Showing posts with label Hammelburg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hammelburg. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Lower Franconia

The rathaus during the Nazi era and today, rebuilt after its wartime destruction. Würzburg was the birthplace of Colonel General Alfred Jodl, Chief of Operations Staff of the OKW (the High Command of the Armed Forces) during the war and eventually sentenced to death and hanged in Nuremberg in 1946 as well as of Gottfried Feder, author of the pamphlet, Brechung der Zinsknechtschaft, State Secretary in the Reich Ministry of Economics from 1933 to 1934.
A local branch of the Nazi Party was formed by Hitler's supporters in Würzburg in December 1922,  founded by Fritz Schillinger with the participation of Robert Reinecke, who had worked as a propaganda speaker in Franconia until the 1940s. A Nazi was elected to the city council for the first time after the election on December 7, 1924. After the Nazi Party, which had been banned in 1923 after the failed Beer Hall Putsch attempt, was re-admitted in 1925, its Würzburg local group was also re-established. In contrast to those in other Bavarian cities, the Nazis initially had relatively little success and the Bavarian People's Party in Würzburg remained the strongest party until 1933. The meeting point of the SA in Lower Franconia, which was formed on January 5, 1923, was at Palais Thüngen which became known as the "Braunes Haus."It was owned by Baroness Margarethe von Thüngen, who was known as "Würzburg's SA mother", and was located opposite the bishop's palace, a site which gave the Nazis access to higher society. It would also later serve as the offices of the Kraft durch Freude at Wilhelmstraße 5
When Hitler himself visited the town, the Würzburger Hof was his hotel of choice, now rebuilt. He first spoke publicly in Würzburg on August 5, 1930. By this time the Nazi Party, which had been officially represented in the city council since December 8, 1929, already had 406 members in Würzburg at the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, according to the subsequent police report, the closed general meeting held at the Harmoniesaal for about half an hour from 19.00, at which Hermann Esser spoke as the first speaker, was only sparsely attended. The next morning the Nazis held two public meetings in the Luisengarten and in the Huttenscher Garten, which were also only sparsely attended, at which Esser, Gottfried Feder and Julius Streicher appeared as speakers. Then the Nazi Party district representative conference for Lower Franconia took place, at which Esser, Streicher and Karl Holz spoke.
Hitler returned to Würzburg August 5, 1930 to speak at the Frankenhalle on Veitshöchheimer Straße from 20.00 to 22.30. This time the meeting was almost sold-out in which around 5,000 (the Nazis claimed 6,000) people took part, and was led by Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth and opened with a short speech. The admission price for a seat was one Reichmarks, and for standing room 50 pfennigs. The police reported how "[t]he statements were very factual and did not give rise to any complaints. They were received with strong applause by the visitors. After singing the Deutschlandlied together, the rally ended at around 22.31. There were no incidents either in the meeting room or on the street. The masses of visitors left and the trucks left without disturbance. There were never any complaints about the ban on uniforms."
Hitler returned to the venue, this time with Hermann Göring, on ​​April 6, 1932 where he spoke in front of an audience of four to five thousand. Starting after 18.00, the meeting was chaired by Otto Hellmuth and opened with a speech by Munich City Councilor Hermann Esser. Göring and Gauleiter Adolf Wagner spoke after Hitler.
It was at Würzburg's Ludwigshalle on October 16, 1932 that Hitler declared in front of around 5,000 people
I do not believe that the struggle will ever really come to an end. Just as the peasant must till his field year after year, so must a statesman till his Volk over and over again. I see nothing burdensome, nothing forced in this struggle, but something very natural and necessary, and I am looking forward to duelling with these gentlemen.

In fact, shortly after Hitler's speech began, the loudspeaker cable was cut, so that he had to interrupt his speech for twenty minutes. Admission prices ranged from 10 pfennigs to 2 RM.

At the site of the May 10, 1933 book burning on Residenzplatz. Here members of the Nazi Party, SA and ϟϟ burned unwelcome books, especially files and books of the trade unions. Organised by students- unlike those attacking free speech and expression today, these from the extreme right- the book burning took place at the same place on May 10, 1933, according to the schedule set by the student body. After a march through the city to Residenzplatz, where the collected books were already piled up, Dr. Alfons Ilg spoke before the books were set on fire. Fed by the fire from the books, torches were then lit and a procession through the city began, which ended again at Residenzplatz, where the torches were thrown into the remains of the book fire. Five days earlier the Nazis had won the last reasonably free Reichstag elections although they had managed only 31.6 percent of the votes in the Würzburg and, despite an increase of over 11 percent, remained only the second strongest party after the Bavarian People's Party. Nevertheless, on March 9, the Nazis unlawfully hoisted the swastika flag on the town hall tower. In the early morning hours of March 10, they occupied the trade union house in Augustinerstrasse and the publishing houses of a number of local papers. Parallel to this blow to the journalism and organization of the SPD, a wave of arrests began, during the course of which on March 10, 1933 in Würzburg and the surrounding communities, the functionaries and well-known members of the SPD and the Reichsbanner as well as around 100 communists were arrested.
Looking down Domstraße towards the Grafeneckart-Turm of the rathaus.  Würzburg became a major city in 1934 after Heidingsfeld had already been incorporated with 5,700 inhabitants in 1930, and in the following years city planners assumed a population of up to 140,000 in 1970. According to Hitler's decree of February 17, 1939, the Nazi transformation of Würzburg into a district capital was planned, including Hubert Groß as head of the newly established city planning office with architect and Reich inspector Albert Speer presenting the drafts. 
After the German Municipal Code was enacted in 1935, the City Council has only had an “advisory” function. The Lord Mayor alone now made all political decisions in coordination with the party- the so-called Führerprinzip. The Nazis took over all important positions by force in March 1933 . The SA occupied important buildings. Political opponents, especially trade unionists, social democrats and communists, even city councillors, were arrested and imprisoned in "wild" concentration camps at Marienberg Fortress and, here in the city, books were burned. The democratically elected liberal mayor Hans Löffler resigned under massive pressure and Theo Memmel became the new Nazi mayor. Adolf Hitler Straße WuerzburgIn addition, numerous streets in the city area were renamed as a visible sign of the "seizure of power" such as  Theaterstraße, shown here on the right when it was officially renamed Adolf Hitler Straße and when I cycled through in July 2022.  
 On March 11 and then - as in all of Germany - on April 1, 1933, there were organised boycotts against Jewish shops, medical practices and law firms. Central Church facilities were also repeatedly occupied and searched by force. The first deportations of Jewish citizens took place on November 27, 1941 followed in 1943 by the Sinti. Initially, 202 people were transported from the Aumühle goods loading station to Riga. The sixth and final deportation took place from Würzburg on June 17, 1943 with one transport going directly to Auschwitz and another to Theresienstadt. The Platz'sche Garten served as a collection point for deportations. Würzburg also played an important role in the so-called Action T4, in which more than 100,000 psychiatric patients and disabled people were systematically murdered by ϟϟ doctors and nurses. Here the central figure was Werner Heyde , professor of psychiatry and neurology at the University of Würzburg and head of the “medical department” of the “euthanasia” centre and senior expert on the euthanasia campaign. From October 1934, Heyde worked as an employee, later as district office manager in Ludwigstraße 8 until 1938 on today's Klinikstraße 6, the "Welzhaus," where a house for epileptics had been set up in 1773, a maternity clinic in 1805, and which would eventually house the Institute for Heredity Science and Race Research, which was inaugurated on May 10, 1939. As an assessor in the hereditary health court there, it was he who decided on applications for forced sterilisation. Because of his connections within the ϟϟ and his experience as an expert in the murder of concentration camp inmates in "Action 14f13", Heyde is also considered the initiator of the idea of ​​setting up a subcamp of the Flossenbürg concentration camp on the grounds of the psychiatric clinic of the University Hospital in Würzburg, in which between April 1943 and March 1945 concentration camp prisoners and forced labourers were held. These prisoners were initially housed in their own barracks on Friesstraße, an improvised prison within a detention centre of the Würzburg Secret State Police. Guarded by the ϟϟ and dressed in blue and white striped camp uniforms, the inmates of the satellite camp marched mornings and evenings from this emergency prison through Würzburg to their place of work, the clinic grounds at Füchsleinstraße 15, and back. From the fall of 1943, a basement of a clinic building secured with barbed wire served as accommodation for the prisoners.
Hotel Kronzprinz Würzburg
The Gauhaus. Churchill stayed here when it was the former Hotel Kronzprinz in September 1909 whilst observing military exercises of the Prussian army near Würzburg as a guest of Kaiser Wilhelm II. In 1934 the Nazi Party acquired the hotel, then Kontorhaus Kronprinz, and expanded it with an extension on Theaterstrasse (then Adolf-Hitler-Strasse) based on plans by the architect Fritz Saalfrank. This expansion provided for an honorary hall and flags where the movement honoured their dead 'martyrs' and, from 1936, Würzburg's Olympic champions in its own flag hall. In January 1935 the management of the Gau of Franconia moved here, and on June 13, 1935 the building was officially opened by Reichsleiter Rosenberg. It served as the seat of government of Gauleiter Dr. Hellmuth at Adolf Hitler Straße 24. The Gauhaus was completely destroyed in the air raid on Würzburg on March 16, 1945 and was not rebuilt. Today the site serves as the location for the business customer headquarters of VR-Bank Würzburg.
Inside the Hall of Honour where the names of the movement's 'martyrs' from the Gau Franconia were commemorated and the names of the Würzburg Olympic champions recorded. The photo on the left shows Gauleiter Hellmuth welcoming Dr. Ley in the Hall of Honour on the occasion of the selection of candidates for the training castle on March 22, 1936.  
Gauleiter Hellmuth's wedding procession through the Residenzplatz
Gauleiter Hellmuth's wedding procession through the Residenzplatz, allowing him to demonstrate his pronounced fondness for pomp and grand gestures when he married the dentist Erna Maria Stamm from Kassel in a so-called German wedding. The wedding itself took place on June 13, 1936 in the Wenzelsaal of the Würzburg town hall given the actual city wedding hall was judged too small. According to the Fränkisches Volksblatt the day before, the programme of the festival, which had been presented in a press briefing a week earlier, was to be as follows: 
Following the civil wedding in the Wenzelsaal in the town hall, the Gauleiter and his bride drive through the streets of the city to the Residenzplatz in a carriage. There, the arrival of the wedding couple is announced by 40 Hitler Youth fanfare players placed around the Franconia fountain. This marks the start of the German wedding celebrations organised by the city of Würzburg and the Gau Mainfranken of the NSDAP. The celebration consists of five sections: The Gauleiter and his bride, followed by his wedding guests, go from the car to the courtyard where they are greeted by the political leaders and delegations of the Nazi organizations. Access to the main courtyard is also possible for the public. The wedding procession proceeds to the sound of the Imperial Army Band in the vestibule of the residence, where the representatives of all estates are arranged in four groups. The poet Nikolaus Fey greets the wedding couple in dialect called the farmers, winegrowers, woodworkers, fishermen and people wearing traditional costumes. The poet Adalbert Jakob [and] BDM girls with oak garlands […] show the bridal couple the way to the White Hall, upon entering which the hymn 'Aufjauchze mein Herz', specially composed by the conductor of the Liedertafel, Oberprofessor Zeller, is sung by the Liedertafel [ ...] After the speech, the wedding procession proceeds through the garden hall into the courtyard garden ...
Large demonstration of the DAF the following month at the Residenzplatz. The DAF was set up as a voluntary labour service in 1933 in which the unemployed were used for construction and cultivation measures. For this purpose, labour service camps were set up, on April 30 one at the Marienberg Fortress and another in Dürrbachau, described as "Germany's most beautiful labour service camp." The Generalarbeitsfuehrer, or General Labour Leader, of the Reich Labour Service, Dr. Waldemar Henrici, resided in the Rosenbach palace seen here serving as the backdrop to the event during the Third Reich. Heinrici would be promoted to Obergeneralarbeitsfuehrer on July 1, 1939 and the following year, as a major general in the reserve, he became the first (and only) commander of the newly formed 555th Infantry Division, which, together with the 557th Infantry Division, served as a position division on the Upper Rhine in the XXV facing the Maginot Line and finally going across the Rhine on June 15, 1940 to attack France during Operation Little Bear. As commander of the XXX. Army Corps stationed in Poland he led this during the attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941. Henrici, who had been promoted to Generalleutnant on October 1, 1941, was wounded on October 2 at the start of the German attack on the Vyazma pocket and, after a stay in the hospital and recovery, he was transferred to the Führerreserve on December 5, 1941. He then served as Wehrmacht Commander in Ukraine until October 1942 before retiring on December 31, 1943.
Hitler Würzburg Residenz
Hitler speaking at a mass rally on this square in front of the Würzburg Residenz the following year on June 27, 1937 and my bike at the spot today. This was described as "the biggest rally that ever took place on the Residenzplatz" (Weidisch, 211, Würzburg im Dritten Reich).  In the course of the “party narrative,” Hitler described the Nazi Revolution one of the most ingenious and important of all times. According to him, the Revolution had never transgressed the boundaries of legality.
Hence a new Volk was born—painfully, just as everything which is born can only be born in pain. Yet I believe that we can say, as history is our witness, that in no other case in history was this painful process carried out more intelligently, more reasonably, more cautiously, and with more feeling than here.
The future will one day describe this process as one of the most intelligent— and I may say so myself—one of the most brilliant ever to take place. As one of the most tremendous revolutions ever, the course of which did not abandon the premise of unconditional legality for a single second.
Hitler then proceeded to use the incidents in Spain to again vent his anger at international organisations. Toward the end of his address, Hitler spoke of the “resurrection of an entire nation,” which was visible on a reduced scale in the city of Würzburg. It was the third time Hitler had spoken there since 1932, although he had never particularly liked the town. Ignoring the official reception which had been prepared at the City Hall, he abruptly returned to his car and proceeded to the military airport on the outskirts of town.
 Celebrating Hitler's 50th birthday on April 20, 1939 at the Residenzplatz. This day was a national public holiday to which representatives of foreign governments and armed forces were invited to Berlin. The evening before young people were solemnly admitted to the Hitler Youth. The Donau-Bodensee-Zeitung reported on one such ceremony with an oath and a subsequent march through the streets of Ravensburg on April 19, 1944:  "On the eve of the Fuehrer's birthday, over a million boys and girls across the Reich lined up to be accepted into the large Hitler Youth community. In Ravensburg, too, the ten-year-olds came with shining eyes and beaming hearts to give themselves to the Führer as a birthday present. Our youth vowed themselves to the Führer. A new class has started." On the birthday itself, party celebrations and memorial services were held throughout the Reich. In addition to speeches about the greatness of the leader and his role in history, anti-Semitic diatribes were also the order of the day. It was also common to sing Nazi so-called "songs of the movement", and the national anthems (Deutschlandlied the official anthem and Horst-Wessel-Lied the unofficial anthem).
The bombed building and me in front today. Below is from behind from a Nazi era postcard and how it appears today; the cherubin have been replaced slightly askewed and in some cases incorrectly replaced. Giles MacDonogh writes of
the Residenzen, the former court capitals: Dresden had been smashed to smithereens as a Valentine’s Day present to the Red Army; in Munich the destruction of so many cultural monuments prompted Richard Strauss’s most moving composition, Die Metamorphosen; and the baroque gem of Würzburg, Dresden’s equivalent in the west, had been reduced to rubble by the USAAF in the last days of the war. The Welf capitals of Hanover and Brunswick had suffered the loss of their palaces; Bayreuth was the victim of its Wagner-cult; two-thirds of Weimar was flattened on account of Goethe and Schiller. Cassel was so badly damaged that the Brunswick’s palace was pulled down and replaced by a shopping centre. Chaos ruins were bulldozed. The lack of any remaining infrastructure obliged the American army to plant its HQ in the spa town of Wiesbaden, which had come out of the war only slightly mauled, because bad weather had caused the air force to drop the bulk of its payload on the outlying woods. 

The Gothenhaus, headquarters of the Catholic German Student Association Gothia-Würzburg, founded in 1895. On February 4, 1930 it resolved that none of its members could under any circumstance be a Nazi without at the same time violating the inalienable principle of catholicity before the German Bishops' Conference. In June 1933 under the new nazi regime the organisation  was threatened with suspension because of its refusal to dismiss the "non-Aryan" federal brother Norbert Riedmiller. By November 3, 1935 it finally decided to liquidate itself. On June 20, 1938, the forced dissolution and expropriation of all Catholic student and academic associations, led to it becoming the so-called Villa des Gauleiters, private villa of Hellmuth at Rottendorfer- (at the time Ludendorff-) Straße 26. Over most of his term as Gauleiter, Hellmuth was not an impressive personality with Joseph Goebbels describing him as "a most retiring unassuming Gauleiter in whom one had not too much confidence." However, Hellmuth defended his Gau vigorously in the spring of 1945, as Goebbels noted in his diary on April 2. In 1947, Hellmuth was accused of complicity in the murders of Anglo-American aircraft pilots, tried at Dachau and sentenced to death, a sentence later commuted to life imprisonment. He was released in 1955 and died in Reutlingen in 1968. 
'Dr. Goebbels-Haus'- the headquarters of the Nationalsozialistischer Deutscher Studentenbund which had been founded in 1926 as a division of the Nazi Party with the mission of integrating University-level education and academic life within the framework of the Nazi worldview. The building had been completed in 1937 as the NSDStB camaraderie house and was dedicated to Goebbels because he had studied for some time before 1922 in Würzburg before moving on to Heidelberg. He had attended lectures and seminars with men as diverse as the liberal professor of civil law, Robert Piloty, and the conservative historian Julius Kaerst, who invited students to his home in Friedenstrasse 45. Whilst Goebbels was unimpressed by Piloty, the more reactionary Kaerst might have influenced him; the history professor openly sympathised with the radical right-wing movement, speaking in December 1919 to student members of the German-Ethnic Protection and Protection Association, the largest forerunner of the Nazi Party, which was founded in Würzburg in 1922. In fact, on October 8, 1918, a month before the end of the Great War, he enlisted at the Würzburg residents' registration office only to be rejected as "unfit for war" on the registration sheet, which is still in the city archives. Organised strictly in accord with the Führerprinzip as well as the principle of Machtdistanz, the NSDStB housed its members in these Kameradschaftshäusern and, from 1930, had its members decked out in brown shirts and its own distinctive Swastika emblems. 
After a wing had been added to the north side of the building on what is now Jahnstrasse in 1937 and inaugurated on November 28, the extension building also served the National Socialist Student Union (NSStB) as a "student family house" for which the city of Würzburg had given the land free of charge. The "Dr.-Goebbels-Haus", as it was now called, was described as "the powerful fighter for Germany's freedom." A larger-than-life, naked young man made of limestone was placed into the corner of the house.
The Neue Universität, when it served the Association of university professors under the leadership and control of the Nazis, and today. University teachers were controlled by the Nationalsozialistische-Dozentenbund (NSDB—Nazi Lecturers League), a professional association of university lecturers designed to keep them in line with Nazi ideology. From the time the Nazis “seized power” in 1933, the number of students had fallen continuously due to the numerous restrictions. With the beginning of the war, this trend did not intensify as a result of the drafting of the students but rather reversed itself. The number of students began to increase significantly and remained at a high level up to and including 1944-45. In particular, the number of female students increased significantly. In addition to a slight increase in the importance of the natural sciences, this increase is mainly due to the training of doctors for use in the war. Every year, the university had to inform the Reich Ministry whether the "performance and attitude" of the students justified a further leave of absence to study. However, the university never reported a complaint.
Site of the NS-Lehrerbund - Lehrerhochschule, completed in 1936.
Teachers were encouraged to join the Nazi Party and all of them had to be members of the Nationalsozialistische Lehrerbund (NSLB—Nazi teacher league). The monolithic NSLB, formed in November 1935, rejected the democratic heritage of the Weimar regime, and subjected all teachers to strict Nazi Party control. It had a newspaper, Der deutsche Erzieher and took charge of services to the teaching profession. After 1938, teachers were indoctrinated at a special, compulsory, one-month training course of drills and lectures where they learned what knowledge to pass on the pupils. By 1939 the forty-one NSLB training camps had prepared 215,000 members for their educational tasks—these being spirit of militarism, paganism, anti–Semitism, and the cult of the perfect “Aryan” racial type—by means of ideological instruction, propaganda courses, conferences, group travel, paramilitary physical training and field sports. There was also the Reichslehrerbund, an organisation of teachers devoted to the ideals of Nazism, carefully watched by high Nazi officials. 

Fritz-Schillinger-Haus, headquarters of the NS-Volkswohlfahrt (People's Welfare). Building on it started May 3, 1936 with the topping out ceremony taking place on October 10, 1936. The NS-Volkswohlfahrt embodied a complex socio-political endeavour for the Nazis through its role in consolidating Nazi power, its contribution to the creation of a 'Volksgemeinschaft', and its utility in war preparation. Evans argues that this welfare organisation served as a mechanism to instil loyalty and commitment within the German populace. By providing a broad range of social services, from child care to healthcare, the NS-Volkswohlfahrt efficiently delivered on the Nazis' promise of an improved standard of living. This was particularly influential among the lower and middle classes, which were severely affected by the economic crises of the Weimar Republic. The implementation of the 'racial hygiene' concept within the welfare system entailed preferential treatment to 'Aryan' Germans, subtly reinforcing the Nazi racial hierarchy. This approach fostered a sense of belonging among racially 'pure' Germans and marginalised those who were deemed racially inferior or undesirable. Moreover, the Nazis leveraged the NS-Volkswohlfahrt to propagate their values of selflessness, community solidarity and racial purity. By invoking the idea of the 'Volksgemeinschaft', the Nazis turned charity into a nationalistic and ideological duty, further ingraining their ethos into the German societal fabric.
The former Gauschule der NSF which served to train those who would become leading functionaries. The Gauschule der Nationalsozialistischen Frauenschaft (NSF), or District Schools of the National Socialist Women's League, represents a pivotal chapter in Nazi Germany's expansive indoctrination machinery. TThe Nazi belief in racial superiority, as articulated by Hitler in Mein Kampf, pivoted on the notion of "Blood and Soil", underscoring the racial purity of the Aryan race and its intimate connection to the German homeland. The Gauschule der NSF, through its various programmes, sought to embed these ideas within German women, effectively making them conduits of Nazi ideology within the family unit and the wider society. However, this purpose was multifaceted and intricately connected with broader Nazi propaganda. The Gauschule der NSF worked tirelessly to cultivate unwavering allegiance to Hitler amongst German women, promoting him as a near-deific entity responsible for the nation's resurrection from the ashes of the Treaty of Versailles. By aligning the schools' teachings with the Fuhrerprinzip, the Nazis effectively utilized the Gauschule der NSF as a tool to sustain the Hitler myth, cementing their power further.
 Headquarters of the NS-Frauenschaft, the Nazi Women's League. Their appointed tasks were to promote recycling within the Saar Palatinate, community support, business honorary service (replacement of workers on the machine by women and girls), sewing rooms, Harvest Help and patchwork bag action (repairing garments), and supporting the Kindertransport.  During the war their service for the Wehrmacht involved hospital care, soldiers' care, socks and glove supply, army kitchens, assistants for government agencies, facilitation for domestic helpers in Bad Kissingen, and construction of hospital lights. Nevertheless, as Kater (74) wrote in Hitler Youth,
As much as women might busy themselves in the service of Hitler’s movement, the popular consensus was that politics was a man’s game and they had better stay out of it. Thus conditioned, they acquiesced when Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess told comrades at the Nuremberg Party rally of 1938: “Talk to your wives only about such matters which are expressly designated for public discussion.”
In 1935, with the reintroduction of general conscription in the Würzburg city administration, the Wehramt was set up. From the outbreak of war, this was responsible for the entire war management and managed, among other things, ration cards. From 1942, the lack of everyday necessities became more and more noticeable. Actions to save energy have been started. For goods that could not be obtained on cards, prices rose excessively. Overall, however, the supply of the population could be maintained relatively well until the major attack on March 16, 1945.
In addition, further war offices were set up in 1939: the economics and nutrition office, district distribution offices, the city office for war welfare, the military service office, the war damage office and a motor pool. With the beginning of the war, the Main Franconian Museum closed and the removal of its exhibits began. Finally, in 1944, the entire city administration was significantly reduced and adapted to the war situation. Other municipal cultural institutions such as the theatre ceased operations. Tourism came to a complete standstill during the war years. 
Meanwhile construction work was only allowed to be carried out on projects that were directly important to the war effort. About 430 employees of the city administration were drafted into the Wehrmacht as more men were seconded to armaments factories. From the fall of 1944, men who were not called up also had to do entrenchment duties, and schoolchildren became anti-aircraft helpers. Gauleiters were appointed "Reich Defence Commissars" by Hitler and were given the task of building the Volkssturm involving men aged 16-60. For Lower Franconia this was organised by the district administration on behalf of Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth. From December 1944, two Volkssturm battalions were issued with theoretical and practical training and transferred to the threatened Eastern Front in January 1945. At least one battalion there was almost completely destroyed by Russian tanks when it was unloaded in Frankfurt/Oder. Few of the men returned in late March 1945. Indeed, large parts of the Volkssturm that had been set up were not available for the battle for the city.  
Through it all the Gestapo pursued and fought everything that was considered dangerous to the state. In 1941 it was significantly reduced in terms of personnel and assigned to the Nuremberg-Fürth State Police Office. From September 1942 there was a special court for proceedings against the so-called “Public Pest Ordinance” and the War Economy Ordinance for the district court districts of Würzburg and Aschaffenburg. Between 1941 and 1943 there were a total of six deportations of Jews from the city area. Most of the 2,063 Jews were taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. For a short period of time, around 59 prisoners from the Flossenbürg concentration camp were housed in the Gestapo emergency prison in Friesstrasse until the subcamp in Füchsleinstrasse, in the basement of what was then the psychiatric clinic, was set up. During the war years, thirteen prisoner of war camps were set up in the city, housing Russians, French and Belgians as forced labour. In addition, around 6,000 to 9,000 foreign workers were deployed in industry and commerce. Forced labourers were also employed in large numbers.
The Standortlazarett, a large military hospital complex, was built in 1937, becoming one of the most notable construction works of this period. After taking power, the Nazis quickly established good relations with the former Reichswehr. Würzburg was an old garrison town since the time of Balthasar Neumann and a connection with military traditions gave the system support the national bourgeoisie. The first Würzburg hospital was set up in the late 1920s and early 1930s. By 1933 it had a capacity of 55 beds, which was expanded to 95 beds in 1934.  With the expansion of the Wehrmacht, Würzburg needed a larger hospital. A new military hospital was built on the northeast side of the Galgenberges hill, a site belonging to the Mariannhill Institute. Initially it was planned to hold three hundred beds. The foundation stone was laid on December 24, 1935. On the right it's shown during the Nazi era with its Reichsadler on the façade and today. Construction began on January 7, 1936. The new hospital was opened on November 11, 1937 and became part of the Würzburg medical squadron. Initially, this was subordinate to the medical department 15. When it was moved to Frankfurt, the relocation of the squadron relocated to the medical department 17 in Nuremberg. From July 1938 the squadron then belonged to the medical department 40, which was stationed in the Red Building in Würzburg. In 1939 the hospital was reclassified to the reserve hospital. The number of beds increased from 300 to 700. Towards the end of the war, the bed size had increased to 2,000. After the war it was taken over by the American 107th EVAC Hospital.
In total, hospitals- military, emergency and regular- with a capacity of 6000 beds were located in Würzburg. They were clearly overcrowded during the war years, and even the sick and wounded were housed in the rock cellars. Nevertheless, Würzburg was not recognised as an official hospital city given that there was also a military airfield and barracks in which replacement troops for infantry and artillery, amongst other things, were stationed as well as the fact that there were numerous armaments-related companies found in the city area. These included Koenig & Bauer and Noell, an ammunition plant and companies relocated from Schweinfurt. Even the city's own companies were actively involved in armaments production. 
This concrete bunker was located in the immediate vicinity of the Villa des Gauleiters beside the normal air-raid shelter, serving during the war as a command post in the district leadership. The bunker was demolished in June 1988. Würzburg was targetted as a transport hub with port and railway facilities although the residents seem to have led themselves to believe that it would somehow be spared any bombing. A rumour was spread that Churchill had studied in Würzburg and had even been a friend of Bishop Matthias Ehrenfried, and had therefore given the order that the city should not be attacked. Another rumour circulated that Britain had agreed to respect Würzburg as a “hospital city” given the numerous military hospitals in the clinics and schools at that time even though the Hague Convention on Land Warfare did not apply to air warfare. Nevertheless, after the first major air raid on July 21, 1944, it became clear that Würzburg was one of the key targets of the Allied forces. On February 8, the name Würzburg was already in 10th place on the list of the "Combined Strategic Target Committee" and was thus officially declared as a substitute target at the RAF Bomber Command in High Wycombe, due to the predicted favourable weather conditions.
Looking towards St. Kilian from Domerschulstraße
The building structure, characterised by many half-timbered buildings, and the spatial confinement of the old town promised to trigger a firestorm. Tasked with this attack was No. 5 Bomber Group which had earlier survived the heaviest attack on Dresden the month before. As it turned out, Würzburg was destroyed to an even greater extent than Dresden. On March 16, 1945, starting at 17.00, more than 500 No. 1 , no. 5 and no. 8 Bomber Group moved from their airfields to an assembly point west of London and formed up to fly to the targets of Würzburg and Nuremberg. The stream of bombers moved towards its targets along a tortuous route via the Somme estuary, Reims and the Vosges Mountains in order to deceive German anti-aircraft defences. The Rhine was crossed south of Rastatt. Over the Reich territory, the aircraft climbed to the altitudes between 2,400 and 3,700 metres intended for the bombardment. By 21.00 the 225 Lancaster bombers
destined for Würzburg flew over from the south, headed for their destination. In Würzburg, a public air warning was triggered at around 19.00  and a pre-alert at around an hour later. Due to a report from the radio listening service in Limburg an der Lahn to the command centre of the Main Franconian Gauleiter, a full alarm was given to the people of Würzburg at 21.07. The attack time H (hour) for Würzburg was set at 21.35. This was preceded at 9:25 p.m. by an approximately 10-minute period for Pathfinder Force to mark the target area. For this purpose, the urban area was marked with green flares.

Remains of the Falkenhaus and reconstruction 
This marked-out target area was illuminated by flares attached to small parachutes. The sports fields on Mergentheimer Strasse near Judenbühlweg were designated as a marker for the incoming bombers. This point was marked with red target marker bombs at 21.28. The yellow flares dropped at the end of the marking phase meant the confirmation of this marking. The bombing then took place with a time delay in sectors as the first hail of bombs hit Würzburg between 21.35 and 21.42. First, most of the roofs and windows in the old town were destroyed with 256 heavy high-explosive bombs and aerial mines in order to promote the fire-igniting effect of the more than 300,000 incendiary bombs. In total, five high-capacity bombs of 5,443 kg each were dropped as well as 179 "block crackers" of 1,814 kg each, 72 high-explosive bombs of 453.5 kg eac), 307,650 incendiary bombs of 1.81 kg each, and 251 marker bombs. The total weight of the explosive bombs was 395.55 tonnes and that of the marker and incendiary bombs 586.97 tonnes.
The Bechtolsheimerhof on Hofstraße in 1959
Within a short period of time, isolated hotspots of fire developed into a single area-wide source of fire, which developed into a firestorm with temperatures of 1000 to 2000 °C. The people could only seek refuge in provisionally prepared basement shelters given that there were hardly any fortified bunkers. In order to make it easier to find these shelters and to rescue those who have been buried, the shelters and their exits were marked with labels on house walls and signs which can still be found occasionally in the cityscape. In order not to be buried or suffocate during the great fire, many rushed into the open and tried to reach the banks of the Main or the outskirts of the city. The fire brigades took up a hopeless fight against the fire and tried to create water lanes. On its approach to Würzburg, a Lancaster bomber with canadian crewmen was shot down by a German night fighter near Aufstetten as five pilots ended up being lost during or after the attack. The Nazi media would now refer to Würzburg as the "Grab am Main".  An exact number of victims of March 16, 1945 is not known. For a long time it was assumed that the number of deaths was around 5,000, but a study by Hans-Peter Baum calls this into question, calculating the actual number of victims of the bombing attack was around 4,000. The bomb victims were stored on the front wall of the left aisle in Würzburg Cathedral until they could be transferred to the collective grave. Today at this point in the cathedral there is now a prayer room to commemorate the victims of the war. The survivors fled to the surrounding area leaving in the following months only about 5,000 people remaining in the city of the 108,000 previously.
Birthplace of rococo sculptor Johann Peter Wagner 
on Stephanstraße in 1958 and today
At a distance of 230 kilometres, the departing bomber crews could see the glow of the burning city as by 2.00 on March 17, 1945, the last bombers returned to their bases. The final report of no. 5 Bomber Group of April 10, 1945 rated the degree of destruction in the city centre at 90%- in the old town, six houses on Juliuspromenade and one house in Büttnergasse survived, presumably because the incendiary bombs that hit them were extinguished or removed, and for the outskirts at 68 %. 85% of the district of Heidingsfeld was also destroyed as some bomber crews released their bombs before they even reached the first target markings. The British final report even mentions 1,207 tonnes of bombs. The average degree of destruction for Würzburg was calculated at 82% with 21,062 homes and 35 churches in Würzburg destroyed. The destroyed monuments included the cathedral and parts of the Würzburg Residence including the Hall of Mirrors (the staircase with the famous fresco by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo remained; the 18th century ceiling construction even withstood the collapsing roof truss). There was 2.7 million cubic yards of debris; it wasn't until 1964 that these were completely cleared.
Clearly showing the results and the subsequent rebuilding, the right shows the Bürgerspital on Theaterstraße then and now. A legend involving this cataclysmic bombing persisted long after the war involving the claim that Würzburg had been warned by the BBC about the attack a few days before with the words
"Mozart friends, we are broadcasting a symphony by Mozart on the 16th!" and that a drunken Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth refused to save Würzburg at the last moment by declaring it an open city. There is no evidence of any of that.
However, further air raids followed until the city was conquered by American troops in early April. On the night of April 2, the 222nd American Infantry Regiment reached the banks of the Main below the historic fortress. All bridges had already been blown up as a defensive measure, and the city centre had been extensively destroyed. At dawn on April 3rd, the 42nd Infantry Division "Rainbow Division" crossed the river in the area of ​​the Löwenbrücke and attacked the defenders in the city on the right side of the Main with three infantry regiments during the course of April 4th. Wehrmacht soldiers dug in on the Frankfurt-Würzburg-Nuremberg railway line to form a new collection line. The American 222, 232 and 242 regiments fought their way through the devastated neighbourhoods from house to house and finally took the entire city. On April 6, Würzburg, including the Galgenberg air base, was in American hands and eight days later the Nazi Party in Lower Franconia was officially dissolved. 
The hauptbahnhof after being bombed by the RAF in 1945 and its current incarnation.
The attack on Würzburg on March 16, 1945, was far more ferocious—ninety percent of the city lay in ashes on the next morning. Würzburg was destroyed to a disproportionate extent, far greater than any other city in Germany. The outcome was all the more horrendous, as neither of the cities was prepared for such an attack at this late stage in the war. There is no substance to rumours then in circulation relating that the raids had been prompted by the extraordinary concentration of refugees at these sites. Neither do the facts support any of the other speculations current at the time, for instance the claim that the Soviet Union had a particular, though mysterious, interest in the destruction of these two sites and had pressured the Allies to make a last determined offensive there.
Domarus (3243)
The kriegerdenkmal then and now, unchanged. The memorial in the Husarenwäldchen was created between 1925 and 1931 by the sculptor Fried Heuler and initially dedicated to the fallen of the First World War. According to Josef Kern, the stone monument dedicated on All Saints Day in 1931 was initially rejected by the Nazis before being adopted by them as an "hero's memorial". Today it is considered a memorial to the fallen soldiers and memorial to peace. In contrast to many other war memorials that were created during this time, the monument in the Hussar grove presents itself as neither particularly martial nor heroic - but its size radiates a certain majesty. It consists of a group of shell limestone sculptures of six soldiers carrying a fallen comrade on a stretcher. Their steel helmets weigh heavily on their faces and they wear long, heavy military robes. Their appearance looks uniform - the sculptor deliberately avoided details. Wearing the dead man on their shoulders symbolises strength on the one hand, and their kneeling positions on the other hand appear wistful and respectful. Every Memorial Day ("Sunday of the Dead") the soldiers of the wars are remembered here at a commemoration ceremony when government representatives and various associations place wreaths in front of the sculpture group. The mayor speaks and representatives of the Catholic and Protestant churches together offer prayers whilst the monument itself is flanked by four Bundeswehr soldiers with torches. There have been disturbances of the commemoration as well as desecration of the war memorial by extreme leftist groups who see in the commemoration and the monument an "historical revisionist mentality."
The Studentenstein, honouring the so-called kindermord at Langemarck during the First Battle of Ypres (which Hitler refers to in Mein Kampf), was later altered to sport swastikas and other Nazi iconography during the Nazi era. It consists of a 22-tonne block of Odenwald granite and was was unveiled on July 17, 1927 on the occasion of the tenth German Students' Day. The stone had a pyramidal roof upon which was a gilded eagle with splayed wings. The front of the stone block showed hands that - arranged in a semicircle - reached for a sword shown on the left with the reverse bearing the inscription: ""Deutschland muß leben, und wenn wir sterben müssen. Die deutsche Studentenschaft ihren Gefallenen" in memory of the fallen in the First World War students. Below was a symbolic oak with war years 1914-1918.  During Nazi era the Studentenstein was celebrated as a so-called "Langemarckstein" and used as a destination for party marches. A swastika was attached and the eagle enlarged- both have been removed along with the base. It is shown on the right after its desecration on January 27, 2012 after damage costing roughly 300 euros by left-wing extremists. More desecration occurred on the night of January 13, 2013 by more extremists. Here it is shown with graffiti declaring "Deutsche Täter sind keine Opfer" (Perpetrators are not victims). 
 Americans marching away German PoWs in front of the bombed Löwenbrücke with Festung Marienberg behind on the left with identical views of the city from the fortress overlooking the same bridge immediately after the war and today.
At the former Hitlerturm a few miles south of Würzburg atop the Hohenrothberg. With its wide view and the old stone bridges around, the site was a popular destination for youth groups in the 1920s. At first there was a high wooden cross on the crest and by the end of the 1920s, elementary school teachers in local history lessons had their students collect stones for a fortified viewing platform in order to explain the Main valley from there. In 1932, this quarry stone terrace was occasionally referred to as 'Hitler Hill'  by the early 1930s, the sculptor and Nazi Party organisation leader Philipp Haas alongside teacher and local group leader Max Gassner developed the idea of ​​a tower "in honour of the People's Chancellor Adolf Hitler." A high cross was planned on top. In 1933, work began on the existing platform on behalf of the local Nazi Party group.  The shell limestone rock was made available free of charge by the quarry owners. Numerous unemployed and penniless winegrowers and stonemasons were able to earn a little extra income by participating in the construction work.In fact, the monument was popularly known as the "Potato Tower" - the unemployed stonemasons who built the tower were said to have been paid potatoes for their work.
The aim of the planners of the "Adolf Hitler Tower" was to give the dictator "an optimal view of the Main Valley." This can be judged by the view behind me with Würzburg in the background. In addition, the propaganda monument, visible from afar, was also intended to impress travellers on the newly built Nuremberg-Frankfurt autobahn. The sculpted year 1933 and 2.25 metre-high swastikas were worked into the façade in a monumental manner. In 1934 the tower was provisionally completed and the field tracks for stone transport were dismantled. A flagpole stood at the top instead of the originally intended cross. Hitler Youth, BDM and Jungvolk met here for midsummer bonfires and outdoor games. Nevertheless, the construction work on the tower ultimately remained unfinished- the steps on the ramp were never installed- which is why it was never officially inaugurated. In 1936 the floor was concreted and covered with slabs. Ultimately, no real large Nazi rallies took place at the Hitler Tower although apparently Hitler's birthday was celebrated here in 1934 and 1936.
In 1945, the middle swastika and the year were mostly shot out during combat operations although their remains can still be discerned as seen behind me here. Because of the remaining swastikas, the Americans later planned to blow up the tower. However, objections were raised to this, since the adjacent vineyard could have been damaged by the blasting. Mayor Franz Sedelmayer had the emblems largely destroyed. This destruction of the swastikas however had left damage to the tower, which over the years widened into large holes. The safety of anyone visiting the tower was no longer guaranteed and a decision had to be made about demolition or repair. The municipal council gave preference to the renovation and commissioned a master mason to carry out the necessary repairs on the tower, which is now classified as "free of ideology." In the course of this, the dry stone walls on the outside of the tower were grouted with mortar.
Ochsenfurt's rathaus obscured by Nazi paraphenalia with the crucifix covered completely with swastikas. Ochsenfurt is located on the left bank of the River Main and its 11,000 inhabitants make it the largest town in Würzburg district. It was one of the places in what is now Germany where King Richard I was detained in 1193 whilst on his way back to England from the Third Crusade brought as a prisoner of the Duke 'Leopold of Austria' to Ochsenfurt, and ransomed by payment of 100,000 marks. Below right the rathaus can be seen in the background during the 1941 Tag der nationalen Arbeit commemorations down Adolf-Hitler-Straße. During the war the main bridge was partially destroyed, but the old town was spared as, at the end of the war, the town was occupied by the Americans. When they approached the town before then however, the Volkssturm secured the gates of the city fortifications with barricades. When the imminent departure of district leader Stoll became known, numerous women went to the district leadership on March 29, 1945 (Maundy Thursday), demanding the opening of the city gates and the surrender of the city without a fight. In the afternoon they cleared the bulwark, as the fortified gate on the banks of the Main was called, as well as the rest of the barricades despite threats of shooting.
At first children loosened the soil unnoticed, took stones out of the ground and then the women removed the stones with a human chain and picked out the loosened logs with ropes. Finally, the men from Ochsenfurt supported the action with guns. When the Nazi administration fled, they plundered a storeroom in the basement of the Nazi Party district leadership; several men defused stored rocket-propelled grenades. The central arch of the old Main Bridge was blown up on March 31, 1945 by a Wehrmacht engineer detachment after which the town was handed over without a fight, so that the old town remained undamaged. On Easter Sunday the city was occupied by the Americans. 

Bad Kissingen 
Marktplatzecke  Hotel Wittelsbach
The swastika flying at the Marktplatzecke with the former Hotel Wittelsbach in the foreground then and now. The site on July 10 1866 of fierce battle between Bavarian and Prussian troops, Kissingen is where Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck narrowly avoided assassination by Eduard Franz Ludwig Kullmann in 1874. Bismarck’s former home in Kissingen is now the Bismarck Museum. During the Nazi era, the New Synagogue of the Jewish Community Promenadenstraße 1 was destroyed during Kristallnacht in 1938, commemorated by a memorial plaque. The Jewish community, which had counted among the ten largest Jewish communities in Bavaria with 171 reported Jews in 1933, expired, a total of 69 Bad Kissinger Jews had been deported and murdered. The physicist Nobel laureate Jack Steinberger, born in Bad Kissingen, had already fled to the United States in 1934.  Due to political developments in Germany, after 1933 many foreign visitors stayed away from the city. The number of spa guests declined to 13,828 in 1944. The Bad Kissinger music business was also affected when the two Jewish members of the orchestra, concertmaster Carl Snoeck and violinist Josef Lengsfeld, were dismissed from their posts in 1934, and no works by Jewish composers could be played from 1937 onwards. Lengsfeld killed himself shortly after Kristallnacht. After the so-called "Schwimmbadaffäre", Jews were denied access to the municipal bathing establishment; the entry prohibition label was only removed when it was demolished. Pater Reinisch Monument at the former barracks site  In order to give new impetus to the urban economy, Bad Kissinger Lord Mayor Max Pollwein tried to set up a military in the city from December 1934 onwards. In 1937, after a one-year period of construction, the Manteuffel barracks, named after field marshal Edwin Freiherr von Manteuffel, were built. After the Catholic Pallottine Father Franz Reinisch had denied Hitler's flag in the Manteuffel barracks, he was murdered in 1942 in the Zuchthaus Brandenburg-Görden. A memorial stone on the Pater-Reinisch-Weg on the former barracks grounds points to this. By 1945 there were 30,000 wounded in thirty hospitals but since Bad Kissingen was not declared a hospital town, which would have been excluded from direct warfare under the Geneva Conventions, Colonel Karl Kreutzberg, with the support of General von Obstfelder, initiated Bad Kissingen's surrender on April 7, 1945. The city had been spared major war damage apart from the explosion of the Ludwig Bridge a few hours before surrender.
Shortly prior to the war, Manteuffel Kaserne was established at the eastern edge of the Bad Kissingen town centre by the German military as part of Hitler's program to expand the Wehrmacht. In 1945, the American military entered the town peacefully, and took over the Kaserne, which was renamed Daley Barracks in 1953.

Hitler was not particularly popular in the early 1930s in Schweinfurt, although he still enjoyed a not inconsiderable number of followers.  When he visited Schweinfurt for the second time on October 16, 1932, a huge tent with a capacity of 15,000 people had been built on the Schützenplatz. However, there were only about 8,500 visitors in a large catchment area without the 500 SA and ϟϟ persons. Hitler had just come from Coburg, where 70,000 to 80,000 people had heard him. Hitler was said to have been extremely displeased about the bad visit, especially since he had been accompanied by many "phony" calls at the entrance to Schweinfurt. At the time unemployment was enormously high in Schweinfurt - as it was throughout the entire territory of Germany. Many had to repeatedly sign up as a jobseeker; the demand for work and the receipt of support had to be proven by a registration card. Social hardship blinds many people. Social misery and the feeling of being worthless provide fertile ground for extremism. The vast majority therefore ran after a "strong leader", which ultimately led Germany into even greater misery.
The rathaus on March 9, 1933. On the following day the Nazi seizure of power was manifested at 6.30 in the morning when the Social Democratic mayor and several city councillors of Schweinfurt were arrested and taken into so-called "protective custody". After the 1933 Reichstag election, all provincial and municipal parliaments were simply "brought into line", according to the Nazi language. In Schweinfurt, they arbitrarily increased the number of Nazi city councillors from two to nine. Five of the then thirteen SPD city councillors were expelled from the council and of the remaining half had already been taken into "protective custody."A mere two months later the newly-elected Nazi mayor Pösl declared that seven of the SPD city councillors had announced their resignations from the City Council. The eighth was Georg Groha who was on the wanted list of the Nazis and had already fled to France, where he died in 1941.  
In 1939 Schweinfurt produced most of Nazi Germany's ball bearings, and factories such as the Schweinfurter Kugellagerwerke became a target of Anglo-American strategic bombing during the war to cripple tankand aircraft production. Schweinfurt was bombed 22 times during Operation Pointblank by a total of 2,285 aircraft. The Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission caused an immediate 34% loss of production and all plants but the largest were devastated by fire. Efforts to disperse the surviving machinery began immediately and the Luftwaffe deployed large numbers of interceptors along the corridor to Schweinfurt. Bombing also included the Second Raid on Schweinfurt on October 14, 1943 (called Black Thursday because of the enormous loss of sixty aircraft and over six hundred lives) and Big Week in February 1944. Although losses of production bearings and machinery were high and much of the industrial and residential areas of the city were destroyed, killing more than a thousand civilians, the factories were restored to production and the industry dispersed. Although German planners initially thought it essential to purchase the entire output of the Swedish ball-bearing industry, losses in the production of bearings were actually made up from surpluses found within Germany in the aftermath of the first raid. The decentralised industry was able to restore output to 85% of its pre-bombing level. Hitler made restoration of ball bearing production a high priority and massive efforts were undertaken to repair and rebuild the factories, partly in bomb-proof underground facilities. The American 42nd Infantry Division entered Schweinfurt on April 11, 1945 and conducted house-to-house fighting.
Westend Apotheke at Luitpoldstraße 20 in 1933 with Nazi flags and slogans reading "Mit Hitler gegen Rüstungswahnsinn der Welt" (With Hitler against the world's armament mania). 
The same chemist's after the war.
This was in support of a "YES" vote in the referendum for the withdrawal from the League of Nations on November 12, 1933, as well as the Reichstag election taking place. The Nazi government was assisted by leading public figures and the campaign began on October 26, 1933 with a published vow of faithful allegiance through which the 88 writers of the German Academy of Poetry promised Hitler their unconditional support. On November 1, the same association called explicitly for the election of the "People's Chancellor Adolf Hitler" and for a "yes" to the withdrawal from the League of Nations. On November 11, Reich President Paul von Hindenburg called for approval in one of his rare radio speeches. That day in Leipzig the confession of the German professors to Hitler took place, with which high-ranking German scholars and scientists pointedly put themselves behind Hitler. Support was also provided by the surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch, the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the writer Gerhart Hauptmann. Even the leaders of the economy and the churches called for a vote. In the case of the Catholic Church, the conclusion of the Reich Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich in July 1933 helped the bishops to call for a "joyful vote for the Führer". Even some national opponents of the regime were in agreement, because they wanted to support a national foreign policy. The rooms of the General German Trade Union Confederation were on the first floor.
In front of the town walls
Adolf-Hitler-Straße, Spitalstraße
  Adolf-Hitler-Straße, now once again Spitalstraße. The Zeughaus is at the end of the road.

The former Hitlerjugend schule still has its Nazi eagle above the door...

... as does the former entrance to the Willy-sachs-Stadions

Keßlergasse 22 with the original Jewish-owned establishment (note shield of David on façade), after its 'aryanisation', and today. At the beginning of the Nazi era, the municipal council of the Jewish community consisted of six people with Dr. Moses Hommel serving as its president. In 1933, there were 363 Jewish inhabitants, making up 0.9% of a total of 40,176 locals. Due to the consequences of the economic boycott, increasing deprivation of rights and reprisals, some of them have moved or emigrated from Schweinfurt in the following years. Other Jewish people (from rural communities) are still partially moved in Schweinfurt. On April 1, 1935 318 Jewish inhabitants were counted, in January 1936 319, in January 1937 308, in January 1938 260.  In 1942, the community was dissolved. Until then, about 225 were able to emigrate the Jews who lived or moved there in 1933. In 1942, 30 Jews were deported via Würzburg to the transit camps Krasniczyn and Izbica near Lublin. In September 1942, sixty Jews were sent to Theresienstadt. Three Jewish persons were able to survive in Schweinfurt because of their "privileged mixed marriage". 

The former Schrannengebäude, now used by the Sparkasse bank, after the war and today- its entrance still graced with the eagle dating from 1935

Meanwhile a memorial to the destroyed synagogue is hidden away in the rear. During the November pogrom of 1938, Jewish inhabitants - including the sick and elderly - were taken from their homes and dragged through the streets of the city under insults and stone throwing. Significant damage was done to Jewish homes and buildings.  On the evening of November 9, 1938, some 2,800 Nazis marched with anti-Jewish slogans from Marienbach to the market square. That evening a national memorial service was planned for the murdered embassy secretary Ernst von Rath in front of the brewery, to which all Nazi members were obliged to attend. The next morning, the synagogue was smashed and torah scrolls thrown into the dirt and trampled. The police seized a number of  valuable items that were transferred from the communities Arnstein, Gochsheim and Ebelsbach to Schweinfurt. Only a few prayer books and Torah robes could be saved. Shop windows of Jewish shops were smashed and furniture was thrown out of the houses of Jewish citizens. On Theresienstraße, the bakery of the Jewish baker Max Schlorch was destroyed. Jewish citizens were stoned, some were arrested and about thirty men were taken to the Dachau concentration camp. 
Schweinfurt's industrial significance can't be overstated, particularly its role in the production of ball bearings, a crucial component in machinery and weaponry. The city was home to major factories like FAG Kugelfischer and VKF, which were integral to Germany's war efforts. Ball bearings were used in everything from tanks to airplanes, making Schweinfurt a linchpin in the Nazi military-industrial complex. This industrial capacity did not go unnoticed by the Allies, who identified the city as a strategic target to disrupt Germany's war capabilities.  Overy posits that the destruction of Schweinfurt's factories would cripple the German war machine. His analysis suggests that the city's industrial output was so vital that even a temporary halt in production would have far-reaching consequences. This perspective is supported by the multiple air raids conducted by the Allies, most notably the Schweinfurt-Regensburg mission in 1943. The mission aimed to destroy ball-bearing factories and thus impede the production of German aircraft and other military hardware. However, Zaloga offers a counterpoint, arguing that while the factories were indeed important, their destruction did not significantly alter the course of the war. He contends that Germany had other means of obtaining the necessary materials and that the focus on Schweinfurt was somewhat misplaced.  The air raids had a devastating impact on the city and its inhabitants. Not only were the factories severely damaged, but the civilian population also suffered immense losses. The raids resulted in a significant number of casualties and left the city in ruins, affecting the morale of the people. The experience of living under constant threat of bombardment created a sense of collective trauma, which has been explored by historians like Kershaw. He argues that the psychological impact of the air raids was profound, affecting not just the immediate victims but also shaping the collective memory of the city.
The Zeughaus amidst the destruction and today. The Anglo-American bombing of Schweinfurt began in 1943 and would rival the earlier catastrophes the town had previously endured in 1250 and 1554. On October 14, 1943, the US Air Force flew a devastating air strike whilst suffering their most grevious losses during the war. The 8th US Air Force had already attacked Schweinfurt in August and she now returned to complete the work of devastation. First, the bomber squadron was expecting a large number of fighters, which already decimated the fleet. Part of the big bomber squadron was destroyed and as the bomber squad approached the city, they expected a massive barrage of air defence.  On no day of the war did the Americans lose as many bombers as on October 14, 1943, which entered the American Air War history as "black Thursday." Sixty flying fortresses were shot down, twenty others returned as wrecks, and 600 crew members were either dead or trapped. As far away as Würzburg one could see the columns of smoke above the burning town. For Schweinfurt, the attack was terrible: many homes were destroyed, 198 German civilians, nine Wehrmacht members, 43 foreigners and 45 foreigners who could no longer be identified were killed. February 1944 saw the "Big Week" - the biggest attacks on Germany. Although German fighters shot down 226 bombers and 28 fighter planes, killing 2,600 Americans that week, attacks continued unabated. Schweinfurt experienced on February 24, 1944, the "black Friday", violent attacks during the day and at night, as the Allies wanted to make the Schweinfurt ball bearing industry the utter annihilation. 1,100 four-engined bombers were deployed to three massive attacks and brought the city the third city spoilage. It did not just hit the city. The surrounding communities near the industrial area were almost completely destroyed. 3,600 blast bombs and 32,500 fire and phosphorous bombs fell on the city and surrounding communities.
Maxbrücke, blown up on April 11, 1945, before the arrival of the Americans, and the same scene today. A last swastika flag hanging over the ruins was handed over to the 8th US Air Force, which had flown heavy bombing raids on the city. The dedication was: The Rainbow Division has avenged your losses over Schweinfurt. "
On April 12 an internment camp at Goethe-Schule held male civilians aged 16–60.
 Clearing up the debris on the Marktplatz April 1945 and today
Johanniskirche from an engraving by Johann Herman dating from 1646, after the war, and today and, on the right, Johanniskirche from the ruins
The Fichtel & Sachs factory on Ernst-Sachs-Straße after heavy bombing, and today, now the ZF-Sachs factory.
 Spitalstrasse then and now
[P]recision attacks could go wrong precisely because the Germans could work out where to expect them - as the Americans discovered to their cost when they attacked Schweinfurt, a centre of ball-bearing production in northern Bavaria, on August 17 and October 14, 1943. In the first raid, thirty-six B-17S were shot down out of an initial strike force of 230; twenty-four were lost the same day in a similar attack on Regensburg. In the October attack -the 8th Air Force's 'Black Thursday' - sixty out of 291 B-17S were shot down and 138 badly damaged. 
Ferguson (566) War of the World
On the Schweinfurt raids, see Thomas M. Coffey, Decision over Schweinfurt: The U.S. 8th Air Force Battle for Daylight Bombing (New York: McKay, 1977); Friedhelm Golücke, Schweinfurt und der strategische Luftkrieg 1943: der Angriff der U.S. Air Force vom 14. Oktober 1943 gegen die Schweinfurter Kugellagerindustrie (Paderborn: Schöningh, 1988); Martin Middlebrook, The Schweinfurt-RegensburgMission (New York: Scribner, 1983). See also Hinsley, British Intelligence, 3/1: 293-96, 308-16; Murray, Lufiwaffe, pp. 164-68. 

The Adolf Hitler military barracks during the Third Reich and today, after the American army finally relinquished control. Nevertheless a Nazi eagle remains on the façade of a barracks building as seen clearly on the right of the period photo.


The swastika-bedecked townhall and today, with the fountain in the background- given the summer festival taking place, I was unable to get a perfect angle for either image. During the war, Hammelburg was the site of the PoW Camps OFLAG XIII-B and Stalag XIII-C, as well as the attempted rescue of PoWs from these camps by Task Force Baum in 1945. The American television sitcom Hogan's Heroes featured a fictional Luft-Stalaid to be near Hammelburg. The German Army's Infanterieschule is located in this town.
The 1.Kompanie Leibstandarte
ϟϟ Adolf Hitler arriving at the main station in June 1935. They are regarded as the nucleus of the later Waffen-ϟϟ. From the first 117 volunteers, more than fifty higher ϟϟ officers emerged, who held high ranks in the later 38 divisions of the Waffen ϟϟ and were given the highest awards for bravery. The main station is shown here embalzoned with the Nazi eagle during the time and as it currently appears today. The 1. ϟϟ-Panzer-Division Leibstandarte ϟϟ Adolf Hitler was established on March 17, 1933 as ϟϟ-Stabswache Berlin by Sepp Dietrich on Hitler's orders, with the intention of having a full-time armed force of complete loyalty to him. It was eventually redesignated ϟϟ-Sonderkommando Zossen and a new unit, ϟϟ-Sonderkommando Jüterbog, was raised, both of which merged in September 1933 as the ϟϟ-Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler. Their members took an oath of loyalty to Hitler on the tenth anniversary of the failed Beer Hall Putsch and was redesignated Leibstandarte ϟϟ Adolf Hitler in 1934. They played an active role during the Night of Long Knives. As a result, the following year they were motorised and expanded.
The three Tiger I tanks in the 1970 movie "Kelly's Heroes" are from the LSSAH as seen by the skeleton key markings and the 1989 movie "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" feature several LSSAH members amongst the villains, including ϟϟ-Standartenführer Ernst Vogel, as shown by the cuff titles. The LSSAH after all was notorious for having committed numerous war crimes from the very start of the war- the day the Germans invaded Poland the LSSAH murdered 34 civilians in Torzeniec under the command of ϟϟ-Obersturmführer Christian Hansen. ϟϟ-Obermusikmeister Hermann Müller-John ordered fifty civilians shot at Błonie, Poland that month as more atrocities were committed as soldiers from the unit advanced. For reasons unknown, on September 3-4, 1939 close to 200 civilians in Złoczew were summarily murdered. Indeed, Generalmajor Herbert Loch, commander of 17. Infanterie-Division whcih operated closely with LSSAH during the invasion of Poland, complained about the LSSAH's wildness and tendency to reflexively set villages alight as they passed through them.


Nazi flag suspended beside the Hotel Zum Riesen, described on this Nazi-era postcard as the oldest guest house in Germany and known as the "Fürstenherberge". The inn has hosted emperors such as Barbarossa in 1158, Frederick III, King Ludwig the Bavarian in 1314, shortly after his election, Charles IV in 1368 and Empress Maria Theresia. The legend that Martin Luther convinced the Count Erbach of Protestantism in Miltenberg comes from the book "Martin Luther and Grafenbach" by Hermann Nietschmann under the pseudonym Armin Stein. During the Thirty Years' War, Gustav II. Adolf, Pappenheim, Piccolomini and Wallenstein spent the night here. In the 20th century Richard Strauss, Theodor Heuss, Hans Albers, Heinz Rühmann and Elvis Presley were among the guests.

Portraits of Hitler no longer grace the walls of the Hotel Fränkischer Hof. On February 23, 1945, a sunny winter day, a squadron of four-motor bombers from the USAAF approached the city from the east and began bombarding Kitzingen from an altitude of about 2,500 to 3,000 metres. This was followed by a second, approximately 180 aircraft, after about half an hour. It was estimated that 2,500 heavy explosive bombs were dropped.  The attack took place within the framework of the Operation Clarion, a series of air raids on southern German long-distance and rail connections, with the stated objective of disturbing or preventing the transfer of troops within southern Germany. In Kitzingen, the Reichsstraße 8 (now the B8) and the railway line Nuremberg-Würzburg crossed the Main and yet whilst the destruction of the bridges and the railway station was the stated goal, none of the four main bridges were hit, and the damage on the station ground was not so great that after a few days the long-distance traffic could not continue. On the other hand, the inner city and buildings were largely destroyed near the railway station. 809 residential buildings with a total of 2020 apartments were destroyed, including 206 buildings with 520 apartments total, thirty public buildings, three industrial facilities and sixty auxiliary buildings. Among other things, the upper school for boys was razed to the ground, although it served as a hospital and was marked as such. Schloss Friedenstein was also destroyed with only the lookout tower, the Deusterturm, preserved in the former castle grounds. More than 700 fell victim to the attack in Kitzingen, including all children and carers of a kindergarten; 2/3 of the approximately 48 boys who had lessons on that day were killed whilst the Luftwaffe barracks on the western edge of the city and the Kitzingen airfield east of the city were not bombed. About a month later the airfield was attacked on March 22. Eight bomber units with a total of 168 aircraft flew from the south. Due to the eastern location of the airfield, no damage occurred in Kitzingen. The bombs destroyed the rolling field, only a few buildings were damaged. Only a few of the Bf 110 night-hunters stationed on the airfield and the new jet fighters Me 262 were hit.
Lohr am Main
At the Forstverwaltung (Forestry Service),  built in 1937 and the official opening inset.
Behind me remains the Nazi eagle in situ.
During the Nazi regime, nineteen Jewish patients were deported from the sanatorium and nursing home in Lohr to the Hartheim killing centre near Linz and murdered in September 1940 as part of the T4 "euthanasia" killing campaign. In October and November 1940, 451 non-Jewish children, women and men followed. They were deported to the killing centres in Pirna-Sonnenstein and Grafeneck and also murdered. In the spring of 1944, eighteen women and men were transferred from the correctional facility of the then mental hospital to the Auschwitz and Mauthausen concentration camps. Three men and two women would survived. From the start of 1945 there were several air raids on Lohr, and at the end of March German troops blew up the Lohr and Main bridges.
On April 2-3, 1945, heavy fighting took place in Lohr between the Wehrmacht and the American army, the latter ending up losing eight Sherman tanks here as seen in these images showing the main street during the fighting as provided in Geoff Walden's page for Third Reich in Ruins and how it appears today.
 At first the Americans operating under Task Force Baum weren't prepared as they reached motorway 26 at 2.30 am, moving at a speed of fifteen mph as the lead light tanks knocked down telephone poles along the highway to disrupt the enemy's communications in the area. Hanging in the windows of homes in some of the towns they passed through were white flags, suddenly broken as Baum ran into the enemy's first organised resistance on the western approaches to Lohr am Main, the command post of General Hans von Obstfelder, commander of all ground forces in southern Germany. Here the Americans lost their first M4A3 to panzerfaust fire from Hitler Youth at a roadblock as seen here. The task force quickly suppressed such resistance and by 9.00, the task force cleared Lohr, engaged its lightly-armed defenders with overwhelming firepower, and continued its advance eastward to the critical town of Gemunden. 
  During the war numerous Soviet prisoners of war involved in forced labour in facilities that were important to the German war effort were sited here.  Located at the confluence of the Sinn, Main, and Frankische Saale Rivers, Gemunden's bridge had to be captured intact to facilitate Baum's movement east along Highway 26 to Karlstadt. However, due to the skilled direction of Eugen Zoller, an experienced 25 year-old NCO of the German Army Pioneers, the teenaged defenders, armed with more than 200 panzerfausten, aggressively counterattacked the American armoured column's drive for the bridge before blowing it up just before Baum's first Sherman reached the western edge of the bridge. Due to the Germans' fierce resistance, the loss of three medium tanks as well as the loss of the bridge, Baum was forcd to withdraw and move northward toward the town of Burgsinn and its bridge, which spanned the Sinn River. But not before the town itself was utterly wiped out after heavy bombardment on March 26, 1945 and subsequent two days of fighting. Five residents were killed in the attack, 41 of them due to the collapse of the district court bunker, and five left missing. Two days earlier seven had been killed. When the town was taken on April 4 29 civilians were killed, including 26 suffocated in the school tunnel, and five soldiers killed. In total over 200 inhabitants were killed with two thirds of the town destroyed in the March 16 bombing by American fighter- bombers and artillery fire on April 4 and 5, 1945. The extensive destruction covered the entire western and central area of ​​the old town, which had a closed development from the 16th and 17th centuries which included the market square and its town hall, fish market, Badgasse, Kärrnersgasse and Wirthsgasse). The parish church of St. Peter and Paul, the witches' tower, the mill gate, the historic town hall were all completely demolished after the occupation in April. Among the citizens of Gemünden was John Löwer, who had lived in the United States for a long time and was therefore called the "American". He was commissioned to confront the American troops at Struthmühle with a white cloth as Sherman tanks came towards him on today's old Wohraer Straße. The first tank passed, the second stopped and he told the commander that Gemünden would surrender. 
The destroyed town centre, already partially rebuilt, shortly after the end of the war and as it appears today. The October 15, 1944 air attack destroyed a warehouse, the goods hall and some residential barracks. The March 16, 1945 attack obliterated the town hall, the church of St. Peter and Paul, the Adelmann house, the Wurzgarten house (formerly the courthouse ) and badly hit the central and western old town area. On March 18 the district office- today's court building- and the Hamm brothers' factory was damaged. The March 24 bombing caused substantial damage in today's Friedenstraße, at the post office, and in Hindenburgstraße (today Bergstraße). On March 26 the area around the station and old town was bombed,  When the city was taken the Gerlach department store and the kindergarten (in today's Wernfeld district) was damaged as were several houses in today's Wernfeld district, the parish church of St. Peter and Paul and the school at the Obertor burned down after the entrance was hit. Finally on April 5 severe fires broke out in the old town in the market square, fish market, Badgasse, Kärrnersgasse, and Wirtsgasse. All this left 167 buildings totally destroyed with a damage rate of 65% of all its buildings.
The reconstruction after planning 1946-1950 in the old town area was carried out with simple plaster buildings. The streets were greatly changed, and the town hall on the market square was not rebuilt. In the 1980s, the old town was extensively renovated as seen in these GIFs.

The Pompejanum (or Pompeiianum) is an idealised replica of a Roman villa, located on the high banks of the river Main in Aschaffenburg. It was commissioned by King Ludwig I and built in the 1840s. The Pompejanum was not intended as a royal villa, but as a demonstration that would allow art lovers in Germany to study ancient culture. The building is a symbol for the enthusiasm for antiquity in the 19th century. The villa is a replica of a house in ancient Pompeii, the so-called House of Castor and Pollux (Casa dei Dioscuri), so named after a wall drawing which was found in the entrance area of the ruined building. 
On March 29, 1933 Franz Ritter von Epp was made an honorary citizen of the city of Aschaffenburg. On July 7 that year, on behalf of Lord Mayor Wohlgemuth, party members of the NSDAP Erich Schohe, city councilor Ernst Hild, actor Josef Gurk, teacher Benno Hain, and teacher Dr. Kurt Speyerer founded a local group of the “Combat League for German Culture” whose aim was to set up an institution to standardise and promote cultural endeavours in the city area. 
During the war it, along with much of Aschaffenburg, was heavily damaged by Anglo-American bombing. From September 27, 1944 to March 25, 1945, Aschaffenburg was the target of no less than twenty air raids; on November 21, 1944, the Royal Air Force dropped 14 tonnes of high-explosive bombs on large parts of Aschaffenburg, especially in the Damm district. About half of Aschaffenburgers became homeless and 344 people were killed. When the Americans approached in the spring of 1945, Aschaffenburg was declared a “fortress” to be held under all circumstances with Major Emil Lamberth appointed combat commander. When General Robert T. Frederick noticed that the resistance of fighters there was stronger than elsewhere, he ordered his 157th Infantry Regiment to focus systematic artillery fire and air raids on Aschaffenburg and surrounding villages in order to lose as few soldiers as possible in the house-to -house fighting that followed. On March 25, 1945 at the beginning of the Battle of Aschaffenburg the Yanks established a bridgehead after taking the Nilkheim railway bridge, which remained undestroyed, south of the city on the right-eastern bank of the Main. Fighting broke out around the southern Aschaffenburg district of Schweinheim before the Allies could advance to the city centre, which was the subject of fierce fighting on Easter Day 1945. After nine days the garrison capitulated on April 3, 1945. After the destruction of the air war, important cultural and architectural monuments such as Johannisburg Castle and the Pompejanum were even more severely damaged or destroyed by artillery fire when the city was captured; it wasn't until 1960 that work was started to restore it seen in my GIFs here showing how it appeared after the war and when  visited it. Aschaffenburg belonged to the American occupation zone and the US military administration set up a DP camp to house mostly Ukrainians and Poles. The Aschaffenburg barracks from before 1918 and above all from the Third Reich were occupied by the American Army throughout the period of the Cold War.
On the left showing the building after the bombing and today when I visited July 2022, restored. Since 1994, the Pompejanum houses original Roman art works from the collections of the Staatliche Antikensammlungen and the Glyptothek in Munich. The building also hosts temporary exhibitions. In addition to Roman marble sculptures, small bronzes and glasses as well as two rare marble goddesses make up the most valuable exhibits. Upstairs, Roman-style utensils, which can be seen in display cases, give an insight into the life of a Roman family. Since July 2014, the Munich State Antiquities Collection has issued a Roman military diploma consisting of two bronze plates which testify to the award of Roman citizenship in 78 CE to the soldier Octavius from his station at Moesia Cohors I Cantabrorum.
An antiques dealer made the find of a lifetime at a Texas Goodwill store that had a direct connection to this site-: a 2,000-year-old priceless work of Roman art that she scooped up for a mere $35.  Laura Young, of Austin, Texas found the 52-pound Roman bust at the thrift store in her hometown in 2018 and figured it was worth such a modest investment. The earliest record of this Roman bust appears in an 1833 inventory of King Ludwig I of Bavaria's art collection. It was displayed in a courtyard in the Pompejanum near the tablinum and probably depicts Sextus Pompey, according to a Roman art specialist at the San Antonio Museum of Art. The bust disappeared after the war and its location was unknown until 2018, when Young ound it in a Goodwill Store. After the war the American Army established various military installations in Aschaffenburg, many of which remained until the end of the Cold War, and most likely a returning soldier brought the sculpture to Texas. Ms. Young notified the German government of the portrait's surprising rediscovery and made arrangements to return it to its rightful owner. According to her agreement with the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens, and Lakes, the bust will remain on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art until its return to Germany in 2023.

See my special page on Pompeii during the war and today!