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.

Freiburg 

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.
The local Nazi party newspaper Der Alemanne, founded in autumn 1931 had about  25,000 subscribers, reporting for the Freiburg and southern Baden region and was edited by Nazi mayor Kerber before he took office.
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 2,800 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 at 18.30 on July 29, 1932. Nevertheless, after anti-Nazi protest rallies were held in the stadium, he is said to have always avoided the city since then. 
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 next evening 137 Jews from Freiburg and the surrounding area were brought by train from Freiburg to the Dachau concentration camp where two of them were murdered and others' lives shortened through the injuries they suffered. All of those released after at least a month were forced  to sacrifice their remaining businesses and property and to leave Germany immediately. After their return from the Dachau concentration camp, Jews in Freiburg could still be recognised for a long time by their shaved hair, further humiliating them.
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  
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
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 Pleickart Baron Marschall von Bieberstein, as well as the Nazi motto referring to the failed Beer Hall putsch of which he personally took part: "And You Have Won in the End."Von Bieberstein was a German aviator and Nazi functionary who had  served in Fliegerabteilung 68 during the Great War in the so-called carrier pigeon department Ostend and in bomb squadron 1 of the Supreme Army Command, completing over 300 enemy flights under the nom de guerre Emir before becaming a squadron leader in 1917. He joined the Nazi Party as early as 1923 and took part in the Hitler putsch and became standard leader of the SA in 1924. He became better known as an aviator and participant in Sven Hedin's Sino-Swedish expedition from 1928 to 1929 to Sinkiang before returning to become leader of the Baden SA and from 1930 to 1933 a Nazi member  member of the Baden state parliament. He died in an airplane accident in Stettin in 1935 and was buried with a state funeral, being posthumously honoured by having a Junkers Ju 52 named after him; this plane eventualy crashed near Hanover in 1936 due to icing.
 
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. 
Wartime damage. Freiburg was heavily bombed during the war. First, in May 1940, aircraft of the Luftwaffe mistakenly dropped approximately sixty 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.
 
 
Münsterplatz
 
The Münster from above in 1944 and today

Schönau
  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)
Karlsruhe
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 spoke here in 1928. After his appointment as Reich Chancellor the Nazi Party in Karlsruhe celebrated with a torchlight procession through the city. That year on his birthday the festivities took place at great expense with a Hitler lime tree (Hitler-Linde) planted on the Schlossplatz. The next month on May 18 Hitler became an honorary citizen of the city and its market square was renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz. On November 11, 1933 during the so-called “Reichstag election and referendum for peace, freedom and honour”, ​​around 90 percent of the people of Karlsruhe vote “Yes” and for Hitler. The following year after the death of President Hindenburg, the referendum on the unification of the offices of the Reich President and the Reich Chancellor in the person of Adolf Hitler took place in Karlsruhe on August 19, 1934 resulting in what was proclaimed as “an overwhelming commitment to the Führer”. 
Hitler would speak again in the town on March 12, 1936 in front of an estimated 60,000 people in the university stadium; a fortnight later on the 29th 98.7% voted for Hitler in what passed for elections. During a May 17, 1939 visit to the Siegfried Line, Hitler arrived at Karlsruhe to meet with the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, Walter von Brauchitsch, at the Hotel Germania at Ettlinger Tor, staying overnight in his special train near Eggenstein. 
 During the 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. 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.
On April 25, 1946, Walter Köhler, Robert Wagner, Dr. Hans Frank and Hermann Göring revoked their honorary citizenship posthumously.
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. The market square was renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz in 1933 by the Nazi-dominated Karlsruhe municipal council. This was reversed at the beginning of the occupation in 1945. In the current online city map of the city of Karlsruhe from 1943, the authorities whitewash this and record the site only as "platz".  Gottesauer Platz had also at the same time been renamed Hermann-Göring-Platz and Festplatz became Platz der SA.

Hitler gave a two-hour speech on "Daily Struggle and Weltanschauung" here at the Festhalle on March 3, 1928 in front of around 3,000 attendants, some of whom were brought by truck from all over Baden and the Palatinate. 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 on the left. Below right is 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. 1,754 people died and 3,508 were injured. 38% of Karlsruhe was destroyed depending on estimates.  Among the heaviest air raids, the first took place on the third anniversary of the start of the war on September 3, 1942 when 73 were killed and 711 wounded as, among other sites, the Landesgewerbeamt, Margravial Palace, collection building on Friedrichsplatz , Christ Church, Westendstrasse (today Reinhold-Frank-Strasse), Körnerstrasse and numerous businesses in the Rheinhafen as well as the municipal grain store located there were all seriously damaged. Because of a thunderstorm on the night of April 24/25 1944, the town ​​centre was spared because the Christmas trees marking out the target area had blown away, although the bombs hit the suburbs, especially Rintheim- destroying its old town hall- Hagsfeld , Grötzingen and Berghausen. Castle Gottesau was hit by American bombs July 7 that year and severely damaged. Karlsruhe's town hall was almost completely destroyed the night of October 27 and the outer windows of the Grand Ducal Sepulchral Chapel, which was not hit itself, were destroyed by the pressure waves from the bombing of the area; they wouldn't be repaired until 1949. An incindiary bomb struck the “Drei Linden” inn in Mühlburg and tore apart the two air raid shelters resulting in many people being killed. 
In the autumn of 1944, the "decree for the formation of the Volkssturm" was issued, demanding that all men between 16 and 60 years of age who were not already conscripted but still capable of carrying weapons and who wasn't working in war-relevant companies were to receive basic military training and defend the city in an emergency. To that end the first Karlsruhe battalion was sworn in on November 12, 1944 on the “Platz der SA”. Weapon exercises were the order of the day at the weekends, mostly only the handling of the bazooka, which were to be used against tanks at short range. Such arming of the units were the responsibility of the army and the various district leaders. The Wehrmacht itself, of course, had better things to do than handing over weapons to an almost untrained troops, so that the Volkssturm were mainly equipped with old Italian rifles, built in 1884. For their part, the Allies publicly denounced the Volkssturm as the “new weapon of retaliation of the German Reich”. This naturally demoralised the soldiers enormously. Leaflets were also dropped over the cities, reporting how little chance Volkssturm units had in combat. And the Karlsruhe Volkssturm also had a “combat value equal to zero”, according to the city's combat commander, Major General Hossfeld.
It wouldn't be until March 31, 1945 on Easter Saturday that the remaining residents of Karlsruhe experienced the last, and longest, raid of the war. From from 6.30 until 19.00 there were a total of 1,032 alarms in the city and about an hundred air strikes in which 1,754 people were killed and 3,508 injured; around 25 percent of all buildings having been completely destroyed, including a great many historic buildings in the city ​​centre.
Finally 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. In Knielingen, Neufeldstrasse was called Adolf-Hitler-Strasse from 1933 until it was cut in 1935. In Hagsfeld, Schwetzinger Strasse was called that from 1933 until it was incorporated in 1938. In the rest of today's urban area of Karlsruhe, Adolf-Hitler-Strasse existed from 1933 until the occupation reversed it in 1945. Welschneureuter Strasse in Palmbach, Talstrasse and Grünwettersbacher Strasse, Steinkreuzstrasse in Wolfartsweier and Eugen-Kleiber-Strasse in Grötzingen all were renamed in Hitler's honour during the nazi regime.
 
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. 

Heidelberg 
 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 Nazis 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 Nazi project in Heidelberg. This cemetery is on the southern side of the old part of town, a little south of the Königstuhl hilltop where Wehrmacht soldiers were buried. During 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 war virtually 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. 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%. Freight station and zoo were badly damaged by bombs and artillery shelling. Air raids killed a total of 241 people in Heidelberg.
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 shown on the left and from the same site today. 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 American 63rd Infantry, 7th Army entered the town on March 30, 1945. The civilian population surrendered without resistance. 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. A popular belief is that Heidelberg escaped bombing during the war because the Americans 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 Americans 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 Americans 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.

Schwetzingen
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. When Hitler became chancellor there were still 79 Jews living in the city; this decreased to 67 at the start of 1936, 47 in 1938 and twelve at the start of 1939. After the few remaining Jewish citizens emigrated or were deported to the eastern extermination camps; a memorial stone in Zeyherstraße has commemorated this 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 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.
Since January 1933 there was in Schwetzingen - according to the self-assessment of the "Stürmer" - perhaps the "most beautiful striker box in the whole Reich", in which Jews as well as "Jewish servants" were denounced. After a visit to Schwetzingen in 1935, the publisher of the "Stürmer", Julius Streicher, received fresh Schwetzingen asparagus and lilacs from the city every spring from 1936 onwards. Streicher gave a speech in Schwetzingen in 1936, to which thousands of members of the Labour Front were brought in special trains. Between 1936 and 1938, 37 previous Jewish residents left the city. During the November pogrom in 1938, the houses of the Jewish families still living in the city were completely demolished. The last five Jewish residents of Schwetzingen (Frieda Bermann with her daughters Therese, Else and Ruth and Flora Vogel) were deported to Gurs on October 22, 1940.
Panzer Kaserne, later home to the American Army as Tompkins Kaserne

Stuttgart
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 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 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
Obertürkheim
 
Just outside Stuttgart is the Gasthaus Ochsen shown here sporting Nazi flags and today, in the centre of Obertürkheim.
 Künzelsau
Oberen Marktplatz with Nazi flags and today.
Oberen Marktplatz with Nazi flags and today
There had been a Jewish community here since the 14th century; by 1933 there were still 65 Jews living in the town. Anti-Jewish riots broke out in the city as early as March 1933 when, on the 20th, SA men under the leadership of SA Standartenführer Klein from Heilbronn carried out a "weapons search" among Jewish citizens and opponents of the Nazi regime. Jewish teacher Julius Goldstein, who would manage to emigrate to the United States with his wife and two children in 1939, was dragged to the town hall by SA men and was so abused that the iron synagogue key he was carrying in his pocket broke in two. The head of the Jewish community, businessman Max Ledermann, died of a heart attack whilst visiting Goldstein at the time. Another community member, David Furchheimer, committed suicide as a result of the incident. As the years went on due to the consequences of increasing disenfranchisement and the consequences of the economic boycott, some of the Jewish residents emigrated or moved from Künzelsau. The synagogue, dating from 1907, was destroyed during the Kristallnacht as the last of the Jewish shops were either closed or 'aryanised'. Until the final deportations in 1941 and 1942, the Jews still living in the town were forced into a few "Jewish houses" and were used for forced labour, including in the city quarry. The Jewish community was dissolved on July 12, 1939.  Whilst some of the town's Jews were able to emigrate, the majority were deported to the death camps with only the merchant Sigbert Baer surviving the Nazi era.
  
Esslingen
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 sixteen 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