled three radio transmitters and did a trial broadcasting of anti-Nazi propaganda. The police got to Klingenbeck and two of his friends in early 1942. The friends were sent to the penitentiary, but Klingenbeck was beheaded in Munich’s Stadelheim prison in August of 1943. 
Kater (118) Hitler Youth
Amalienstraße 44, where Klingenbeck lived.

Stadelheim Gaol
During the NSDAP era, 1,200 died within these walls, perhaps most notably Ernst Roehm on June 30, 1934:
Hitler, in a final act of what he apparently thought was grace, gave orders that a pistol be left on the table of his old comrade. Roehm refused to make use of it. ”If I am to be killed, let Adolf do it himself,” he is reported to have said. Thereupon two S.A. officers, according to the testimony of an eyewitness, a police lieutenant, given twenty-three years later in a postwar trial at Munich in May 1957, entered the cell and fired their revolvers at Roehm point-blank. ”Roehm wanted to say something,” said this witness, ”but the S.S. officer motioned him to shut up. Then Roehm stood at attention – he was stripped to the waist – with his face full of contempt.”
Shirer, 197
Also executed at Stadelheim were Hans and Sophie Scholl, who lie together in a grave with their comrade Christoph Probst, executed with them. The graves are to be found within Neu-Perlach cemetery nearby. The execution chamber at Stadelheim apparently was converted into an automobile repair shop (right) before being destroyed in 1968.