Showing posts with label Bad Berneck. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bad Berneck. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Upper Franconia

Nazi Coburg
More than anywhere else, National Socialism took root in Coburg. Already in the late 1920s, the Nazis became the dominant party in the city. It won on June 23, 1929 with 43.1% of the vote, taking 13 of 25 city council seats- an absolute majority. On January 18, 1931 the swastika flew for the first time in Germany on a public building, the Coburg Town Hall. On October 16 that year the city council elected Nazi Franz Schwede as First Mayor of Coburg, and on February 26, 1932, Coburg became the first German city to grant Hitler honorary citizenship . From 1939 Coburg was allowed to lead the honorary title "First National Socialist City of Germany".
Nazi delegation on October 15, 1922 in front of the guest house of the Veste (fortress). On the left with whistle and hat is Oskar Körner, 2nd Chairman of the NSDAP, who died in the Hitler Putsch the following year. The Nazi era began in Coburg with German Day in October 1922. Coburg teacher Hans Dietrich, Gauleiter of the Deutschvolkischen Schutz- and Trutzbund (DVST) Northern Bavaria, invited the Nazi Party in Munich with Hitler and "some gentlemen of his company" in the hope that their uncompromising radicalism would increase the importance of the event. Hitler took advantage of the propagandistic opportunity to make his party known outside of Munich and drove on October 14 with a special train and about 650 SA -begleitern, equipped with mountain poles or rubber truncheons, along with a band. Accompanied by Hitler were, among others, Alfred Rosenberg, Julius Streicher, Max Amann, Fritz Sauckel, Martin Mutschmann and Otto Hellmuth. Apart from the Munich delegation, another twenty Nazi delegations from Germany came to the city. Although prohibited by the government of Upper Franconia, the SA marched in a closed train with music and flags through Coburg to the conference venue, the large hall of Hofbräugaststätten in Mohrenstraße (demolished 1971), and later to the the old Schützenhaus am Anger (demolished 1978). Greeting them were 500 to 600 counter-demonstrators- workers from Coburg and southern Thuringia- leading to street battles. There were several injured on both sides, including the police of the Coburg city police and Bavarian state police.  In the evening, the main event took place in the large hall of the Hofbräugaststätte, which was crowded with about three thousand people. Hitler was one of the keynote speakers in the presence of Carl Eduard Herzog of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and his wife Viktoria Adelheid. After him spoke Dietrich Eckart, Anton Drexler and Hermann Esser. From that time Carl Eduard was counted among the supporters and sponsors of the Nazi party. During the night of October 14-15, in Ketschendorf, a suburb of Coburg, inhabited mainly by workers, there were again serious clashes between the SA and workers.
Coburg fortress from page 28 of the cigarette album Kampf ums Dritte Reich - Eine historische Bilderfolge (1933) during a commemoration of the events of October 1922 and today. On Sunday, October 15, Hitler arrived at 13.00 with his own train, with about 2,000 followers accompanying him. On the Veste a parade of the SA-Hundertschaften took place and after a short speech of Hitler the participants returned to the conference center in Coburg. After the final event in the Hofbräuhaus, at which Hitler gave another speech, the National Socialists marched with flags and music to Coburg station around 22.00. That Sunday also saw various anti-Semitic rallies by SA men. Among other things, the director of the meat factory Großmann, Abraham Friedmann, was threatened with murder. Hitler praised the "train to Coburg" in his book Mein Kampf as a landmark of the movement.
[t]he most high-profile operation for the SA came in October 1922 when Hitler and his most loyal supporters travelled to Coburg to hold a meeting. Upon arrival at the town’s station, the visit developed into a military campaign. It came as close as civilian life could to recapturing the ‘Fronterlebnis’ (the experience of fighting at the Front). 
A year before Hitler was appointed chancellor, the spitaltor already sported this swastika.  

Coburg was the first German town to elect a Nazi mayor; in 1929, it was the first German city in which the Nazi Party won the absolute majority of the popular votes during municipal elections, hence its town slogan- Erste nationalsozialistische Stadt Deutschlands  (First German National Socialist City ) Before this in 1922, Coburg became associated with the Nazis after Hitler led several hundred stormtroopers in a march through the city, fighting pitched street battles with leftists and communists. During the Nazi era, the Coburg Badge (made to honour the participants) was one of the most prestigious party medals.

Hitler’s most notable propaganda success in 1922 was his party’s participation in the so-called ‘German Day’ (Deutscher Tag) in Coburg on October 14–15 . Coburg, on the Thuringian border in the north of Upper Franconia and part of Bavaria for only two years, was virgin territory for the Nazis. He saw the German Day as an opportunity not to be missed. He scraped together what funds the NSDAP had to hire a special train – in itself a novel propaganda stunt – to take 800 stormtroopers to Coburg. The SA men were instructed by Hitler to ignore explicit police orders, banning a formation march with unfurled banners and musical accompaniment, and marched with hoisted swastika flags through the town. Workers lining the streets insulted them and spat at them. Nazis in turn leapt out of the ranks beating their tormentors with sticks and rubber- truncheons. A furious battle with the socialists ensued. After ten minutes of mayhem, in which they had police support, the stormtroopers triumphantly claimed the streets of Coburg as theirs. For Hitler, the propaganda victory was what counted. The German Day in Coburg went down in the party’s annals. The NSDAP had made its mark in northern Bavaria.
Kershaw, Hitler
The Judentor
There was a deputation of the big-wigs in Koburg [sic] awaiting us at the station, all very solemn and proper in frock coats and top hats. But they got the shock of their lives, I can tell you, when they saw what sort of ‘accompaniment’ Herr Hitler had brought along. I was close up to them, there on the platform, and heard what they said to him.
We must earnestly beg you to control your following! The city of Koburg explicitly forbids these men to march through the streets in rank and file with flags flying. It would be highly provocative of disorder. Our Leader was a bit astonished at this and asked for explanations. What sort of trouble, then, did they expect? They said there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding in the City over the organisation of the festival and its promoters had had to give a strict guarantee that nothing would be done in the least likely to provoke the Communists. Hitler received this with undisguised scorn. What kind of ‘patriotic’ day did they suppose could be held if the Communists were to have it all their own way! ‘Good Lord!’ he said, ‘aren’t we in Bavaria? Haven’t we the right to move about as we like?’ Whereupon he turned sharply round, much to the discomfiture of the deputation, and gave us the word to move off. We of the 3rd Company [of the SA] marched two by two into the town on both sides of the band, and sure enough soon encountered storms of abuse from the crowds on route. Hitler led and we followed. At the fire station they were ready to turn the hoses on to us, but just didn’t – at the critical moment. Stones, however, began to fly around. Then things got hotter. The Reds set upon us with iron rods and cudgels. That was going a bit too far. Hitler swung round, flourished his walking-stick (that was the signal), and we flung ourselves upon our assailants. We were unarmed save for our fists, but we put up so good a fight that within fifteen minutes not a Red was left to be seen.
So we arrived finally at the place in the centre of the city where the meeting was to be held. When it was over we formed up to betake ourselves to the Schützenhalle, a big hall on the outskirts of Koburg where we were to spend the night. On the way the former racket got up again. Hitler decided once and for all to lay this Red menace here, and gave us the word of command. We counter-attacked for all we knew. It was jolly hard work, I can tell you! They rained tiles on us from the roof and windows and tore up the cobble stones for missiles. I got a thundering blow on the head which had to be attended to before I could carry on. I only found out afterwards how serious the wound was. We reached the Schützenhalle and dossed down, without undressing, on a thin spreading of straw. Hitler turned in amongst us, on the floor like the rest. But first he set the watches, and arranged for patrols. He came in quite the old soldier over this, anxious to provide against possible surprise. I was detailed, with another man, for patrol work. Our watch began at 2 a.m. We cast around a bit at some distance from the hall and found ourselves creeping through a spinney in its neighbourhood. We caught a glitter – made cautiously in that direction. Detected two of the enemy with their party- masks off. One of them had a revolver in his belt, the other carried hand- grenades.
   Children giving the Hitler greeting in 1936 in the marktplatz
‘So they’d try that dirty trick’, I thought, and rage seized me at the thought of that whole barnful of sleeping men being suddenly blown sky-high into the night. At a concerted signal my comrade and I flung ourselves upon the pair, and for the next few seconds there was a beserker struggle in the underbush. We got them under, and unarmed them. We tied them up good and tight and went through their pockets. There were a few ‘egg bombs’ to be sequestered in the latter. Then we marched them into quarters. I could hardly stand, myself; the blood was pouring from the wound in my head, and blinding my eyes. I turned the precious pair over to Hitler and showed him the bombs. He looked ugly at that, but made no further sign. Quietly he ordered the captives to be taken to a room at the back, beckoned to a hefty couple of our chaps, furnished them with a stout stick apiece, and signed to them to get busy within. Some time afterwards the two would-be bomb throwers were seen to leave our camp, very much sadder and very much wiser men. It is to be doubted if they’ll forget the whalloping and basting they got that night to the last day of their lives. On the Sunday morning we all took an oath of fidelity to the Cause, and then marched off to have a look at the Castle Koburg. 
Heinz A. Heinz (pp. 151 ff.) Germany’s Hitler
 In fact, the rathaus in Coburg was the first official building in Germany to fly the Nazi flag on 18 January 1931. It was here in this marketplace that Hitler spoke before 10,000 people, including 1,300 holders of the Golden Party Badge during which he declared "With Coburg I made politics:"
At that time, our recipe was: if you do not want to let [us] talk of your own accord, we will use force to make you do it. [—] That battle of the force of reason versus the democracy of force lasted for two days, and after two days this reason, supported by the will of a thousand German men, came away with the victory! It was thus that the battle for this city became a milestone in the evolution of our Movement. This was the recipe we used throughout the Reich to clear the way for the National Socialist idea and thus to conquer Germany. [—]
Loyalty and obedience, discipline and self-sacrifice: if the German Volk continues to devote itself to these ideals in the future as well, it will solve every problem and master every task!
Back then, millions might still have been able to doubt; yet who can continue today to doubt his Volk, Germany and its future? We old fighters, we know that we have always reached our goal until now! And in the future, Germany will reach its life-goal, too, for our Movement is Germany, and Germany is the National Socialist Movement!
On Sunday, May 7, 1933, the burning of books occurred in the outer courtyard of the Ehrenburg. The action was carried out by the Hitler Youth in the context of the newly created "Youth Day". The Coburg Unterbannführer, the Hitler Youth and Nazi councillor Franz Heimberger who was head of the municipal Volksbücherei organised the day including a church service to accompany the book burning. Prior to that on April 5-6, following a decision by the Administrative Senate, he had inspected eight lending libraries and confiscated books about the contents or the author, accompanied by the police.
Meanwhile the cult of Franz Schwede, who was awarded the title of mayor in May, reached a climax on September 10, 1933. The Protestant-Lutheran dean Curt Weiß consecrated the new town hall bell with the inscription Franz-Schwede-Glocke with inscription "Zu Adolf Hitler ruf ich Dich, Franz-Schwede-Glocke heiße ich". 

The Nazi-era coat of arms for Coburg, from 1934-1945 and as seen in an example of  stained glass. The late medieval coat of arms, depicting the head of St. Mauritius, the patron saint of the city, as a Moor, was replaced on April 30, 1934 by an SA dagger with a swastika within the pommel in a sign divided of gold and black, with over the partition line a sword and a swastika, split by black and gold. Lord Mayor Schwede wanted to emphasise the significance of the city for the early history of the Nazi movement with the forged dagger. After the war through the initiative of provisional Lord Mayor Alfred Sauerteig, the arms reverted back to the present image shown right on a manhole cover, practically unchanged since the 16th century.

At the end of June 1934 Schwede gave up his position as Lord Mayor and eventually became the successor of Wilhelm Karpenstein as Gauleiter of the district of Pomerania and senior president of the Prussian province of Pomerania. The Coburg city council awarded him on July 7, 1934 due to his merits the name addition 'Coburg'.  In May 1934, Robert Ley opened the first imperial school of the Nazi womanhood at Hohenfels Castle, which was in municipal possession since November 1, 1932 and since September 1933 housed a labour camp for women. It was the only supra-regional party facility in the city.  As part of the general appeal of the leader corps of the National Socialist Motor Corps and the inauguration of the new war memorial in the Schlossplatz Arcades Hitler again visited Coburg on October 19, 1935. Among other things, he mentioned in his speech the importance of Coburg for the Nazis. On the occasion of the visit, Hitler wrote in Coburg's "Golden Book of Honour."  On October 15, 1937, Hitler, coming from Obersalzberg, visited for the last time his "dear old Coburg."  The occasion was the 15th anniversary of Hitler's "Train to Coburg." In the marketplace he spoke to ten thousand people, including 1,300 bearers of the Golden Party badge. He said, among other things: "I have made policy with Coburg". Overall, Hitler visited Coburg fourteen times. Described as a "suburb of National Socialist sentiment" by Hitler, Coburg was allowed to hold the honorary title of "First National Socialist City of Germany" from June 23, 1939, ten years after the Nazis had won the city council majority. 
The Ortsgruppenfeier Coburg in its column of "Alten Kämpfer" down Adolf-Hitler-Straße (now Bahnhofstraße) towards Sonneberg; the view today is further down. In the Reichstag elections of March 5, 1933, to which the city administration only allowed Nazi election posters, the Nazis received 56.1% of the vote. Four days later, on 9 March, ϟϟ and SA members celebrated the Nazi takeover in Bavaria. A wave of arrests of 152 opponents of the regime and Jews began in Coburg. The emergency and auxiliary police, which had been set up under the pretext of protecting public buildings on March 2, 1932, headed by Emil Mazuw and made up of 55 members of the ϟϟ, were used for this purpose. In so-called protective custody, 83 people were tortured to extract "confessions". Present were partly Schwede and Faber. 31 people were transferred to the Dachau concentration camp. After the delivery of several maltreated people to the Land Hospital, the doctors filed a complaint. The investigations were stopped in early May, to convictions by the district court came only in 1951. On March 11, followed by the new Bavarian Interior Minister Adolf Wagner, the impeachment and arrest of the city commissioner Fritsch, whose duties were transferred to Schwede on April 3. Thus, the last key position in the administration was occupied by a party comrade. The seven city councils of the SPD were discontinued in July.
CasimirianumThe Nazi takeover of power led to a rapid increase of politically motivated violence in Coburg. On January 15, 1930 for example, Social Democrat member Franz Klingler was attacked and knocked unconscious, and Jewish citizens were increasingly attacked in public. The investigation of the city police, which soon had the reputation of being infiltrated by Nazis, generally led to no results. On August 22, 1930 SA members raided the SPD on the occasion of the Coburg visit of the former Chancellor Hermann Müller. A climax of the attacks was on November 28 when after an SPD rally with the keynote speaker Wilhelm Hoegner the participants from Neustadt near Coburg were attacked with stones and bottles on the way back by 22 Nazis. A truck driver was hit on the head and lost control of his vehicle, which crashed down an embankment and overturned. Two people were seriously injured and fourteen injured. This time, extensive investigations were carried out by the Coburg police director Wilhelm Janzen, which ultimately led to imprisonment between three and eight months for fourteen perpetrators. After a city council resolution in January 1931 Janzen was replaced by the police inspector Scheel. In the summer of 1931, almost every night saw violence, especially in August between Nazis and Communists.  The growing violence and the inability of the compliant city police to end this as well as the issue of weapons licenses for the ϟϟ leadership and Hitler's ϟϟ bodyguard, which had not been issued by the Munich police, caused the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior to act, transferring the police force in the city Coburg from March 11, 1932 to August 8, 1932 to the upper governmental council with Ernst Fritsch serving in its function as city commissioner.
 In January 1932, the volunteer work service of the city of Coburg was set up, the prototype of what would later be the Reich Labour Service . Unemployed male teenagers were barracked in a camp in the Wüstenahorn district for "temporary employment and education." The top guiding principle was: "No welfare support without work". For the receipt of social benefits, the personal distress of those affected was directly linked with the willingness to work in public. For their heavy physical work in building roads and settlements as well as in the quarry, the "involuntary" workers received 21 Reichsmarks per week, of which only 3.50 was actually provided whilst the rest was withheld for food, camp housing, heating and insurance. The rest was credited to a savings account. Sixty men on average were then in the camp after half a year. In the structure, this had a paramilitary order with rank order, guard services, marches and drill exercises. Offences such as denial of service resulted in dismissal. Nazi propaganda ensured that the Coburg Labour Service was made known across the Reich. Many local politicians from other communities paid visits, partly because the city's social security system was co-financed with the income of the camp. 
Nazi march through the market square in 1930
Adolf-Hitler-Haus on the corner of Viktoriastraße and Ernstplatz in its glory, after being bombed, and the site today- a Sparkasse. The building had been bought by the Nazi Party in October 1933 for 60,000 Reichsmarks and rebuilt according to plans by Reinhard Claassen, named after Hitler the following year and serving as the local Nazi party headquarters. It was modelled on the Hitler's Brown House in Munich. During the Battle of Coburg in April 1945 the building was destroyed and eventually demolished in 1955.
The Landsmannschaft Denkmal in the Hofgarten then and now
Under the traditional name Landsmannschaften, from the 1830s university student associations were organised within the "German Landsmannschaft" (DL); the headquarters were in Coburg from 1873. A continuous shift to the right in 1894 led to the implementation of a novel, racist anti-Semitism which not only continued during the Weimar Republic, but culminated in an early ideological and personal linkage of the DL's corporations with the Nazi Party.   On May 14, 1894 at the Landmannschaftskongress in Coburg, Jews were refused admission and the so-called Jewish question explicitly was expressed not as a religious issue but as a racial issue. But already in 1919 it became clear that the majority of the corporations rejected the new political system and partly drifted off into the German-nationalist camp. This new shift to the right vehemently seized the "German Landsmannschaft".  In the middle of the 1920s, the DL erected a monument in the conference town of Coburg for its fallen federal brothers, whose foundation stone was laid in 1925 and which was completed in time for the Pentecostal Congress in 1926 shown here.  The speeches held annually at the Landsmannschaft's monument in Coburg demonstrated how the ideas of the young, aspiring nationalist movement around the Nazis influenced the DL: above all the national concept of honour of the Landsmannschaften, the significance of the homeland and its anti-democratic attitude and the guiding principle of the Volksgemeinschaft formed a large intersection between DL and Nazis. In addition, there were great similarities in anti-Semitism- in 1920, the DL confirmed the prohibition of admission for "race Jews" imposed in 1894 yet again. In addition to these ideological points of contact, there were already personal ties between the "German Landsmannschaft" and the National Socialist Movement before 1933, since many members of the DL were Nazi members or functionaries of the National Socialist German Student Union (NSDStB). Although often unanimous in factual issues, the corporations refused to give up their independence in favour of the Nazis. These therefore fluctuated between aggressive rejection of the connections and half-hearted cooperation.  The Nazis' own student association, the National Socialist German Student Union (NSDStB) was founded in 1926 , which developed until 1931 in the university elections to the General Students Committee (AStA); Germany's strongest political force among the students. The main competitors for the NSDStB were the corporations, which counted just under 80% of all male students as their members in 1932/33, to which were added just under 200,000 old gentlemen who exerted considerable influence in the state, business and society.  Although only one third of the connections against the Nazis were discontinued and many liaison students agreed with the National Socialist Weltanschauung, many corporations were skeptical or hostile to the NSDStB, since they were not affected by the ruthless power politics of the NSDStB. In the autumn and summer of 1932, numerous associations, including the DL, founded the "Hochschulpolitische Arbeitsgemeinschaft" as a counterpart to the NSDStB.  With the Nazi "seizure of power," the supremacy of the NSDStB against such rival groups was cemented. Nevertheless, the organised Nazification of the "German Landsmannschaft" did not run smoothly, as the DL initially resisted the massive pressure of the NSDStB. The close personal ties between Nazi Party and NSDStB and the "German Landsmannschaft" proved to be an advantage for the Nazis however; when members of the Heidelberg corps Saxo-Borussia made fun of Hitler's table manners in May 1935, this marked the end of all student connections. The liaison students were faced with the choice of choosing between corporation or NSDStB, whereby in the future only NSDStB members could obtain state offices. From autumn 1935, one corporation broke up after the other itself. At Pentecost 1936, the DL decided to dissolve the active divisions. By 1938, all other such men's associations followed. 
The Gasthaus Loreley during the Nazi era and today. In 1933, Coburg acquired the properties of Duscowerke in Uferstraße 7 and made it available to the Reichsarbeitsdienst for use as a main camp. The inauguration of a new building for the RAD group staff followed in 1937. The buildings were destroyed during the war. In 1934 the company "Verein", which was the owner and operator of the Gesellschaftshaus am Ernstplatz, had to sell its building to the non-profit Adolf Hitler Haus cooperative founded on October 14, 1933 for 60,000 Reichsmarks. The building, including a hall for about 450 people, was reconstructed according to the neoclassical plans of Reinhard Claaßen and served the following years under the name Adolf Hitler House as a representative party headquarters of the local Nazi Party. The model was the Nazi Brown House in Munich. During the battle for Coburg in April 1945, the building was destroyed and eventually demolished in 1955. In 1936-37, the city had a prestigious residential and commercial building built as part of a selective refurbishment of the new Mohrenstraße and Steinweg link. The so-called Gräfsblock was portrayed by the local Nazi propaganda as a symbol of the creative power of the new Coburg city administration. In 1937 the first home of the Hitler Youth of the newly created Gaus Bavarian Ostmark was built on Rosenauer Straße. The style of "building in the New Reich" propagated by the Nazis erected buildings with a central entrance with three portals, and cross-structures were equipped, among other things, with meeting rooms, driver's rooms and a hall of honour. Costing 133 thousand Reichsmarks, it was officially opened on December 5, 1937 in the presence of the HJ area leadership. After the war, the city youth hostel was housed in the house.   There were designs by Fritz Schaller for a Thingstätte below the Bismarck Tower and from Reinhard Claassen for a monumental memorial hall for the fallen of the wars. Nazi plans of 1940 for a so-called Kreisforum on the undeveloped Judenberg, above the planned Main-Werra-Kanal as a counterpart to the opposite Coburg fortress, with a Aufmarschallee, a Aufmarschplatz for ten thousand people and a Festhalle with 3500 square meters of floor space were never realised due to the war. Nor were plans to extend Coburg's Town Hall as part of the restructuring of the Stadtsparkasse. 
At the request of mayor Franz Schwede, the Coburg city council decided on September 23, 1932, to terminate the contract for the transfer of the Nikolaikirche, shown here in the 1920s and today after refurbishment, as a synagogue to the Jewish community at the end of the year. On March 16, 1933, the synagogue was closed. From 1923 the newspaper Coburger Warte published anti-Semitic articles. After being discontinued for economic reasons in January 1925, it was followed in 1926 by the Nazi party newspaper Der Weckruf as an anti-Semitic paper, designed in style and style as Der Sturmer. On January 25, 1929, the newspaper of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith appeared in Berlin with the headline Coburg. In a full-page article Coburg was described as a stronghold and hotbed of anti-Semitic riots. Assaults against Jewish residents and their belongings were part of the agenda at that time. In March 1933, when Coburg had about 26,000 inhabitants - including 233 Jews -open terror began against Nazi critics and Jewish residents. A total of 39 Jews were arrested by the municipal emergency police and tortured. Jakob Friedmann, verbally attacked by Nazis from 1920 and 1928, was abducted on March 15 and tortured. The demonstrations against Jewish businesses reached a climax on April 1 with the nationwide boycott. The six department stores were "Aryanised" by 1936, including the fashion house M. Conitzer & Sons on Spitalgasse 19. On the night of November 10, 1938 Jewish shops were destroyed and shop windows smashed. The former synagogue however was left intact. For many of the still 133 members of the Jewish community, arrests followed, with 35 men held in the Angerturnhalle, before more anti-Jewish demonstrations took place. Sixteen people transferred the SA to Hof .In December 1938, the city administration renamed the Judengasse in Marktgasse, the Judentor in Markttor, the Judenberg in Saarlandberg and the Judenbrücke in Itzbrücke. In 1941, 41 Jews still lived in the city, most of whom were forced labourers. 37 Coburg Jews were deported by the Nazi regime leading, on November 19, the Lord Mayor to declare the city of Coburg as "free of Jews." Four Jewish women escaped the deportations because they were married to "German-blooded" men.
Schloss Callenberg, the former summer residence of the Duke of Coburg, sporting a wooden swastika atop its tower in 1938, long since removed. Curt Riess, writing in 1944 before the end of the war, described him as follows:
And the head of the German Red Cross, the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, one of the most violent Nazis, has excellent connections abroad—so excellent, in fact, that when he visited Washington in 1940, when the Germans there were already being boycotted, for the rape of Poland had aroused public opinion against them—he cut quite a figure in Washington society. The Nazis are counting on the duke’s international relations to help them after the war. With him at its head the German Red Cross, they believe, will be able to survive in its present form, since the Allies, or so they fondly hope, will look upon him as a Red Cross official rather than as a Nazi. Thus the German Red Cross would form an ideal front for the coming Nazi underground. 
Another change was when Mohrenstraße was replaced by Straße der SA. The latter made a return briefly for a documentary, as did the Nazi-era arms. The old enamelled street sign was borrowed from the Coburg collection and attached with the approval of the public affairs office for a short time.
Crews of American M5 Stuart light tanks from Company D, 761st Tank Battalion, a segregated Black-American unit, cleaning out scattered Nazi machine gun nests in the marktplatz in front of the Stadthaus and Prince Albert statue. The 761st, aka the Black Panthers, was established in 1942, spending over two years in training, despite white tank battalions requiring only a few months before being sent off to fight. At first they were trained in light Stuart tanks before receiving medium Sherman tanks. Among their number was baseball star Jackie Robinson who served as a First Lieutenant in the 761st. He was rewarded for his service by later being courts martialed for refusing to sit in the back of a bus. After the Battle of the Bulge, the 761st was rerouted to the main American attack into Germany where they were the first unit to breach the Siegfried Line. As the end of the war neared, the 761st entered Austria and became the first American unit to link up with Ukrainian troops in the Red Army at the conjunction of the Steyr and Enns Rivers. Some accounts state that the Army specifically cut off the battalion's fuel supply so black soldiers wouldn't be the first to greet the Red Army.
As part of the denazification campaign all party members who had acquired Nazi membership before May 1, 1937 were dismissed by the American military government. In autumn 1945, this resulted in 247 of the 328 city employees being dismissed; another thirty people followed in December. 104 of the 150 Sparkasse employees lost their jobs. During the city council elections of May 26, 1946 2,600 inhabitants were not eligible to vote because of their Nazi past. The SPD received 39.2% of the vote becoming the strongest faction and led to Ludwig Meyer becoming the Lord Mayor.  The events in March and April 1933 led in 1951 against Schwede, Mazuw and ten other former ϟϟ members to a criminal case before the Coburg district court for deprivation of liberty, assault and coercion in office. Among other things, 159 witnesses were heard and 117 victims were found in the two-month trial. Jews were not among the witnesses. On April 7, 1951 the verdict was announced-Schwede was sentenced to ten years for attempting to assassinate 52 times, whilst Mazuw was tried for a total of eighty-seven times nine months in mate with double attempted assault, a former ϟϟ- Untersturmfuhrer charged with twice dangerous assault in duplicate with attempted coercion sentenced to eight months in prison and a former ϟϟ-Oberscharführer sentenced to eight months in prison for a threefold dangerous assault. Against three defendants, the proceedings were terminated due to the impunity of December 31, 1949 and against two because of prosecution. Three defendants were acquitted. 
Coburg has named recently named a street after Max Brose, a wealthy businessman who was also a Nazi party member honoured by the Third Reich as a "military industry leader," a move which follows a long campaign in local government by Brose's grandson, Michael Stoschek, who is also the CEO of Brose's mega-company and largest local employer, Brose. The name was passed in a 26-11 vote.  Stoschek had been campaigning since 2004 to have his grandfather honoured on a street sign, and stopped almost all of the company's charitable funding to Coburg when the name was rejected nearly ten years ago. Nevertheless Coburg has denied being put under financial pressure in accepting the name. As historian Florian Dierl noted to the Times, Coburg was the first town in Germany to elect a Nazi mayor in 1931, and warned that it should, if anything, be "particularly careful about its past." Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, condemned the naming as "irresponsible." 

Visiting the town cemetery where, in the late 1980s, the cemetery of Wunsiedel gained notoriety after Rudolf Hess, who had died in a Berlin prison on August 17, 1987, was buried here. In the years that followed, neo-Nazi groups organised memorial marches on each August 17. The number of participants rose from 120 in 1988 to more than 1,100 in 1990 leading to increased protests from anti-fascist groups. Neo-Nazi marches were banned in 1991.  From then onwards, the march was banned a number of times, but participants flouted the bans. The extremist Antifa mobilised nationwide for counter-events, which were initially attended by thousands and in 1997 around 600 people. In 2004, the Bavarian Administrative Court and the Federal Constitutional Court allowed the "memorial marches" resulting in as many as 4,500 neo-Nazis coming to Wunsiedel in 2004. Citizens' initiatives there organised counter-demonstrations. In 2005, Bavarian administrative courts banned the march due to a new version of the incitement clause; in 2009, the Federal Constitutional Court finally confirmed these judgments.
The grave of Rudolf Hess was removed in July 2011 after the lease expired, the body exhumed, cremated and its ashes scattered to end neo-Nazi pilgrimages. Nevertheless, they continued their annual marches in Wunsiedel, since then as a "hero commemoration" on the day of national mourning, organised by the right-wing small party Der III. Weg. On November 15, 2014, the residents of Wunsiedel turned such a march into “Germany’s most involuntary charity run” under the motto Right Against Right where the running route was decorated with satirically printed colourful banners and supporters from the region offered ten euros for every meter run Exit Germany donated. At the destination, “winners' certificates” were given to the participants, on which Exit offered them help in getting out of the right-wing scene. 
The empty plot today. After being exhumed Hess's bones were taken to a crematorium, and his ashes scattered at sea. The action was taken after consultation with his remaining family. Although his burial here from the start had been seen as curious, Hess's connection to the town had been reinforced by that of his family to Wunsiedel, which is why Rudolf Hess was declared an honorary citizen of the city of Wunsiedel on September 6, 1933. Although at thebeginning of the Weimar Republic the town was still strongly attached to the USPD and later especially to the Social Democrats, the Nazis developed into the strongest party in the city by 1932. On March 9, 1933, the day of the Reichstag election, former Imperial and Nazi flags were hoisted on the market square and on all public buildings with only the pastors of the two Christian churches refusing to fly flags in their places of worship. In addition, 35 members of the KPD and SPD were imprisoned as "enemies of the state". A few Wunsiedlers were also part of the first transport to the Dachau concentration camp on March 24. 
Before the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9, 1938, only two Jews lived in Wunsiedel who had been targetted and brought to the town hall, physically abused and then imprisoned. Both survived the Nazi state . The two Christian clergymen were also herded into the town hall, but were later released. A Jewish textile entrepreneur based in Wunsiedel had already left the city with his children. His wife, who had stayed behind with her mother who was in need of care, died in Auschwitz.
In the same church cemetery are the individual and multiple graves of thirty Jewish concentration camp victims who lost their lives during a death march in the last days of the war in 1945. They had been driven on foot in a so-called death march from Buchenwald concentration camp via Schwarzenbach an der Saale and Wunsiedel to the Flossenbürg concentration camp in the last days of the war. Those of the emaciated and exhausted prisoners who could no longer keep up with the marching pace were shot. At first the corpses were provisionally buried in nearby Zeitelmoos. In August 1945, the American military government ordered these bodies to be reburied in the cemetery.
The city was largely spared from the war; only at the beginning of 1945 were there isolated air raids which, however, caused only slight damage in the station area. As seen on the right, the town's Koppetentor, the only surviving gate of the old town defences erected in 1471, is well-preserved. 
 On April 19, 1945, American troops marched into Wunsiedel and ended the war for the city. Wunsiedel recorded 244 dead, 250 captured and 198 missing soldiers, several forced labourers had lost their lives during the Nazi era. 48 soldiers returned to Wunsiedel as war invalids, 93 girls and boys were orphaned. In the period that followed, the number of inhabitants of the city - compared to the pre-war situation - increased by almost 3,000 to over 9,000 due to refugees from Silesia and the Sudetenland. 
A few miles south of Wunsiedel down the so-called Porcelain Route is Marktredwitz, shown here in a postacard when its High Street had been renamed 'Adolf-Hitler-Strasse' and today. Immediatey after the Nazis took power, the town's few Jewish residents were attacked, starting in March 1933 when a Jewish man was arrested and badly beaten. In January 1937 teachers received instructions from the mayor, who was also the local Nazi Party group leader, to warn the students against shopping in Jewish shops. In February 1937, the merchant Max Hirschfeld was fined 500 Reichsmarks for employing an "Aryan" maid. In November 1937, Ernst Eisemann was arrested for alleged violations of foreign exchange regulations. Between 1937 and 1939, six of the Jewish residents were able to emigrate with four fleeing to the United States, one each to Czechoslovakia and another to China. One moved to Nuremberg with one dying in Marktredwitz. On April 24, 1942, three of the four Jewish residents still living here were deported via Bamberg to Izbica near Lublin in Poland. A Jewish resident living in a so-called "privileged mixed marriage" could stay in Marktredwitz.

From page 15 of Adolf Hitler, Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers and looking at the town from the same angle today with the church and schloss in the background.
Hitler with his adjutants Wilhelm Brückner and Julius Schaub in 1936 from page 10 of Adolf Hitler, Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers in front of the war memorial between Hilpoltstein and Kappel and the site today.
 Being a stronghold of right-wing parties since the 1920s, Bayreuth became a centre of Nazi ideology. In 1933 it was made capital of the Nazi Gau of Bavarian Ostmark (Bayerische Ostmark, in 1943 Gau Bayreuth). Nazi leaders often visited the Wagner festival and tried to turn Bayreuth into a Nazi model town. It was one of several places in which town planning was administered directly from Berlin, due to Hitler's special interest in the town and in the festival. Hitler loved the music of Richard Wagner, and he became a close friend of Winifred Wagner after she took over the festival. Hitler frequently attended Wagner performances in the Bayreuth Festival Hall.  
Standing in front of the Festspielhaus and Hitler taking the salute from a window from the Stuttgarter Illustrierte, August 1933. The Bayreuth festival was problematic at the beginning of the 1930s: in 1930, Siegfried Wagner died at the age of 61 at a heart attack suffered during the rehearsal period. The festival had now been taken over by his widow Winifred Wagner.  The proximity of Winifred Wagner to Chancellor Adolf Hitler made sure that the festival from 1933 were funded by the state and all worries were removed. But it also contributed significantly to the fact that Wagner (according to the literary scholar Hans Mayer) was traded in 1945 "at the cultural exchange below zero." Thomas Mann described Bayreuth as Hitler's court theatre.  Hitler last visited Bayreuth in 1940. From this time on so-called "war festival" were carried out on order of Hitler. The Nazi organisation Kraft durch Freude with its department "Urlaub und Reisen" took over the ticket sales. Head of this department was Bodo Lafferentz, who became Winifred's son-in-law in 1943 through his marriage to Verena Wagner. Lafferentz took over the allocation of the cards, which received mainly wounded soldiers with their nursing staff and armaments workers. From 1941, the festival was increasingly influenced by the war. Since in the first week of the festival in 1941 total blindness was already arranged from about 9 pm, the performances began shortly after noon. In 1944 only the Mastersingers of Nuremberg was on the programme. The last of the twelve performances of the year took place on 9th August. It was the penultimate opera performance ever in the Third Reich; the last was the public dress rehearsal of the Danae by Richard Strauss in the Salzburg Festival Hall on August 16, 1944.
The Festspielhaus decorated to celebrate Hitler's fiftieth birthday, April 20, 1939
 The Haus der Deutschen Erziehung (House of German Education) and its current incarnation. Bayreuth was intended to have received a so-called Gauforum, a combined government building and marching square built to symbolise the centre of power in the town. Bayreuth's first Gauleiter was Hans Schemm, who was also the head (Reichswalter) of the National Socialist Teachers League, NSLB, which was located in Bayreuth. In 1937 the town was connected to the new Reichsautobahn. 
Beyond simply symbolising German nationalism, the Bayreuth Festival was instrumental as a propaganda tool that facilitated the widespread dissemination of Nazi ideologies. The festival, under the patronage of Hitler, effectively became a cultural mouthpiece for the regime, with performances consciously manipulated to reiterate Nazi racial doctrines and socio-political beliefs. Spotts provides an illuminating account of this aspect in his book. The festival, he claims, was meticulously staged to reflect the racial and cultural superiority that the Nazis sought to establish. The mythical narratives in Wagner's operas were transformed into narratives of Aryan supremacy, with non-Aryan characters often represented as weak or morally corrupt. Moreover, the grandeur and spectacle of the performances were designed to symbolise the glory of the Third Reich, demonstrating the potency of Nazi rule. Spotts also mentions that the festival was used to promote Nazi ideals abroad, with many international guests invited to attend and be swayed by the spectacle. Millington, while agreeing with Spotts' observations, further elaborates on the festival's role in social manipulation. According to him, the Bayreuth Festival also functioned as an effective means of class manipulation. 
By restricting access to the elite and the loyal, the Nazis used the festival as a tool to shape social hierarchies, rewarding the faithful and excluding the dissident. Thus, the festival became a reflection of the exclusive society that the Nazis were constructing. The festival's significance as a propaganda tool and a vehicle for promoting Nazi ideologies cannot be overstated. Yet another factor contributing to the importance of the Bayreuth Festival for the Nazis was the involvement of the Wagner family, particularly Winifred Wagner, the composer's British-born daughter-in-law. Her association with the festival and her relationship with Hitler lent legitimacy to the regime's cultural agenda. Winifred's support for Hitler and her efforts to integrate Wagner's music into the ideological framework of the Nazi regime are well-documented by Spotts. According to him, Winifred held a deep-seated admiration for Hitler, sharing his vision of a unified and racially pure German nation. Her commitment to this vision and her willingness to use the Bayreuth Festival to further Nazi ideals played a significant role in establishing the festival as a beacon of Nazi culture. Millington expands on this narrative by discussing how Winifred's influence extended beyond the festival's programming. She was instrumental in maintaining the Wagner-Hitler relationship, using her connections to gain financial support for the festival, even during the war. Through her actions, Winifred ensured the festival's survival and its continued importance as a cultural symbol for the Nazis. The alliance between the Wagner family and the Nazis was thus an essential aspect of the Bayreuth Festival's significance. It served to further legitimise the Nazi regime, portraying it as the true heir to Wagner's cultural vision. 
Standing in front of the Rotmainhalle, built in 1935, still adorned with its fresco from the prominent Nazi-era artist Oskar Martin-Amorbach. The building, although listed as a protected landmark, had been intended to be demolished to provide 20,000 m² of retail space but after significant public protest and the recommendation of a surveyor, the concept was reduced to a 15,000 m² sales area allowing for the preservation of the Rotmainhalle. 
However, it is important to note that this interpretation has been challenged 
Restaurant Eule, Siegfried Wagner’s favourite restaurant, which Hitler visited during the 1925 Bayreuther Festspiele.

Under Nazi dictatorship the synagogue of the Jewish Community in Münzgasse was desecrated and looted on Kristallnacht but, due to its proximity to the Opera House it was not razed. Inside the building, which is once again used by a Jewish community as a synagogue, a plaque next to the Torah Shrine recalls the persecution and murder of Jews in the Holocaust, which took the lives of at least 145 Jews in Bayreuth.  During the Second World War, a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp was based in the town, in which prisoners had to participate in physical experiments for the V-2. Wieland Wagner, the grandson of the composer, Richard Wagner, was the deputy civilian director there from September 1944 to April 1945. Shortly before the war's end branches of the People's Court (Volksgerichtshof) were to have been set up in Bayreuth. On April 5, 8 and 11, 1945 about one third of the town, including many public buildings and industrial installations were destroyed by heavy air strikes, along with 4,500 houses. 741 people were also killed. On April 14, the Americans occupied the town.

The Gasthof Zur Behringersmühle where Hitler is shown visiting in 1931, after the war and today.
Bad Berneck 
 13 km northeast of Bayreuth is Bad Berneck im Fichtelgebirge. Here is Adolf Hitlerplatz with the schlossturm then and today

According to Siobhan Pat Mulcahy in her book The Peculiar Sex Life of Adolf Hitler
In June/July 1934, [Hitler] organised the murders and imprisonment of hundreds of Nazi Storm Troopers, including their leader “Queen” Ernst Roehm, who was openly gay.  But while gay Nazis were being butchered or imprisoned, Hitler was having a clandestine affair with his Munich bodyguard and chauffeur Julius Schreck. The two were apparently devoted to each other and enjoyed romantic trysts at the Hotel Bube near Berneck, the midway point between Berlin and Munich. Their affair lasted until Schreck’s sudden death from meningitis in 1936.  Apparently, when he heard the bad news, Hitler wept uncontrollably for several days. He ordered a state funeral for his beloved chauffeur, at which he delivered a personal eulogy, with all the Nazi top brass ordered to attend. 

The Hotel Bube in Bad Berneck where Hitler would stay during his pilgrimages to Bayreuth hasn't changed at all.

 After 1933, other long-established festivals, carnivals and fairs in Germany  were similarly transformed into events that openly celebrated the Nazi regime. Their host cities in turn often became loci of Nazi tourist culture. Bayreuth is a good example. Its annual Wagner Festival welcomed Hitler and his entourage every summer; by 1933, the Manchester Guardian was reporting that the event now resembled a ‘Hitler Festival’. During the rest of the year, even when the Festspielhaus sat empty, it attracted Hitler devotees as well as Wagner fans. Tourist material lauded Hitler’s special affection for the town and its operas. Postcards even depicted the Hotel Bube in Bad Berneck, just north of Bayreuth, where he stayed during the festival every year.
Semmens (65) Seeing Hitler’s Germany

Frederic Spotts, in his book 'Bayreuth: A History of the Wagner Festival', focuses on how Hitler was greatly influenced by the philosophies and artistic expressions presented in Wagner's operas and writings. Wagner's ideology of a mythical Germanic past, of heroes and the rebirth of the nation through struggle and sacrifice, was mirrored in Mein Kampf. Hitler saw Wagner's music as embodying the struggle for the purity of the Aryan race and German nationalism. It is no surprise, then, that Hitler would later use Wagner's music as the soundtrack to his Nazi rallies, even referring to the composer as the "most German of men". Barry Millington, another prominent figure in Wagnerian studies, supports this assertion in his works. According to Millington, Hitler not only admired Wagner's music but also identified with the composer's life, seeing parallels between Wagner's struggle for artistic recognition and his own struggle for political power. In this way, Wagner and his music became central to the Führer's vision of a culturally superior German nation.

Bad Staffelstein am Main

Horst Wessel Platz and today

Standing outside the town hall; the flags outside the rathaus have all been changed since. After Germany's defeat in the Great War, Kulmbach developed into one of the earliest Nazi strongholds in Franconia with its largest number of members. The anti-Semitic tones - predominantly voiced by foreign pastors, teachers and prominent speakers from the Hitler party - became increasingly shrill. Until the "seizure of power", however, anti-Jewish activities were limited to verbal incitement and swastika graffiti. After 1933 however the pressure and abuse increased. At that time, 37 of the 12,089 inhabitants of Kulmbach were Jews. In addition, there were a small number of people who, according to the diction of the "Nuremberg Laws", were referred to as "half-breeds I and II degrees". It was here in Kulmbach on February 5, 1928 that Hitler gave a speech declaring that
The idea of struggle is as old as life itself, for life is only preserved because other living things perish through struggle. ... In this straggle, the stronger, the more able, win, while the less able, the weak, lose. Struggle is the father of all things. ... It is not by the principles of humanity that man lives or is able to preserve himself above the animal world, but solely by means of the most brutal struggle. ... If you do not fight for life, then life will never be won.

By the time of the speech the Nazis had already gained significant influence in the town as Kulmbach became one of their key strongholds in Bavaria. Nazi supporters saw the "victorious Jew" in the larger than life bronze sculpture "David" by the sculptor Carl August Bachmann, that had stood in the Kulmbach City Park in 1927 as a "Memorial to the Sons Fallen in the World War." In October of 1934 it was knocked off its pedestal by young thugs, and in December of the same year it was badly damaged by another local vandal. In the run-up to the November pogrom in 1938, the figure was finally demolished, stored in the municipal building yard and later melted down. A replica of the sculpture was placed at another location in 2005.
At Spitalgaße 2 seen on the left was the "Damen- und  Herrenkonfektions" owned by Franz Weiß and his son-in-law Georg before being 'aryanised.'
At the beginning of the 1930s, roughly fifteen Jewish families lived here. Discrimination, boycotts, exclusion and persecution caused their numbers to drop significantly over the next few years. The Davids-Brunnen located in the stadtpark was smashed because of its so-called "Jewish motif ". During the 1938 Kristallnacht, five Jewish men were arrested for their " personal security " and detained in the court gaol. One man, Jewish cattle dealer Karl Strauss, smuggled the town synagogue's Torah scrolls to Bamberg, unwittingly supported by the owner of a Kulmbach cardboard box factory who took him him and another Kulmbacher in his delivery van to Bamberg, assuming that Strauss was transporting rolls of wallpaper. After his return to Kulmbach, the man was interrogated by the police. The party leadership even considered taking him to the Dachau concentration camp for "harmful smuggling to the people" - despite the fact that he was the holder of the golden party badge. The Torah itself had probably been destroyed in the fire in the Bamberg synagogue on November 10, 1938. A few days later, Strauß was arrested for allegedly maintaining a relationship with an 'Aryan', the latter forced by the ϟϟ to walk through the streets of Kulmbach in front of a crowd of several hundred people watching with a sign hanging from her neck. Strauß, further accused of committing "economic crimes ”, was tried in 1939; as the alleged crimes could not be proven, he was sentenced to eight years in prison" for the crime of racial defilement". During the war Strauss was eventually deported to an extermination camp.
The Holzmarkt shown on the right with the Siegfriedsäule (now moved) in front of the shoe shop owned by the Jewish Mitbürger family. Only the seven-member Davidsohn family remained in Kulmbach before being deported, probably to Izbica near Lublin at the end of February 1942.  In April 1938 there were still sixteen Jews living in Kulmbach; in January 1939 fourteen; in December 1939 ten. Nathan and Selma Flörsheim as well as Georg and Berta Davidsohn with their children Hildegard, Ingeborg and Albert from were among the victims of the transport on April 25, 1942 to Krasniczyn. The seven Kulmbachers were deported via Bamberg to a train coming from Würzburg to the extermination camp in the Lublin district.
After the war a new Jewish community was formed briefly in Kulmbach, made up of around an  hundred DPs; a provisional Jewish community centre was set up in the former park inn. This community dissolved again within three years with its members mainly migrating to British Palestine.  Today there is no visible evidence of a Jewish past in the town apart from a few stolperstein, an initiative which began in Kulmbach in 2012.  
Hitlerjugend in the main square with Plassenburg castle in the background and marching down a road with me cycling through the site today.  In 1933, the Nazis seized power in Kulmbach and immediately one of the three Bavarian "NS-Landesführer schools" moved into the castle; two years later Plassenburg became the "Reichsschulungsburg der NSDAP". From 1936 courses conducted through the German Labour Front were held here regularly.
However, the Veste only really became significant when Hitler's chief highway planner Fritz Todt and his "Reichsschule der deutschen Technik" (Reich School of German Technology) moved into the castle in March 1937. As a result, Kulmbach was even given an additional motorway junction which is now the start of today's A 70 autobahn. Professors from technical universities, road engineers, hydraulic and mechanical engineering, energy specialists and renowned architects such as Alwin Seifert, Friedrich Tamms and Paul Bonatz were invited to the seminars. Todt's intention was to bring the technical elite of the country together in order to discuss experiences with finished motorways and to plan future ones. A focus of many technical discussions was the harmonious alignment of the motorway in an aesthetically-appropriate manner. Todt himself, one of the closest leadership circles around Hitler, travelled to many events by plane with his speeches stenographed for posterity. On the day of his mysterious plane crash on February 8, 1942 after a visit to Hitler's Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, he had wanted to make a stopover in Kulmbach.

The town swimming pool shown on the right, opened amidst swastikas in 1934
Hof Saale

Theresienstein Hof, located north-east of Hof an der Saale, flying the Nazi flag and today which dates from 1816 as one the oldest German citizens' parks and named after Queen Therese Charlotte, the wife of King Ludwig I of Bavaria. 

In 1927 a synagogue was erected on the Hallplatz near the old railway station, later to be completely destroyed at the November 1938 pogrom and its inventory burned. This pogrom in Hof began in the early morning hours of November 10 in which the chief officers of the district police officers, the ϟϟ and SA were involved. In addition to the synagogue, retailers and private apartments were the target of the attacks. Of the eighty Jews living in Hof, twelve were arrested. By 1939 only seven Jewish remained. After the Second World War none returned, but some 1,400 Jews ended up stranded within the Moschendorf camp in Hof. It wasn't until 1998 that a former school building in Moschendorf was acquired as a community centre and established as a new synagogue the following year.
 In 1945, Hof suffered minor destruction due to aerial attacks. From September 3, 1944 to April 14, 1945, an external subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp existed in the village of Hof-Moschendorf, whose hundred detainees had to perform forced labour for the ϟϟ Hauptzeugamt.  The Americans occupied the city on April 15, 1945 on their advance to Eger and West Bohemia. Hof belonged to the American occupation zone until 1955.

Hohenberg an der Eger
From 1936, Castle Hohenberg belonged to the National Socialist Teachers' Association and was a school camp- NSLB Schulungsburg. At the end of the war by April 1945, some towers, and one-third of the village fell victim to the attack American troops, as ϟϟ troops defended the town. 1951 began a gradual reconstruction by the Bavarian state.


Adolf Hitler Straße in 1939, now Bergstrasse

Hitler's painting The Alte Rathaus at Bonner Marktplatz of Bamberg's town hall and the wife in front today. It was at the party conference held in Bamberg in 1926 that Hitler set about reunifying a party left fragmented by his time in gaol and organising personal meetings with senior party members from around the country.
[Hitler] summoned about sixty party leaders to a meeting on February 14, 1926 at Bamberg, in Upper Franconia. There was no agenda. Hitler, it was stated, simply wanted to discuss some ‘important questions’. He spoke for two hours. He addressed in the main the issue of foreign policy and future alliances. His position was wholly opposed to that of the Working Community. Alliances were never ideal, he said, but always ‘purely a matter of political business’. Britain and Italy, both distancing themselves from Germany’s arch-enemy France, offered the best potential. Any thought of an alliance with Russia could be ruled out. It would mean ‘the immediate political bolshevisation of Germany’, and with it ‘national suicide’. Germany’s future could be secured solely by acquiring land, by eastern colonisation as in the Middle Ages, by a colonial policy not overseas but in Europe. On the question of the expropriation of German princes without compensation (a proposal by the Left, but supported by north German Nazi leaders), Hitler again ruled out the position of the Working Community. ‘For us there are today no princes, only Germans,’ he declared. ‘We stand on the basis of the law, and will not give a Jewish system of exploitation a legal pretext for the complete plundering of our people.’ Such a rhetorical slant could not conceal the outright rejection of the views of the northern leaders. Finally, Hitler repeated his insistence that religious problems had no part to play in the National Socialist Movement.
Goebbels was appalled. ‘I feel devastated. What sort of Hitler? A reactionary? Amazingly clumsy and uncertain ... Probably one of the greatest disappointments of my life. I no longer believe fully in Hitler. That’s the terrible thing: my inner support has been taken away.’
Raulinohaus,  Grüner Markt 14
Hitler had reasserted his authority. The potential threat from the Working Community had evaporated. Despite some initial signs of defiance, the fate of the Community had been sealed at Bamberg. Gregor Strasser promised Hitler to collect all copies of the draft programme he had distributed, and wrote to members of the Community on 5 March asking for them to be returned. The Community now petered out into non-existence. On 1 July 1926, Hitler signed a directive stating that ‘since the NSDAP represents a large working community, there is no justification for smaller working communities as a combination of individual Gaue’. By that time, Strasser’s Working Community of northern and western Gauleiter was finished. With it went the last obstacle to the complete establishment of Hitler’s supreme mastery over the party.

Hitler was shrewd enough to be generous after his Bamberg triumph. By September, Strasser himself had been called to the Reich Leadership as Propaganda Leader of the party, while Franz Pfeffer von Salomon (Gauleiter of Westphalia, a former army officer who had subsequently joined the Freikorps, participated in the Kapp Putsch, and been active in opposition to the French in the Ruhr) was appointed head of the SA. Most important of all, the impressionable Goebbels was openly courted by Hitler and completely won over....
The Bamberg meeting had been a milestone in the development of the Nazi party. The Working Community had neither wanted nor attempted a rebellion against Hitler’s leadership. But once Strasser had composed his draft programme, a clash was inevitable. Was the party to be subordinated to a programme, or to its leader? The Bamberg meeting decided what National Socialism was to mean. It was not to mean a party torn, as the völkisch movement had been in 1924, over points of dogma. The Twenty-Five-Point Programme of 1920 was therefore regarded as sufficient. ‘It stays as it is,’ Hitler was reported as saying. ‘The New Testament is also full of contradictions, but that hasn’t prevented the spread of Christianity.’

The wife in front of the Portal des Böttingerhauses 
and as it appeared during the Third Reich
Its symbolic significance, not any practical feasibility was what mattered. Any more precise policy statement would not merely have produced continuing inner dissension. It would have bound Hitler himself to the programme, subordinated him to abstract tenets of doctrine that were open to dispute and alteration. As it was, his position as Leader over the movement was now inviolable.
At Bamberg, too, an important ideological issue – the anti-Russian thrust of foreign policy – had been reaffirmed. The alternative approach of the northern group had been rejected. The ‘idea’ and the Leader were coming to be inseparable. But the ‘idea’ amounted to a set of distant goals, a mission for the future. The only way to it was through the attainment of power. For that, maximum flexibility was needed. No ideological or organisational disputes should in future be allowed to divert from the path. Fanatical willpower, converted into organised mass force, was what was required. That demanded freedom of action for the Leader; and total obedience from the following. What emerged in the aftermath of Bamberg was, therefore, the growth of a new type of political organisation: one subjected to the will of the Leader, who stood over and above the party, the embodiment in his own person of the ‘idea’ of National Socialism. 
 Kershaw (169-171) Hitler
The Kettenbrücke, blown up by the defending Germans before the American advance, and the Americans themselves on Hallstadterstraße, as the 45th Infantry Division cautiously make their way past the Oehlhorn & Wöltz factory. Established on October 19, 1920, the Oklahoma State militia was organised as the 45th Infantry Division of the Oklahoma Army National Guard, and manned with troops from Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. Ironically enough, the division's symbol was a red square with a yellow swastika in tribute to the large Native American population in the southwestern United States. However, with the rise of the Nazis in Germany, the 45th Division stopped using the insignia and following a long process of reviewing design submissions, a design by Woody Big Bow, a Kiowa artist from Carnegie, Oklahoma, was chosen for the new shoulder sleeve insignia, featuring the Thunderbird, another Native American symbol, and was approved in 1939. After crossing the Danube river here in Bamberg on April 27, they would eventually liberate 32,000 captives of the Dachau concentration camp two days later, being involved in the infamous Dachau massacre. The division captured Munich during the next two days, occupying the city until V-E Day and the surrender of Germany.

Group outside the site of the synagogue and today, left empty. A few miles south of Bamberg is this town, long a site of the deprivations of war- during the Thirty Years' War a chronicler recorded how “[a]fter Candlemas 1633 the Swedes also came here and dwelt in the Swedish way. They plundered and robbed whatever they could get; nothing was holy to them. The House of God had its windows and doors beaten in, the inside was demolished, the bells taken away and broken up...”  Later during the Napoleonic Wars August 6, 1793 a heavy cavalry and artillery battle broke out right here between the Imperial Army and French troops. By that time Jews made up nearly 14% of the town's population. Besides a synagogue there was a Jewish elementary school until 1924 at Nürnberger Straße 12, which was used by the Jewish community as a parish hall and elementary and religious school from 1887 until 1939, as well as ritual bath. By the time of the Nazis' seizure of power in 1933, the town had 64 Jewish inhabitants; 3.7% of a total of 1,713 inhabitants. Five years later on Kristallnaht the synagogue was destroyed. Half a dozen Jewish men were sent to Dachau and the site where the synagogue stood was confiscated by the local authorities. By May 1939, only four Jews still lived in Hirschaid. Of these, one left in 1940 and the other deported to Izbica in 1942. At least 32 of the town's Jews perished in the Holocaust.

Today this monument to the former synagogue which replaces the memorial stone erected in 1979 stands to commemorate the site and victims. The floor plan of the synagogue building is traced on it..
The main square from a Nazi-era postcard and today. Right-wing radicals had already gathered in Forchheim immediately after the First World War and in February 1922 a local Nazi Party group - one of the first in Germany - was founded under the leadership of merchant Gottlieb Kärgelein. Kärgelein was elected to the city council in 1924 and published his own newspaper, Der Streiter, the content of which was adapted to the Nazi newspaper Der Stürmer, which articularly served to agitate against local Jews. There was also a Gauleiter, Hanns Schemm, wo had served as a member of the state parliament in 1928. Hitler spoke in Forchheim on December 15 of that year whilst staying at  the Deutscher Hof in Nuremberg. That day he also spoke in Hassfurt, Eltmann, Bamberg, Erlangen, Nürnberg, Schwabach, Roth, Pleinfeld, Ellingen, Weißenburg in Bayern, Eichstätt, Ingolstadt and Reichertshofen.
In March 1930 there was a meeting of both Communists and National Socialists in Forchheim as a result of the formation of the parliamentary minority government by Hindenburg and Brüning, which could only prevail through "emergency ordinances," notably the infamous article 48 giving the president dictatorship powers when circumstances deemed it; they would form the basis later of the powers invested into Hitler as part of the so-called 'Enabling Act' of March, 1933. By then there had been 5.6 million unemployed in Germany in mid-1932 and the deflationary policy ensured that, starting in March, young people could also be deployed in Forchheim into the "voluntary labour service" where they would be involved, for example, in the construction of a toboggan run in the basement forest and sports areas in the municipal outdoor pool. A memorial stone heading towards the town of Serlbach, which has now been mossed, testifies to this. 
By the time Hitler received his Enabling Act in March 1933, the local newspaper "Forchheimer Zeitung" was banned. The-then Mayor Karl Strecker expected that the Nazis wouldn't be satisfied with its representation on the Forchheim City Council and suggested that deputy Mayor Wilhelm Burkard give up his office in favour of a Nazi Party candidate, which he did in an extraordinary secret council meeting on March 20, 1933. 
The resulting appointment of Hans Hofmann, the Nazi local group leader, to Burkard's position was declared valid by the votes of thirteen city councilors present despite seven empty and thus invalid ballots. Hofmann also took the chair of the election committee when on March 31 the City Council in Forchheim was to be reshaped according to the local result of the Reichstag election with the "Provisional Law on the Harmonisation of the Lands with the Reich".  Hitler, Hindenburg and Gauleiter Schemm were appointed new honourary citizens in mid-April. Strecker's entry into the Nazi Party was also announced on June 20. Two days later the SPD was banned, its assets confiscated and its members removed from public service. Since the regional BVP dissolved itself under pressure from the regime in July, Forchheim now had a purely Nazi city council in August.
The Nürnberger Gate from a Nazi-era postcard and today. Owing to Forchheim’s fortifications, it got through the Thirty Years' War without being overrun even once. The Prince-Bishop of Bamberg fled the Swedes in this war, seeking shelter for himself, and also for his cathedral treasure, in the strongly defended fortress town of Forchheim. The Swedes laid siege to the town several times from 1632 to 1634. It was also in this era of Forchheim’s history that some of the townsfolk earned the rather unflattering nickname Mauerscheißer (“wall shitters”). This came from their practice of defecating over the city walls during the siege, to demonstrate to the Swedes that there was still enough to eat in the city, and that their siege was ineffective and pointless. On September 6, 1802, Forchheim was occupied by Bavarian troops and annexed to the Electorate of Bavaria. In 1889, the year of Hitler's birth, Forchheim became a kreisfreie Stadt, conferring on it certain enhanced local powers. As an aside, local lore has it that Forchheim was Pontius Pilate’s birthplace. 

Local Nazi district assembly in 1939 in the market square. During the war, 1790 forced labourers were employed in the Pegnitz plant of the Amag-Hilpert-Pegnitzhütte. When the war ended, the town quickly grew to be a medium-sized centre with roughly 14,000 inhabitants.

This was built in the mid 1930s to honour the war dead of the Great War. The Nazi eagle has long since been removed.

 Adolf-Hitler-Strasse then and now. Gefrees was the site of the 1809 Battle of Gefrees during which 6,000 Austrians escaped being surrounded by 7,500 French. About 2400 dead or wounded were counted.
Towards the end of World War II, in March 1945, British and Soviet prisoners of war were herded through the Münchberg district on a death march. Many of them died of exhaustion, whilst those who could no longer walk were murdered. In 1947, the American military government discovered a mass grave of 45 to 48 Russian soldiers in the old Gefrees cemetery, whilst five individual graves of Russian prisoners of war were near Lützenreuth. An hospital in Gefrees was found to contain forty British PoWs all too ill to be moved. There were no nurses, but one German doctor without medical equipment had remained in charge. A convoy reloaded at Moosburg from a Red Cross dump, and returned with further stocks to Gefrees. The convoy supplied Red Cross medical parcels and food to the patients. According to Sgt. Maj. Moss, “[t]hose parcels undoubtedly saved the men’s lives. They were so excited when they saw what we were bringing them, and cheered and shouted so much, that it was quite a job to get them fed.”

Adolf Hitler Straße and today, renamed Kulmbacher Straße. Hitler's success in power also led to far-reaching political and social changes in Burgkunstadt. One of the first was the appointment of the dentist and Nazi politician Leo Feuersinger as mayor and the exchange of the city council by a "municipal order" of ten Nazi parliamentarians.  As part of the Jewish boycott on 1 April 1933, some Jewish-owned shops were plundered and destroyed. In the following years, as in Germany, the Jews were suppressed and harassed as often as possible in Burgkunstadt. Through the anti-Jewish legislation several Jewish enterprises had to close, others were barred or expropriated. The majority of the inhabitants of St. Joseph's Institution were affected by the law for the prevention of offspring, who were kept in closed institutions from July onwards. A high wire fence was erected around the property. During the so-called Reichskristallnacht of November 1938, the synagogue was plundered and devastated in the suburbs. "For traffic reasons" the synagogue was completely removed by the end of the year and replaced by a green area.    
In contrast to the Franco-Prussian war and the First World War, the enthusiasm of the local population to the war was limited, and only occurred with absolutely convinced national socialists. "Within the framework of the civil aviation measures" all schools in the district of Lichtenfels remained closed between September 1 and 11.  The first flight bombs fell by English aircraft in the night from the 27th to the 28th of August 1940 northwest of the St. Josephs-Anstalt.  The St. Josephs-Anstalt was completely cleared in the spring of 1941. Many inhabitants were murdered in other homes and psychiatries; only a few were released home. The institution was converted into a National Social NGO for mother and child.
The town synagogue in 1935
On April 24, 1942, the last twelve Burgkunstadte Jews, including the five-year-old Hans-Peter Steinbock, came first to Bamberg and the next day via Nuremberg to Krasnyzin. Up until April 28th, they were taken to the Majdanek concentration camp in Eastern Poland. In the following days most of them were transported to the extermination camps Belzec and Sobibor, where they were murdered in the gas chambers in the summer of 1942. This action ended the 700 year history of the Jewish community in Burgkunstadt.  As more and more workers from the local shoe factories were forced to go to the front, the jobs were occupied by belligerent Russians, Lithuanians, Poles, French and Vlasslow soldiers.  From March 1945 the refugee flows from Eastern European countries also began to accumulate. In addition to this, more and more unarmed, dilapidated soldiers came. This made it increasingly clear that the war was about to end. In the course of the Nerobefehl, all the main bridges were blown up on the 10th of April. The Lichtenfels Tagblatt appeared for the last time on April 10, during which time the poor food supply led to numerous looting at this time.  On April 12, 1945 the Americans reached Horb, whereupon Burgkunstadt surrendered on the same evening. There was only a single group of soldiers who were able to be expelled by the Burgkunstadt population and in the days and weeks that followed, most of the East workers, Vlasov soldiers and the evacuees also made their way home from German cities. On May 8 at 23:01, barely four weeks after the surrender of the town, the Second World War ended by the unconditional capitulation of the Wehrmacht. Including the new citizens (refugees, displaced persons, et cet.), 242 Burgkunstadter soldiers died on the fronts. Many more were missing. Of the Jews born or staying in Burgkunstadt, 84 died in the labour and extermination camps.