Showing posts with label Ulm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ulm. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Baden-Württemberg (2)


In 1936 and today. It was here during the Occupation of the Ruhr following the Great War that French troops had occupied Offenburg as it fell within the perimeter of the Kehl bridgehead. The French occupation forces entered the town in February 1923 and stayed until 1924, blocking any traffic on the Rhine Valley Railway between Offenburg and Appenweier. 
Adolf-Hitler-Strasse in 1942 and today, its name reverted back to Hauptstrasse
The war memorial when it was on Platz der SA on Adolf-Hitler-Straße. Following Hitler's rise to power in the 1930s the Jewish population fell victim to acts of repression that in the pre-war era culminated in the vandalism of the local synagogue in November 1938. After the war had begun, those members of the Jewish population that had not managed to emigrate were deported in October 1940 to the concentration camp of Gurs and in 1942 from there to Auschwitz. 
The memorial to Sir Francis Drake by sculptor André Friedrich which, for 80 years graced the centre of Offenburg, was eventually destroyed in 1939 by the Nazis. On 17 July 1853, the monument was unveiled at the Town Hall; 86 years later it was destroyed by Nazi fanatics angered that the rathaus, now on Platz der SA, had a monument to a foreigner (who gave his name to my son).
The rathaus then with the statue and today
Hitlerjugend at the Kinzigdamm with the town church in the background
 In World War II, owing to the geographical proximity to the French border, Offenburg was either exposed to temporary evacuations during the Battle of France in 1940 or artillery fire towards the final stages of World War II. Though only being a primary target on one occasion during World War II on 27 November 1944 when a force of more than 300 USAAF B-17 and Liberator bombers attacked the marshalling yards, many tactical attacks were flown during 1944 and 1945 against the railway installations.  

Schwäbisch Hall  
Nazi eagle decorating a branch of Sparkasse.
In 1934, Hall was officially named Schwäbisch Hall. During the Third Reich a Luftwaffe air base was built at Hessental. During Reichskristallnacht on 9 November 1938, local Nazis burned the synagogue in Steinbach and devastated shops and houses of Jewish citizens. Approximately 40 Jewish citizens of Schwäbisch Hall fell victim to the Holocaust in extermination camps in Eastern Europe. In 1944 a concentration camp was established next to the train station Hall-Hessental. The train station at Hall was targeted by an American air raid on February 23, 1945, but the devastation was mostly limited to the suburbs of St. Katharina and Unterlimpurg. The town was occupied by US Army troops on April 17, 1945 without serious resistance; though several buildings were destroyed or damaged, the historical old town suffered comparatively little.
The Neues Krankenhaus Diakonie-Klinikum with swastikas and today
Some tough nuts suspected of major war crimes were kept in the old penitentiary in the pretty town of Schwäbisch Hall near Stuttgart. Here prisoners were subjected to some particularly nasty forms of interrogation. Old boys included SS commanders Sepp Dietrich, Fritz Kraemer and Hermann Priess, all of whom denied issuing orders to shoot prisoners of war. Seventy-four SS men were finally arraigned for the massacre of American servicemen at Malmédy, but many of their confessions were subsequently withdrawn because they said they had been extracted under torture. One of the last to break was the cigar-chewing SS officer Jochen Peiper, who was suspected of being chiefly responsible for the massacre. The Americans had used methods similar to those employed by the SS in Dachau. ...The screams of the prisoners in Schwäbisch Hall could be heard throughout the little country town. The torturers were not all American: they included vengeful Polish guards like those mentioned by Salomon. The archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joseph Frings, kept a tally of reports of American brutality.
 MacDonogh (406) After the Reich

March 21, 1943 and today showing the Wasserturm

The Nationaltheater just before its destruction in 1943 and today as it was rebuilt in 1957 at Goethe Place rather than in the same location as the original National Theatre, based on the designs of the architect Gerhard Weber.
 The schloss seen at the end of Kurpfalzstraße in 1943 and today. 
The Friedrich-List-Schule in 1941 and today.  It was here that Albert Speer was born and where, on December 9, 1945, in a relatively trivial automobile accident near Mannheim, Patton sustained a severe injury. His neck broken, the general was paralysed from the neck down. Pulmonary oedema and congestive heart failure developed, and George S. Patton Jr. died on December 21, 1945. During the Third Reich, at least 2,262 of Mannheim's Jews were despatched for extermination. Air raids on Mannheim almost completely destroyed the city during the Second World War. Since Mannheim was an important industrial centre for Nazi Germany, it was heavily damaged during aerial bombing by the R.A.F. and the U.S.A.A.F. In addition to bombing the important factories, the R.A.F. razed the city centre of Mannheim with night-time area bombing. Some sources state that the first deliberate so-called "terror bombing" of German civilians by the R.A.F. occurred at Mannheim on December 16, 1940.  The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Mannheim in late March 1945, which was potentially well-defended by German forces, however, they suddenly abandoned the city and the U.S. 44th Infantry Division entered unopposed on March 29, 1945. To this day a large American military presence in the Mannheim area remains.
 The former Zeughaus (now a museum). 
 The Jesuitenkirche on Schillerplatz, 1943 and today
The Rosengarten under construction in 1900 and today. Hitler spoke here in 1928

The railway station then and now 
In January 1935 during the plebiscite determined the Saarland's future; 90% of voters chose to return to Germany. The event filled the populations of both the Saarland and the rest of Germany with genuine enthusiasm which Hitler turned into a rather benign propaganda coup. Here is how Reich minister Hans Frank remembered the return of the region to Germany when Hitler arrived in Mannheim:
I remember stopping late in the evening in Mannheim [where] there was a stormy jostling all around [Hitler] and shouts of Heil. The masses rushed together around his window and grabbed for his hand. One lot of flowers after another rained down on him through the window, and there was no end to the enthusiastic celebration. He spoke with the people in simple, heart-felt words, always, asking if they were happy with him and his work. And the approval filled with thanks swelled up to the national hymn, which rang far and wide above and beyond the shining railway platform. It was the most genuine contact of a national leader with his nation which anyone can imagine. We experienced it. No one can persuade us otherwise, for we were his dumb eye and ear witnesses who were most deeply moved time and again.
H. Frank (209-11) Im angesicht des Galgens
Grillo Theater in 1941 and its current incarnation. The building was badly damaged in the Second World War and was restored with a much simpler façade and re-opened in 1950 with Wagner's opera Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

 Kloster Maulbronn
 Hitler visited what has been described as the best-preserved Cistercian Monastery in Europe in 1927. Recorded in his 'Table Talk' on the "5th September 1942, midday", Hitler spoke of the monastery at Maulbronn as
 one of the most beautiful in existence, thanks chiefly to the fact that it ceased to be a monastery in the Middle Ages and has not, like so many others of its kind, been altered or modernised in any way. The rules of the Order, which I have read, were extremely severe. In winter the monks had but one room heated; this common room was built over a cellar, in which fires were lighted and from which pipes led the hot air into the room above. The Romans employed the same system two thousand years ago, and the remains of their heating installations are still visible in the castle at Saalburg.
The site would provide the location for the filming of one of "Hitler's Irish Movies", Mein Leben für Irland, a Nazi propaganda movie from 1941 directed by Max W. Kimmich, covering a story of Irish heroism and martyrdom over two generations under the occupation of the evil British. The movie was produced for Nazi-occupied Europe with the intent of challenging pro-British allegiances; instead audiences identified the Irish struggle with their own resistance against the Nazis.   

 Hitler spoke here to 60,000 people on April 9, 1932
The Friedensschule at Mozartstraße 12 dates from the 1930s and still sports the Nazi eagle
 The Burenhaus then and today. After taking power in 1933, the NSDAP used the building as its party headquarters. Given its location at the centre of the marktplatz, it was ideally suited for parades and national celebrations and party events. In common parlance, the building soon became known as the 'Brown House'. Its fuhrer balcony was created and remains today, the Nazi eagle still present in the grill. 
 The Bickentor then and now

 The rathaus sporting the swastika and today at the Marktplatz    

Heidenheim an der Brenz

Schloss Hellenstein looking over the town from a Nazi-era postcard and today. Erwin Rommel was born November 15, 1891 here in Heidenheim, Wurttemberg to schoolmaster Erwin Rommel, Sr. and his wife, Helene von Luz. 
 During the war, a subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located below in the town itself, providing slave labour to local industry. After World War II was over in 1945, a displaced persons camp was outfitted in the city to help relocate Jewish displaced persons. The camp, housing at times up to 2,300 individuals, was dissolved in August 1949.


St. Martin's church then, at a swastika-bedecked marktplatz, and now

The Hafenbahnhof, now the Zeppelin Museum. On 2 July 1900, the people  of Friedrichshafen witnessed a momentous  occasion - the first flight  of LZ 1, Count Ferdinand  von Zeppelin's first airship.  Although deemed a failure,  a succession of better craft (LZ 2 to 10) enabled the Zeppelin to expand into the consumer market of airship travel, whilst also providing military craft for the German Army and Navy. Friedrichshafen served the Nazis as a resort for workers. The presence of Zeppelin, Maybach, Dornier, and Zahnradfabrik also made it an important industrial centre for Germany during World War II. Between 1942 and 1945, these factories employed hundreds of concentration camp prisoners from Dachau and Dora-Mittelbau. They were housed first at Zeppelin's hangar and then, following its destruction during a raid, the V-2 factory Raderach. The prisoners were also used to dig underground tunnels near Friedrichshafen to protect production sites from the repeated bombing.  Between June 1943 and February 1945, the city was the site for eleven Allied bombing attacks. The most serious took place on April 28, 1944, and destroyed most of the old town centre. Approximately two-thirds of the city was destroyed over the course of the war.
Friedrichshafen Halle and its new incarnation

  The Basilica of St. Martin and Oswald


The Rathaus-Sitzungssaal  during the Nazi era and today with its Bürgermeisters, little changed

Swastikas in front of the rathaus and today 


The market square with the rathaus in 1936 and today
The rathaus then and now from the other side

Münzgasse looking towards the Stiftskirche

The Synagogue on Boerneplatz, in flames on Reichskristallnacht 1938, and a memorial on the site today

Next to the museum on Wilhelmstraße 3 lived Hugo Löwenstein, the first Jewish business man in the city to sell is business in the autumn of 1933 after Nazi intimidation. He later emigrated to British Palestine.

 The University 
The barracks gate of the Burgholzkaserne on Reutlinger Straße in 1939 and today.

 The hotel Zum Hanskarle on the corner of Kaiserstraße and Österbergstraße.

 The main railway station then and now. This was the station where 1,000 Württemberger Jews were deported to Stuttgart.
 The Tübinger post office on the corner of Hafengasse and Neuer Straße.
The lower Schlosstor with and without the weather vane
View from the south of Tübingen towards Neckar and Galgenberg
Looking at the old and new Neckar bridge
 The old brewery Waldhörnle on Schweizerstraße and its replacement today

 Grabenstraße has changed completely in the last century
Herrenberger Straße with the Guesthouse König with the university mental hospital where the wife and I stayed in 2007 overlooking the town 


The Michael Fleiner Haus youth hostel in the late 1930s and today.

A reichsadler still remains above the doorway of an office building, its removed swastika inviting graffiti.
When Hitler's train stopped here on the way to the front at the start of the Great War, Hitler posted a card to his landlord, Joseph Popp, writing "best wishes from Ulm on my way to Antwerp."
It was at Ulm that, according to Martyn Housden (60) in Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?, that
[t]he quintessence of Hitler’s deception of respectability became manifest during the trial of the Ulm officers which took place in September 1930. The episode showed that he remained as much of a revolutionary agitator as ever. It was one of the most important political events in the life of the Weimar Republic and a ‘milestone’ in the development of the party. At stake was much more than the actions of the three junior army officers who were accused of treason on account of setting up National Socialist cells within the army. Eventually the three received sentences of 18 months’ imprisonment. But in the midst of weighty accusations, Hitler took the stand. His testimony, made once again in the full glare of the national press, rambled across the history of his party. Its main thrust was as follows: "I have not created an instrument in order to implement a violent revolution. I have organised nothing to implement it. Our party is not the mouthpiece of a German revolutionary movement. The propaganda which we practise, is a mental/spiritual revolutionising of the German Volk, a transformation to a new ideology, which at the very least is as gigantic as the transformation to Marxist thinking or the transformation from feudal state to a democratic–parliamentary system. The NSDAP wants a perfectly new ideas world, to construct a completely new state. It cannot occur to me for one second to fight against a state with a consolidated army and a police force. Violence is not necessary for our movement."
With a total height of 161 metres, the steeple of Ulm Münster is the tallest in the world. Construction began in the late 14th century, was suspended in 1553 and finally completed from 1844 to 1890. The town was reduced to rubble by Allied bombs in 1944, sparing the Münster.
The rathaus  with sporting Nazi propaganda on its façade reading Adolf Hitler für Deutschland
Münsterplatz in 1935 and today

The city's bomb damage from the cathedral and gargoyle from top of cathedral today.

The synagogue before and after the Reichskristallnacht pogrom and its replacement
 Anti-fascists vs. neo-Nazis in Ulm during May Day 2009

Schloss Lichtenstein 
Lichtenstein Castle is a castle situated on a cliff located near Honau, shown during the Third Reich and today

The rathaus before its 1944 fire. On December 16 1944, the "Kramers' house", which was until 1849 was the home of Altvogt Scheffelt, before becoming converted into the old town hall, was completely destroyed by bombing. The two world wars left deep traces within the population: in honour of the fallen of the Great War soldiers Freiburg architect Hans Geiges built the war memorial within the former cemetery of Petruskirche in 1935 where the names of the fallen were held on eight sandstone panels. After the end of World War II the memorial had to be extended by a further thirteen plaques.

The public swimming pool, sporting the swastika and today

Stadttor Dilsberg

The Stadttor Dilsberg then, serving as a youth hostel flying the swastika and now

The home of Rommel from where, linked to the failed July Plot against Hitler,  he was forced to commit suicide with a cyanide pill in return for assurances that his family would not be persecuted following his death. He was given a state funeral, and it was announced that Rommel had succumbed to his injuries from an earlier strafing of his staff car in Normandy. As his son related after the war,
 Shortly before twelve o'clock, my father went to his room on the first floor and changed from the brown civilian jacket which he usually wore over riding-breeches, to his Africa tunic, which was his favourite uniform on account of its open collar.
At about twelve o'clock a dark-green car with a Berlin number stopped in front of our garden gate. The only men in the house apart from my father, were Captain Aldinger, a badly wounded war-veteran corporal and myself. Two generals- Burgdorf, a powerful florid man, and Maisel, small and slender- alighted from the car and entered the house. They were respectful and courteous and asked my father's permission to speak to him alone. Aldinger and I left the room. "So are not they  are not going to arrest him," I thought with relief, as I went upstairs to find myself a book.
A few minutes later I heard my father come upstairs and go into my mother s room. Anxious to know what was afoot, I got up and followed him. He was in the middle of the room, his face pale. "Come outside with me," he said in a tight voice. We went into my room. "I have just had to tell your mother", he began slowly, "that I shall be dead in a quarter of an hour." He was calm as he continued: "To die by the hand of one's own people is hard. But the house is surrounded and Hitler is charging me with high treason. ' In view of my services in Africa'", he quoted sarcastically, "I am to have the chance of poison. The two generals have brought it with them. It's fatal in three seconds. If I accept, none of the usual steps will be taken against my family, that is against you. They will also leave my staff alone."
"Do you believe it?" I interrupted.
"Yes," he replied." "I believe it. It is very much in their interest to see that the affair does not come out into the open. By the way, I have been charged to put you under a promise of the strictest silence. If a single word of this comes out, they will no longer feel themselves bound by the agreement."
I tried again. "Can't we defend ourselves..." He cut me off short. 
 "There's no point,"  he said. "It's better for one to die than for all of us to be killed in a shooting affray. Anyway, we've practically no ammunition." We briefly took leave of each other. "Call Aldinger, please", he said.
Liddell Hart (503) The Rommel Papers
Rommel's grave in the town cemetery 

Breisach am Oberrhein
Adolf Hitler Straße then and now. During World War II, 85% of Breisach was destroyed by Allied artillery as the Allies crossed the Rhine. The St. Stephansmünster was also heavily damaged. 

The rathaus on the day Hitler was appointed Chancellor- January 30, 1933 and today. Hitler had visited the town on July 29 the year before.
The war memorial on Luisenplatz (formerly Horst-Wessel-Platz) still retains the Nazi ideological characteristics it had when first inaugurated May 22, 1938. As late as the 1970s it was used as the site for former SS members to rally and honour their comrades of the Waffen-SS.

The church Unserer Lieben Frau then and now

 The war memorial from a 1935 postcard, unchanged today

The monument overlooking the town was built in 1933 and officially inaugurated in 1937. Shortly before the war ended the swastika was removed and in 1952 replaced with a cross.

Schloss Sigmaringen 
Following the Allied invasion of France, the French Vichy Regime was moved from France into Schloss Sigmaringen. The princely family was forced by the Gestapo out of the castle and moved to Schloss Wilflingen. The French authors Louis-Ferdinand Céline and Lucien Rebatet, who had written political and anti-semitic works, feared for their safety and fled to Sigmaringen with the Vichy government. Céline's 1957 novel D'un château l'autre, describes the end of the war and the fall of Sigmaringen on 22 April 1945. The book was made into a German movie in 2006, through the German media companies ZDF and Arte, called Die Finsternis. Removed to Sigmaringen, Germany, in the summer of 1944, the Vichy government no longer had any relevance. Postwar, some 10,000 French were executed for collaboration with the Germans, including Laval. Pétain, stripped of his rank, was condemned to death, but de Gaulle commuted the sentence to life in prison. Despite de Gaulle’s ridiculous efforts to cast France during the war as a nation of resisters, the four-year-long Vichy regime left a legacy of shame and controversy that still shames France today.


Irving in Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (30) writes how Goebbels played "the huge cathedral organ" in the cathedral shown in the background in 1918 for two other students he had travelled the area with.During World War II Ravensburg was strategically of no relevance. Ravensburg did not harbour any noteworthy arms industry (unlike nearby Friedrichshafen with its large aircraft industry), but was home to a big aid supplies centre belonging to the Swiss Red Cross; so no air raid destroyed the historic city centre.

Nazi functionaries in front of the rathaus entrance in 1938, and the rathaus today

Nazis intimidating those thinking of shopping at the Jewish-owned Kaufhaus Landauer, and stolperstein at the site today, remembering the murdered Landauers.

Flughafen Böblingen. On April 9, 1932 Hitler spoke at this airport that was later used by the USAAF after the war. Some buildings remain, on the right is the reception building dating from 1925.
The Stadtkirche St. Dionysius in 1943 and today

The schlossplatz in front of what is now the Erfatal-Museum 


 The courtyard in use by the Wehrmacht and today. In 1921, Ludwigsburg became the largest garrison in southwest Germany.

The synagogue in the town was destroyed by the Nazis during Reichskristallnacht, the pogrom of November 1938. Two years later the Nazi propaganda film, Jud Süß, was filmed in Ludwigsburg. The film was based on a historical figure, Joseph Süß Oppenheimer, who was executed in Stuttgart in 1738; Oppenheimer lived in Ludwigsburg. 
During World War II, the city suffered moderate damage compared to other German cities. There were 1500 deaths. It was the home of the prisoner-of-war camp Stalag V-A from October 1939 till April 1945. After the war, there was a large displaced persons camp which housed several thousand mainly Polish displaced persons until about 1948. After 1945 until the middle of 1946, there was also an allied internment camp for war criminals in Ludwigsburg and the U.S. Army maintained the Pattonville barracks on the edge of town, large enough to have its own American high school. The land was returned to Germany in 1994.