Nazi Sites in Baden-Württemberg (1)

Cycling over the Rhine into Baden-Württemberg

As with all other German states, Württemberg lost its remaining sovereign rights to the German Reich under the Nazis. As early as 1933, the country was reduced through the Nazis' Gleichschaltung policy to that of a German province. The old boundaries remained unchanged, although a constitutional union of areas between Württemberg and Hohenzollern created the Nazi Parteigaus Württemberg-Hohenzollern although this was not carried out until the end of the Nazi dictatorship. Support for Hitler grew steadily during his reign, reaching its height with the annexation of Austria in March 1938 and the victory over France in June 1940. Many Württembergers overlooked or accepted the persecution of the Nazis' political opponents through a compliant judiciary. The regime discriminated, abducted and abused unpopular people - especially the Jews - like everywhere in the kingdom and killed many in concentration or extermination camps.  The general euphoria of the Germans after the defeat of France gave way in the course of the war to great disillusionment. From 1943 the major cities like Stuttgart Württemberg, Heilbronn and Ulm were largely destroyed in the air war.  In April 1945, American and French troops occupied Württemberg. After the war Württemberg was reconstituted into Württemberg-Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern.


Once, in the Black Forest city of Freiburg, when his car was pelted with stones, he jumped down from the vehicle waving his whip, forcing his  astonished attackers to scatter.
Roger Moorhouse (15) Killing Hitler: The Third Reich and the Plots Against the Fuhrer 
Adolf-Hitler-Straße and the Martin Gate in Freiburg in the thirties, now Kaiser-Josef-Straße. Of Freiburg, Hitler described it as one "from which all joy is lacking" whose
women have addressed me in so ignoble a fashion that I cannot make up my mind to repeat their words. It's on such occasions that I become aware of the depth of human baseness. Clearly, one must not forget that these areas are still feeling the weight of several centuries of religious oppression.
The attempt to set up a Nazi branch in Freiburg in 1923 was prevented by the police, which didn't stop the party in retrospect from considering this the year of their local foundation, celebrating its tenth anniversary in 1933. In the Reichstag election in 1928, the Nazis only managed a mere 1.3% of the votes in Freiburg. In the Baden state election on October 27 1929 in which the Nazis won a nationwide 7%, the Nazis managed only 3.5%. 13.8% of the voters in Freiburg chose the Nazis in 1930, the first election after the Wall Street Crash. At the local council election on November 16, 1930, the Nazis won seats for the first time in the two councils of Freiburg. It was now the third-strongest faction behind the Zentrum Party and SPD. Whilst the Nazis failed to reach their goal of becoming the strongest party in Freiburg in the elections of July and November 1932, with 29.6% and 22.4%, respectively, well below the national average, it managed to win the parliamentary elections on March 5, 1933 with 35.8% of the vote to become the largest party in Freiburg through its mobilisation of previously non-voters and through the expense of DVP and DNVP. Nevertheless, the Freiburg election result for the Nazis was still about 10% below the overall results for all of Baden.
"Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer": The Siegesdenkmal and Münsterturm in April, 1938; the memorial has since been moved as shown on the right.
SA in front of the rathaus on March 6, 1933.
The Nazis raising their flag from the town hall on March 6, 1933 without the consent of the Lord Mayor, Karl Bender as Kreisleiter Dr. Franz Kerber and SA-Oberführer Hanns Ludin spoke from the balcony. The larger flags of Freiburg and Baden would soon have only symbolic significance, because the Reich government enforces the Gleichschaltung of countries and municipalities at the end of March under the so-called Enabling Act.
After Gauleiter Robert Wagner had become Baden State Commissioner on March 7 and ordered a ban on assembly for the SPD and KPD as well as "protective custody" for "Marxist leaders", and mayor Hölzl and city councillor Franz Geiler (SPD / trade union secretary) were arrested in this town hall.  
When, on March 17, 1933, during a search of his Freiburg apartment as part of the action against KPD and SPD leaders ordered in Karlsruhe, the SPD city councilor Christian Daniel Nussbaum panicked due to previous threats to his life and shot down two police officers, the Nazis used this "terrible Marxist crime" to engage in total terror against communists, social democrats and trade unionists. Reich Commissioner Wagner ordered Baden to arrest all SPD and KPD MPs in the Landtag and Reichstag (including Freiburg's Stefan Meier and Philipp Martzloff) and banned left-wing publications (which particularly affected the Volkswacht party newspaper in Freiburg) and organisations. In Freiburg, the local organisations of the SPD and KPD were dissolved. All SPD members on the city council and on the citizens' committee were arrested, including Robert Grumbach, Reinhold Zumtobel, Peter Mayer and Max Mayer. The five KPD members were held in the Ankenbuck concentration camp near Donaueschingen.  

Gaukulturwoche in the Münsterplatz in October 1937.

Hitler's portrait has been removed from the walls of the dining room at the Hotel Oberkirch
 The Schwabentor before and soon after the war. During the Great War on December 14, 1914, French aeroplanes bombed the open city of Freiburg, an event that shocked the inhabitants. When an air attack in April 1915 killed an adult and seven children, this resulted in a wave of indignity from the city. The return of Alsace to France after the war had hit Freiburg particularly hard. Two Chancellors during the Weimar Republic come from Freiburg: Constantin Fehrenbach and Joseph Wirth. As elsewhere in Germany, the Nazis in Freiburg took over the power in 1933. In 1938, the synagogue in Freiburg broke out in flames in the Reichspogromnacht. In 1940 the Jews still remaining in Freiburg were deported to the Gurs, a French internment camp, in the framework of the so-called Wagner-Bürckel action.
The Luftwaffe erroneously carried out a bomb attack on Freiburg, on 10 May 1940, in which 57 people were killed. Under the cover of Operation Tigerfish, the Royal Air Force bombed the city on the evening of November 27, 1944, killing some 2800 citizens. After the attack, only the relatively undamaged Freiburg cathedral rose from the ruins of the old part of the city, which had been completely destroyed in the northern part, but the strong detonation waves had covered the church ship. With new bricks donated from Basel, the cathedral was almost completely recovered by January 1946. Freiburg itself suffered the humiliation of being occupied by the French in April 1945 with de Gaulle holding a victory parade in October.

Schoferstraße in 1935 and now 

The Bertoldsbrunnen in 1937. The fountain at Zähringerplatz had been completely destroyed on November 27, 1944 during a British air raid. The offer of the Freiburg sculptor Hugo Knittel to create a free replica of the old figure based partly on prewar pictures made by the spouse of the company Annemarie Brenzinger was rejected in favour of a cheap, ugly fountain designed by Nikolaus Röslmeir supposedly inspired by gothic pointed arches, which is supposed to establish a connection to the Freiburg Minster. Its pedestal bears the inscription "For the Dukes of Zähringen, founders and men of Freiburg im Breisgau" whilst it wasn't bothered to add the arms of the Zähringer cities. Overall, it cost 120,000 Deutsche Marks and when the Lord Major Eugen Keidel presented the fountain to the public on November 27, 1965, the anniversary of the bomb attack of 1944, it was a given that the citizens weren't particularly pleased. Eventually in 1972, Kaiser-Joseph-Straße was pedestrianised which resulted in the fountain being moved from the tram station north of the crossroads to its present locating in its middle, resulting in the fountain basin being removed and the monument simply placed in a water basin embedded in the ground. Seven years later the fountain had to be moved from the tram junction point north of the intersection to its present-day location right in the middle of the intersection.

Süddeutsche Disconto-Gesellschaft. On the right is the Gasthaus zum Bären at the centre of the Oberlindenbrunnen, branching off to Herrenstraße on the right. 

Möslestadion; hard to believe that as many as fifty thousand came to this site to attend a speech by Hitler on July 29, 1932. 

The Synagogue on Freiburger Werthmannplatz was destroyed like so many others on the Riechskristallnacht, November 8-9 1938. The leader of the 65th ϟϟ-Stand Schwarzwald in Freiburg, Walter Gunst, and the SA Brigadeführer Joachim Weist were identified as the arsonists.
The memorial on the left is beside the new synagogue whilst the 'stumbling blocks' remind passers-by of those killed by national socialism. During the war on October 22, 1940, the Nazi Gauleiter of Baden ordered the deportation of all of Baden's Jews, and 350 Jewish citizens of Freiburg were deported to the southern French internment camp of Camp Gurs in the Basses-Pyrénées. They remained there under poor conditions until 18 July 1942, when the majority of the survivors were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. The cemetery for German Jews who died at Camp Gurs is maintained by the town of Freiburg and other cities of Baden. A memorial stands outside the modern synagogue in the town centre. The pavements of Freiburg carry memorials to individual victims in the form of brass plates outside their former residences, including that of Edith Stein, a German Jewish philosopher who converted to Catholicism, became a nun, and was canonised as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross in 1998.

The Synagogue in 1900 and looking at the same site today

Bertoldstrasse in 1875 and from the other direction from Fahnenbergplatz
Bertoldstrasse 8 and Haus Löwenstraße then and now, only slightly damaged in the war
Höhere Töchterschule, now the Goethegymnasium and the Bürgerhaus on the corner of Adelhauserstraße and Marienstraße

Wartime damage. Freiburg was heavily bombed during the war. First, in May 1940, aircraft of the Luftwaffe mistakenly dropped approximately 60 bombs on Freiburg near the train station, killing 57 people. Later on, a raid by more than 300 bombers of the RAF Bomber Command on 27 November 1944 (Operation Tigerfish) destroyed a large portion of the city centre, with the notable exception of the Münster, which was only lightly damaged. After the war, the city was rebuilt on its medieval plan. It was allowed by the British and Americans to be occupied by the French Army in 1945, and Freiburg was soon allotted to the French Zone of Occupation. In December 1945 Freiburg became the seat of government for the German state Badenia, which was merged into Baden-Württemberg in 1952.
Kollegiengebäude I, erected in 1913 as the main building of the university, then and now. During the Nazi period, there were reprisals against Jewish university members. Rectors in this period were Wilhelm von Möllendorff (April 15 to April 20), Martin Heidegger (April 21, 1933 to April 27, 1934), Eduard Kern in 1934, Friedrich Metz in 1936, Otto Mangold in 1938, and Wilhelm Süss in 1940. Doubtful celebrity attained the Rector's speech of the then-rector Heidegger on the subject of the self-assertion of the German University on May 27 1933, which was understood by many as a public affirmation of the Nazi regime. After a fire of the main university building (today Kollegiengebäude I) on July 10, 1934, the university leadership had attached on the façade above the entrance, the inscription "The eternal Germandom" now gone. After its wartime closure, the university was reopened a few months after the end of the war under Sigurd Janssen. The university, which was hit hard by the wartime bombing, initially had to work under provisional conditions. In the post-war period, there were numerous extensions and new buildings; Especially in the so-called institute district, buildings of the natural sciences faculties were built.
The reichsadler has been scrubbed away completely from the main campus although the original legend above the entrance, Dem ewigen Deutschtum, is still legible.
The rector of the University of Freiburg, professor of medicine von Möllendorff, was forced out of office in 1933 through Nazi terror. Succeeding him, the philosopher Martin Heidegger takes over the rectorate, who openly welcomed the National Socialist upheaval as the spiritual leader of the new movement. In his inaugural speech, Heidegger admonished the student body to follow it, summoning the bloodthirsty forces as the sole keepers of German culture, goig on to declare that
The essence of the German university comes first in clarity, rank and power, when the leaders themselves are guided by the relentlessness of that spiritual task that compels the fate of the German people into the stamp of its history... The leader himself and alone is today's and the future's German reality and its law. Get to know deeper and deeper from now on through everyone's decisions and all doing according to their responsibility. Heil Hitler!
 Erich Kästner commented on Heidegger's speech with sarcasm: "May he be and remain the greatest philosopher of our glorious century! I believe and hope that one day in the Pantheon, Socrates and Seneca, Spinoza and Kant will not shake hands." 
The rathaus originally housed the entire University of Freiburg. Following the move of the humanities in the former Jesuit College, the building was used only by the natural sciences and medicine before the city acquired the building and converted it in 1892 to the Town Hall. On the right is the Alte Universität in Bertoldstraße
The swastika remains on the grave of Wilhelm von Biberstein, as well as the Nazi legend "And You Have Won in the End."
South of Freiburg's Old Town, on the other side of the Dreisamstadion, is the Mütterbrunnen in the Die Wiehre. Representing the "Aryan and genetically healthy mother," the work of the sculptor Helmuth Hopp based on the sketchwork of Freiburg architect Carl Anton Meckel belongs to the racial theory of "blood and soil, will to expand, population policy, the natural destiny of the woman," the statue now has suffered her nose cut off by members of the local antifa movement. 
The Münster from above in 1944 and today

  Schlageter's grave then and what's left of it today. After his execution Schlageter became a hero to some sections of the German population. Immediately after his death a Schlageter Memorial Society was formed, which agitated for the creation of a monument to honour him. The German Communist Party sought to debunk the emerging mythology of Schlageter by circulating a speech by Karl Radek portraying him as an honourable but misguided figure. It was the Nazi party who most fully exploited the Schlageter story. Hitler refers to him in Mein Kampf. Rituals were constructed to commemorate his death, and in 1931 the Memorial Society succeeded in getting a monument erected near the site of his execution. This was a giant cross placed amid sunken stone rings. Other smaller memorials were also created.  After 1933 Schlageter became one of the principal heroes of the Nazi regime. The Nazis renamed the Haus der Technik in Königsberg the Schlageterhaus. Hanns Johst, the Nazi playwright, wrote Schlageter (1933), a heroic drama about his life. It was dedicated to Hitler, and was performed on his first birthday in power as a theatrical manifesto of Nazism. The line "when I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun", often misattributed to Nazi leaders, derives from this play. The original line is slightly different: "Wenn ich Kultur höre ... entsichere ich meinen Browning," "Whenever I hear of culture... I release the safety-catch of my Browning!" (Act 1, Scene 1). It is spoken by another character in conversation with the young Schlageter.  Several important military ventures were also named for him, including the Jagdgeschwader 26 Schlageter fighter-wing of the Luftwaffe, and the naval vessel Albert Leo Schlageter. His name was also given as a title to two SA groups, the SA-Standarte 39 Schlageter at Düsseldorf and SA-Standarte 142 Albert Leo Schlageter at Lörrach. An army barracks on the south side of Freiburg was also named after him. 
Groups like the Black Forest Society (Schwarzwaldverein), a self-described ‘Fatherlandish and nationalist’ hiking club with local chapters throughout the region, organised at Whitsuntide hikes here as it was the birthplace of Leo Schlageter. Schlageter had been shot in 1923 by French occupation authorities in the Ruhr. Already a nationalist hero, Schlageter soon took his place among the pantheon of Nazi martyrs. By including pilgrimages to his hometown within the annual calendar of events, the Black Forest Society contributed to the creation of a Nazi politics of public memory.
Schlageter had been shot in 1923 by French occupation authorities in the Ruhr. Already a nationalist hero, Schlageter soon took his place among the pantheon of Nazi martyrs. By including pilgrimages to his hometown within the annual calendar of events, the Black Forest Society contributed to the creation of a Nazi politics of public memory. Moreover, like the NSDAP itself, the Black Forest Society claimed that it fought against the spirit of class and happily repeated Nazi slogans such as ‘public good before private profit’. Additionally, the monthly journals were filled with endless photographs of members’ processions through swastika-bedecked streets, which reinforced the Nazi message.
Semmens (86)
Konstanz am Bodensee
During the war and today, little changed. Because it almost lies within Switzerland, directly adjacent to the Swiss border, Konstanz was not bombed by the Allied Forces during the Second World War. The city left all its lights on at night, thus fooling the bombers into thinking it was actually part of Switzerland after the erroneous bombing of Schaffhausen on April 1, 1944. The districts on the right bank of the Rhine, which are clearly separated from Swiss areas by the Seerhein, continued to be darkened, but were not attacked despite companies like Degussa and Stromeyer.  
As early as 1933, SA men prevented visitors to Jewish shops and medical practices from entering. Signs on benches, shops, inns and at the Horn outdoor swimming pool excluded Jews from use and visiting. The systematic persecution of the Jews began in 1935 with the Nuremberg Laws. Jews then sold their residential and commercial buildings at low value and emigrated. From 1938, "Aryanisation sales" were only possible with state approval, after the deportation in 1940 the property was expropriated and auctioned. On October 22, 1940, 110 Jews from Constance were deported to the Gurs concentration camp in southern France, the last eight to Riga, Izbica and Theresienstadt from 1941 to 1944. A Reich flight tax of 25% was levied. In the first arson attack on the Konstanz synagogue in 1936, the building was saved by the volunteer fire brigade. The damaged seven Torah scrolls were buried in the Jewish cemetery. On the Reichskristallnacht the Konstanz synagogue was set on fire by members of the Allgemeine ϟϟ, section XIX Konstanz, under ϟϟ senior leader Walter Stein. The fire department was not allowed to fight the fire this time. On the contrary, attempts were made to open the synagogue's roof hatches in order to give the fire better traction. The synagogue was then blown up by the ϟϟ disposal force III./ϟϟ standard Germania from Radolfzell and sixteen male Jews were brought to the Dachau concentration camp. A Jewish property tax was levied in 1938. Until 1939, some families in Constance managed to escape to Switzerland, British Palestine, England, the USA, Argentina and Asian countries. The Swiss cantons of Lake Constance sealed themselves off. 433 Jews lived in Constance in 1933, 120 in 1940. On the evening of November 8, 1939, Georg Elser was arrested in Constance when he tried to flee to Switzerland after having previously placed a bomb in Munich to kill Adolf Hitler.  Jews, prisoners of war, forced labourers and German deserters attempted to flee the Saubach. Escaping by jumping over the Saubach was possible until 1938. From the end of 1939, a border fence was erected on the Swiss side from Kreuzlinger Zoll to the Wiesenstrasse crossing and from the railway line to the lake to prevent refugees.


During the Second World War Karlsruhe lost its political importance when Alsace, unofficially annexed to the Great German Empire, merged with Baden to the Gau Baden-Alsace, the planned Reichsgau Oberrhein, and its political centre was transferred to Strasbourg. Hitler spoke at Karlsruhe a number of times.  In 1937 the Heimat Guide to Baden listed the locations of the state’s ‘memorial sites of the National Socialist uprising’; a brochure issued by the Karlsruhe Tourism Society, Easter 1934 in Karlsruhe, proudly referred to the fact that, under the new regime, ‘the state, the communities and the police are [now] purified of enemies of the state.’ Five years later in January 1942, the Gestapo in Karlsruhe sent a letter to Baden’s district administrators, police presidents and police directors regarding the ‘fight against abuses in the tourism places’:      "In addition to the congestion in the spa and relaxation places ... the behaviour of the visitors has also given rise to complaints. The unbridled conduct of these persons (gluttony, regular drunken excesses, moral laxity) shows that they do not comprehend ... the seriousness of the time. Moreover, the unity of the home front is endangered through the disadvantageous effect on the mood of the working population if this activity is not brought to a stop. ... The chief of the Security Police and the Security Service has therefore ordered that this danger is to be opposed with all [their] energy."
Former site of the Adolf-Hitler-Haus on Ritterstraße 28/30. During the Third Reich this was the Nazi Party headquarters in Karlsruhe, known by locals as the "brown house". Moreover, in this building, a Gestapo was housed. According to research by Jürgen Schuhladen-Krämer, three members of the resistance organisation BSW died from torture here. The BSW (Fraternal Cooperation) was an organisation of Soviet POWs and forced labourers, which sought to organise a national armed uprising with other anti-fascist forces.  It was here too on February 5, 1945 that the Gestapo served subpoenas to "shift"the remaining thirty Jews and "half-breeds" who were so far spared because of marriages with "Aryans". They were summoned on February 9, 1945 with a few managing to escape by fleeing or illness, or even suicide. The remaining seventeen persons were deported to Theresienstadt on February 14, 1945.  After 1945, the American military government established their offices here. A plaque on the façade briefly marks this history.
The Staatliche Kunsthalle in March 1941 showing an exhibition on Art from the Front. With the inauguration of the Gauleiter Robert Wagner in March 1933, the hunt was on to hunt so-called "degenerate art". On March 11, 1933 Lilli Fischel was, since 1927, acting head of the Kunsthalle but because of his Jewish descent, initially put on leave and then fired. Wagner prompted its replacement by Hans Adolf Bühler, a student of Hans Thoma. Buhler also held the post of director of the Academy. He was a member of the "Combat League for German Culture", an association that was already active in the 1920s.  Upon Buhler's initiative was the exhibition "Government Art 1918-1933" back in 1933. The aim was to uncover the alleged abuse of taxpayers' money and was one of the first of its kind in Germany.  The campaign saw the following artists fall prey: Max Liebermann, Lovis Corinth, Max Slevogt, Edvard Munch, Carl Hofer, just to name a few.  Buhler himself was replaced after one year. In a second wave another series of purges works were made which were then shown at the 1937 "Degenerate Art" exhibition in Munich and then confiscated.
On March 9, 1933 Robert Wagner as Reich Commissioner of Baden sent about three thousand men of the SA and ϟϟ units to march in front of the Interior Ministry of Baden at the Karlsruhe Badisches Innenministerium at Schlossplatz 19. SA, ϟϟ and police units forced the seizure of power in the country within a few days.  The Badische home office on Schlossplatz 19 was the authoritative hub for the persecution of the Jews and also a headquarters of the persecution and extermination of the sick, disabled and "asocial".  With the "Law for the Prevention of Genetically Diseased Offspring" of July 14, 1933, the legal basis for forced sterilisation had been created. Dr. Theodor Pakheiser, the Special Commissioner for Health, ensured that the law was applied. Baden in 1934 exceeded all other countries with about three sterilisation applications for every thousand inhabitants; the "Erbgesundheitsgerichte" approved on average 94% of applications. Between 1934 and 1944, 11,412 people were forcibly sterilised in ten districts of Baden with 1.2 million inhabitants. These killings were organised in Baden by Secretary Dr. Ludwig Sprauer, director of the health department in Baden Ministry of Interior. Sprauer launched the 'Mordaktion' in Baden with a secret circular to the heads of hospitals and nursing homes. Enclosed with the letter dated 29.11.1939 reporting forms, the details of the person's nationality, diagnosis, type of employment and so on, including racial details. Based on this information was decided life and death. Today the site serves as the Hector School of Engineering and Management at the University of Karlsruhe.
Swastikas adorning the Hauptpost with the Grenadierdenkmal in front, then and now
Adolf-Hitler-Platz during the war and today. Karlsruhe was the birthplace both of Generalfeldmarschall Walter von Reichenau, born 1884, and of Dr. Hans Frank, born 1900, Reich Minister from 1934 to 1945 and Governor-General of Poland from 1939 to 1945; he was hanged in Nuremberg in 1946.
Hitler gave a speech here on March 3, 1928. In 1944 the Festhalle was destroyed in an air raid and left as a ruin until it was blown up on November 4 1952 to make way for a dispiriting new hall.
The main railway station, from where Jewish citizens were sent to their deaths. In the Wagner-Bürckel action, the Jews who were still living in the area of this Reichsgaus were taken to Camp Camp de Gurs. Likewise, the families of the Sinti and Roma who were mainly based in the "Dörfle" were deported to Auschwitz in May 1940 by the police department at the market square via the Hohenasperg. On October 22, 1940 945 Jews were deported to Gurs. There, about 40 km north of the Spanish border and 60 km from the Atlantic coast, in marshy areas at the foot of the Pyrenees, was the detention centre, which was only a stopover of suffering on the way to Auschwitz for many. On February 14, 1945 seventeen of the last thirty remaining Jews were deported to Theresienstadt. They had thus been spared from deportation through mixed marriages or as "1st degree half-breeds." Among them were the children of Esther and Heino Hirsch, from the family of former national football player Julius Hirsch. Thanks to Józsa Tensi and Leopold Ransenberg, all survived. It was not until the liberation of the concentration camp that they were able, after an eight-day odyssey, to return to Karlsruhe.
A plaque on the façade reads:  "The banking house of Veit L. Homberger was founded in 1854 and became a well-known company. In 1901 it moved into this building, designed by Robert Curjel and Karl Moser. In 1939 the Nazi boycott led to the liquidation of this Jewish private bank" whilst a stolperstein outside his home reads simply: "Here lived Ferdinand Homberger, born 1860, deported 1940 to Gurs, died January 28, 1941."
Members of the BDM in front of the schloss in 1943 and as it appeared after September 27, 1944 when over 200, 000 incendiary bombs and hundreds of other bombs fell on the city and destroyed the schloss, now extensively reconstructed as seen with my bike in the foreground. Between 1940 and 1945 135 air and artillery attacks of the Allies on Karlsruhe were documented, including thirteen large-scale attacks with more than an hundred bombers. At least 12,000 tonnes of explosives and fire bombs were dropped over the city. 1754 people died and 3508 were injured. Karlsruhe was destroyed by 38%, depending on the calculation basis.  On April 4, 1945, the French 1st Army occupied the city with little resistance thanks to the initial bravery and generosity of British and American troops, the latter of whom simply took it back and added it to the their occupation zone and to the state of Baden-Württemberg.
Hitler travelling through Durlach, a borough of Karlsruhe with a population today of 30,000 on  September 14, 1933. On the right is what had been named Adolf-Hitler-Straße in his honour, looking towards the Turmberg
Adolf-Hitler-Straße, now Pfinztalstraße, looking the other way
Hitler had been travelling through Durlach to arrive at the village of Öschelbronn,where, four days earlier on September 14 1933, an ammunition factory exploded with catastrophic force destroying 203 homes from a cause unknown to this day. 

 SA marching over the alte brücke past Heidelberg schloss from the cigarette card album Kampf um's Dritte Reich (28), and the complex today. 
Heidelberg was a stronghold of the Nazis, the strongest party in the elections before 1933 (the NSDAP obtained 30% at the communal elections of 1930). The Nazis received 45.9% of the votes in the German federal election of March 1933 (the national average was 43.9%). Non-Aryan university staff were discriminated against. By 1939, one-third of the university's teaching staff had been forced out for racial and political reasons. The non-Aryan professors were ejected in 1933, within one month of Hitler's rise to power. The lists of those to be deported were prepared beforehand. In 1934 and 1935, the Reichsarbeitsdienst (State Labour Service) and Heidelberg University students built the huge Thingstätte amphitheatre on the Heiligenberg north of the town (see below), for Nazi Party and ϟϟ events. A few months later, the inauguration of the huge Ehrenfriedhof memorial cemetery completed the second and last NSDAP project in Heidelberg. This cemetery is on the southern side of the old part of town, a little south of the Königstuhl hilltop. During WWII and after, Wehrmacht soldiers were buried there. Memorial stone marking the site of the synagogue in the Lauerstrasse  During the Kristallnacht on November 9, 1938, Nazis burned down synagogues at two locations in the city. The next day, they started the systematic deportation of Jews, sending 150 to Dachau concentration camp. On October 22, 1940, during the "Wagner Buerckel event", the Nazis deported 6000 local Jews, including 281 from Heidelberg, to Camp Gurs concentration camp in France. Within a few months, as many as 1000 of them (201 from Heidelberg) died of hunger and disease. Among the deportees from Heidelberg, the poet Alfred Mombert left the camp in April 1941 thanks to the Swiss poet Hans Reinhart. From 1942, the deportees who had survived internment in Gurs were deported to Eastern Europe, where most of them were murdered.

Looking towards the other direction from the schlossberg with the wife eight decades later showing little change. Heidelberg, which was filled with hospitals, was one of the few major German cities to survive the Second World War almost unscathed. The Allies carried out their first air raid in the night from September 19 to 20, 1940, when the Pfaffengrund district was hit by bombs. On September 23, 1940, a German air raid on Cambridge followed in retaliation for this attack on Heidelberg. Smaller air strikes in 1944 and 1945 did little damage. [16] Of Heidelberg's 9,129 residential buildings, a total of 13 were totally destroyed (0.14%), 32 were severely damaged (0.35%), 80 were moderately damaged (0.87%) and 200 were slightly damaged (2.19%). Of 25,933 apartments, 45 were totally destroyed (0.17%) and 1,420 damaged (5.47%). The total loss of living space due to air raids was 0.8%. [17] Freight station and zoo were badly damaged by bombs and artillery shelling. Air raids killed a total of 241 people in Heidelberg.
On March 29, 1945, German troops left the city after destroying three arches of the old bridge, Heidelberg's treasured river crossing. They also destroyed the more modern bridge downstream. The U.S. Army (63rd Infantry, 7th Army) entered the town on March 30, 1945. The civilian population surrendered without resistance. The American 289th Engineer Combat Battalion ferrying troops and vehicles over the Neckar River at Heidelberg until pontoon bridges were complete and damaged bridges repaired by the engineers on March 31, 1945. Two days earlier German troops had left the city after destroying three arches of the old bridge, Heidelberg's treasured river crossing. They also destroyed the more modern bridge downstream. The U.S. Army (63rd Infantry, 7th Army) entered the town on March 30, 1945. The civilian population surrendered without resistance. A popular belief is that Heidelberg escaped bombing in WWII because the U.S. Army wanted to use the city as a garrison after the war. As Heidelberg was neither an industrial centre nor a transport hub, it did not present a target of opportunity. Other notable university towns, such as Tübingen and Göttingen, were spared bombing as well. Allied air raids focused extensively on the nearby industrial cities of Mannheim and Ludwigshafen.  The U.S. Army may have chosen Heidelberg as a garrison base because of its excellent infrastructure, including the Heidelberg-Mannheim Autobahn which connected to the Mannheim-Darmstadt-Frankfurt Autobahn, and the U.S. Army installations in Mannheim and Frankfurt. The intact rail infrastructure was more important in the late 1940s and early 1950s when most heavy loads were still carried by train, not by lorry. Heidelberg had the untouched Wehrmacht barracks, the "Grossdeutschland Kaserne" which the US Army occupied soon after, renaming it the Campbell Barracks.

The Neue Universität and Schurmann Building with Nazi Reichsdienst flags on the left
Hitler in front of the Europäischer Hof where he spent the night March 31 1935 before moving on to Stuttgart, and the hotel today.
The Thingstätte in Heidelberg was started in 1934 and finished the following year. Situated on the Heiligenberg (Holy Mountain), the amphitheatre covers 25 metres of sloping land and overlooks the city. The mountain is littered with ancient burial grounds and once hosted a Roman temple at the summit dedicated to the god Mercury. Designed by the architect H. Alker, who worked for the Reich Labour Service, the Heidelberg Thingstatte features two hexagonal towers constructed to hold flags, lighting, and sound. On the opening day, 20,000 people turned out to hear Goebbels himself. After the Thingstatte fell out of favour, this site was turned into a public park and remains one to this day.

Just west of Heidelberg, the castle of Schwetzingen can be seen behind the Wehrmacht marching through the town in 1944. Schloss Schwetzingen had been the summer residence of Prince-Elector Carl Theodor. Jews had settled in the town from the the 18th century and by 1901 they set up a synagogue room in the Schwetzingen chateau. In the Nazi dictatorship the prayers had to be stopped because the few remaining Jewish citizens emigrated or were deported to the eastern extermination camps, which has been a memorial stone in Zeyherstraße since 1978. Hitler's opponents, such as Social Democrat Fritz Schweiger, who was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp in 1940, were also persecuted; the city has honoured him with a street name. During the Second World War, women and men from numerous countries were deported to Germany and also used in Schwetzingen for forced labour. Eleven victims of forced labour who are buried in the municipal cemetery are commemorated.
Panzer Kaserne, later home to the American Army as Tompkins Kaserne

Stadt der Auslandsdeutscher (City of the Abroad Germans)

Hitler visiting Stuttgart on April 1, 1938. Both photos show the end of Königstraße looking at Stuttgart Central Station then and now. On that day Hitler took advantage of the rejoicing due to the anschluss when he arrived at 3:00 p.m. on April 1, Hitler arrived in Stuttgart on a special train.
In the City Hall, the Mayor Dr. Stroelin greeted Hitler at a reception held in his honour. Hitler replied to this welcome in a short address, emphasizing that the concept of a Greater Germany was nowhere as lively and vibrant as in Stuttgart, “the city of Germans living abroad.” At 9:00 p.m., Hitler delivered another campaign speech at a mass rally in Stuttgart. Following the “party narrative,” he again turned to the events in Austria: “We have all forgotten what it means to be compelled to live outside of the German Volksgemeinschaft!”
Doramus (1079) The Complete Hitler
Around sixty percent of the German Jewish population had fled by the time restrictions on their movement were imposed on October 1, 1941, at which point Jews living in Württemberg were forced to live in 'Jewish apartments' before being 'concentrated' on the former Trade Fair grounds in Killesberg. On 1 December 1941 the first deportation trains were organised to send them to Riga. Only 180 Jews from Württemberg held in concentration camps survived.  During the period of Nazi rule, Stuttgart held the "honorary title" Stadt der Auslandsdeutschen (City of the Germans living outside of the Reich).  
During Kristallnacht the town's Old Synagogue was burnt down and the cemetery chapel of the Jewish community destroyed. The majority of the Jewish citizens of Stuttgart were arrested immediately afterwards by the Gestapo and transferred to the police prison of Welzheim or the Dachau concentration camp. Until the ban on emigration on October 1, 1941, only about sixty per cent of German Jews fled. The Jews who were still living in Wurttemberg and Hohenzollern were forced to move to so-called Jewish homes or Jewish forced-home homes during the war. 
Königsbau in 1940 and today
Königsbau in 1940 and today
They were then "concentrated" by the Gestapo (Stapoleitstelle Stuttgart) on the exhibition grounds of Killesberg. On December 1, 1941, the first transport train drove to Riga, where they were assassinated. Up to the last weeks of war, there were further trains with about 2,500 Jews from the region. Only 180 of these Würzburg concentration camp survivors survived. Sketch of the destruction in the Stuttgart city center after the air raids  Towards the end of the Second World War large sections of the city were destroyed by the Anglo-American air raids on Stuttgart. The most serious attack took place on September 12, 1944 by the Royal Air Force on Stuttgart's old town. 75 heavy airmines, 4300 explosive bombs and 180,000 fire bombs were dropped. More than 1,000 people fell victim to the subsequent fire storm. Altogether Stuttgart was attacked 53 times. 68% of all residential buildings and 75% of industrial facilities were destroyed. A total of 4477 people were killed in Stuttgart and 8908 people were injured.
  People marching past the Stuttgarter Polizeipräsidium May 1, 1933. It would later become the Gestapo Headquarters from 1937 to 1945, even after being bombed in September 1944.  As late as April 13, 1945 four prisoners in the cellar were hanged by the Gestapo.
 The 15th Deutsches Turnfest in 1933 at the schloßplatz with the Nazi banner in front of the Neues Schloss
The Neues Schloss then and now
The Neues Schloß before the war and today. The photograph on the left shows it immediately after the war. In the last fifteen months of the war the schloß suffered from several bombing raids to its eventual ruin. A lively discussion was led up until 1954 over the fate of the castle. The plans ranged from its complete demolition to establish a spa hotel or reconstruction as the seat of the Federal Government to possible use as a museum. Finally, in 1957 the decision was made to rebuild it for use for administrative purposes.
The Wilhelmspalais during the Third Reich (now serving as the Stadtmuseum) with its Grosser Saal festooned in swastikas in 1940   
The swastika over the Fruchtsäule in 1935 
The Tagblatt-Turm under construction in 1928 and then/now

The current Mercedes-Benz Arena was originally built in 1933 after designs by German architect Paul Bonatz and named the "Adolf-Hitler-Kampfbahn". From 1945 to 1949 it was called Century Stadium and later Kampfbahn and was used by US Troops to play baseball.The name Neckarstadion was used since 1949. It is currently home to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga (and to the Stuttgarter Kickers when they played in the Bundesliga).  

The Bismarckturm outside the city 

Towards the end of the Second World War large sections of the city were destroyed by the Anglo-American air raids on Stuttgart. The most serious attack took place on September 12, 1944 by the Royal Royal Air Force on Stuttgart's old town. 75 heavy airmines, 4300 explosive bombs and 180,000 fire bombs were dropped. More than a thousand people fell victim to the subsequent fire storm. Altogether Stuttgart was attacked 53 times. 68% of all residential buildings and 75% of industrial facilities were destroyed. A total of 4477 people were killed in Stuttgart and 8908 people were injured. On April 22, 1945, Stuttgart was occupied by American troops. Although the attack on the city was to be conducted by the US Seventh Army's 100th Infantry Division, General de Gaulle found this to be unacceptable, as he felt the capture of the region by Free French forces would increase French influence in post-war decisions. He treacherously directed General de Lattre to order the French 5th Armoured Division, 2nd Moroccan Infantry Division and 3rd Algerian Infantry Division to begin their drive on Stuttgart on 18 April 1945. Two days later, the French forces coordinated with the US Seventh Army for the employment of US VI Corps heavy artillery to barrage the city. The French 5th Armoured Division then captured Stuttgart on 21 April 1945, encountering little resistance. The circumstances of what became known as 'The Stuttgart Crisis' provoked political repercussions up to the White House. President Truman was unable to get De Gaulle to withdraw troops from Stuttgart until after the final boundaries of the zones of occupation were established. The French army occupied Stuttgart until they were forced to give it back to the American military occupation zone in 1946.
When French troops occupied Stuttgart – which was meant to form part of the American Zone as the capital of Württemberg – the Americans ordered them to leave. De Gaulle refused, saying he would stay put until the zones were finalised. The French were causing problems in the Levant too, and in an act of bravura against the Italians (who had taken back Haute Savoie and Nice during the war) they occupied the French- speaking Val d’Aosta. The American solution was to offer them some bits of Baden and Württemberg while keeping the lion’s share for themselves...French soldiers’ behaviour in Stuttgart, where perhaps 3,000 women and eight men were raped, was thought to have added to American fury at their overstepping their lines. 
MacDonogh After the Reich The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation
The French took a terrible toll in their zone, by forced seizure of food and housing, and by physical violence including mass rapes, in Stuttgart and elsewhere. The famine went on for years. The churches flew black flags. The children were too weak to play. The official ration in the French zone in January 1947 was 450 calories per day, half the ration of the Belsen concentration camp, according to the writer and theologian Prince zu Lцwenstein.
James Bacque (94) Crimes and Mercies
Just outside Stuttgart is the Gasthaus Ochsen shown here sporting Nazi flags and today, in the centre of Obertürkheim.

Oberen Marktplatz with Nazi flags and today. There was a Jewish community here since the 14th century. In 1907, the Künzelsau synagogue was opened which was subsequently destroyed during Kristallnacht. Some of the town's Jews were able to emigrate, but the majority were deported to the death camps. Only the merchant Sigbert Baer survived the Nazi era.
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now Rathausplatz during the Christmas market. The eagle-adorned war memorial from the First World War remains in place. On November 9, 1918, the day the Kaiser was forced to abdicate and the country became a Republic, workers' demonstrations were held. A Workers 'and Soldiers' Council was elected. In 1919 communist workers took over the city. A military intervention from the Stuttgart government cost 16 people's lives and forced the return to rest. As early as 1922 a branch of the Nazi party was formed here. In 1933 the town council of Esslingen was dissolved by the National Socialists in the course of the so-called co-operation. In 1935, Esslingen am Neckar was declared a "city district" on the basis of the German municipal regulation. In the course of the administrative reform, the former Oberamt Esslingen was transferred to the Landkreis Esslingen in 1938 and extended by a number of areas. 
Above all, a few municipalities came to the Kreis area on the Fildern (formerly Amtsoberamt Stuttgart) and in the Schurwald. In the Reichspogromnacht (more commonly known as Kristallnacht) the Esslinger Synagogue was desecrated. Jewish citizens were deported to the East for extermination. The "Israelitische Orphanage and Educational Institution Wilhelmspflege" was demolished in 1939 and converted into a plague of the plague. The last Jewish home director Theodor Rothschild was murdered in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1944. Some of Esslingen's victims of the National Socialists are now commemorated as elsewhere in German towns by Stolpersteine. On April 22, 1945, Esslingen was occupied by American soldiers. During the war, sixty houses were completely destroyed in Esslingen, seventy five heavily damaged, 260 were moderately damaged, and 1236 slightly damaged. 
The Gypsy is and remains a parasite on the people who supports himself almost exclusively by begging and stealing. . . The Gypsy can never be educated to become a useful person. For this reason it is necessary that the Gypsy tribe be exterminated . . . by way of sterilisation or castration.
Esslingen Chief of police in a letter to the chief administrative officer, 1937

Bad Cannstatt
The Rosensteinbunker outside Stuttgart then and now. The town saw, as with towns across Germany, egregious violence towards its Jewish populaton. On January 28, 1936, the Stuttgart district court sentenced the Jewish insurance official Edwin Spiro from Taubenheimstrasse 60/2 to six months in prison after being charged with violating the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honour", which stipulated in §2: "Extramarital traffic between Jews and nationals of German or related blood is prohibited." After the pogrom night in 1938, he was arrested again with tens of thousands of other Jews and incarcerated in the dreaded Welzheim concentration camp until January 31, 1939. The synagogue in Cannstatt was set on fire by the head of the fire station, two firefighters and some Nazis during Reichskristalnacht. On that night of November 9, 1938, Ida Carlebach from Dürrheimer Straße 5 and her eleven-year-old neighbour Margarete Carle witnessed the fire at the Cannstatt synagogue. Margarete Carle reported that her father came to the children's room with the call "Children are on fire!" From where they were, the flaming synagogue on König-Karl-Straße was easy to observe. In fact, the sparks flew almost towards the house. With the synagogue's destruction, Ida Carlebach committed suicide on November 27, 1938 and her house became 'aryanised' in March 1939.

The Nazi flag flying in front of Schloss Rosenstein when it served as a war museum during the Nazi era. After its destruction during the Second World War in 1944, the castle was rebuilt in 1955-1956 and turned into a museum for natural science. Between 1990 and 1992, the building was renovated and adapted to the requirements of a modern museum.

Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now Obertorplatz
Located 37 miles south of Stuttgart, during the start of Nazi rule most of the businesses in Hechingen were in Jewish hands and were closed or 'aryanised'. Much of the architecture of the city was destroyed or damaged by Nazi attempts to build air raid shelters in public buildings. Here is St. Johnnes Kirche, from an 1880 engraving and today.

The rathaus, shown here in 1940 and today, was so damaged that it had to be destroyed.  
Marktplatz then and now
Many industries, including DEHOMAG, a predecessor of IBM, were relocated to Hechingen from damaged areas of Germany, such as Berlin. Parts of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society were also relocated there.  In April 1945, American troops entered Hechingen and took over the atomic research laboratory and nuclear reactor. Many of the physicists were interned in Farm Hall in England and tried over the following years. Many of the scientists went on to have successful postwar careers for instance; on 15 November 1945 the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced that Otto Hahn had been awarded the 1944 Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his discovery of the fission of heavy atomic nuclei." 
The town has completely restored its nineteenth-century synagogue, shown here in 1937 and today. As recently as June, 2018 the Jewish cemetery which had only been reopened after considerable refurbishment was targetted by vandals. Perpetrators knocked over and destroyed one tombstone whilst throwing a second, smaller tombstone over the newly renovated cemetery wall, damaging it. Unlike previous attacks- the last attacked a quarter century earlier- there had been no right-wing extremist grafitti found although Michael Kashi, a board member of the Jewish community in Württemberg which  owns the cemetery, says one does not need swastikas to identify targeted anti-Semitism. "You can see that someone did this on purpose. Unfortunately, we experience this again and again and everywhere." The town mayor, Philipp Hahn, stated how "awareness of the Jewish past in Hechingen is important to me and to the local council. Such vandalism is loathsome." The desecration had been discovered on Saturday by employees of the specialist company Kiris-Bau from Freudenstadt, which was renovating the crumbling surrounding wall on behalf of the city of Hechingen. The Jewish community, which was informed by the city, immediately filed a complaint with the Hechingen police against unknown persons - even if Michael Kashi's hope that the perpetrators would be caught is rather low. "A few months ago the facade of the synagogue in Ulm was damaged. There is even video surveillance there, and yet the crime has not yet been solved." 

The town hall sporting swastikas and today

 Richard Drauz became Heilbronn's NSDAP Kreisleiter (District Leader) in 1932 . He was also elected to the Reichstag from 1933 on (when the town voted 31.6% Nazi- considerably lower than the national average) and pushed hard for the Gleichschaltung of the Heilbronn clubs and press in Nazi Germany.  On March 7, 1933, the SPD-newspaper "Neckar-Echo" was last published with the title "Forbidden"; the printing shop on the site of a shopping centre today was occupied on March 12 and made to print the Nazis' "Heilbronner Tagblatt." The Nazi takeover was celebrated for the first time on March 16, 1933 in the town council in which only 17 of its 30 town councillors were present after three KPD city councils were deprived of their office, two SPDs beaten and prevented from entering the town hall, and eight forced into protective custody. On that date applications such as the renaming the alley Adolf-Hitler-Allee were accepted whilst nevertheless refusing to deprive the Jewish lawyer Max Rosengart and Jewish city councillor Siegfried Gumbel of their honorary citizenship.
On July 28, 1935, the port was opened in a canal off the Neckar, and 1936 saw the Autobahn between Heilbronn and Stuttgart completed. Economy and infrastructure were booming in Württemberg, and Heilbronn was at the logistic centre of it all. As the result of a district reform on October 1, 1938, Heilbronn became the seat of the newly created Heilbronn County and regained independent city status. At the same time the previously independent communities of Böckingen, Sontheim, and Neckargartach were annexed, and with 72,000 residents Heilbronn then was the second largest city in Württemberg. The port turned into an important transfer station on the Neckar and one of the ten largest interior ports in the country.  On November 10, 1938, the Heilbronn synagogue was destroyed during the Kristallnacht. Soon thereafter the Jewish community was all but eliminated.  Starting in 1942  the salt mines in and around Heilbronn were used to store art and artefacts from Germany, France, and Italy. Similarly, important producers of the war industry were moved into the mine shafts. The expansion of the shafts was undertaken by labour brigades of the concentration camp branches in Kochendorf and Neckargartach. From Heilbronn all the way to Neckarelz numerous subterranean complexes, some of them gigantic, were constructed; on November 20, 1942, the Heilbronn Bureau of Labour had 8,000 forced labourers registered in its district.  
In 1940 allied air raids began, and the city and its surrounding area were hit about 20 times with minor damage. On September 10, 1944, a raid by the allies targeted the city specifically, in particular the Böckingen train transfer station. As a result of 1,168 bombs dropped that day, 281 residents died. The city was carpet-bombed from the southern quarter all the way to the Kilianskirche in the centre of town. The church was burnt out.  The catastrophe for Heilbronn was the bombing raid on December 4, 1944. During that raid the city centre was completely destroyed and the surrounding boroughs heavily damaged. Within one half hour 6,500 residents perished, most incinerated beyond recognition. Of those, 5,000 were later buried in mass graves in the Ehrenfriedhof (cemetery of honour) in the valley of the Köpfer creek close to the city. A memorial continues to be held annually in memory of those that died that day. As a result of the war Heilbronn's population shrank to 46,350.  After a ten-day battle, with the allies advancing over the strategically important Neckar crossings, the war ended for the destroyed city, and it was occupied by the U.S. Army on April 12, 1945. Local NSDAP leader Drauz became a fugitive because of executions of American prisoners of war he had ordered in March 1945. He was eventually arrested, tried, and hanged by the Allies in Landsberg on December 4, 1946.
 The Nazi flag flying atop the Kiliansturm for the first time January 30-31, 1933 and the resulting damage to Kilianskirche after the war. Already on September 10, 1944, the roofs of the choir, the northern side nave and the sacristy were destroyed by fire bombs during an American air attack. On October 12, 1944, an airmine destroyed the windows, parts of the chimneys, the southern spiral staircase, and part of the the high altar. On December 4, 1944, the church was almost completely destroyed during the air attack on Heilbronn. The western tower and the northern Chorturm burned out, whilst the choir with net vault, the gallery and the organ were completely destroyed. In April 1945, strong American artillery fire continued to inflict further damage, particularly on the West Front. 
As of today, anti-Semitism has made reappearance, especially with the huge influx of Muslims by the Merkel government with the latest attack occurring at 21.45 on Christmas Eve 2017 when the three-metre-high Hanukkah Menorah in the alley of Synagogengasse had been vandalised with several lamps and their glass cartouches knocked off.