Showing posts with label Wewelsburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wewelsburg. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (2)

Continued from Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (1)
Wewelsburg (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Original plans of the SS-project of August 5, 1940, signed by Heinrich Himmler and architect Hermann Bartels.
After the war and today 

Wewelsburg is apparently the only triangular-shaped castle in Germany, built at the beginning of the 17th century in the village of Wewelsburg. After 1934, it was used by the ϟϟ under Heinrich Himmler and was to be expanded into the central ϟϟ-cult-site. After 1941, plans were developed to enlarge it to be the so-called "Centre of the World". In 1950, the castle was reopened as a museum and youth hostel. (The youth hostel is one of the largest in Germany.) The castle today hosts the Historical Museum of the Prince Bishopric of Paderborn and the Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum.
Himmler with NSDAP-Reichsorganisationsleiter Robert Ley in 1937 and with his architect Bartels
While travelling through Westphalia during the Nazi electoral campaign of January 1933, Himmler was profoundly affected by the atmosphere of the region, with its romantic castles and the mist- (and myth-) shrouded Teutoburger Forest. After deciding to take over a castle for SS use, he returned to Westphalia in November and viewed the Wewelsburg castle, which he appropriated in August 1934 with the intention of turning it into an ideological-education college for SS officers. Although at first belonging to the Race and Settlement Main Office, the Wewelsburg castle was placed under the control of Himmler's Personal Staff in February 1935.  
Alan Baker (98-99) Invisible Eagle: The History of Nazi Occultism
In 1934 Himmler signed a 100-mark 100-year lease with the Paderborn district, intending to renovate and redesign the castle as a Reichsführerschule ϟϟ after Karl Maria Wiligut advised him based on the Westphalian legend of the "Battle at the birch tree". It was to be enlarged to a ϟϟ-Führerschule. Besides physical training, a uniform ideological orientation of the leading cadre of the ϟϟ was to be realised. Courses for ϟϟ-officers in pre- and early history, mythology, archaeology, astronomy and art were intended and, from 1939, the castle was also furnished with miscellaneous objects of art, including prehistoric objects, objects of past historical eras, and works of contemporary sculptors and painters (mainly works by such artists as Karl Diebitsch, Wolfgang Willrich, and Hans Lohbeck—that is, art comporting with the aesthetics of National Socialism). In 1938 Himmler ordered the return of all Death's head rings (Totenkopfringe) of dead ϟϟ-men and officers to be stored in a chest in the castle as a symbol of the ongoing membership of the decedent in the ϟϟ-Order. The whereabouts of the approximately 11,500 rings is still unknown.

Himmler's plans included making it the "centre of the new world" ("Zentrum der neuen Welt") following the "final victory" but only detailed plans and models exist. It was to be finished within twenty years. The complex was to be a centre of the "kind accordant" religion (artgemäße Religion) and a representative estate for the ϟϟ-Führerkorps (SS leader corps) If the plans had been realised, the entire village of Wewelsburg and adjacent villages would have disappeared. The population was to be resettled and the valley flooded.
The guardhouse has had its ϟϟ runes chipped out, but in a way that makes them easily recognisable
The North Tower then and now

The Obergruppenführersaal as it appears today
The mausoleum beneath the Obergruppenführer hall. 
Inside the vault at the very top of the roof, a swastika remains. This "vault, built after the model of Mycenaean domed tombs was hewn into the rock which possibly was to serve for some kind of commemoration of the dead. The room is unfinished. The floor was lowered 4.80 meters. In the middle of the vault probably a bowl with an eternal flame was planned. In the middle of the floor a gas pipe is embedded. Around the presumed place for the eternal flame at the wall twelve pedestals are placed. Their meaning is unknown. Above the pedestals wall niches existed. In the zenith of the vault a swastika (which ends run out in an ornamental way) is walled in. Despite its antisemitic connotation the swastika (Hakenkreuz) was also understood as "the symbol of the creating, acting life" (das Symbol des schaffenden, wirkenden Lebens) and as "race emblem of Germanism" (Rasseabzeichen des Germanentums). The vault has special acoustics and illumination.
 Before and after the war
Düsseldorf (Westphalia)
The Reichsausstellung Schaffendes Volk (The Reich's Exhibition of a Productive People) of 1937 was held in the North Park district of Düsseldorf, Germany, along one mile of the Rhine shoreline. It was opened on May 8, 1937 by Hermann Göring. Through October of the same year it attracted more than six million visitors. Planned in secret and deliberately designed as a rival to the 1937 International Exposition of Modern Life in Paris, the exhibition was meant to showcase the domestic accomplishments of the National Socialists in new housing, art, and science during their four years in power. The fair's director was Dr. Ernst Poensgen. The exhibition was laid out in four main divisions: industry and economics, land utilization and city planning, material progress (with an emphasis on progress in synthetics), and arts and culture.
The two huge horses and horsemen sculpted out of granite for the Reichsaustellung Schaffendes Volk. Due to wrangles the exhibition, opened in the presence of Goering, ran with these monumental statues in an unfinished state - the right hand one extremely so. It was only in 1940 that the sculptor, Edwin Scharff, was allowed to complete the project, having suffered a ban at the hands of the regime in the meantime.
The fountains here were the centre piece of the exhibition. This was the so-called Wasserachse, which was the centrepiece of the Gardenschau , surrounded by 12 Sculptures. In the background, the former Ehrenhalle der Partei which contained the administrative offices for the Reichs Exhibition, ticket booths and a restaurant.
The statues carved for the exhibition may still be seen, such as Zimmermann's 'Bauer,' 'Bäuerin,' Hoselmann's 'Falkner' and Zschorsch's 'Winzerin' shown here. There were originally a dozen but some are missing.
The Marketplatz during an induction ceremony for 10-14 year old boys into the “Deutsche Jungvolk“ of the Hitler-Jugend in either April 1937 or 1939.
Düsseldorf's Adolf Hitler Platz with its Kugelspielerin has now reverted back to Graf-Adolf-Platz
Die Kugelspielerin in the 1930s and today

Hitler’s two-and-a-half hour speech to the Industry Club took place here at the Parkhotel on January 27, 1932, probably the most important speech Hitler gave before becoming chancellor a year later, helping overcome the skepticism of many in the business community about the putative socialism of the Nazi Party. The speech, later published as a pamphlet, was carefully constructed to appeal to the economic and political interests of his affluent and influential audience. Hitler emphasised the importance of personality, the distinction of the German nation, and the beneficence of struggle. His critique of democracy and praise of racial and political hierarchy struck a responsive chord. Study of this speech my help to understand why so many of Germany’s conservative economic elite were prepared to accept Hitler’s leadership despite his record and reputation as Jew-baiting rabble-rouser.
Hitler’s major argument was that only the Nazis could prevent the eventual triumph of Bolshevism in Germany. Only the Nazis could provide the Weltanschauung to overcome the debilitating class conflict Marxism had supposedly created, the Weimar multi-party “system” had fostered, and the depression had exacerbated. Only they could restore unity to the nation, and the nation to its former greatness. Only they could hold democracy and its discontents in check. Hitler projected an optimistic attitude of self-reliance that closely corresponded to the entrepreneurial mindset of successful businessmen. They would readily have agreed with him that it was inconsistent and counterproductive to adhere to the “leadership principle,” individual achievement and competition, and private property in the economy, but to favour democracy, the egalitarian principle, pacifism, and internationalism in politics. What democracy is to politics, Hitler warned, communism is to the economy. 
The talk has an inspirational quality that enabled Hitler to evoke enthusiasm even among serious and level-headed people. Hitler took the line that Germany, with its inherent racial value, could solve the problems of the depression without depending on outside help. He portrayed the Nazi Party as motivated by idealism and faith, qualities that alone could save the nation from distributional conflicts and left-wing subversion. He also made frequent use of historical references, invoking the Thirty Years’ War as an example of the perils of national disunity, and the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914 as an example of the unified national purpose that Germany would have to recapture if it wished to regain the power and prosperity it once had. His refusal, however, to blame Germany’s troubles solely on the Versailles Treaty or the world economic crisis was directed against the government of Chancellor Brüning, who contended that German revival could be brought about simply by ending or reducing German reparations payments.
Hitler’s speech is also noteworthy for what it did not contain. In deference to his hosts, a business group that included some Jews and persons of mixed ancestry, Hitler avoided any explicit denunciation of Jews. He knew that the anti-capitalist implications of rabble-rousing anti-Semitism would not endear him to “respectable” conservatives. He did not exercise similar restraint, however, in asserting the superiority of the “white race” and its right to colonial dominance. He apparently assumed that this was an uncontroversial point of view that most of his audience shared. Anti-Semitism was implied, on the other hand, in his reference to the “ferment of decomposition,” a phrase first applied to the Jewish influence in the ancient Roman Empire by the great classical historian Theodor Mommsen.
 Introduced by the industrial magnate Fritz Thyssen, he spoke before the Industry Club in Düsseldorf. As at nearly all major speeches in 1932, he was attired in a dark-blue, double-breasted suit with a black tie. Most of the captains of industry gathered at Düsseldorf witnessed Hitler’s oratory for the first time, and most of them were unquestionably opposed to him at the commencement of his two-and-a-half-hour address. They mistrusted the NSDAP—its very name hinted of Socialism—and expected at best a crude rendering of party propaganda. Although Hitler essentially expounded the same themes he treated in his mass rallies, the skeptical leaders of industry soon fell prey to his oratorical skill. Here Hitler again utilized his standard method of tiring his audience. For one and a half hours he held forth on lengthy “philosophical” explanations of the alleged causes of the world crisis, on the values of the individual and the Volk, on the principles of struggle and achievement, on the Herrensinn in economics and politics, etc. When he had reached the conclusion that all of his listeners, including those who were antagonistic, were thoroughly confused and hence incapable of any intellectual resistance, he proceeded to the more tangible passages and confronted his now highly receptive audience with the imminent threat of Communism. At this point he began juggling with figures and percentages. He claimed point-blank that fifty percent of the German population had Bolshevist leanings; the question was how to create a strong and healthy Germany under these circumstances. Soon he began to cite nationalistic slogans to his awakening audience. The World War, he claimed, had been lost due to the spiritual aberration of Marxism. Only the Machtstaat could combat the disease in the economy. It was essential for Germany to maintain an army of eight million reservists. A single supreme command should govern the state, just as in the army or, even better, in a company! He himself had been a mere nameless German soldier “with a very small zinc number on his breast”; today he and his Party comprised the German Volk’s only remaining assets. And even if he were only the drummer of national Germany, this in itself would be a great statesmanlike deed. The means for Germany’s recovery were “the restoration of a healthy, national, powerful body politic, intolerant and relentless against those who do not acknowledge the vital interests of the nation and otherwise open to friendship and peace with anyone who wants friendship and peace.” These closing words brought Hitler tumultuous, long drawn-out applause. But this was not all: he was granted access to German industry’s Nibelungenschatz, a secret fund for combating Bolshevism. This meant that the Party’s strained financial situation was restored to good order for the approaching presidential election. As Goebbels noted, it was improving “from day to day.” 
Domarus (87-88) The Complete Hitler 

Another place name that has reverted Albert-Leo-Schlageter-Allee to Königs-Allee
Schloss Jägerhof in 1935 with the swastika above and today
The Nazi eagle over the entrance of police headquarters at Jürgensplatz remains, but is covered by a plaque reading "All are equal before the law." Built from 1929 to 1932, this served as headquarters for representatives of the ϟϟ Upper Section West, the 20th ϟϟ regiment, the 6th ϟϟ Rider standard and the 4th ϟϟ Lieutenant Colonel.
In June 1933, the ϟϟ-group leader Fritz Weitzel was appointed to President-Polizeiprä. Weitzel was had joined the ϟϟ at the age of 22, and was only 29 years old when he was police chief although he was considered in Nazi circles as incompetent.
From 30 January 1933 to 8th May 1945, 7101 men and 851 women imprisoned as opponents of the Nazis. Many prisoners were handed over to the Gestapo for interrogation.
 St. Benediktus  behind the ruins of the Hitlereiche guesthouse and now
The grave in Nordfriedhof cemetery of Ernst Eduard vom Rath, a German diplomat remembered for his assassination in Paris in 1938 by a Jewish young man, Herschel Grynszpan, which touched off Reichskristallnacht- the so-called Night of Broken Glass.

Moers am Niederrhein

Königlichen Hof then and now

Mülheim an der Ruhr 

One memorial that hasn't survived is this, replacing the earlier one form the Great War shown in the Nazi-era postcard and today.
Military parade at Viktoriaplatz before General Klutman to mark Hitler's birthday in 1939.
The Wehrmacht marching down Schloßstraße, now pedestrianised
 First day at school, 1939; note the hakenkreuz in the background
  The Nazi eagle that adorns the Kolpinghaus on Steinkopfstraße which, from 1936, served as the Nazi Party headquarters.
The synagogue before (during an SA demonstration in 1934), during and after Reichskristallnacht November 8-9, 1939
Wallstraße before the war and today
  Bombentreffer at a Flak station on Wiener Platz in May 1944 and the site today
In his postwar memoir, Hajo Herrmann, flying with the so-called 'Wild Boars' to intercept the enemy bombers, described the situation:
We were not flying above General Hintz's flak but over Cologne-Mulheim, in the area of the 7th Flakdivision, which was illuminating bombers and fighters indiscriminately. They fired on us without paying any heed to our flashing belly and navigation lights. Searchlight beams were concentrated around us, and ahead of us we heard the thunder of our artillery. In the intoxication of that summer night's battle we forgot the countless flak splinters and other dangers that faced us, and we tore into the witch's cauldron hot with anger and spurred with enthusiasm. This was Wilde Sau pure and simple.
However, even without the assistance of the flak, Herrmann still owed a large part of his unit's success to ground-based air defenses. In fact, the wild boar procedure relied completely on either searchlights or flak to provide illumination for the initial intercept, thereby allowing the fighters to press home their attacks. Admittedly, it was the fighters that finished off the bombers, but ground-based air defenses provided the necessary conditions for ensuring this outcome.
Westermann (142) Flak German Anti-aircraft Defences 1914-1945
The city under intense bombing October 29, 1944
An example of a single building transformed through war- Freiheit 54 in 1930, 1945, 1995 and today
The current 'Kulturbunker' today and in use during the war in 1943

Siegen (North Rhine-Westphalia)
The Siegener Krönchen einst und jetzt
Kölner Str
What's left of the Nikolai Kirche; the Kaiser Wilhelm Denkmal was destroyed in 1942 


The Jugendherberge in Hilchenbach, kreis Siegen, then, when it served the Hitlerjugend, and today

Bochum (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Generaldirektor of the Bochumer Vereins, Walter Borbet, an key executive of the United Steel Works, with Hitler at the Werk Höntrop on April 14, 1935 and the site today.
Another example of vandalism directed towards a relic of the Nazi era was this kriegerdenkmal honouring the fallen of the 4th Magdeburg Infantry Regiment No. 67 of the Great War. Based on a design by the sculptor Walter Becker and inaugurated in August 1935, it consisted of Ruhr sandstone brick, in front of which were two larger than life warriors who symbolised the imperial army and the Nazi Wehrmacht. The monument was an example of Nazi martial arts and his consecration was an attempt to prepare  the population ideologically for future military conflict.
In February 1983, an unknown party sawed through the bronze figures; they have not been replaced.
The Nazi eagle over the entrance to the former air raid shelter at Boltestraße 38, dated 1941-1942, remains, denuded of its swastika. Peukert, in Die KPD im Widerstand (88) reports that in the city of Bochum leading Communists were brutally beaten by the SA, pummelled through the streets and left lying at a street corner. This event led to an "atmosphere of paralysis" among the workers.
 Much of Bochum has been lost, but the rathaus has remained all but intact. It was in Bochum on January 8, 1942 that the state funeral ordered by Hitler for the leader of the war economy and chairman of the Bochum Association, Dr. Walter Borber, took place with Reich Economics Minister Frick conveying the “Führer’s last greetings.”
The Neues Rathaus and war memorial

Hermannsdenkmal (North Rhine-Westphalia)

Postcard with the caption roughly translated
Where once the leader of the Germans released the German land from the enemy
Blow Hitler´s victory flags, powerfully into the new age.
This monument in North Rhine-Westphalia commemorates the Cherusci war chief Hermann (Arminius) at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in which the Germanic tribes under Arminius recorded a decisive victory in 9 AD over three Roman legions under Varus. Of Arminius, Hitler remarked in rejecting "Czech aspirations for the creation of a national army" that
To teach a nation the handling of arms is to give it a virile education. If the Romans had not recruited Germans in their armies, the latter would never have had the opportunity of becoming soldiers and, eventually, of annihilating their former instructors. The most striking example is that of Arminius, who became Commander of the Third Roman Legion. The Romans instructed the Third in the arts of war, and Arminius afterwards used it to defeat his instructors. At the time of the revolt against Rome, the most daring of Arminius's brothers-in-arms were all Germanics who had served some time or other in the Roman legions.
One of my senior's research essay on the actual location of the battle of Teutoburg Forest

Herford (North Rhine-Westphalia)

This gravestone prompted controversy recently when it was apparently only now realised that it sported a swastika, a banned symbol here in Germany (despite covering numerous official state buildings here as checking out the link to hakenkreuzes will show). For everyone else, however, up to three years in gaol or a fine is the punishment stipulated by the the Penal Code.
The grave itself is to the memory of Hermann Pantförder, a member of the NSDAP since 1925 who died in a car accident on the way from Bielefeld to Herford. At his death, he led over 1,000 storm troopers and was responsible for a number of NSDAP buildings in the area.
In the end, the matter appears to have been resolved when persons unknown took it upon themselves to partially chip the offending symbol away.
The town's railway station was once located on Horst-Wessel-Platz as shown in the period postcard.

 The memorial and its eagle have survived intact 

The Getreidespeicher der RWSG, completed 1934,  in 1940 and today. It was just south of here on April 21, 1945 that Field-Marshal Model, a long-standing favourite of Hitler, committed suicide in a wooded area.

Bielefeld  (North Rhine-Westphalia) Reichsminister Dr. Robert Ley unveiling a statue produced by the Berlin sculptor Ernst Paul Hinckeldey to "Bielefelds bestem Sohn" June 14 1939. Horst Wessel was born in Bielefeld September 9, 1907 and became the Nazis' most famous 'martyrs' after his murder on February 23, 1930. As a teenager Horst Wessel was a leader among the youth group of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party. He would often lead the group into brawls against Communists. But when the organization began viewing him as too extreme he became more involved with the National Socialists and the Stormtroopers (the SA). Eventually in 1926, he abandoned his studies of law at Berlin’s Friedrich Wilhelm University to become a full-time Stormtrooper; as a leader of the SA, he often made speeches and led marches and fights against Communists in the streets. While Berlin was a mainly Liberal and Communist city, with his charisma Horst Wessel began winning over the support and votes of many Berliners for the National Socialists.  He was the author of the lyrics to the song "Die Fahne hoch", usually known as Horst-Wessel-Lied, which became the Nazi Party anthem and, de facto, Germany's co-national anthem from 1933 to 1945. His death also resulted in his becoming the "patron" for the Luftwaffe's 26th Destroyer Wing and the 18th ϟϟ Volunteer Panzergrenadier Division during World War II.After his murder by the German Communist Party in 1930 he became the subject of a major Nazi feature film (Hans Westmar, 1933), becoming the archetypal Nazi hero; much of his legend, a major plank of Nazi mythology, began on the pages of Der Angriff. More about this site at Bill's Bunker
The site where Wessel was born, then and as it appears today on August Bebel Strasse (formerly Horst-Wessel-Strasse)
The swastika being raised at the rathaus on March 6, 1933
The Altes Rathaus from an old print and today 
The Naturfreundehaus when used by Hitlerjugend and today, the swastika replaced with a different device. Kershaw records how the Social Democrats in Bielefeld reported that in August 1941
strong feeling about the ‘provocative behaviour of Jews’ had brought a ban on Jews attending the weekly markets ‘in order to avoid acts of violence’. In addition, there had been general approval, so it was alleged, for an announcement in the local newspapers that Jews would receive no compensation for damage suffered as a result of the war. It was also keenly felt, it was asserted, that Jews should only be served in shops once German customers had had their turn. The threat of resort to self-help and use of force against Jews if nothing was done hung in the air. Ominously, it was nonetheless claimed that these measures would not be enough to satisfy the population. Demands were growing for the introduction of some compulsory mark of identification such as had been worn by Jews in the General Government since the start of the war, in order to prevent Jews from avoiding the restrictions imposed on them.
The Ausstellungshalle after the war, with the roof having fallen through, and its current incarnation. Hitler had spoken here on November 16, 1930.
The Alte Hauptpost then and now
 The Musikhalle in Bürgerpark 
Hitler's picture projected onto it in honour of his birthday, April 20, 1933
Nazi flags and eagles covering the Theatre in 1936, the year Nazi party member Alfred Kruchen took over the directorship.
Münster (North Rhine-Westphalia)
 Prinzipalmarkt festooned with swastikas and today
Nazi eagle actually commandeered to decorate a Munster shopping centre.
At the top of the city's Hauptklinik at 56-58 Esmarchstrasse is a Nazi eagle with the caduceus replacing the swastika.The relief itself dates from 1937-8 and the warriors on the Tympanonrelief created by Hermann Kissenkötter are now lacking their weapons.

 Gremmendorf (Munster)
The Fliegernachrichtenkaserne, later taken over by the British who renamed it the York barracks, replacing the hakenkreuz with the holy Union flag
The reichsadler remains however, albeit in a dilapidated state  

Bad Hamm
The front of the Kurhauses Bad Hamm, the swastika- bedecked Badehaus now gone 

The rathaus in September 1938 and today
Werne (North Rhine-Westphalia)
The war memorial during the Third Reich and what's left of it today