Remaining Nazi Sites in the Saarland

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 publicised 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 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


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. 
Seen from Adolf Hitler Platz then and now. 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 humiliatingly 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.
The Landratsamt and war memorial with swastika and today
The Dreißiger Denkmal

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

Nazi-era postcard of Hermann Göring Straße, today St. Ingberter Straße, in Spiesen-Elversberg. 
After the First World War, the provisions of the 1919 Peace Treaty of Versailles meant that Spiesen and Elversberg were in the Saar region from 1920 to 1935, which was placed under French administration for 15 years with a mandate from the League of Nations. In 1935 it was reintegrated into the German Reich . In 1922, Spiesen and Elversberg left the mayor's office in Neunkirchen and formed their own mayor's office. 
The Adolf Hitler Tower, today renamed the Galgenberg Tower, was built during the Nazi era. It is the most important symbol of the town and since the end of 2007 it can be found as an abstract silhouette on the municipality's signet. After the war, Spiesen and Elversberg were initially in the French occupation zone before the towns became part of the Saar Protectorate from 1946 to the end of 1956
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 Americans.

St. Wendel  
Adolf-Hitler-Straße and today, renamed Bahnhofstraße
As with the rest of the Saar, after Nazis seized power, members of the opposition and Jewish fellow citizens were initially spared from being persecuted by them,  unlike in other parts of the Reich. However, the influence of Nazi ideology was already evident before the Saar vote on January 13, 1935 and the subsequent connection to the SaarGerman empire more and more massive. As early as May 14, 1933, the TV St. Wendel voluntarily brought itself into line with the German Turnerschaft (TD), which resulted in the exclusion of all Jewish members. On October 13, 1934, the city council decided to rename Bahnhofstrasse Adolf-Hitler-Strasse and Schlossplatz Adolf-Hitler-Platz. The Jewish population of the city, whose number had grown from sixty people in 1885 to 90 in 1895 and 121 in 1927 to 141 in 1933, consisted of 136 citizens after the annexation to the German Reich in 1935; most of them fled abroad for fear of persecution. 
Brühlstraße then and now

Protected by the so-called "Roman Agreement" valid in the former Saar region , which guaranteed legal emigration with protection of property, almost all St. Wendel Jews sold their property (mostly significantly below its value) and left Germany. The St. Wendel Synagogue, newly built in 1902, was destroyed in the Kristallnacht of 1938. During the “ Wagner-Bürckel Action ” on October 22, 1940, four St. Wendel Jews were deported to Gurs, and around fifty Jews from St. Wendel were murdered as part of the Nazi persecution.
On March 19, 1945, American troops from the 3rd American Army under Patton's 10th Armoured Division and 80th Infantry Division)occupied the city and set up a temporary military administration under Captain Stanley R. Jacobs. On July 10, 1945, the city was ignobly taken over by French troops.

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 reintegration 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 and Jakob Feller, 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).  

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. 


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

 The stadthaus on former Adolf-Hitler-Straße. 
In November 1944, two Allied air raids caused considerable damage to people and property within the city area. During the air raid of November 17, 1944, particularly on the line of the Merzig-Büschfeld railway and killed twenty passengers on a passenger train. the November 19, 1944 air raid was aimed at the city itself, killing 61 people and out of 1,352 buildings, 157 were completely destroyed. In addition, various bridges were blown up by the Germans during the ar, including the wrailway bridge on the Merzig-Bettsdorf railway line on September 3, 1939 and three other railway bridges and four road bridges in 1944 and 1945; a pedestrian bridge was slightly damaged and three others badly damaged. In addition, 473 dead and 200 missing were counted at the end of the war.