Remaining Nazi Sites in the Saarland

Saarbrücken 
Bishops Franz Rudolf Bornewasser of Trier and Ludwig Sebastian of Speyer giving the Nazi salute along with Reichskommissar for the Reunification of the Saarland to the German Reich Josef Bürkel, Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, and Joseph Goebbels inside the rathaus on March 1, 1935.
 Goebbels provided a weekly illustrated magazine, telling the catholic Saar electorate that the bolsheviks were the sworn enemy of God. In neutral Geneva his ministry’s anti-Comintern unit set up a religious front, Pro Deo, which formally received the anti-bolshevik exhibition that he had prepared in Berlin and sent it on to the Saar camouflaged with Swiss certificates of origin. In the Saar, the catholic clergy publicized the exhibition from their pulpits. ‘ The Saarbrücken clerics never guessed whose errands they were running,’ wrote Eberhard Taubert.
Hitler arriving in front of the Johanneskirche
Nazis marching past the Johanneskirche
Johanneskirche then and now. In the referendum of January 13, 1935, determined by the Treaty of Versailles, the majority of the population (90.8%) of the Saar district voted to rejoin Germany. The vote was administered by the League of Nations which stipulated that 
The propaganda to which each party is entitled should be positive, that is, it should emphasise the reasons that speak in favour of its own point of view, but do not aim to attack the other parties. In any case, it should refrain from treating the other parties in a contemptuous tone and belittling them. Expressions such as 'traitor, murder gang, rabble' and the like cannot be tolerated.
The League had sent four thousand soldiers from Sweden, Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands, including armoured vehicles, uinto the Saarland in the winter of 1934, staging international football tournaments.  On January 6, 1935, the last two major rallies of the two opposing parties took place in the Kieselhumes stadium (united front) and on the Wackenberg sports field (German front) - with record participation of over 100,000 participants each.
 Numerous citizens were forced to flee into exile after political and racist-motivated persecution by the Nazi system immediately after the vote. The new "Gautheater (Westmark)" was built in 1937 and 1938 according to designs by Paul Otto August Baumgarten in neoclassical style. Officially, Saarland was "given" to Saarland for the reconciliation result in 1935, with which the Saarlanders had opted for an annexation to the German Reich, by the then national socialist government, but a large part of the city had to be financed by Saarbrücken. The building was to serve as a "bulwark" against France on the borders of the German Reich, according to the will of the rulers. 
The rathaus on that day and today
 At the end of Adolf-Hitler-Straße in front of the Europa-Galerie 
 In the same year, the synagogue in St. Johann was burnt down in the course of the so-called "Reichskristallnacht", and anti-Semitic excesses of the local SS units took place.  In 1939 Saarbrücken, which was part of the fortifications of the western wall and was in the Red Zone, was cleared at the beginning of the Second World War. The population was brought to safety in an evacuation action in other parts of the German Reich. It was only after the victorious French campaign that the city was allowed to resettle in 1940. Saarbrücken became NSDAP-Gauhauptstadt and seat of the state administration for the Palatinate, the Saarland and the annexed Moselle department. The mayor of Saarbrücken was head of the French town of Forbach in the German region. On October 21 and 22, 1940, the last Saarbrücken Jews were transported to the internment camp in Gurs in the context of the Wagner-Bürckel-Aktion (after Gauleiter Josef Bürckel). From here, most of them had to make their way to the extermination camps in 1944. 
Adolf-Hitler-Straße before and after the war, and today as Bahnhofstraße
Saarbrücken suffered a total of 30 bomb attacks by the Allied air forces, apart from artillery missiles and hunting bomber attacks in the years 1939-1940. The first bomb attack on the city took place in the night from 29 July to 30 July 1942.  In 1943, the Neue Bremm Gestapo camp was built. The camp continued until the Allied troops invaded the winter of 1944-45. The prisoners (among others from France, the Soviet Union, Poland and Great Britain) were mostly transported from there to concentration camps. The number of the murdered is estimated at a few hundred, the total number of inmates at about 20,000.  In the course of the war, Saarbrücken was severely destroyed by bomb attacks by British and American air forces. The heaviest attack took place in the night from the 5th to the 6th of October 1944, when 325 British bombers threw over 350,000 bombs across the city. 361 people died, 45,000 were homeless. Alt-Saarbrücken was almost completely destroyed. A new evacuation of the town was arranged.  The last air raids on Saarbrücken took place on 13 January 1945, ten years after the Saar vote, when the Royal Air Force flew with 274 aircraft, and on the night of March 14/15 1945 until March 21 when American troops marched into the almost empty Saarbrücken. The urban area was destroyed in the center to 90% and in the peripheral areas to 60%. The dams of destruction lay on both sides of the Saar and the railway line, reaching from the Bismarck bridge to Malstatt-Burbach. Of the houses, 43% were totally destroyed, 35% were light to medium-heavy and only 21% remained undamaged. The latter were located in the quarters to the left of the river Saar in the direction of St. Arnual, Feldmannstraße and Hohenwacht as well as to the right of the Saar on the Rotenbühl.

Bahnhofstraße then and now


The hauptbahnhof itself with Hitler during a march, after the war, and its current replacement.  
The Winterberg Monument was a war memorial on the Winterberg in Saarbrücken built on an artificial hill. The 30 metre high tower monument commemorates the victory of Prussia at the Battle of Spichern on August 6, 1870. After the annexation of the Saar area to Germany on March 1, 1935, the Winterberg Tower was set up as a triumphant victory sign with a large illuminated swastika. On September 10, 1939, the monument was blown up by the German Wehrmacht in order not to give the enemy artillery a point of reference during the Second World War. Today, only the reconstructed pedestal is preserved with stairs, which is a listed building.  In connection with this measure, the Hindenburg Tower, the Alexander Tower near Böckweiler and several Saarland church towers were also blown up in Berus.

Saarländisches Staatstheater
The Saarland national theatre was officially opened in 1938 by Adolf Hitler as the Gautheater Saarpfalz. The following year on May 16, Hitler attended a performance of Karl Millöcker’s operetta Gräfin Dubarry here. "Incidentally, the foundations of the theatre building formed part of the West Wall’s substructure along the Saar River (Doramus p.1610)."

The  Ludwigskirche during the Third Reich and today. During the Second World War, Ludwigskirche was almost completely destroyed. After a bombing on October 5, 1944, only the surrounding walls remained. Rebuilding began in 1949, however it has still not been completed. The main reason for this long delay was the fierce dispute, which lasted from the 1950s into the 1970s, about whether the baroque interior, which had been completely lost, should also be reconstructed according to the original plans. At first, it had been agreed to restore the exterior, with a modern interior, but this plan was finally abandoned. After the reconstruction of the "Fürstenstuhl" (i.e., the princely seating in the gallery across from the organ) in 2009, the interior is more or less complete, but some of the balustrade figures on the outside are still lacking.
 
The Evangelischen Vereinshaus, Wartburg in 1935 and today

Saarlouis


The Ludwigskirche after the war and today. After the First World War, French troops occupied Saarlouis. The Saargebiet became a protectorate of the League of Nations for a period of 15 years. In 1933, a considerable number of anti-Nazi Germans fled to the Saar, as it was the only part of Germany left outside the Third Reich's control. As a result, anti-Nazi groups campaigned heavily for the Saarland to remain under control of League of Nations as long as Adolf Hitler ruled Germany.  Saarland was a refuge for opponents of Hitler as politicians, writers, intellectuals from all over the country arrived. With his song "Stop the Saar, comrades!" Bertolt Brecht called on the Saarlanders to vote against Hitler: "The Germany we want / Must be another Germany." War correspondent Robert Capa (later famous for his photos from the wars in Spain and Vietnam) documented the tense situation on the Saar. The writers Heinrich and Thomas Mann, Kurt Tucholsky, film director Max Ophüls and artist John Heartfield also promoted the »Status Quo«. The Saarland press, then still free, and the numerous refugees from the Reich reported on Hitler's crimes.
Although Hitler couldn't actually enter Saarland,  he staged mass spectacles in the border area called "loyalty rallies" for Saarlanders. The highlight was the loyalty rally in Koblenz in which 200,000 Saarlanders- nearly a quarter of the population- were brought in 56 special trains to cheer their future leader.  Inn his speeches at the time Hitler described the Saarland as the "only territorial question between France and Germany".  Max Braun, Saarland chief social democrat, warned that "Hitler would not stop at the Saar border, but with the key of the Ludwigskirche he would try to penetrate the Strasbourg and Metzer Minster." 
However, long-held sentiments against France remained entrenched, with very few sympathising openly with France. When the fifteen year-term was over, a plebiscite was held in the territory on January 13, 1935: 90.3% of those voting wished to rejoin Germany.  From 1936 until 1945, Saarlouis was renamed Saarlautern (-lautern being a common ending of town and village names in Germany) in an attempt by the Nazis to Germanise the town name. 
 New street names were created, starting with"Straße des 13. Januar" followed with Bahnhofstraße, becoming Adolf Hitler Street. The French-Bourbon lilies in the Saarlouis coat of arms were replaced with a swastika. Even houses were demolished and replaced by buildings with a "Germanic" construction. With "Dorf im Warndt", a complete German model settlement was established; not coincidentally, the Warndt is the point in the south-west of the country that is enclosed on three sides by France (i.e. the front hooves of the Saarland pig). Gauleiter Bürckel saw Saarbrücken as the "bulwark on the border" where its "Liberation Square" on Mainzerstrasse would become a scaled-down version of the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, allowing no less than 220,000 people to attend.  In addition, a powerful forum square is to be built next to the new theatre and the station was to be replaced by a block with a huge bell tower. However, the plans for the forum and the train station were not implemented due to the outbreak of the war.
  After the war, the region (then called the Saarland), was again occupied by France. In a plebiscite in 1955, most of the people in the Saarland opted for the reunification with the Federal Republic of Germany, and on January 1, 1957, it became the 10th federal state of West Germany.
 
Seen from Adolf Hitler Platz then and now 
 
The Landratsamt and war memorial with swastika and today
 
The Dreißiger Denkmal

Galgenbergturm
The Galgenbergturm (Gallows Hill Tower), the main symbol of the community Schiffweiler, was built between 1937 and 1939, inaugurated 8 July 1939 in the name and service of Adolf Hitler. After the war it was renamed Galgenberg tower.

 Höchen Bexbach im Saarpfalz

 
The Nazi flag flying from the Hindenburgturm on the Höcherberg

Spiesen-Elversberg


Nazi-era postcard of Hermann Göring Straße, today St. Ingberter Straße, in Spiesen-Elversberg 
Bad Hersfeld 
 
The Verwaltungsgebäude in 1943 and today
 
Auxiliary building of the former barracks (Hohe Luft), the reichsadler still in its place of honour
  
Hanau im Mainz 
 
The promenade at Wilhelmsbad with and without the swastika. During World War II, Hanau was for the most part destroyed by British airstrikes in March 1945 a few days before it was taken by the US Army.


St. Wendel  
Adolf-Hitler-Straße and today, renamed Bahnhofstraße 


The Schloßplatz, its eagle-topped memorial now removed
Balduinstraße and Luisenestraße then and now with the basilica in the background. During the Third Reich a huge military base was built near the western city border beside Highway B2 69 to Winterbach. After the war another big expansion of the city came during the Wirtschaftswunder. Saarland remained a French protectorate independent from Germany until its re-integration into West Germany in 1957, which began an economic downturn as the largest employer of St. Wendel, the Marschall Tobacco Company, had to close down in 1960.  Despite all the wars, there were still some historic buildings left in the city centre of St. Wendel until 1960, but under mayors Franz Gräff (1956–1974) and Jakob Feller (1974–1982), a lack of historic interest and economically oriented sanitation destroyed a lot of them. Parts of the medieval town are still to be recognised near the Wendelsdom (the basilica).  
Brühlstraße then and now

Dillingen
The Ehrenmal, now shorn of its Nazi eagle. On the night of December 9, 1944, an American battalion from Itzbach crossed the Saar and then the railroad tracks. In the morning dawn, an attack was carried out, supported by two more battalions, 300 meters north of Dillingen. The goal was to take the southwestern part of the Hüttenwald. The German bunkers, a few metres from the memorial, prevented a rapid advance. At dusk, however, the American infantry reached an area 60 metres from the Haienbach.  The deceased forced labourers found were buried in the Jewish cemetery at the eastern edge of the forest. After the violent battles in December 1944, the strong mining of the forest by tank, vehicle and personnel mines represented a great danger. After 1948, the first hunt took place after the mine clearing. This reconstructed Memorial was inaugurated in 1957 by Pastor Matthias Weiland. On July 28th, 2008, a 32-year-old homeless man killed another 24-year-old homeless man during inside the memorial with 46 punches for which he was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment.

Quierschied

Mariä Himmelfahrt church on the former Straße der deutschen Front and what's left today.

Merzig
 
The stadthaus on former Adolf-Hitler-Straße

     Aach (Baden-Württemberg)     Aachen (North Rhine-Westphalia)     Aalyhen (Baden-Württemberg)     Abenberg (Bavaria)     Abensberg (Bavaria)     Achern (Baden-Württemberg)     Achim (Lower Saxony)     Adelsheim (Baden-Württemberg)     Adenau (Rhineland-Palatinate)     Adorf (Saxony)     Ahaus (North Rhine-Westphalia)     Ahlen (North Rhine-Westphalia)     Ahrensburg (Schleswig-Holstein)     Aichach (Bavaria)     Aichtal (Baden-Württemberg)     Aken (Elbe) (Saxony-Anhalt)     Albstadt (Baden-Württemberg)     Alfeld (Lower Saxony)     Allendorf (Lumda) (Hesse)     Allstedt (Saxony-Anhalt)     Alpirsbach (Baden-Württemberg)     Alsdorf (North Rhine-Westphalia)     Alsfeld (Hesse)            Alsleben (Saale) (Saxony-Anhalt)     Altdorf bei Nürnberg (Bavaria)     Altena (North Rhine-Westphalia)     Altenau (Lower Saxony)     Altenberg The state of Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz), patched together by the French after WWII, united historically disparate bits of Bavaria, Hesse and Prussia that had only one thing in com- mon – the Rhine (Rhein). The river meanders for 1390km from the Swiss Alps to Rotterdam, but nowhere else has it shaped the land and its people more profoundly than along the 290km stretch traversing Rhineland-Palatinate. Some of Europe’s largest corporations dominate the Rhine banks south of Mainz, the state capital. But along here there’s also a grand legacy of the Middle Ages: the magnificent Ro- manesque cathedrals of Mainz, Worms and Speyer. Northwest of Mainz is the river’s most picturesque stretch, the storied Romantic Rhine, whose vine-clad slopes, medieval hilltop castles and snug wine villages have drawn artists and tourists since the early 19th century. Most of Germany’s wine is grown in Rhineland-Palatinate’s six wine regions: the Ahr Val- ley, Moselle-Saar-Ruwer, Middle Rhine, Nahe, Rheinhessen and, famed for its German Wine Road, the Rheinpfalz. The region’s wonderful wines can all be sampled in a multitude of ambience-laden wine taverns. The local people’s joie de vivre finds expression in the many town and village wine festivals, held from August to October. Tiny Saarland, in the southwest, was once a centre for heavy industry but these days it’s better known for Saarbrücken’s Frenchified urbane charms, and its verdant forests and fields. HIGHLIGHTS Riverine Scenery Cruise, cycle or ramble along the castle-studded Romantic Rhine (p483) © Lonely Planet Publications 465PALATINATE & SAARLAND between Koblenz and Bingen Architectural Stunners Marvel at the Romanesque cathedrals in Mainz (p467), Worms (p472) and Speyer (p474) Roman Relics Explore the remarkable ruins of Roman Trier (p497) Romantic Bargain Dream about knights and damsels – in your bunk and over a muesli breakfast – at the DJH Burg Stahleck hostel (p492) in Bacharach Thrill Ride Take a high-speed spin