Showing posts with label Vilsbiburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vilsbiburg. Show all posts

More Sites in Bavaria (2)

Moosburg
(Incorrectly spelt Moosberg in Richard Bessel's latest book Germany 1945: From War to Peace)
 
Münchenerstrasse during the NSDAP era

Stalag VII

The entrance to the camp, and the town itself shown in the background
Moosburg Stammlager VIIA, 1945. Pictures from Edward J. Paluch 780 Bomb Squadron. From Fall 1944- Feb 1945 interned in Stalag Luft III. This town about 20km from where I live was the site of Stalag VII A, a POW camp covering an area of 85 acres which also served also as a transit camp through which prisoners, including officers, were processed on their way to another camp. At some time during the war prisoners from every nation fighting against Germany passed through it. By the time it had been liberated on April 29 1945, there were 130,000 prisoners from at least 26 nations on the camp roster. It was thus the largest prisoner of war camp in Germany.
 
Moosburg concentration camp warden from the video game Death to Spies: Moment of Truth, where he wears an armband signifying he's from the 5th ϟϟ Panzer Division Wiking. In the centre is Oberst Hans Nepf, Lagerkommandant 1939-1943, and his succesor Oberst Otto Burger. 
 
This was the POW cemetery just south of the town in Oberreit, among whom 22 or 23 buried were British. It was closed in 1958 when 866 bodies were exhumed and reburied at the military cemetery in Schwabstadl near Landsberg. The bodies of 33 Italians were reburied at the Italian Memorial Cemetery near Munich. In 1982 the Moosburg City Council purchased a plot at the site of the old Oberreit cemetery and erected a wooden cross with a simple stone remembering the dead of Stalag VII A. Today the municipal authorities have seen fit to place a dog association right next to it...
 
...whilst in the town itself this memorial from 1958 commemorates the Germans' suffering; by 1950 1,931 out of 8,677 Moosburg citizens were refugees fleeing the Soviets. The monument in 1960 and today, as well as views down the same road, Sudetenlandstraße, then and now.
 
Today there are still vestiges of the original barracks being used, and along Schlesierstraße
For a site devoted entirely to Moosburg: Moosburg Online
Hitlerjugend in 1937 and the site today
 
Bürgermeister Dr. Müller in front of the memorial on March 10, 1940 and today, the Nazi flags being replaced by the red ensign
 
Moosburg railway station in 1935 and now
 
The rathaus then and now

The bridge that was the main strategic objective in the battle between Patton and the German SS in Moosburg. The Germans eventually bombed the bridge in order to keep the American tanks from crossing it. The battle didn't last long, regardless, and the 10,000's of POWs in the prison camp there were soon liberated.
HEADQUARTERS 300th ENGINEER COMBAT BATTALION APO 403, U. S. ARMY
2 May 1945
SUBJECT: Letter of Commendation.
TO: Commanding Officer, Company C, 300th Engineer Combat Battalion
  1. General George S. Patton, the Commanding General of the Third United States Army, has expressed his satisfaction and pleasure at the results obtained by you and your men in the construction of 288 feet of treadway bridge at MOOSBURG, Germany, on 30th April, 1945. I regret that, due to operational necessities, I am unable to personally convey my gratification to the men of C Company at this time, but I wish them to know that I take great pride in their achievement.
  2. The spirit displayed by the men during the job was particularly noteworthy for it indicated teamwork and a high morale. I hope this spirit and proficiency will continue to be as well marked in your future tasks.
/s/ Riel S. Crandall
/t/ RIEL S. CRANDALL,
Major, CE, Commanding
Reproduced by Co C, 300th Engr. C. Bn.
5 May 1945

Next to the bridge is the Gasthof zur Länd, shown in 1941, April 29, 1945 with Major-General A.C. Smith of the 14th Armoured Div. of the 3rd U.S. army overseeing the building of the auxiliary bridge over the Isar by the 300th Combat Engineers, and 73 years later.
 
The second building on the right at Herrnstraße 293 is where the Jewish administration was housed after the war from January 1946 to February 1951. 
When the Allied forces conquered Germany, they were able to liberate some tens of thousands of Jewish prisoners. Between 1945 and 1950, however, the former Third Reich became a temporary place of refuge for about 200,000 Shoah survivors. Besides the prisoners freed from the work and death camps, these were people who had fled from the Nazis to Russia, fought in Eastern Europe with the partisans, or in some other way managed to survive underground. Starting in the fall of 1945, the US military government set up special Displaced Persons (DP) camps for them. For a short time, the US General Eisenhower had even considered allowing the Jews to set up their own territory in Bavaria. This plan had been proposed to him by David Ben-Gurion, who was travelling through occupied Germany at that time. However, a Bavarian Jewish state was never established. Nevertheless, the Americans conceded wide-ranging rights of self-determination to the Shoah survivors. The British, Russians, and French granted no such privileges. Supplies, too, were more plentiful in the American zone, and so about 85 percent of all Jewish DPs settled here, considering their residence, however, as but a temporary measure. The overwhelming majority believed that their future would only be guaranteed in a country of their own, convinced that “only Eretz Israel will succeed in absorbing and healing them, help them regain their national and human balance.” As the state of Israel would not be established until 1948, some Jews dreamed also of a new life in the USA, Canada or Australia.
 Landshut
 
Landshut from a postcard dated 21viii39 with a town map from the same year provided by HPL2008 at warrelics.eu who was also responsible for the subsequent information.

This is the town where Himmler was raised and went to school at what was then Humanistisches Gymnasium). Behind me at Dreifaltigkeitsplatz 1 1/2 is where he lived according to Die Geschichte des Hans-Carossa-Gymnasiums in Landshut 1629-2004 by Werner Ebermeier. (thanks to Heimatschuss for the information).
Dr Karl Gebhardt, a friend of Himmler’s youth and head of Hohenlychen sanatorium, explained at the Nuremberg doctors’ trial (Report S.3991): "Himmler came from Landshut, the same town as myself... If my parents’ house was an extraordinarily liberal, free, quiet one, then the Himmler house was that of a strong orthodox Catholic schoolmaster whose son was brought up very strictly and kept very short of money."
Dreifaltigkeitsplatz had been renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz during the Third Reich as shown on the period postcard on the left. Behind the wife and kid is St. Martin's church which has a stained-glass window featuring Hitler, Goering and Goebbels created after the war by the artist Max Lacher to replace the original window destroyed late in the war. Their faces were given to the torturers in a scene depicting the persecution of St. Castalus. (thanks to HPL2008 for this information). His relics reside in the church after having originally stayed in Moosburg. In his 2008 book Hitler, The Germans and the Final Solution, Sir Ian Kershaw records how 
courageous and noteworthy were the remarks of the Catholic priest Josef Atzinger in Landshut in November 1940, in which he condemned the racial legislation of the Third Reich as ‘godless, unjustified, and harmful.’
 From the other side, looking from the hauptstrasse
Located at no.6 on the map, this had been the Städtisches Krankenhaus (Municipal Hospital) where ϟϟ physician Dr. Karl Gebhardt had worked for a while from the autumn of 1922 onwards. He had known Heinrich Himmler from school and stated at the Nuremberg doctors’ trial that "Himmler came from Landshut, the same town as myself... If my parents’ house was an extraordinarily liberal, free, quiet one, then the Himmler house was that of a strong orthodox Catholic schoolmaster whose son was brought up very strictly and kept very short of money."
Looking the other direction towards Trausnitz castle directly across the former hospital was the local Deutsches Arbeit Front headquarters, no.3.
On the left is the former local NSDAP headquarters at no.2 on the map. It was here on December 8, 1935 that Hitler addressed the Ortsgruppe of the NSDAP at the celebration of its fifteenth anniversary,declaring that “He who has the courage to conquer the state with seven men also has the courage and the power and the confidence to maintain that state.”
According to the ϟϟ 1937 address list, the site shown on the right was the headquarters of the 31st ϟϟ-Standarte at Nahensteig 182.
HPL2008 points out that, according to Landshut's local address book,
in mediaeval times this street was located in the Jewish quarter of town, which is why its name is name is actually derived from the Hebrew word nahar (= brook). One wonders how many Standarte members were aware of that particular bit of trivia...
Himmler lived here on Seligenthaler Str. 11 on his own for two years.

The Gymnasium Himmler attended in 1910 where he studied classic literature. Himmler was generally an above-average student. In religious education and history he was always graded ‘very good’ and in languages he was judged ‘very good’ to ‘good’; his weakest subject was physics, for which one year he was given only ‘satisfactory’. A school report from 1913/14 reads: ‘An apparently very able student who by tireless hard work, burning ambition and very lively participation achieved the best results in the class. His conduct was exemplary.’

The rathaus then and now
Whilst no reference to the NSDAP era is found anywhere in the town, this memorial recognises the mass deportation of the night of June 18, 1951, the third-largest mass deportation in modern Romanian history took place, surpassed only by the World War II deportation of Jews to Transnistria (considered collectively, and ended with massive extermination), and the January 1945 deportation of ethnic Germans from Romania. Some 45,000 people were taken from their homes and deported to the Bărăgan. These included Romanians, Germans (mostly Banat Swabians), Serbs, Bulgarians, Romanian and some Ukrainian refugees from Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina, and Aromanians.

18 km southeast of Landshut, in the district of Landshut is Vilsbiburg
 The photo on the left is from Geoff Walden's Third Reich Ruins (the ultimate site devoted to Nazi remains then and now) showing Himmler leading a parade through the high street on March 6, 1927 in preparation for the first speech in Bavaria by Hitler after his release from Landsberg after the failed putsch attempt in which he denounced his continued ban on public speaking in Munich. Reporting the next day, the Vilsbiburger Anzeiger stated
It happened as in a large city… Mr. Adolf Hitler spoke forwards about 1000 persons about of Germany future or fall. One must leave it to Mr. Hitler: he spoke essentially, sometimes however for our public somewhat with difficulty.

The same event, with Hitler himself shown fourth from the left. Little appears to have changed since.
 
About 30 km south of Landshut is the tiny town of Dorfen, its Marienplatz shown here during the Nazi-zeit and today

Straubing

On the main street during the Nazizeit and with wife and baby Drake Winston.
 
Looking the other way down Ludwigplatz towards the stadturm and tibertiusbrunnen 
 
1935 and today
 
The publishing house at Ludwigsplatz 32 where the anti-Nazi Straubinger Tagblatt was eventually closed down by the Nazi regime. On 29 May 1935 its publisher Georg Huber Sr., who had been denounced for anti-Nazi statements, was taken into 'protective custody.' That same day the Nazis had organised a rally against the Straubinger Tagblatt which was then banned for two days. On 2 September 1935 it finally closed for "political unreliability."
 
Festzug des Volksfestes  along Frauenhoferstraße
The arms used in the top-left canton on the reverse of the Straubing Deutschland Erwache standard reflects the change made in 1923 by the Nazis to remove the French influence shown in the fleur-de-lis, which were added in the 18th century. The arms have since been restored officially, but the spitaltor dating from 1628 shows the version favoured by the Nazis.
The two pages shown are from Deutschland Erwache - The History and Development of the Nazi Party and the “Germany Awake” Standards.
Most of the period photos that follow and the information provided come from: http://moistraubing.de/
Rosengasse then and now.Embedded in a wall on the right is this inscription in Hebrew, a duplicate of what is now in the town museum. Roughly translated, it reads
The crown of our race fell with the death of our father Rabbi Azariah, the son of Jose, who stepped into another world on the eve of Shabbat, the 26th, the month of Iyar, the 88th 
 
The synagogue at the turn of the century, and standing in front today. It survived Reichskristallnacht out of fear of any conflagration affecting the neighbouring buildings.
 
The period photos show German women forced to clean the synagogue which had been desecrated on Reichskristallnacht before posing in front. In his book Hitler and Nazism, Dick Geary writes specifically how "[i]n Straubing Nazi excesses against local Jews ended in murder."
Leistnerstrasse after the bombing with American soldiers after the war

Auferstanden aus Ruinen
On April 28 1945 the SS blew up the Schloßbrücke Straubing,over the Danube to retard the allies' advance.

Overlooking the Danube and towards the bridge is this reichsadler, created by Munich sculptor Fritz Schmoll.
What is now the Amtsgericht Straubing on Kolbstrasse 11
The Hans-Schemm-Schule and today, renamed St. Jakobsschule.
The main market street in Straubing during the Nazizeit...
...and on October 14, 2009 when 1,250 garden gnomes with their right arms raised in a Hitler salute were presented by creator Ottmar Hoerl, who had already displayed his provocative gnomes in Belgium, Italy and two German art galleries; the first one in public in Germany despite the law prohibiting the public use of the Hitler gruss.

Coburg  
(Erste nationalsozialistische Stadt Deutschlands - First German National Socialist City )
A year before Hitler is appointed chancellor, the spitaltor already sports a swastika
In fact, the rathaus in Coburg was the first official building in Germany to fly the Nazi flag on 18 January 1931.

Coburg fortress from page 28 of the cigarette album Kampf ums Dritte Reich - Eine historische Bilderfolge (1933) and today. Hitler visited the fortress in 1922 during the "German Day" celebration where the SA beat up their opponents. He returned again to Coburg a decade after where, on October 15, he was given the freedom of the city.
The Ortsgruppenfeier Coburg in its column of "Alten Kämpfer" down Adolf-Hitler-Straße (now Bahnhofstraße) towards Sonneberg; the view today is further down.
The Altes Schützenhaus on Schützenstraße where, on 15 October 1937 Hitler arrived from the Obersalzberg for the last time to "dear old Coburg" for the 15th Anniversary of his "train to Coburg"in which
[t]he most high-profile operation for the SA came in October 1922 when Hitler and his most loyal supporters travelled to Coburg to hold a meeting. Upon arrival at the town’s station, the visit developed into a military campaign. It came as close as civilian life could to recapturing the ‘Fronterlebnis’ (the experience of fighting at the Front). 
There was a deputation of the big-wigs in Koburg [sic] awaiting us at the station, all very solemn and proper in frock coats and top hats. But they got the shock of their lives, I can tell you, when they saw what sort of ‘accompaniment’ Herr Hitler had brought along. I was close up to them, there on the platform, and heard what they said to him.
We must earnestly beg you to control your following! The city of Koburg explicitly forbids these men to march through the streets in rank and file with flags flying. It would be highly provocative of disorder. Our Leader was a bit astonished at this and asked for explanations. What sort of trouble, then, did they expect? They said there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding in the City over the organisation of the festival and its promoters had had to give a strict guarantee that nothing would be done in the least likely to provoke the Communists. Hitler received this with undisguised scorn. What kind of ‘patriotic’ day did they suppose could be held if the Communists were to have it all their own way! ‘Good Lord)!’ he said, ‘aren’t we in Bavaria? Haven’t we the right to move about as we like?’ Whereupon he turned sharply round, much to the discomfiture of the deputation, and gave us the word to move off. We of the 3rd Company [of the SA] marched two by two into the town on both sides of the band, and sure enough soon encountered storms of abuse from the crowds on route. Hitler led and we followed. At the fire station they were ready to turn the hoses on to us, but just didn’t – at the critical moment. Stones, however, began to fly around. Then things got hotter. The Reds set upon us with iron rods and cudgels. That was going a bit too far. Hitler swung round, flourished his walking-stick (that was the signal), and we flung ourselves upon our assailants. We were unarmed save for our fists, but we put up so good a fight that within fifteen minutes not a Red was left to be seen. So we arrived finally at the place in the centre of the city where the meeting was to be held. When it was over we formed up to betake ourselves to the Schützenhalle, a big hall on the outskirts of Koburg where we were to spend the night. On the way the former racket got up again. Hitler decided once and for all to lay this Red menace here, and gave us the word of command. We counter-attacked for all we knew. It was jolly hard work, I can tell you! They rained tiles on us from the roof and windows and tore up the cobble stones for missiles. I got a thundering blow on the head which had to be attended to before I could carry on. I only found out afterwards how serious the wound was. We reached the Schützenhalle and dossed down, without undressing, on a thin spreading of straw. Hitler turned in amongst us, on the floor like the rest. But first he set the watches, and arranged for patrols. He came in quite the old soldier over this, anxious to provide against possible surprise. I was detailed, with another man, for patrol work. Our watch began at 2 a.m. We cast around a bit at some distance from the hall and found ourselves creeping through a spinney in its neighbourhood. We caught a glitter – made cautiously in that direction. Detected two of the enemy with their party- masks off. One of them had a revolver in his belt, the other carried hand- grenades.
‘So they’d try that dirty trick’, I thought, and rage seized me at the thought of that whole barnful of sleeping men being suddenly blown sky-high into the night. At a concerted signal my comrade and I flung ourselves upon the pair, and for the next few seconds there was a beserker struggle in the underbush. We got them under, and unarmed them. We tied them up good and tight and went through their pockets. There were a few ‘egg bombs’ to be sequestered in the latter. Then we marched them into quarters. I could hardly stand, myself; the blood was pouring from the wound in my head, and blinding my eyes. I turned the precious pair over to Hitler and showed him the bombs. He looked ugly at that, but made no further sign. Quietly he ordered the captives to be taken to a room at the back, beckoned to a hefty couple of our chaps, furnished them with a stout stick apiece, and signed to them to get busy within. Some time afterwards the two would-be bomb throwers were seen to leave our camp, very much sadder and very much wiser men. It is to be doubted if they’ll forget the whalloping and basting they got that night to the last day of their lives. On the Sunday morning we all took an oath of fidelity to the Cause, and then marched off to have a look at the Castle Koburg. 
Heinz A. Heinz (pp. 151 ff.) Germany’s Hitler
In the marketplace he spoke before 10,000 people, including 1,300 holders of the Golden Party Badge during which he declared "With Coburg I made ​​politics:"
At that time, our recipe was: if you do not want to let [us] talk of your own accord, we will use force to make you do it. [—] That battle of the force of reason versus the democracy of force lasted for two days, and after two days this reason, supported by the will of a thousand German men, came away with the victory! It was thus that the battle for this city became a milestone in the evolution of our Movement. This was the recipe we used throughout the Reich to clear the way for the National Socialist idea and thus to conquer Germany. [—]
Loyalty and obedience, discipline and self-sacrifice: if the German Volk continues to devote itself to these ideals in the future as well, it will solve every problem and master every task!
Back then, millions might still have been able to doubt; yet who can continue today to doubt his Volk, Germany and its future? We old fighters, we know that we have always reached our goal until now! And in the future, Germany will reach its life-goal, too, for our Movement is Germany, and Germany is the National Socialist Movement!
Overall, Hitler visited Coburg fourteen times.
Children giving the Hitler greeting in 1936 in the marktplatz
Adolf-Hitler-Haus on the corner of Viktoriastraße and Ernstplatz in its glory, after being bombed, and the site today- a Sparkasse. The building had been bought by the Nazi Party in October 1933 for 60,000 Reichsmarks and rebuilt according to plans by Reinhard Claassen, named after Hitler the following year and serving as the local Nazi party headquarters. It was modelled on the Brown House of the NSDAP in Munich. During the Battle of Coburg in April 1945 the building was destroyed and eventually demolished in 1955.
 
The  Landsmannschaft Denkmal in the Hofgarten then and now
Schloss Callenberg, the former summer residence of the Duke of Coburg, sporting a wooden swastika atop its tower in 1938, now long removed.


Curt Riess, writing in 1944 before the end of the war, described him as follows:
And the head of the German Red Cross, the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, one of the most violent Nazis, has excellent connections abroad—so excellent, in fact, that when he visited Washington in 1940, when the Germans there were already being boycotted, for the rape of Poland had aroused public opinion against them—he cut quite a figure in Washington society. The Nazis are counting on the duke’s international relations to help them after the war. With him at its head the German Red Cross, they believe, will be able to survive in its present form, since the Allies, or so they fondly hope, will look upon him as a Red Cross official rather than as a Nazi. Thus the German Red Cross would form an ideal front for the coming Nazi underground. 
The Nazis go Underground: A Startling Expose of How the Germans Are Planning for World War III
 
The coat of arms was replaced during the Nazi-era, lasting 1934-1945 before reverting back 
 
Another change was when Mohrenstraße was replaced by Straße der SA. The latter made a return briefly for a documentary, as did the Nazi-era arms. The old enamelled street sign was borrowed from the Coburg collection and attached with the approval of the public affairs office for a short time.

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

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

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

Soon it was decided that Flossenbürg should be preserved as a monument (Gedenkstätte) and a museum. Today you can find here the cemetery, the Kommandatur, a chapel, guard towers, a monument and an pyramid consisting of the ashes of the prisoners that died in the concentration camp.


Three guard watch towers remain
The “Kommandantur” of concentration camp Flossenbuerg was used by the administration of the camp for registration of the inmates and assignment to work either in the Flossenbuerg quarry, the nearby Messerschmitt factory or one of the several sub camps. All inmates had to pass through the central portal of the Kommandantur and where lead to the prisoner camp lying behind the building.
In 8th of April 1945 Dietrich Bonhoeffer was transferred as one of the last of over 100.000 prisoners to the camp. As a member of the “Bekennende Kirche” and of the wider circle of organizers of the failed plot to kill Hitler on the 20th of July 1944 he was brought to Flossenbuerg together with other members of this circle on personal order of Hitler and Kaltenbrunner. 

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

Many Flossenbuerg inmates died of starvation, exhaustion or random violence. Certain ethic, especially jewish people and other groups of inmates became target of planned mass killings by the SS starting 1941.
The victims were led out of sight of the other prisoners but always watched by the watchtowers to a closed section of the camp - called valley of death - where they were killed and their bodies burned. Over 30.000 lost their lives in the Flossenbuerg concentration camp between 1938 and 1945.
In the morning of the 9th of April Bonnhoefer, Canaris, Oster, Dr. Sack and Gehre where murdered one after the other after having to completely undress in front of the detention barracks.
On April 23rd, the US Army reached the Flossenbuerg concentration camp, where they found 1,500 critically ill inmates. The majority of surviving prisoners had departed on death marches. The last death march prisoners were finally liberated by Allied troops on May 8th.
After freeing the camp the US Army ordered all inhabitants of Flossenbuerg to exhume the dead bodies found within the camp and to bury the remains in a newly create cemeteries in the middle of the village of Flossenbuerg. The cemetery still exists in the same place today.
 The 'Square of Nations' memorial to the nationalities of the prisioners that were interned and died in Flossenbürg.

At the entrance, the original gate posts emblazoned with the standard legend 'Arbeit Macht Frei' have been placed.
In Flossenbürg, members of the punishment company were compelled to load heavy stones on their backs at the foot of the slag heap and run around with them in the morass until they finally collapsed. There was also the “moor hole,” a swamp one hundred meters long and forty meters wide in a small hollow; at its deepest point, a grown man could stand with his head barely protruding above the surface. Granite blocks were loaded on the backs of prisoners, and they were then forced to run at double time down the slope. Those who collapsed under the heavy load while still on dry ground were beaten and forced to rush further down into the moor hole. They were supposed to “rest” down there for a while, with the stone slabs supported on their shoulders. If they still had some strength, they survived; if they were too weak, the stones pressed them down into the swampy morass. 

Landsberg am Lech

Forty miles west of Munich, this is where, in 1924, Hitler spent 264 days incarceration after being convicted of treason after the failed Munich Beer Hall Putsch the previous year. During this time Hitler dictated and then wrote his book Mein Kampf with assistance from his deputy, Rudolf Hess. Hitler had taken the cell that had held Anton Graf von Arco-Valley who had murdered Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner in February 1919.

Posed propaganda shot by Heinrich Hoffmann and Hitler's return in 1934 after taking power.
Conditions were not actually so bad in this ‘cross between a spa hotel and a barracks’. Wooden partitions were erected to give the prisoners privacy. They were allowed to mix to such an extent that Hitler dictated Mein Kampf while there, and received visitors freely. Party insignia were hung from the walls and other Nazis stood to attention before dinner when Hitler entered the hall and took his seat. Perhaps helped by the singularly mild rules of the institution, Hitler was regarded by the warders as a model prisoner. Upon Hitler’s release in December 1924, the prison governor said that if anyone could save Germany, it would be this man.
Martyn Housden (57) Hitler: Study of a Revolutionary?

The gaol in 1924 after the release of the putschists and as it appears today.
After his release, Hitler posed outside the town's Bayerntor, built in 1425. He returned to pose in 1934 after taking power. From 1937 to 1945 the prison cell at Landsberg am Lech became the third central site of pilgrimage next to Munich , the "City of the movement" , and Nuremberg , the "City of the Party Rallies." Its slogan during the Third Reich was 'Landsberg - Town of youth' and became known additionally as the meeting place of the Hitler Youth- Following the party rallies of 1937 and 1938 delegations of the Hitler Youth marched across the German Reich as part of the "confessional march of the Hitler Youth" to Landsberg . It would culminate with swastika flags, banners and HJ torchlight rallies at the Landsberger main square and in the atrium of the fortress prison. In the words of Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach, Landsberg was a "pilgrimage of German youth" and the "station of National Socialist education." The gaol with its "Hitler cell" was to be converted into the largest youth hostel largest of the Reich.  The plan also saw the creation of a gigantic parade stadium, which would have had greater dimensions than the entire historic old town. As German troops invaded Poland September 1 1939 , the "Adolf Hitler march " was canceled following the " Party Rally of Peace" . As early as 1933 the city Lech marketed with all its available resources itself as the "Hitlerstadt" or "Stadt des Führers"and "Birthplace of the ideas of National Socialism." This "Hitler tourism" brought economic recovery and by 1938 100,000 tourists visited the 'Hitler cell.'
From 1933 onwards, the city marketed itself using various sobriquets: Hitler City, City of the Führer, National Socialist Site of Pilgrimage and Birthplace of the Ideas of National Socialism. In 1938, 100,000 visitors came to Landsberg, most incorporating a glimpse of Hitler’s former prison cell into their tour. Eventually, the town received the official honorific City of Youth, because it welcomed thousands of Hitler Youth members in 1937 and 1938 for massive Adolf Hitler marches. The delegates also visited the prison – which had plans to become the biggest youth hostel in the Reich – and received a copy of Mein Kampf as a souvenir.
 
The 'Hitler-Zelle'
 
Alte Bergstraße hasn't changed much
 
The Hauptplatz on September 19 1937 during a rally of Hitlerjugend and today 
video
From the film „Der Marsch zum Führer" showing Hitlerjugend marching to commemorate Hitler's imprisonment in Landsberg am Lech, the final rally in the main square of the city and the address of the Reich Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach. Unlike the earlier Leni Riefenstahl Nuremberg documentaries, it does not focus on the Party congress itself, or on Nazi leaders, who are not shown until the very end of the film. Instead, it follows HJ boys from various parts of Nazi Germany beginning their journey, camping along the route, being taken in by helpful families on the way and marching through cities in formation, saluting and carrying the swastika banner.

The  "Schöner Turm" bedecked with swastikas in 1937 and today
 
as is the statue in front of the rathaus although here covered by the banners of the Hitlerjugend
 
The Mutterturm seems to have had a fresh coat of paint recently


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Das Kriegsgefangenen-Mannschafts-Stammlager VII A (kurz: Stalag VII A) war ein Kriegsgefangenenlager der deutschen Wehrmacht, das im Herbst 1939 im Norden der Stadt Moosburg an der Isar (Oberbayern) zwischen Amper und Isar auf halbem Weg zwischen Freising und Landshut an einer Eisenbahnlinie (separate Bahnstation) errichtet wurde. Gegen Ende des Zweiten Weltkriegs waren dort und in seinen Nebenlagern 80.000 Kriegsgefangene vieler Nationalitäten interniert. Es gilt als größtes Kriegsgefangenenlager innerhalb Deutschlands. Ein Drittel des Lagergebiets diente als Kriegsgefangenenlager sowjetischer Offiziere. Das Lager wurde am 29. April 1945 von in Richtung München vorstoßenden US-amerikanischen Truppen befreit. Später diente es als Internierungslager. Ab 1948 entstand auf dem Gelände der Moosburger Stadtteil Neustadt.  Inhaltsverzeichnis      1 Geschichte     2 Befreiung und Nachkriegszeit     3 Gedenken     4 Siehe auch     5 Weblinks  Geschichte  Die Planungen zur Errichtung des Kriegsgefangenenlagers wurden bereits im September 1939, kurz nach dem Beginn des Zweiten Weltkriegs, angestoßen. Das Generalkommando des Wehrkreises VII in München nahm dazu ein zwischen den Flüssen Isar und Amper gelegenes Areal nördlich von Moosburg a. d. Isar in Aussicht. Binnen 14 Tagen sollte hier ein Lager für 10.000 Kriegsgefangene entstehen.  Die ersten Gefangenen kamen am 19. Oktober 1939. Sie wurden zunächst provisorisch in Zelten untergebracht. In der Halle einer angrenzenden Kunstdüngerfabrik wurde eine Entlausungsanstalt errichtet. Ab 1940 wurden zusätzliche Baracken errichtet. Bis zum Sommer 1940 war die Fläche des Lagers auf 350.000 m² angewachsen.  Anfänglich wurden in dem Lager hauptsächlich Polen und Ukrainer untergebracht. Nach dem Westfeldzug 1940 wurden zunehmend Franzosen (und Soldaten der polnischen Einheiten in Frankreich) nach Moosburg deportiert, nach dem Überfall auf die Sowjetunion auch eine große Zahl sowjetischer Gefangener. Bis Ende des Krieges wuchs die Zahl der Insassen auf 80.000 an (darunter waren alleine etwa 200 Generale); sie wurden in umliegenden Industriebetrieben, in der Landwirtschaft und im Gewerbe eingesetzt. Zehntausende Kriegsgefangene waren in Nebenlagern und Arbeitskommandos in der Umgebung untergebracht. Etwa 2000 deutsche Wachmannschaften des 512. Landeschützen-Bataillons waren in einem eigenen Kasernenbereich zwischen Moosburg und dem Stalag stationiert. Moosburg selbst zählte dagegen damals noch deutlich unter 10.000 Einwohner.  Durch die Anwesenheit des Lagers blieb das gesamte Umland von Bombardierungen verschont. Befreiung und Nachkriegszeit  Am 29. April 1945 wurde das Lager von einer Einheit der 14. Panzerdivision der United States Army unter General Charles H. Karlstad befreit, wobei die Übergabe relativ geordnet und nahezu kampflos vonstattenging. Die Brücke über die Isar wurde von der Wehrmacht verteidigt und noch gesprengt.  Das Gelände wurde zu einem Internierungslager für deutsche Zivilisten umfunktioniert, die für ihre Tätigkeit während der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden sollten; das „Civilian Internment Camp No. 6“. Zeitweilig waren bis zu 12.000 Deutsche auf dem Gelände in Haft. 1948 gab die US-Militärregierung das Lager auf und übertrug das Gelände an den Freistaat Bayern.  Er errichtete hier neue Wohnungen für zahlreiche Heimatvertriebene. Aus dieser Ansiedlung entstand in den Folgejahren der neue Moosburger Stadtteil Neustadt, so dass wenige Bauten noch an das Lager erinnern. Drei verbliebene Baracken der Wachmannschaft wurden nach Abbruchplänen der Stadt Moosburg am 15. Februar 2013 in die Bayerische Denkmalliste aufgenommen. Gedenken  Tote des Stalag VII A wurden auf dem Friedhof Oberreit (Ortsteil in Richtung Thonstetten) bestattet. Es soll sich um 1000 bis 2000 Tote, davon 800 sowjetische Soldaten, gehandelt haben. Ohne Grab starben die Sowjetsoldaten, die zur Ermordung in die Konzentrationslager deportiert wurden.  1958 wurden die Überreste der Toten auf den Soldatenfriedhof in Schwabstadl, Landkreis Landsberg, umgebettet und der Friedhof aufgelassen. Dabei haben 756 Sowjetsoldaten, 59 Jugoslawen, 6 Polen, 5 Rumänen und ein Grieche in der Anlage in Schwabstadl ihre letzte Ruhestätte gefunden. Die Überreste von 33 italienischen Soldaten wurden in die Italienische Kriegsgräberstätte im Waldfriedhof nach München umgebettet.  Erst 1982 wurde vor Ort ein Gedenkkreuz errichtet und feierlich geweiht. Dabei waren neben staatlichen Repräsentanten auch Vertreter der französischen Lagergemeinschaft anwesend.