Potsdam and Brandenburg

The Gau Mark Brandenburg was formed in 1933 initially under the name Gau Kurmark in Nazi Germany as a district within the Free State of Prussia. In 1935, Germany's constituent states were dissolved and the Gaus replaced the states and their responsibilities. In 1940, Kurmark was renamed Mark Brandenburg. The Gau was 38, 278 km² in area and with over 3 million inhabitants the largest in Nazi Germany. The seat of the Gauleitung was in Berlin on Kurmärkische Straße. The Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen concentration camps were located in the Gau March of Brandenburg. Ravensbrück was a women's camp and of the 132,000 prisoners that were sent to the camp, 92,000 perished whilst of the estimated 200,000 prisoners at Sachsenhausen 30,000 perished. However this figure does not include prisoners that died on the way to the camp or were never registered and killed on arrival, the latter mostly Soviet prisoners of war. The Gau was dissolved in 1945, following Allied Soviet occupation of the area and Germany's formal surrender in 1945. After the war, the territory of the former Gau became part of the state of Brandenburg in East Germany except one of beyond Oder-Neisse line, which was given to Poland. Most territories of it are divided between Germany's State of Brandenburg and Poland's Lubusz Voivodeship now.

On March 21 1933, the first day of spring, the new Hitler government staged an elaborate ceremony in Potsdam, the traditional residence of the Prussian kings. The ceremony was intended to symbolise the continuity between Prusso-German monarchism and the new Nazi-led regime. In the venerable Garrison Church, in front of the vault of Frederick the Great and the throne traditionally occupied by the kaiser, President Hindenburg called on the new government to overcome the selfishness and partisan divisions of the Weimar era and to lead the national renewal for a unified, free, and proud Germany. Hitler, in turn, extolled Hindenburg as the patron of the German “awakening” and as the symbol of the indestructible vitality of the German nation.
Reich Chancellor Hitler and Vice-Chancellor Franz von Papen on their way to the garrison church on the 'Day of Potsdam,' left.
Significantly, one of Goebbels’ first staged events as Propaganda Minister was the opening of the new Reichstag with an elaborate ceremony known as the ‘Day of Potsdam’ on 21 March 1933. The ceremony was held in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the shrine of the old Prussian monarchy. President Hindenburg resplendent in the full military regalia of Prussian field-marshal raised his baton to the empty throne of the exiled Kaiser. Hitler, in top hat and morning coat, bowed deferentially before him. The propaganda message was clear. The Nazis were restoring the old imperial glories lost in 1918 by forging a link between the past and the present – between the conservatism of the Prussian tradition and the razzmatazz of National Socialist ritual propaganda. In a symbolic piece of theatrical staging, Hindenburg took the salute for the final parade (which lasted for several hours) while Hitler stood modestly with his ministers some rows behind the old man 
Welch (21) The Third Reich: Politics and Propaganda
During the anniversary celebrations of the Revolution of 1848 on March 21, 1933 which provided the occasion for the ceremonial handshake between President Paul von Hindenburg and the new Chancellor Adolf Hitler in Potsdam's Garrison Church in what became known as the "Day of Potsdam". The ceremony was intended to symbolise the continuity between Prusso-German monarchism and the new Nazi-led regime. In the venerable Garrison Church, in front of the vault of Frederick the Great and the throne traditionally occupied by the kaiser, President Hindenburg called on the new government to overcome the selfishness and partisan divisions of the Weimar era and to lead the national renewal for a unified, free, and proud Germany. Hitler, in turn, extolled Hindenburg as the patron of the German “awakening” and as the symbol of the indestructible vitality of the German nation.
The Nikolaikirche before and after the war and with students from my 2017 Bavarian International School trip.
Standing in front and as it appeared after the war on the right. During the air raid on Potsdam, British aircraft dropped explosive and incendiary bombs over Potsdam's city centre on the evening of April 14, 1945. Although a large part of the old town was in ruins, the church remained unscathed beyond some slight damage. Only in the last days of fighting for Potsdam was it ruined by Soviet artillery bombardment. The dome collapsed and the entrance portico on the Alter Markt collapsed. Inside, the organ loft collapsed with the Sauer organ, the apse was severely torn, parts of the equipment were burned and the largest bell was destroyed. Only the altar and pulpit remained undamaged. On April 30, 1945 the Red Army occupied Potsdam.
Built under the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm I between 1730 and 1735, the Garrison Church burned down on April 14 1945 and its ruins finally demolished on June 23 1968 under Walter Ulbricht. A reconstruction society aims to rebuild the Garrison Church by 2017, financed with donations.
 Postcard commemorating the event with President Paul von Hindenburg being seen by many as a substitute for the Kaiser, allowing Hitler’s “Machtergreifung” to become a symbol of a Prussian conservative rebirth of the nation (“Wiedergeburt der Nation). The deal was sealed by a handshake between the Chancellor, Hitler, and the President, von Hindenburg Paul von Hindenburg. A famous photograph of it by a photographer for the New York Times, Theo Eisenhard, became the media icon of the day although the handshake was later claimed to represent little more than Hitler’s dismissal of Hindenburg.
During the war given the fear of bombing the coffins of Friedrich II and his father, Friedrich Wilhelm I were removed from the Garrison Church in 1943 and placed in a bunker in today’s German Army Command Centre in Potsdam. After the British bombings on April 14 and 15, 1945 it looked as though the church had remained unscathed, but on the 15th the “Lange Stall next door took a direct hit, and the ensuing fire storm entered the church through windows broken by the bombing the night before. The fire destroyed the wooden galleries and the roof before it entered the tower, where wooden ventilation shutters needed for the carillon mechanic allowed the fire to spread quickly. Damage to water pipes and low water pressure resulting from the bombings made it impossible for fire hoses to reach the source of the blaze. Firemen could only watch helplessly as first the tower burned from top to bottom followed by the wooden beams in the church nave. Only the crucifix, chandeliers and the altar table could be saved before the enormous heat caused an unexploded ordnance to detonate. One by one the carillon bells loosened and fell nearly 80 metres to the ground until finally the oaken roof of the tower also collapsed ending the long existence of Potsdam’s most famous musical instrument. Only the ruined outside walls of the church and a stump of its tower remained.
The wartime conferences had calmly discussed the Germans’ fate, but at the Potsdam Conference the Allies finally realised that ‘Uncle Joe’ had stolen a march on them. He would call the shots. The Allies met from 17 July to 2 August 1945 at the palace of Crown Prince ‘Little Willi’, the Cecilienhof in Potsdam. The Western Allies were able to see their handiwork for the first time. In a fifteen-minute raid on 14 April they had flattened the centre of Frederick the Great’s Residenz. The town centre had lost ‘everything that was historic, a memorial or artistically important’, according to Hanna Grisebach. There were consolations: ‘The voices that we have had to listen to for over twelve years have been silenced.’
Giles MacDonogh (471) After the Reich
 Potsdam had not been spared in the bombing.
In a massive air raid that night, Allied bombers attacked Potsdam. A Hitler Youth sheltering in a basement that night found the walls around him `rocking like a ship'. The bombs destroyed much of the old town, including the Garnisonkirche, the spiritual home of the Prussian military caste and aristocracy. Ursula von Kardorff burst into tears in the street after hearing the news. `A whole world was destroyed with it,' she wrote in her diary.
Beevor (204-5) Berlin 1945
 The Nauener Tor and Brandenburger Tor on Luisenplatz, shown during the Nazi era and today, are two of Potsdam's three preserved city gates. The first is regarded as the first structure of neo-Gothic style on the European continent whilst the latter, not to be confused with the gate of the same name on Berlin's Pariser Platz, was built in 1770-71 by Carl von Gontard and Georg Christian Unger by order of Frederick II and runs in a straight line up to the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.
 Brandenburger Straße in 1934 in a watercolor by Otto Heinrich. Heinrich was dubbed Kanalotto, based on the Italian Canaletto, because of his artistic passion for the Potsdam city canal. Flagged with swastika and black-white-red imperial flags, it probably records an official occasion, most likely the death of Reich President Hindenburg on August 2, 1934. In all likelihood Heinrich probably intended to destroy her it after the war, but a friend smuggled it out to West Berlin. In the painting the swastikas were incompletely scraped off, suggests that it was already visible for a while after the war.
The city centre of Potsdam was badly damaged by an Allied bombing raid on April 14, 1945 in the last phase of the war. The area between the Havel, the Alter Markt and the Bassinplatz was particularly affected. The main station, city ​​palace, long stable and garrison church burned out completely. Large parts of the northeastern suburb near the Glienicke Bridge were also damaged in a similar manner. However, the area around the New Market , the Dutch Quarter, has largely been preservedand the northern parts of the old town. In the battles of the last days of the war, other buildings were damaged, such as the Holy Spirit Church and the Old Town Hall. On April 27, 1945, Potsdam was taken by the Red Army. Potsdam was the target of a particularly large number of bombs in Germany. Up to the present day, newly discovered duds are defused and the people living in the area are evacuated on such occasions.

The Lustgarten then and now, showing the Marstall, St. Nicholas Church and Stadtschloss
The Altes Rathaus and looking towards the Alten Markt from Schlossstraße
The Stadtschloss is being reconstructed with as much of the original material as possible. When completed, it is intended to become the Parliament House for the Federal State of Brandenburg.
One part of the schloss currently under reconstruction is the fountain "The Triumph of Neptune and Amphitrite Stilling the Waves", shown here in the 1930s and today.
The unveiling in October 1929 of the memorial for the 15,000 paramedics killed in the Great War with the honorary company of the Reichswehr in the foreground.
At the main entrance of Schloss Cecilienhof , where the Potsdam "Big Three" meetings were held. It was built from 1914 to 1917 in the layout of an English Tudor manor house inspired by Bidston Court in Birkenhead. Cecilienhof was the last palace built by the House of Hohenzollern that ruled the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire until the end of the Great War. It is famous for having been the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, in which the leaders of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States made important decisions affecting the shape of postwar Europe and Asia. Cecilienhof has been part of the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.
 The Potsdam Conference took place from July 17 to August 2, 1945 and was the third and longest summit between the heads of government of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States, the three victors in the anti-Hitler-coalition that had just won the war after VE day, May 8 1945. The conference was mainly organised by the Soviets as seen in the red star floral arrangement still to be seen in the photos I took for this page. Although Churchill had refused to hold a summit "anywhere within the current Soviet military zone", Truman and Stalin had agreed in late May 1945 to meet "near Berlin". As Berlin itself had been too heavily damaged by Allied bombing and street-to-street fighting, Cecilienhof in Potsdam was selected as the location for the conference. The delegations were to be housed in the leafy suburb of Potsdam-Babelsberg, which had suffered only slight damage in the bombing raids and also offered the advantage that the streets to the conference venue were easy to guard. To that end Soviet soldiers repaired the streets connecting Babelsberg to Cecilienhof, built a pontoon bridge to replace the Glienicker Brücke, which had been destroyed during the last days of the war, planted trees, bushes and flower beds—including the aforementioned Soviet red star in the Ehrenhof of the palace. 
At Cecilienhof, 36 rooms and the great hall were renovated and furnished with furniture from other Potsdam palaces. The furniture of Wilhelm and Cecilie had been removed by the Soviets and stored at the Dairy. 
The main rooms used for the conference were as follows: Cecilie's music salon, the White Salon, used by the Soviet delegation as a reception room. On the first day of the conference, this was also the site of a buffet Stalin provided to the other delegations; Cecilie's writing room—the Red Salon, used by the Soviet delegation as a study; the Great hall—this was the conference hall, fitted by the Soviets with a round table ten feet in diametre (probably custom-made by a Moscow-based furniture company); Wilhelm's smoking room was used as study of the American delegation; Wilhelm's library served as the study of the British delegation; Wilhelm's breakfast room was possibly used as a secretary's office. However, according to the official guide to the palace, evidence has recently emerged that indicates that the current designation of the British and American studies may have been switched by the Soviets after the conference.
After the conference ended, Soviet troops used the palace as a clubhouse. It was handed over to the state of Brandenburg and in 1952 a memorial for the Conference was set up in the former private chambers of Wilhelm and Cecilie. The East German government also used the palace as a reception venue for state visits whilst the rest of the complex became a hotel in 1960, a function that remains today. Some of the rooms were used by the ruling party (SED) for meetings. After 1961 a part of the Neuer Garten was destroyed to build the southwest section of the Berlin Wall (as part of the Grenzsicherungsanlagen) which ran along the shore of Jungfernsee.
On the left, the Flags of the USSR, United States and the United Kingdom are flying over the entranceway as Soviet officers serve as guards and as it appeared during my 2020 Bavarian International School trip; I was personally impressed they didn't just use a regular American flag but chose one that had the original 48 stars. Photographed during the conference, the last of the major Allied conferences of the Second World War showing the great red star of geraniums, pink roses and hortensias in the flower bed at the entrance the Soviets had planted. Held from July 17 to August 2, 1945, in the Berlin suburb of Potsdam, its principal participants were President Harry S Truman, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, and (at the beginning of the conference) British prime minister Winston Churchill, whose place was later taken by Clement Attlee, when he replaced Churchill as prime minister. Beginning with the Tehran Conference in 1943, the main allies of the anti-Hitler coalition of the Second World War had already met several times at various levels in order to reach an agreement on the course for the time after the victory over Nazi Germany. Previously, in the 1943 Conference of Casablanca the demand for an unconditional surrender was raised. At the Yalta conference in February 1945, a division into occupation zones as well as a coordinated administration and control by a Central Control Commission was adopted.  
After the military collapse of the Germany on the occasion of the entry into force of the unconditional surrender of the German forces on May 8, 1945 and the arrest of the managing Reichsregierung under Karl Doenitz and Lutz von Krosigk on May 23, Berlin Declaration and the establishment of the occupation zones as well as the establishment of an Allied Control Council officially assumed the power of government in Germany. A conference in June, proposed by Churchill was delayed by Stalin. This was done within the framework of Soviet endeavours to make the West Powers complete fait accompli with regard to the German eastern frontier. Original plans had foreseen Berlin as a meeting place, but because of the serious war damage, the meetings were transferred to the intact Potsdam palace Cecilienhof.
The major subjects of the conference were the European peace settlements; the urgently pressing issue of administering a defeated and substantially destroyed Germany; the determination of Polish boundaries; the terms of the occupation of Austria; the Soviet role in Eastern Europe; reparations; and, not least, the continued prosecution of the war against Japan.  
 During my 2017 Bavarian International School trip to the site of the conference.

The conference produced the Potsdam Declaration. With regard to Germany, the declaration asserted the Allies’ intention to give the “German people . . . the opportunity to prepare for the eventual reconstruction of their life on a democratic and peaceful basis.” Four zones of occupation were demarcated in Germany, each to be administered by military governments under the commanders in chief of the British, American Soviet, and French armies of occupation. Austria was also divided into four zones of occupation, as were the capital cities of Berlin and Vienna. Coordination amongst the occupation zones was to be handled by an Allied Control Council. The conference agreed that occupation policy would embody the principles stated in the Yalta Agreement, including demilitarization, denazification, democratisation, decentralization, and deindustrialisation. 
Regarding the issue of reparations, each Allied power was to recover reparations from its own zone of occupation, with the proviso that the Soviet Union was entitled to recover 10 to 15 percent of the industrial equipment in the western zones of Germany in exchange for agricultural produce and other natural products from its zone.
With regard to the settlement of the Polish border, this was fixed at the Oder and Neisse Rivers in the west, and the country absorbed a portion of what had been East Prussia. This settlement required relocating millions of Germans from these areas.
The settlement of the Soviet role in Eastern Europe was highly contentious, as Stalin refused to permit Western intervention in those Eastern governments already controlled by communists.
At Potsdam President Truman revealed to Stalin the existence of the atomic bomb and that he intended to use it against Japan. Stalin hardly reacted to this revelation—because (as it turned out) his espionage network had already informed him of the existence of the bomb. Stalin knew already what the Americans had achieved; knew, too, that it was an achievement that the Soviet Union must match. Stalin disingenuously told the American ambassador in Moscow that the Bomb "would mean the end of war and aggressors". Harriman concurred that "it could have great importance for peaceful purposes"; to which, with a stony face, Stalin replied: "Unquestionably." However, because of the weapon, the conferees were emboldened to issue an ultimatum to Japan on July 26 demanding unconditional surrender. The Japanese government, hopelessly deadlocked in political arguing, made it clear they would ignore the message. After Japan rejected the ultimatum the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This has led to the myth of how an ill-chosen translation of the Japanese word mokusatsu led to the United States decision to drop the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

The conference room then and now

Inside the famous garden terrace where press photos were taken of the “Big Three” sitting in wicker chairs which were added as part of the special exhibition Potsdam Conference 1945 – Shaping the World, commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Potsdam Conference.

During my 2018 class trip.
There remained a great deal of unfinished business. The future of Germany, discussed at Yalta, was not decided by the documents of surrender. The settlement in Eastern Europe was not resolved. The war with Japan was not yet over. The three wartime allies agreed to meet for a conference in which they could explore the many political issues left over from the defeat of the Axis powers. The date agreed upon was July 15. Stalin persuaded his allies to add to the symbolism of surrender by meeting in Berlin. The site chosen was Potsdam, home of Prussian militarism. Zhukov was once again asked to find a suitable venue. He chose the Cecilienhof, a former palace of the Prussian royal family. Other villas were requisitioned for the thousands of officials who followed in train behind their heads of state. Zhukov organized the refurbishment of thirty‐six rooms and an assembly hall in the palace. By request Truman’s headquarters were painted blue; Churchill asked for pink; the Soviet delegation chose a stark white. No circular conference table large enough and in one piece could be found in Berlin, so the Lux furniture factory in Moscow was asked to build one in time for the conference.
Overy, Russia's War
Inside Stalin's study; the books were added since I last visited
In front of the 1948 painting "The Morning of our Fatherland" by the painter Fjodor S. Schurpin now in his study. It shows a country no longer war­ ravaged and struggling with infra­structure, food supplies or housing. Schurpin received the Stalin­ Prize Second Class for this painting. 
Stalin, ever more sartorially aware, changed into his white, gilded Generalissimo’s magnificence with the single Hero of the Soviet Union gold star, and arrived last for the first session at the Cecilienhof Palace, built in 1917 for the last Crown Prince, mocking its Kaiserine grandeur: “Hmm. Nothing much,” he told Gromyko. “Modest. The Russian Tsars built themselves something much more solid.” At the conference, Stalin sat between Molotov and his interpreter Pavlov, flanked by Vyshinsky and Gromyko. Champagne glasses were brought to toast the conference. Churchill, puffing at a cigar, approached Stalin who was himself smoking a Churchillian cigar. If anyone were to photograph the Generalissimo with a cigar, it would “create an immense sensation,” Churchill beamed, “everyone will say it is my influence.” Actually British influence was greatly diminished in the new world order of the superpowers in which they could agree on the de‑Nazification of Germany but not on reparations or Poland. Now Hitler was gone, the differences were mountainous.
Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar

Inside the room assigned to Truman and his staff still partly furnished with items from the nearby Marmorpalais such as the finely carved writing desk. On the right is his private dining room set inside the room.

The schloß library, assigned to none other than Churchill himself (later to be occupied by Attlee) as his personal office. This was the only room for the British on the ground floor. Theoretically, the most natural way for Churchill to have made his way down to the actual conference room from the British delegation's offices upstairs was via the grand wooden stairs that lead down from the first floor to the conference hall. However, the Soviets childishly insisted that he had to make his way in a very roundabout way in order to use a side entrance since they and the American delegations occupied rooms on the ground floor and thus had to enter through side doors, leaving Churchill to have appeared privileged had he been the only one to make his entry to the Conference via the grand stairs. The different quarters were to be colour-coded: blue for the Americans, white for the Russians and pink for the British.
Churchill arriving with me at the spot, 2017...
Churchill, puffing at a cigar, approached Stalin who was himself smoking a Churchillian cigar. If anyone were to photograph the Generalissimo with a cigar, it would “create an immense sensation,” Churchill beamed, “everyone will say it is my influence.” Actually British influence was greatly diminished in the new world order of the superpowers in which they could agree on the de‑Nazification of Germany but not on reparations or Poland. Now Hitler was gone, the differences were mountainous. When Stalin decided he wanted a stroll in the gardens after a session, a British delegate was amazed to see “a platoon of Russian tommy‑gunners in skirmishing order, then a number of guards and units of the NKVD army. Finally appeared Uncle Joe on foot with his usual thugs surrounding him, followed by another screen of skirmishers. The enormous officer who always sits behind Uncle at meetings was apparently in charge of operations and was running around directing tommy‑gunners to cover all the alleys.” After a few hundred yards, Stalin was picked up by his car.

...and in 2020

Finally, on 24 July, two monumental moments symbolized the imminent end of the Grand Alliance. First Churchill attacked Stalin for closing off Eastern Europe, citing the problems of the British mission in Bucharest: “An iron fence has come down around them,” he said, trying out the phrase that would become “the iron curtain.” “Fairy tales!” snapped Stalin. The meeting ended at 7:30 p.m. Stalin headed out of the room but Truman seemed to hurry after him. Interpreter Pavlov deftly appeared beside Stalin. Churchill, who had discussed this moment with the President, watched in fascination as Truman approached the Generalissimo “as if by chance,” in Stalin’s words. “The U.S.A.,” said Truman, “tested a new bomb of extraordinary destructive power.” Pavlov watched Stalin closely: “no muscle moved in his face.” He simply said he was glad to hear it: “A new bomb! Of extraordinary power! Probably decisive on the Japanese! What a bit of luck!” Stalin followed the plan he had agreed with Beria to give the Americans no satisfaction but he still thought the Americans were playing games: “An A‑bomb is a completely new weapon and Truman didn’t exactly say that.” He noticed Churchill’s glee too: Truman spoke “not without Churchill’s knowledge.”
Montefiore, Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar
Beside a reproduction of the Potsdam Map at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin, created by the globemakers Greaves and Thomas who write as follows:

Illustrated here is our copy of the Potsdam Map, the original is now displayed in the Churchill War Rooms in Whitehall. We worked with the Machine Shop in order to make this facsimile for display in a museum in Germany. Clearly the acetate had shrunk by the time the allies used it as reference because they then had to draw their proposed divisions across not only the acetate but also on the map itself where the shrinking acetate had exposed the map.
 It is interesting to note that the outside case has its weight recorded of 18lbs clearly a necessity for the flight to Potsdam. Also the case is adapted, the internal rexine material has been cut away to enable the 1944 National Geographic map to be displayed, clearly a case of having to make do with limited resources. 
 The chain which encircles one of the handles, is cold riveted to itself , is padlock secured to the end of it is for securing the chain to another chain, not for keeping the folio shut but possibly for securing to the folio to the person assigned to carry it.
Sans Souci
Men of the 13th Waffen Mountain Division of the ϟϟ "Handschar" (1st Croatian) at Sanssouci during a three-week training course for imams in July 1943. The Handschar was a mountain infantry division of the Waffen-ϟϟ which from March to December 1944 fought a counter-insurgency campaign against communist-led Yugoslav Partisan resistance forces in Croatia. It was given the title Handschar after a local fighting knife or sword carried by Ottoman policemen. It was the first non-Germanic Waffen-ϟϟ division, and its formation marked the expansion of the Waffen-ϟϟ into a multi-ethnic military force. Comprising of Bosnian Muslims with some Catholic Croat soldiers and mostly German and Yugoslav Volksdeutsche officers and non-commissioned officers, it took an oath of allegiance to both Hitler and the Croatian leader Ante Pavelić, fighting briefly in the Syrmia region before crossing into northeastern Bosnia. It earned a reputation for  savagery, not only during combat operations, but also through atrocities committed against Serb and Jewish civilians. In late 1944, parts of the division were transferred briefly to the Zagreb area, after which the non-German members began to desert in large numbers. Over the winter of 1944–45, it was sent to the Baranja region where it fought against the Red Army and Bulgarians throughout southern Hungary, falling back via a series of defensive lines until they were inside the Reich frontier. Most of the remaining members became prisoners of the British Army; 38 officers were extradited to Yugoslavia with ten executed. Hundreds of former members of the division fought in the 1947–48 Civil War in British Palestine and the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
With the hakenkreuz flying above and today.
The Ares Ludovisi in the vestibule of Schloss Sanssouci. This marble copy after the Ares Ludovisi was created by Lambert Sigisbert Adam in 1730 as a thank-you gift to King Louis XV of France for the scholarship accompanying the Grand Prix de Sculpture of 1723, which enabled him to study in Rome for several years. It is a copy of a late 4th century BCE work's Roman copy in the Thermenmuseum in Rome. Together with four other sculptures, the sculpture arrived in 1750 as a gift from the French king to Frederick II of Prussia, who had it erected here in the vestibule of Sanssouci Palace.
The library and Kleine Galerie, completely unchanged
The entrance then and now 
The Chinese House garden pavilion which Frederick the Great had erected about seven hundred metres southwest of Sanssouci palace to decorate its ornamental garden and vegetable garden. The master builder Johann Gottfried Büring was commissioned with the planning, who, according to sketches by the king in the years 1755 to 1764, created a pavilion in the contemporary taste of the Chinoiserie, a mixture of ornamental stylistic elements of Rococo and parts of East Asian styles.  The unusually long construction period of nine years is due to the Seven Years' War , during which the economic and financial situation of Prussia suffered considerably. Only after the end of the war, 1763, the cabinets were equipped inside the garden pavilion. Since the building, in addition to its function as a decorative garden architecture occasionally served as an exotic backdrop for smaller festivities, Frederick the Great gave orders to build a Chinese kitchen a few metres southeast of the Chinese House. After a renovation in 1789, only the hexagonal windows remind of the East Asian character of the former utility building.Small surviving remnants of this wall covering were used during the restoration from 1990 to 1993 as a model for a reconstruction of the original.
Next to the Chinese house there is a tall incense burner with the inscription 製年元正雍清大- Daqing Yongzheng yuannian-zhi which translates as "Made in the 1st year of the reign of Emperor Yongzheng " (ie. 1723). In the guide book of the Chinese House it states that the burner came as a gift from the king of Siam Chulalongkorn in 1897 and stood until 1955 in the former rose garden at the New Palace . The swastika ornament of course was widespread in Europe and Asia and is not connected in this case to the Nazis.

Bernau bei Berlin

Memorial to the victims of Fascism. The Bundesschule of the General German Trade Union Confederation (ADGB) was expropriated on May 2 1933 to a Reichsführerschule of the NSDAP and the DAF. The opening on July 16 1933 happened in the presence of Hitler. From 1936 to 1945, the security service school of the security police and SD was in the building.  From the summer of 1943 there was an outside camp in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, of which 300 prisoners were employed in a police station. A memorial in front of the station on a green area on the Breitscheidstrasse has reminded the victims of fascism since September 11, 1949. On the morning of April 20, 1945, Bernau was taken by the Red Army. The city was largely spared from destruction during the war.

Situated at the western border of Berlin in Brandenburg, during the Second World War the Demag-Panzerwerke subcamp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was located here. At its height, 2,500 people were imprisoned in the camp and used as slave labour. Schlageterstraße, named after the pre-Nazi nationalist martyr, then and now as Hansa-Straße.

Showing Eisenhardt Castle then and now, Bad Belzig is the capital of the Potsdam-Mittelmark district 43 miles southwest of Berlin. In 1934 ammunition works were established in Bad Belzig including a labour camp with about 1500 forced labourers. During the years 1936-1945, Burg Eisenhardt was the site of the Reichsschule (leadership school) for the Technischen Nothilfe ('technical emergency relief'). (The Technische Nothilfe was abolished in May, 1945, but the idea was revived by Otto Lummitzsch in the form of the Technisches Hilfswerk in 1950, which exists to this day as one of the pillars of the German civil protection infrastructure.) Between 1940 and 1945 a subcamp of the women's concentration camp Ravensbrück with about 750 inmates was also located nearby. Bad Belzig was also the site of a large radio transmitter station, erected in 1939.   

The cloisters were founded by Cistercian monks in 1273, and 500 of them laboured over six decades to erect what is widely considered to be among the finest red-brick Gothic structures in northern Germany. The monastery was secularised in 1542 and fell into disrepair after the Thirty Years’ War. Renovation has gone on in a somewhat haphazard fashion since the early 19th century. Here shown during the Nazi-era and today

Prenzlau Uckermark
The war memorial on Adolf Hitler Platz then and now 

1937 and today, with the B 109 now directing traffic past the Marienkirche and Mitteltorturm. During the Nazi era the town synagogue, erected in 1832, was desecrated and destroyed during the November pogrom in 1938, as did the two Jewish cemeteries at the Wasserturm in today's Stadtpark, whose crushed tombstones were used as street pavements. The New Jewish Cemetery at Puschkinstraße 60 was rebuilt after 1945. During the war Prenzlau suffered roughly 600 fatalities. At the end of April 1945 about 85% of Prenzlauer Stadtkerns was destroyed. Reconstruction began in 1952. Because of the scarcity of housing and the low economic power in the post-war years, mainly prefabricated buildings were erected, which however were popular with the population.

Adolf-Hitler-Strasse then and now (renamed the Großstraße), with the Heilig-Geist-Kapelle (now serving the Heimatmuseum) in the foreground leading to the rathaus. 

Adolf-Hitler-Haus and today, on Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 
The church with the ehrenmal and today 

The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow, shown flying numerous hakenkreuzen,  is the oldest working boat lift in Germany.

Wusterhausen an der Dosse 
 The rathaus on Adolf Hitler Platz (with swastika) and today

Brandenburg an der Havel
 Looking at the town from Adolf Hitler Brücke and today.
A concentration camp, one of the first in Germany, was located on Neuendorfer Straße in Brandenburg Old Town. After closing this inner city concentration camp, the Nazis used the Brandenburg-Görden Prison, located in Görden, a suburb of Brandenburg. Later the old gaol became the Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre where the Nazis killed people with mental diseases, including children. They called this operation "Action T4" because of the Berlin address, Tiergartenstraße 4, the headquarters of this planned and well-organised killing "euthanasia" organisation. Brandenburg an der Havel was one of the very first locations in the Third Reich where the Nazis experimented with killing their victims by gas. Here, they prepared the mass killings in Auschwitz and other extermination camps. After complaints by local inhabitants about the smoke, the mobile furnaces used to burn the corpses ceased operation. Shortly after this, the Nazis closed the old prison. Bunker of the type designed by Leo Winkel in Kirchmöser  In 1934, the Arado Aircraft Company (Arado Flugzeugwerke), which originated in Warnemünde, began building a satellite factory in Brandenburg that began producing planes in 1935. The factory was expanded over the next five years, and during the war it produced trainers and other aircraft for the Luftwaffe. The existence of this factory was one of the reasons Brandenburg was heavily bombed in later stages of the war; by 1945 the city was 70 percent destroyed.  Friedrich Fromm, a German officer involved in the July 20 plot to assassinate Hitler, was executed here in March 1945 for his part in the plot, even though Fromm betrayed those conspirators he knew and ordered their execution. 

The rathaus with and without Nazi flag. Hitler spoke here on July 27, 1932 during the election campaign. In the 1938 pogroms, Eberswalde's synagogue was destroyed. During the war several factories employed forced labourers and inmates of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. At the end of the war, the town centre was attacked by the German Luftwaffe, in an attempt to delay the Soviet advance.
Bahnhofsplatz during the funeral of Carin Goering. In 1920, while she was estranged from her first husband, Carin met Hermann Göring at Rockelstad Castle while she was visiting her sister Mary. Four years younger than she, he was working in Sweden as a commercial pilot for the short-lived airline Svensk Lufttrafik and was at the castle because he had flown Count Eric von Rosen, her sister Mary's husband, there. Göring fell in love with Carin and soon started meeting her in Stockholm, even though, scandalous at the time, she was a separated married woman with a young child. She was divorced from von Kantzow in December 1922 and married Göring on 3 January 1923. After their marriage, the Görings first lived in a house in the suburbs of Munich. Carin followed her husband and became a member of the Nazi Party. When Göring was badly injured in the groin during the Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923, Carin took him to Austria, then on to Italy, and nursed him back to health; their romance was used by the propaganda machine of Goebbels and the couple toured around the nation to boost the popularity of the Nazi Party.  Carin suffered from tuberculosis by her early forties. When her mother, Huldine Fock, died unexpectedly on September 25, 1931, it came as a great shock to the 42-year-old Carin. Although her health was still fragile, she went to Sweden for her mother's funeral. The next day, she suffered a heart attack in Stockholm. On the news reaching Göring, he joined her there and stayed with her until she died of heart failure on October 17, 1931, four days before her 43rd birthday.  After her death, Carin's older sister Fanny wrote a biography of her which quickly became a bestseller in Germany. By 1943, it had sold 900,000 copies.  Carin's death came as a great blow to Göring. In 1933 he began to build a hunting lodge, which became his main home, and named it Carinhall in her honour. It was there that he had her body re-interred from her original grave in Sweden, in a funeral attended by Hitler. Göring filled Carinhall with images of Carin, as he did his flat in Berlin, where he created an altar in memory of her which remained even after he remarried in 1935. Carinhall was demolished on Göring's orders as Soviet troops advanced in 1945.  Following the war, remains believed to be those of Carin were recovered by the Fock family, cremated, and re-buried in Sweden. In 1991, remains were found that could also be Carin Göring's and were sent to Sweden for identification. Evidence suggested that these new remains were hers, and were reburied.


Adolf-Hitler-Straße and today. During the war, 963 war prisoners and 2,755 men and women from the countries occupied by Germany had to carry out forced labour for Kjellberg Electrode und Maschinen GmbH, Reichelt Metall-Schrauben AG, and cloth factories. They were accommodated in several warehouses, including the Siemens warehouse. 392 deaths were registered with the forced labourers of the large enterprises.  Between 1945 and 1950 at least 685 persons were arrested in the Finsterwalde district by the secret police of the Soviet NKVD. About 250 people were killed in Soviet special camps or military gaols.

Wittenberge in der Prignitz
Hotel Germania on Adolf Hitler Straße. From August 15, 1942 until February 17, 1945 a concentration camp was established here in Wittenberge which served as a subcamp to the Neuengamme concentration camp. Between the wars much architecture characteristic of the period was built in the form of workers' housing for the rapidly increased population. It suffered as most German towns did during the war. Only the railway workshops remain as significant employers of the old industries but the large, skilled workforce remains for the newer industries of precision engineering and applied chemistry. 

The Schloss from a Nazi-era postcard and today

The Haesler Siedlung (1928–31) featuring Otto Haesler's "trademark" three-sided glazed stair housing on what had been renamed Adolf-Hitler-Ring during the Nazi era. Haesler had been an influential German architect often grouped with Bruno Taut, Ernst May and Walter Gropius as being among the most significant representatives of the Modernist ("Neues Bauen") architecture that became important initially during the Weimar period, notably in respect of residential accommodation. Violently attacked by the regime, in 1934 Haesler went into a form of internal exile, closing down his office in Celle and relocating to Eutin, a small town in Schleswig-Holstein, some 80 miles from the Danish border. Here he continued to build houses, now using the traditional brick construction characteristic of the region, but still with structural elements of modern architecture.  In 1939 Germany invaded Poland, triggering a more general war across much of Europe. By this time Haesler had evidently returned to favour sufficiently to be appointed Deputy City Building Consultant for Lodz , controlled by Germany and increasingly populated by ethnic Germans between 1939 and 1945, and for Lemberg (under German control between 1941 and 1944). In 1943 Haesler was also part of a planning project for the reconstruction of Sebastopol which had recently been largely destroyed in fighting.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was revealed that the remains of Hitler and his assistants were secretly buried in graves near Rathenow. In Vinogradov's Hitler's Death: Russia's Last Great Secret from the Files of the KGB, there is reproduced a Soviet map showing that the bodies were buried in a field near the village of Neu Friedrichsdorf, approximately one kilometre east of Rathenow.


Swastikas adorning the marktturm. During the war there was a Stalag for prisoners of war (Stalag IIIa). There was also a work camp for civilians. The Nazis forced people to work for their war effort or else the families of people who worked there would perish. Lack of food and hard work killed thousands. Among them were Poles, Italians, French and many more. There were several places in the town and surrounding areas where they worked. Luckenwalde was taken by the Red Army on April 22, 1945. 

Frankfurt an der Oder
The Marienkirche with the Nazi flag and today. During the Nazi era the town's historic court gaol on Collegienstraße served as the Gestapo prison from 1933 to 1945. After Germany's defeat it was used by the NKVD and the MfS as an investigative detention centre; today it's a music and art school.
During the November pogroms of 1938, the interior of the synagogue built by the then large Jewish community was destroyed by the Nazis in 1822.
During the war the city was largely spared as there were hardly any important industrial or military installations. With the beginning of the Vistula-Oder operation of the Soviet forces, a large wave of refugees from the Germans began, which also moved to Frankfurt (Oder). The total number of refugees in transit amounted to 264,000 to 300,000 people. The city was declared a fortress on January 26, 1945. It was planned to prepare the city for all-round defense and to use it as cover for Berlin. The dam suburb (today Słubice) was to serve as a bridgehead. On the morning of the 16th of April, with the drum-fire of the Red Army, the large-scale offensive against Berlin began. On April 19 at 5:29 am the Oderbrücke was blown up by the Wehrmacht. Russian aviation attacks took place from 20 to 23 April. On the afternoon of the 21st of April, the fortress status was abolished, and a day later the retreat of the fortress troops began. On April 22 and 23, Soviet bomber raids flew. This led to numerous fires, especially in the centre of Frankfurt. On the morning of 23 April 1945 the first Soviet units reached Frankfurt. By the previous bombardment and incendiary bombings, which began in the following days, the inner city was destroyed to 93%. On the evening April 24, the tower of this church, in English the  Church of the Virgin Mary, burned and the vault of the church collapsed months later.


 Himmler visiting the camp and the same site today. The Ravensbrück concentration camp was the largest concentration camp for women in Germany, and second in size only to the women's camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau. After the closure of the Lichtenburg camp in 1939, Ravensbrück was also the only main concentration camp, as opposed to subcamp, designated almost exclusively for women. The Germans began construction of the camp in November 1938 as ϟϟ authorities transported about 500 male prisoners from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp to the proposed site to construct the Ravensbrück camp. By the end of 1942, the female inmate population of Ravensbrück had reached about 10,000. In January 1945, the camp had more than 50,000 prisoners, mostly women, from over 30 countries including political prisoners, “asocials”, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, "criminals," "work-shy," and "race defilers."
By January 1945 the barracks were horribly overcrowded. This overcrowding, aggravated by abominable sanitary conditions, resulted in a typhus epidemic that spread throughout the camp.  Periodically, the ϟϟ authorities subjected prisoners in the camp to "selections" in which the Germans isolated those prisoners considered too weak or injured to work and killed them. At first, "selected" prisoners were shot. In early 1945, the ϟϟ constructed a gas chamber in Ravensbrück near the camp crematorium, gassing between 5,000 and 6,000 prisoners before Soviet troops liberated the camp in April 1945.  Starting in the summer of 1942, ϟϟ medical doctors subjected prisoners at Ravensbrück to unethical medical experiments which involved in experimenting with treating wounds with various chemical substances (such as sulfanilamide) to prevent infections. They also tested various methods of setting and transplanting bones; such experiments included amputations. The ϟϟ selected nearly 80 women, mostly Polish, for these experiments. Many of the women died as a result, the survivors often suffering permanent physical damage.

Grünewalde (Lauchhammer)  
The Adolf Hitler oak tree planted in front of the school.  


The schloss flying a Nazi flag from its tower and today, considerably altered. In the Soviet memorial cemetery next to the Wilmersdorfer Waldfriedhof Güterfelde on Potsdamer Strasse nearby is the burial place for an extremely high number of prisoners of war, forced labourers and concentration camp prisoners . An obelisk commemorates 1389 Soviet citizens, 101 Poles, four Yugoslavs, two Italians and a Czech. In the forest cemetery itself is a memorial to 383 Polish and 720 German prisoners in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp who died in 1942.

Perleberg in der Prignitz
The 5.50 metre-high statue of Roland in sandstone located on the northeast side of the market square in front of the former library shown with and without the Nazi flag. He is a knight with decorated plate armour, holding up a sword in his right hand and with his left hand holding a shield featuring the Brandenburg eagle. Roland is supported by a pillar at the back upon which the year 1546 is engraved.  In 1954 the statue was relocated due to the increasing traffic on the former F5 and hence shifted about 1.60 metres from the Town Hall.