Showing posts with label Hof. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hof. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Swabia

Augsburg unter dem HakenkreuzAugusta Vindelicorum had been founded in 15 BCE by Drusus and Tiberius on the orders of their stepfather, the emperor Augustus. The name means "Augusta of the Vindelici". This garrison camp became the capital of the Roman province of Raetia by roughly 120 CE, enjoying growth as part of its four hundred year affiliation with the Roman Empire and due to its excellent military, economic and geographic position at the convergence of the Alpine rivers Lech and Wertach, and with direct access to most important Alpine passes. Thus, Augsburg was the intersection of many important European east-west and north-south connections, which later evolved as major trade routes of the Middle Ages. Augsburg was sacked by the Huns in the 5th century, by Charlemagne in the 8th century, by Welf of Bavaria in the 11th century, and by Anglo-American retribution in the 20th century; arising each time to greater prosperity. 
Hitler first visited Augsburg in March 1920 through contact with his patron Gottfried Grandel who, on March 13, 1920, also organised his flight from Augsburg to Berlin. In Augsburg, the Nazis commemorated October 27, 1922 as the founding date of their local party and celebrated the site of its founding at the Cafe Pelikan in the Jakobervorstadt. On January 12, 1921, Hitler gave a speech in Augsburg on the subject of "The Worker in the Germany of the Future" at the Café Mamimilian. A second speech by Hitler in the same café followed on May 10, 1921. Hitler also spoke at the Sängerhalle on May 29, 1923 and July 6, 1923. The Sängerhalle was located near the area in front of the Congress Hall today. The creation of a local SA group in Augsburg dated to November 1922 after the party had requested protection at a meeting which resulted in nearly fifty men from Munich being sent, who arrived at the station with flags and singing. It was claimed that the local SA group passed its baptism of fire in the Ludwigsbau on March 2, 1923. The Ludwigsbau at the time stood where the congress hall is today; demolished in 1965 due to the perceived danger of collapse of its dome. It was in 1923 that communists prevented the Nazi speaker from talking, leading to beer steins being thrown before a general brawl arose. The police cleared the hall and the melee continued outside spreading to Königsplatz.

Augsburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz
Königsplatz on the right after it had been renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz.  
After being banned as a result of the failed Beer Hall putsch, the local Augsburg Nazi party was reformed in March 1926 under the leadership of Karl Wahl. That year Hitler appeared in front of an Augsburg court because of a traffic accident and, on July 31, he returned to Augsburg accompanied by Rudolf Hess and Joseph Goebbels, the latter speaking in front of about 3,000 people. On December 19, Hitler gave a speech in Saalbau Herrle. On March 12, 1927 Hitler spoke at the Sängerhalle and on December 17, in Saalbau Herrle. On May 17, 1928, he returned to the Sängerhalle and on October 23, 1928, he attended a Nazi rally at the Ludwigsbau, organised by Karl Wahl. At the start of that month Gallus Schneider was appointed leader of the Augsburg Nazi Party  who would remain Nazi Kreisleiter until 1945 and until his death in 1975 remained a convinced Nazi. The result of the Reichstag election of 1928 shows that the Nazis were still a predominantly Bavarian phenomenon until the end of the twenties. 2.6% of the votes in the Reich were a marginal result, compared to 7% in Augsburg. In the local elections in 1929, the Nazis moved for the first time were represented in the Augsburg city council: out of fifty seats, they won three- Schneider, Hans Rehm (a butcher and later chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and the administrative official Josef Mayr, later mayor of Augsburg. From 1930 until the end of 1932, the number of Nazi representatives tripled to around 1,800 to become the second largest party after the SPD. Their strongest areas of support in Augsburg was the Südend (Bismarckviertel, Hochfeld), their weakest support in Lechhausen.
Augsburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz
Adolf-Hitler-Platz and Annastraße
From 1929 an ϟϟ group was established in Augsburg under the orders of Himmler during a stay in the town. At first it consisted of ten men but by the beginning of 1933 there were almost 500. In 1931 the notorious Hans Loritz took over the ϟϟ leadership.On September 8, 1930 Hitler spoke again at the Sängerhalle. This was during a time of increased violence. Between 1930 to 1932 there were 440 public meetings and demonstrations in Augsburg. One Nazi march was disrupted when Christmas tree balls filled with gasoline were thrown into the torchlight procession leading to SA, ϟϟ and Mounted Police beating up bystanders. As flower pots flew a chant sounded: "Workers: let flowers speak." Augsburger police director Dr. Ernst Eichner on January 23 1933- exactly a week before Hitler was appointed Chancellor- declared that it was impossible for the police to protect Nazi marches, because they allegedly did not disturb public safety. Eichner did refer to the Nazi tactic during street fights in which the police had to stand and salute immediately when the national anthem was played. The report was fatal to Eichner- despite joining the Nazis in March 33 to go so far as joining the Ministry of the Interior, Hitler was informed of this report and declared how upset he was that "this honourless characterless lumpen was still in government service." Eichner was sent to Dachau in so-called protective custody, but was released after a few days. On April 16, 1932 Hitler spoke twice in Augsburg, at the Ludwigsbau and Sängerhalle, and on November 5 he again attended a Nazi demonstration. On May 1, 1933, the big May Day of the Nazis was to take place at the Sängerhalle. The hall was decorated with countless swastika flags. However, in the early morning hours the hall burned down completely. Raids and arrests in the poor quarters and communist quarters took place. Thus Augsburg had its own local version of the Reichstag fire. To this day no-one knows whether it was accidental or the act either of a single person or of Nazi opponents.  
Augsburg swastikas Nazis
Propaganda during the Reichstag elections of November 12, 1933. The sign above the clock reads "Wir wollen kein Volk minderen Rechts sein." After being appointed Chancellor, the Nazis celebrated in Augsburg as in the rest of the country with torches and parades. On February 1, the Augsburger Nationalzeitung wrote how "[t]he brown soldiers celebrated the victory of their leader by conquering the streets that were previously closed by the spell. In long rows, the brown crowd marched through Hermanstraße, Hallstraße, Maximilianstraße, Moritzplatz, Bürgermeister-Fischer-Straße, Königsplatz, Fuggerstrasse with music. For the first time the step of Hitler's battalions sounded in these streets." Due to the emergency decree for the protection of the German people, all communist events were banned and their press suppressed. Even the SPD was affected- their paper The Augsburg Swabian People's Daily was banned on March 10. Despite this, the Nazis managed only 44% nationwide support in this last election; it was even worse for the Nazis in Augsburg as they managed only 32% mostly from the brown strongholds of the Südend (Hochfeld, Bismarckviertel, Antons, Thelottsviertel) as well as in the Spickel and Hochzoll where they achieved results over 40%. The democratic parties SPD and BVP together had a clear majority. On March 9, four days after the Reichstag election, Hans Loritz hoisted the Nazi flag on the Perlachturm at four o'clock in the morning with four SA and ϟϟ men. In the morning Gauleiter Wahl then occupied the town hall, where he himself was employed as chancellery secretary, and from the balcony also had the party flag, the white-blue and the black-and-white-red raised, symbolising the Nazi revolution. Mayor Bohl and Council of Elders protested, but they left it at that. No protests made about  trespassing, no informing the police; the flags stayed. Terror began to spread to the city government. Nazi AugsburgOn March 9 the SA and ϟϟ were declared auxiliary police- in Augsburg this translated into thirty ϟϟ and seventy SA men, leading to the real start of the harassment of political opponents. Four days later at the Siegesdenkmal in Fronhof they burned the Black-Red-Gold flags of the Republic. Mayor Bohl and other representatives of the governments of Swabia and Neuburg were present as invited guests. As a result of their complicity, the Nazis, as their newspaper rejoiced, received "state sanction" at a time when the majorities in city council and city government were still in favour of democratic parties. 
In May, the SPD, which had previously been excluded from almost all municipal committees, left the city council under pressure from the national socialists, on July 5 the BVP followed. The deputies of the DNVP joined the Nazi faction. At the council meeting of April 28, the second mayor of the SPD, Friedrich Ackermann, was formally retired and Nazi Josef Mayr, who had already taken the office in advance, was elected new mayor. On July 31, the Lord Mayor Otto Bohl (BVP) was finally dismissed and replaced at the city council meeting on August 3 by Nazi Edmund Stoeckle, the mayor of Lindenberg in the Allgäu. Stoeckle, however, could not possibly gain the confidence of the party leadership and was replaced by Josef Mayr in December 1934. The takeover of power in the city was thus completed.  As early as March 9, communist officials were held in "protective". Whilst the arrests were initially directed against Communists and Social Democrats, Jews and other disobedient persons, as well as members of the BVP, quickly became targeted. The fire of the Sängerhalle (today's Wittelsbacher Park) on April 30, 1934 was also a cause of a wave of arrests. When Bavaria was then divided into six Gaue, Augsburg become the capital of the Gaues Schwaben.
Augsburg  Jakobskirche from the Jakobertor
Looking at Jakobskirche from the Jakobertor
The city of Augsburg made Hitler an honorary citizen on April 25, 1935. Up until then such honours were given only at the end of a career. On September 25 that year Hitler visited the Golden Hall of the town hall with Mayor Mayr, Mayor Kellner, Obergruppenfuehrer Brückner, Schaub and Gauleiter Karl Wahl. On November 21 and 22, 1937 Hitler arrived at the Hotel Drei Mohren where he presented himself to his supporters on the balcony. In the presence of Prof. Giesler, Prof. Speer, city councilor Sametschek, mayor Kellner, Kreisleiter Schneider, Mayor Mayr and Gauleiter Karl Wahl, building plans for Augsburg's future as Gau capital were again presented to Hitler. Hitler later that evening attended a performance in the converted and expanded Theatre Augsburg with the Lord Mayor, Lieutenant General, and Gauleiter Karl Wahl. Hitler also visited the Messerschmitt works accompanied by Messerschmitt, director Henze, Obergruppenführer Brückner, Lieutenant General Bergmann, and Lieutenant-General Udet. At night, Hitler received a "tattoo" from the Wehrmacht in front of the Hotel Drei Mohren.

Augsburg gauforum
The planned gauforum. Königsplatz was renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz; since this street was created after the demolition of the city walls after 1860, it had been created in the style of the time as a broad boulevard and was therefore suitable for the Nazis' mass marches. In Hitler's plans, this axis, which continues straight to Theodor-Heuss-Platz (then Benito-Mussolini-Platz) and running parallel to the "old" boulevard Karolinen-Maximilianstraße, would become the new deployment arena in the course of the planned Gauforums. Hitler had planned for Augsburg a monumental axis. After the Sängerhalle had burned down on May 1, 1934, the city issued an architectural competition. The first prize went to the design of the young Augsburg architect Thomas Wechs who would go on to build many Augsburg churches after the war. Wechs's plan provided for a modern construction with nineteen narrow, high windows in Wittelsbacher Park, where the hotel tower stands today. Hitler, presented with the draft, expressed his displeasure and drew his ideas in the presence of the architect with red pencil in the draft to produce a far more massive construction. In 1937 Hitler informed Wahl and Mayr that he wanted to equip the Gau capital Augsburg with a completely new large Gauforum. He commissioned his favourite architect Hermann Giesler, recently responsible for the Ordensburg Sonthofen. The planned Gauforum was to be located on a 48-metre-wide boulevard beginning at the Stadttheater and leading arross Königsplatz and today's Konrad Adenauer Allee to the Theodor Heuss platz. The actual centre would consist of a huge meeting hall for 20,000 people, a gigantic parade ground 165 metres by 140 metres surrounded by arcades, and finally a party gau house with two courtyards and four 43 metre-high corner towers. A 116 metre high bell tower was supposed to tower over all other towers of the city- Ulrich, Perlach, cathedral
Augsburg Weberhaus behind the Merkurbrunnen
In front of the Weberhaus behind the Merkurbrunnen
The monstrous structures were to be built south of the Königsplatz, west of the Konrad Adenauer Allee / Schießgrabenstraße. All of Beethovenviertel would have been demolished, including of course the synagogue. The city had to acquire nearly 100 plots, demolishing 66 buildings in the process. Although the south of Augsburg had areas available that could have been cultivated without cultural vandalism, the idea was to build a boulevard which would overshadow the historic mass and height of the past. The soil level was higher by nature, but would still be artificially raised. Kreisleiter Schneider admitted in his report to the Gauleiter that narrow-minded citizens reject all new things, and the general opinion was that the city needed more housing than monstrous palaces. Nevertheless, in the autumn of 1939 the foundation stone was to have been lain but for the outbreak of the war. Fuggerstrasse had already been cleared of its front gardens and trees along the avenue- they are missing today. It was all estimated to cost 166 million RM. At a time when a house could be built for 10,000 RM, considering the necessary relocation of the station and the district heating plant, 200 millions would not have sufficed. Nevertheless, the plans were under the special protection of Hitler; only Weimar, Hamburg and Munich were so sponsored.
Nazi flags in AugsburgThe main street in 1941, the year that Rudolf Hess flew from an aerodrome near Augsburg to the United Kingdom at 17.45 on Saturday, May 10 alone over the North Sea to Scotland to meet the Duke of Hamilton before crashing in Eaglesham in an attempt to mediate the end of the European front of the war and join sides for the upcoming Russian Campaign. Augsburg was historically a militarily important city due to its strategic location. During the German re-armament before the war, the Wehrmacht enlarged Augsburg's one original barracks to three: Somme Kaserne (housing Wehrmacht Artillerie-Regiment 27); Arras Kaserne (housing Wehrmacht Infanterie Regiment 27) and Panzerjäger Kaserne (housing Panzerabwehr-Abteilung 27 (later Panzerjäger-Abteilung 27). Wehrmacht Panzerjäger-Abteilung 27 was later moved to Füssen.  During the war, one subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp was located outside Augsburg, supplying approximately 1,300 forced labourers to local military-related industry, most especially the Messerschmitt AG military aircraft firm headquartered in Augsburg. This is also the hometown of Jakob Grimminger, famous for having been awarded the honour of carrying the blood-stained Blutfahne from the Munich putsch.  
Augsburg einst jetztIn 1941, Rudolf Hess without Hitler's permission secretly took off from a local airport. The Reichswehr Infanterie Regiment 19 was stationed in Augsburg and became the base unit for the Wehrmacht Infanterie Regiment 40, a subsection of the Wehrmacht Infanterie Division 27 (which later became the Wehrmacht Panzerdivision 17). Elements of Wehrmacht II Battalion of Gebirgs-Jäger-Regiment 99 (especially Wehrmacht Panzerjäger Kompanie 14) was composed of parts of the Wehrmacht Infanterie Division 27. The Infanterie Regiment 40 remained in Augsburg until the end of the war, finally surrendering to the Americans when in 1945, the American Army occupied the heavily bombed and damaged city.  Following the war, the three barracks would change hands confusingly between the American and Germans, finally ending up in American hands for the duration of the Cold War. The former Wehrmacht Kaserne became the three main American barracks in Augsburg: Reese, Sheridan and FLAK. US Base FLAK had been an anti-aircraft barracks since 1936 and US Base Sheridan "united" the former infantry barracks with a smaller Kaserne for former Luftwaffe communications units.  The American military presence in the city started with the 11th Airborne Division, followed by the 24th Infantry Division, the American Army Seventh Corps Artillery, USASA Field Station Augsburg and finally the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade, which returned the former Kaserne to German hands in 1998. Originally the Heeresverpflegungshauptamt Südbayern and an Officers' caisson existed on or near the location of Reese-Kaserne, but was demolished by the occupying Americans.
Augsburg Augustus statue at Maximiliansplatz during Third Reich
The Augustus statue at Maximiliansplatz surrounded by Nazi flags and today, and being dismantled in 1940 for safety during the war shown below on the right. The fountain was erected between 1588 and 1594 by Hubert Gerhard for the 1600th anniversary of the city. It is the oldest and most figurative of the three magnificent Augsburg fountains and is located on Rathausplatz, dominated by a 2.5 metre-high figure of Augustus. The emperor was portrayed as a man of about fifty who raises his hand in "adlocutio" as emperors traditionally did when they began a solemn address to their army. The head of the emperor wreaths a laurel wreath, which stands for fame, honour and peace, referring to the so-called Pax Augustana. Augustus statue at Maximiliansplatz Augsburg removedOn the tunic that Augustus wears lion heads are depicted as a symbol for his strength, and dolphins with a trident as a symbol for quick decisions. In addition, tritons and, under the feet of the statue the pine cone- the symbol of Augsburg- are shown. Two Capricorn skulls indicate that Augustus was born in the zodiac sign of Capricorn. Art historians claim to have established that the Augustus figure in the fountain is more like the pointed nose of his successor Vespasian. The Augustus fountain is not directly opposite the Augsburg town hall but rather in front of the neighbouring Perlachturm building. The off-centre position of the fountain on the square is due to the fact that the town hall square was originally much smaller than it is today and only occupied the northern part of today's square. It was not enlarged to its current dimensions until the early 1960s, when the ruins from the air raids of the war were removed. The well was also moved a few meters to the north. The Augustus figure has become the most damaged over the centuries because it has the most unfavourable alloy of all the figures on the fountain comprising of 88% copper, four percent tin, five percent lead and 1.5% zinc. To save the statue, it was renovated in 1993 and the original was replaced by a copy. Today the original of the Augustus statue is housed in the inner courtyard of the Maximilian Museum, which is roofed with glass. The replacement copy was financed with funds from the Messerschmitt Foundation; its basins and pillars are also copies. For Augsburg's 2000th anniversary, the wrought iron grille by Georg Scheff was erected around the fountain. In addition to Augustus, there are four other figures that symbolise the four rivers of Augsburg: the Lech, Wertach, Singold and Brunnenbach. Some also assign the four seasons to the figures: the two women spring and summer, the two male deities autumn and winter.
The Augustus statue on the left as Augsburgers welcome Hitler on his March 17, 1937 visit
  Augsburg Zeughaus
The turn of St. Michael from the Zeughaus (armoury) to be removed, shown then and now
Augsburg Herkulesbrunnen
The Herkulesbrunnen then and now showing the repositioning of the statue postwar. The magnificent fountain was made between 1596 and 1600 by Adriaen de Vries and shows the Hercules fighting the Hydra, intended to symbolise the wealth of Augsburg being based on the use of water power. According to Greek legend, Hercules needed the club of flames to scorch the roots of the severed heads and thus prevent the hydra from sprouting new heads and thus here a depiction of the victory of man over the wild power of water and the power of fire. Others see a psychological dimension in it, interpreting it as the conquest of wild human passions only through which humans come to wealth and a good life. In 1940 the figures of the Hercules Fountain as well as those of other fountains were sent to the Ottobeuren monastery to protect them from the bombing. From there the naiads of the Hercules fountain were kept in a stairwell. In 1950 the figures of the Hercules Fountain were brought back from the monastery and returned to their original places by the well.
The Maypole in front of St. Ulrich's and St. Afra's Abbey May 1, 1935 and at the end of Margaretenstraße
The Mercury statue on Maximilianstraße near the Catholic Church of St. Moritz at the junction with the Burgermeister-Fischer-Straße being returned July 31, 1947 and taken away sixty years later for refurbishment. The fountain on Moritzplatz is one of the three magnificent fountains in Augsburg, along with the Augustus fountain and Hercules fountain. It was created in 1596-1599 by Adriaen de Vries in the Renaissance style. Its main character is the Roman god of commerce, Mercury. As the god of trade, Mercury is supposed to draw attention to the importance of the city as a trading metropolis. The 2.5 metre high fountain group is dominated by Mercurius who holds a serpent's staff, symbol of luck and peace, in his right hand and wears a winged helmet on his head. The winged cupid, equipped with a bow, appears to be loosening or tying the winged shoe of the god Mercurius. The type of "Mercurio volante" coined by Giovanni da Bologna can be regarded as a model for the fountain figure of Mercury but the Augsburger Merkur seems to remain between hurrying and staying. The four-sided fountain stands in a decagonal marble basin. Two rocaille cartouches from 1752 are attached to the cornice of the fountain. The water flows in a thin stream from the bronzes on the pillar: two dog heads, two Medusa heads, two lion masks and four eagle heads, symbols of the dangers that threaten trade and traffic.
The St. George fountain, dating from 1565. St. George appears in a harness from the 16th century and fights a dragon. The figure's equestrian armour was probably cast from tournament armor and corresponds in detail to templates from the period between 1550 and 1560. Over time, the figure of St. George has changed location in Augsburg several times. The figure of St. George had earlier adorned a fountain on Metzgplatz between 1833 and 1945 before its restoration in 1961 when it was moved to a high fountain column in front of the St. Jakob Church in Jakobervorstadt in connection with the new construction of the east-west traffic axis through the city centre. Walther Schmidt , who was in charge of city planning at the time, agreed and placed the fountain figure on a high pillar in order to improve the effect of the delicate figure in the broad street space. An oval basin with a water feature was created below the figure. On the base of the fountain there are masks that spew water in all directions which are based on employees of the city's structural engineering department. Over the years, air pollution has caused increasing damage to the fountain figure. It wasn't until 1993 that St. George onto this newly designed fountain and is now back on Metzplatz from where it was relocated in 1833.
Augsburg  Jakoberstraße after the war and now, showing the extent of the reconstruction
Jakoberstraße after the war and now, showing the extent of the reconstruction
Augsburg suffered serious damage in the war due to air raids, as the city was a military target of allied bomber organisations with production sites of important armaments companies (including Messerschmitt AG and MAN). 
Already in October 1939 the air war reached Augsburg for the first time. But it was not until April 1942 that the British bombers managed the first heavy blow against the Augsburg armaments industry. Eight British Lancasters attack the MAN, the main production site for submarine diesel engines. In Augsburg there was amazement and shame that the birthplace of the allegedly best fighter plane in the world in the vicinity of an airfield left the city defenceless against such attacks. But then, as Brexit and covid has shown, the Germans have an innate dispensation to constantly underestimate the British to their cost. That - in conjunction with the first report of a dozen killed - was a psychological shock, which was only partially offset by the announcement a few weeks later that the MAN factory again produced as many engines as before. In all, Augsburg was bombed more than ten times, twice in attacks of greater effect: on April 17, 1942, the goal was MAN's submarine engine production. 
Augsburg  Ludwigstraße before the RAF and today
Ludwigstraße before the RAF visited and today
On Friday, February 25, 1944, 200 American bombers appeared at 14.00 and attacked the Messerschmittwerke. 110 lives were lost, including whole families in the neighbouring settlement houses and about fifty concentration camp inmates. 60% of the plant was destroyed. At 22.00 sirens howled again as 248 British bombers created a 40-minute inferno of aerial mines and incendiary bombs which additionally turned the debris field into a sea of flames. An hour later came the third wave of assault. Another 290 British bombers again created burning chaos for 45 minutes. The inner city (especially Karls-, Ludwigstraße and the area around Wertachbrucker Tor) as well as the Jakobervorstadt, Lechhausen and Haunstetten were the hardest hit. The bombs killed 730 people that night alone, including 285 women and 78 children. Amongst the victims were 27 people who had drowned in a buried cellar when the Lech Canal overflowed. 
Augsburg nach kriegAdding to the 145 Allied airmen killed and the dead of the afternoon, the totals of the dead rose to nearly a thousand. More than 80,000 Augsburgers became homeless with most fleeing their burning neighborhoods at night or the next day.  Finally on April 28, 1945, units of the 7th American Army arrived in Augsburg without any resistance and established a base with several barracks, which was only completely abandoned by the withdrawal of the last troops in 1998. In order to defuse a 1.8-tonne bomb with 1.5 tonnes of explosives found on December 20, 2016 during construction work on Jakoberwallstrasse, a mass excavation took place on Christmas day 2016, affecting 54,000 people. A two mile diametre zone evacuated around the site of discovery in the historical centre.

Augsburg Stadttheater in August, 1934
The Stadttheater in August, 1934
From 1931 to 1936 Erich Pabst was the artistic director at the theatre. Whilst pretending to be absolutely politically neutral, his management was already strongly oriented towards the Nazis who purged and censored  the theatre of those deemed enemies through the Nazi theatre law. Among those was Paul Frankenburger, a Jew who had served as Kapellmeister since 1924 before fleeing to British Palestine in 1933 under the name Paul Ben Haim. Under Pabst plans were drawn up to rebuild the theatre, equip it with a wider facade and thus give the planned monumental parade street leading to the Gauforum an appropriate face. To advance this project, Hitler himself came to the theatre on September 24, 1935. This renovation now became a top priority. In 1936 the new general manager, Nazi Party member  Leon Geer, aligned the schedule more and more to Nazi guidelines. There was no longer any freedom of art. In 1936 Geer directed Schiller's Wilhelm Tell during which performance the actors implemented the Rütli oath as a Hitler salute. In 1937 the renovation of the theatre started. Hitler at Augsburg StadttheaterThe photo on the right shows Hitler in front of the Stadttheater on March 19, 1937. On the left is the Nazi mayor, Josef Mayer. The man in the coat is Gauleiter Karl Wahl whilst that in uniform with the tresses could either be Hitler's personal adjutant or the Augsburg police chief ϟϟ Brigadefuhrer Bernhard Stark. It was in a speech at Augsburg on November 21 that year that Hitler made the demand for colonies when he declared: "What the world shuts its ears to today it will not be able to ignore in a year's time. What it will not listen to now it will have to think about in three years' time, and in five or six it will have to take into practical consideration. We shall voice our demand for living-room in colonies more and more loudly till the world cannot but recognise our claim."
Hitler at the Augsburg Stadttheater
Hitler attending a performance at its re-opening May 24, 1939

Hitler visited the construction site three times before it opened, which showed how important the renovation was to him. Hitler had Professor Paul Baumgarten extensively remodel and elegantly furnish the theatre by 1939 in time for Hitler's  visit for its reopening. By this time Leon Geer, who had been loyal to the Nazis, was fired due to a lack of artistic quality and other allegations. Willy Becker replaced him only for the war to lead the Augsburg town administration to attempt to close the theatre. This was not done specifically due to Hitler's personal orders. Even when the war led to restrictions on stage operations in other cities, “Germany's most modern stage”, as the Augsburg Theatre was advertised, continued relatively unimpeded. For the Nazis in Augsburg, "[a] visit to the theatre is a cultural service to the people!" However, the shortage of staff due to conscription led to restrictions that were not planned. As early as the 1939-1940 season, only about half of the planned performances could take place. Nazis at Hitler Augsburg stadttheaterIn 1941 Becker dared to have the comedy "Das Lebenslängliche Kind" performed by Erich Kästner who had been prohibited from writing. He simply gave the comedy writer the name Robert Neuner as a pseudonym. In the further course of the war, cheerful pieces were usually played to lighten the mood. Nazi organisations often had their own ideas which led the ensemble to perform in front of the troops or play in hospitals. With the bombing on the night of February 25, 1944, the Augsburg Theatre was completely destroyed leading the town to establish an alternative platform in the Ludwigsbau. On the instructions of Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, the theatre closed in September 1944 which the director at the time, Walter Oehmichen, sought to prevent through an appeal to the mayor. My GIF on the right shows a Nazi demonstration outside the Stadttheater on March 23, 1933 and a neo-Nazi demonstration at the same site more recently on December 2, 2006.  
Bürgermeister Kellner speaking in the Goldener Saal of the rathaus in 1934 during the so-called Machtergreifung.
Bürgermeister Kellner speaking in the Goldener Saal of the rathaus in 1934 during the so-called Machtergreifung. In March 1933 the Nazis symbollicaly took the town hall for themselves despite having no majority in the city ​​council at the time. Without protest from the democratically elected city leaders, they hung the Nazi flag from its balcony. In the weeks that followed, they harassed communist and social democratic city councilors, but also those from the Bavarian People's Party (BVP). The city ​​council gradually became an acclamation organ. The British attacked the city with bombers in the night of February 25-26, 1944 and destroyed almost the entire city ​​centre. The town hall was also badly damaged in this bomb attack with only ruins left; everything was burned out inside. Looking at the reconstructed town hall in all its splendour today, one can hardly imagine such devastation as a result of the war. The facade was rebuilt soon after the war: between 1946 and 1948 the heavily destroyed town hall was secured with its second topping-out ceremony celebrated in May 1947. 
Augsburg rathaus nach kriegBetween 1950 to 1954, its external appearance was restored. Elias Holl's masterpiece was considered one of the world's most valuable town halls in terms of art history but, because it was destroyed in the war, is largely a copy which is why it is not included in the list of World Heritage Sites by Unesco. Before the war the town hall could only be seen between Philippine-Welser-Straße and Steingasse because of the dense and narrow development of the Rathausplatz. The facade renovation of the town hall was completed in 1955, when the 1000th anniversary of the battle of Lechfeld was held. When the interior work was largely completed, the somewhat restored town hall was inaugurated on April 18, 1962. Now all that was left was to restore the Golden Hall.
On the right is the same room today, showing how much has been reconstructed from so little. Up until 1944, the ornate ceiling of the hall had hung from its wooden roof structure 27 chains. The renovation after the war led to it being attached to a steel stone ceiling. The gold leaf used on the ceiling is 23 1/2 carats and whilst solid walnut boards used to form the ceiling, today it is blockboard that has been glued with three millimetre thick walnut veneers. Along with the town hall, the Golden Hall also fell victim to British bombing. For many decades after the war, the hall remained an undignified makeshift room: instead of the magnificent coffered ceiling, a simple wooden ceiling was installed, the portals were plain wooden doors, the walls were plastered white and an asphalt ceiling had been spread out on the floor. This room was used as an exhibition space until the 1960s. It wasn't until 1957 that the town launched a competition to redesign the space based on the requirements that the space would not only be a reconstruction of the past, but "as before express the character and dignity of the city." 36 designs were submitted, but fortunately none was accepted because they allegedly interfered too much with the existing room structure. It wasn't until 1996  that the Golden Hall was officially returned to the public in its original state.
Looking down at Augsburg's Rathausplatz from the Perlachturm in 1940 and today   Metzgplatz looking towards Rathausplatz
Looking down at Rathausplatz from the Perlachturm in 1940 and today; the right shows Metzgplatz looking towards Rathausplatz
Just from the train station down Prinzregentstr. is the Landratsamt (District administration office) with the reichsadler still above the door from which only the swastika has been chiseled out, state-protected by a mesh screen. The building dates from May 1938 and was used first as the Reich Railway Directorate, then until 1971 as the Federal Railway Directorate:
Nazi eagle reichsadler Augsburg
The building with an example of a vehicle registration plaque from the Landsrat during the Nazi era. Also on the façade behind me is what appears to be Nazi relief typical of the time for the German Workers' Front.
The Augsburg tax office on Peutingerstraße laid out the tax laws in paragraph 1, sentence 1 of its Tax Adjustment Act of October 1934: " The tax laws are interpreted by Nazi ideology." Citizens were asked to list the number of "Aryan" children they had whilst those seen as living outside the community- Jehovah's Witnesses, forced labourers , Sinti and Roma, Jews were targeted. In 1933 there were 126 Jewish-owned enterprises in Augsburg, including 20 of the industry and 55 wholesale companies. Their total number went back to 79 by the reprisals until 1938.  In the course of the November pogroms of 1938, on the morning of November 10, 1938, the synagogue built at Halderstraße from 1917 was set on fire. Jewish shops and private apartments were then devastated. The male Jewish fellow citizens were dragged into the concentration camp to force them to emigrate and confiscate their assets through the so-called Arisierung. The confiscation of Jewish property was initiated from the Alltagsgeschäft but later centralised with the start of the deportations in 1941. In 1985 the synagogue was reopened after a long restoration and was partly used as a Jewish museum.
Cleaning up the rubble and today
At the Jewish cemetery on Haunstetter Strasse, a memorial stone commemorates the approximately 400 murdered Augsburg victims of the Shoah. In addition to many other resistance fighters such as Bebo Wager, the SPD parliamentary deputy Clemens Högg was also killed during the Nazi period. During the war several external camps of the Dachau concentration camp were erected due to the decentralisation of the armament production of the Messerschmitt AG aircraft factory in Augsburg and the surrounding area. In the district of Kriegshaber there existed a women's camp for 500 Hungarian women in the area of today's Ulmerstrasse. In the district of Haunstetten a men's camp for 2,700 concentration camp prisoners was built in the area of a former gravel pit. After it was destroyed during the wartime bombing, a new men's camp was set up in an air-to-air barracks of Pfersee. Also in Gablingen there was a camp for a thousand prisoners as well as in Horgau. 235 of the prisoners were murdered by ϟϟ men or died of horrific, inhumane conditions and were buried at the Westfriedhof cemetery, where three memorial plaques commemorate them. In the spring of 1945, prisoners were driven out of the barracks of Pfersee to Klimmach in the spring of 1945, with many of them being killed.

The Fuggerhaus on Maximilanstrasse then and now with the building after the war on the right. After 1939 the Nazis wanted to rename Fuggerstrasse to "Strasse des Führers", but this intention was never achieved. Hitler had commissioned Hermann Giesler to deal with the design of Fuggerstrasse, which he did in the years 1939-41 after having submitted his plan for the Gauforum. This would have transformed Fuggerstrasse into a nearly fifty- metre wide parade street involving the destruction  of its six-row linden trees and the deep fronted gardens had to disappear. Nazi "tree experts" consequently declared the avenue to be "sick" without further ado. Giesler was able to have the trees cut down in 1939. Nor did he stop at the front gardens and have them removed, although some of these front gardens housed cafes . Only the outer row of avenues was planted with new linden trees which still stretch along Fuggerstrasse today.
The  Fuggerei - the world's oldest social housing complex still in use. The Fuggerei was donated on August 23, 1521 by Jakob Fugger as a residential settlement for needy citizens of Augsburg and built between 1516 and 1523 under the supervision of the architect Thomas Krebs. At that time, 52 apartments were built around the first six streets according to largely standardised layouts in the two-storey buildings passing through were generously planned for the conditions of the period of development. The concept of the Fuggerei was a very modern concept for self-help, intended for those who were threatened with poverty and who were day workers who could not manage their own household, for reasons such as disease. They were able to pursue their bread-making businesses and able to leave in the event of economic recovery. Until the twentieth century, Fuggerei was usually home to families with several children. Only "worthy arms" were allowed to enter the social settlement as beggars were not accepted according to the will of the founder. During the Thirty Years' War the Fuggerei was largely destroyed by the Swedes until 1642. From 1681 until his death in 1694 Franz Mozart, the great-grandfather of the composer, lived in the Fuggerei which a plaque inside commemorates. Extensions of the Fuggerei took place in the years 1880 and 1938. During the war, the settlement was destroyed by a British air raid attack during the so-called Augsburger Bombennacht of February 25-26, 1944. Already by March 1, 1944, the Fürstlich and Gräflich Fuggersche family senate decided in writing to rebuild the Fuggerei. From 1945 onwards the social settlement was rebuilt according to the plans of Raimund von Doblhoff by means of the foundation, so that in 1947 the first buildings could be reused. In the 1950s reconstruction was completed. Until 1973, the Fuggerei was extended to a total of 67 houses with 140 apartments on additional adjacent ruins.

Nazi reliefs still adorning façades
Nazi reliefs in Augsburg
Theodor Wiedemann Strasse 35 still has two Nazi reliefs- the one on the left shows a relief representing a link between the Roman Empire and the Third Reich whilst the right shows a tank and the warship below a representation of the air force bombing from above and the German army all within the ægis of the Nazi eagle. The tank and lightning are aligned towards the east whilst the eagle directs its gaze towards France. The relief found at Firnhaberstrasse 53 at the bottom-right shows a stylised representation of a Messerschmidt BF 109 - the most important fighter of the Luftwaffe.
According to 'Taff' Simon of Dark History Tours here in Munich during one of his archaeological digs in Augsburg, 
this spot is not ten minutes walk away. I'll go back and finish taking photos with a full battery. In retrospect I should have asked the old boy if he had an air raid shelter for a basement. On my walk up, I spotted an escape hatch in a hedge - this would go under the Kleingarten, and theoretically could be associated with the BDM/HJ apartments.


Nazi reliefs still adorning façades
Above the doors at Richthofen Strasse are reliefs representing the Deutschen Arbeitsfront, Hitlerjugend and the NS Frauenschaft; only the swastikas have been removed from the devices.
The huge Nazi eagle overlooking Reinöhlstrasse, recently repainted as seen on the GIF on the right taken during visits over several years
Nazi reliefs in Augsburg 
Reliefs celebrating the 1936 Olympic Games at Gentnerstrasse 53-59; note the Hitler hairstyle in the relief on the bottom-right.
I hadn't heard of this 'Augsburg Liberation Movement' which consisted of about a dozen men which helped the American 3rd Infantry Division 'liberate' the town from the Germans (apparently only after it became clear the war was days from being lost) until I came across this plaque. Google-searching the group in English found only one entry for it. When the 7th American Infantry Division approached Wertingen Augsburg from the west, they distributed leaflets telling the people to hoist white flags. "Save your old town and its inhabitants from the rain of steel that threatens Augsburg with destruction." City Commander General Fehn had 800 more men available and refused to surrender, building barricades on bridges and underpasses. Wertach and Lech bridges were to have been blown up but mayor Mayr did not give the order for the prepared blasts. The resistance group around Dr. Rudolf Lang, a senior physician at the main hospital in Augsburg, had prepared the delivery of the city through negotiations with the Gauleiter, Mayr and General Fehn and then made contact with the Americans.
Augsburg  Annahof in 1930
The Annahof in 1930 
Franz Hesse had cycled to Westheim and had agreed to the transfer; by the morning he led a number of tanks and jeeps into the city to the command bunker in Riedingerhaus on the hauptstrasse where the Stadtwerkehaus is. In front of the Riedingerhaus, other members of the Freiheitsaktion were waiting. A small troop of American soldiers entered the bunker, gave Fehn an ultimatum that passed, and arrested him and Mayr thus ending Augsburg's war on the morning of April 28th. The American Combat report of the day honours the initiatives of the Freedom Action, whose role Wahl played down after the war in order to make his more luminous. "Augsburg was largely preserved from the complete destruction that came from Aschaffenburg, Würzburg, Heilbronn, Nuremberg and Ulm thanks to a unique revolutionary movement that greatly facilitated the invasion of American troops." 
After the war Adolf-Hitler-Platz was renamed Königsplatz again; Benito-Mussolini-Platz became Kaiserplatz; Braunauer Strasse became Kolbergstrasse whilst Braunauer Platz became Nettelbeck-Platz and Brucknerstrasse was changed to Mendelsohn-Strasse. Schools were also renamed with Horst Wessel School now Hammerschmiedschule, Hans Schemm School becaming the Hall School and Andreas Weit School became a butcher's school.
Augsburg synagogue Standing outside the synagogue. In 1933 there were 1,033 Jews living in Augsburg comprising 0.6% of the 176 000 inhabitants. About 175 companies in the town had Jewish owners. On a plaque in the synagogue are the names of twenty four "sons of the community" who died in the Great War for their country.  In 1913 the local Jewish community had the architects Lömpel and Landauer built this synagogue in the town centre which was dedicated in 1917. Described as "possibly the most significant art nouveau synagogue in Europe" it was seriously damaged during Kristallnacht but survived before finally reopening in 1985. From the start of the Nazi era Jews were targetted- among the 600 first arrested in those opening months included four Jewish lawyers placed in "protective custody", probably because they had many Social Democrats among their clients including Dr. Ludwig Dreyfuss who had been mayor of Augsburg. Others arrested were Dr. Julius Nördlinger; Guido Nora, the secretary-general of the city theatre; and Max Gift, the the managing director of the department store Landauer and brother of the actress Therese Giese. From her we know that he fled to South America where he died. 
Before the war. On April 1, 1933 the first organised boycott of Jewish businesses took place throughout Germany. In a leaflet, Augsburg citizens were called on to enter none of the 43 listed shops. The SA made a visit to the shops, doctors' surgeries and law offices a test of courage. To prevent any critical reporting, the Neue Augsburger Zeitung was banned from March 30 to April 4. In early 1934, the Landauer department store on the Bürgermeister-Fischer-Straße, Schwabia's largest department store, was forced to fire 114 employees. Julius Landauer sold his business in the summer of 34 to Albert Golisch. A "legal" form of persecution was provided by the "Law on the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" of April 7, 1933. All officials of Jewish descent could be dismissed as well as the 'politically unreliable'. Usually having a Jewish grandparent was enough to lose one's position.
The synagogue after the war, with the signs reading "Entry Forbidden for the General Public", but also mentioning a Jewish Service on Friday and Sunday.  By early 1938, 180 Jews had left Augsburg. As mentioned above, Kristallnacht saw the synagogue set on fire. Given that in the immediate vicinity there was a petrol station and 'Aryan' houses, the fire department extinguished it, thus at least preserving one of the most magnificent synagogues in Germany; an Art Nouveau jewel. Roughly an hundred Jews were sent to Dachau and only released if they undertook to emigrate. Those in the old folks' home on Frohsinnstraße 21 had to leave their homes within a few hours before the house was confiscated. By 1941 it was forbidden for Jews to emigrate after 560 had already managed to do so. Several hundred Jewish Augsburgers were deported to the East and murdered in Auschwitz, Piasti, Riga and Theresienstadt; the figures vary between 458 and 613. In the memorial in the rathaus are the names of about 700 murdered. The last pre-war chairman of the Augsburg Jewish community, Eugen Strauss, wrote in 1956 whilst in exile in the United States on the Progromnacht: "We belonged to what was spilled in Germany, what we, the displaced Jews in us, could take with us: the classical humanistic education with which we grew up in Germany."
Hitler at Augsburg bahnhof Hitler at Augsburg bahnhof
Nearby is the main railway station- Hitler at the Augsburger Hauptbahnhof November 21, 1937 and today, remarkably unchanged

Augsburg was also the setting for Göring's surrender to the allies; here is colour footage of Göring's first day as a prisoner in the town.
May 11, 1945, he was taken out of the back door of the two-storey suburban house in Augsburg to meet fifty Allied newspapermen. Gripping a pair of matching grey suede gloves, he slumped into an easy chair and mopped at his brow as the shutters clicked. After five minutes they allowed him to move into the thin shade of a willow tree. The questioning resumed. Heaping blame for the first time in public on Martin Bormann, he insisted that it must have been Bormann and not Hitler who had nominated Dönitz as the new Führer. “Hitler,” rasped Göring, “did not leave a thing in writing saying that Dönitz was to take his place!”
He publicly revealed that he had opposed Hitler’s attack on Russia. “I pointed out to him,” said Göring, “his own words in Mein Kampf concerning a two-front war. . . . But Hitler believed that by the year’s end he could bring Russia to her knees.” He revealed to the newspapermen his unhappiest moment of the war. “The greatest surprise of the war to us was the long- range fighter bomber that could take off from England, attack Berlin, and return to its home base. I realised,” he added disarmingly, “that the war was lost shortly after the invasion of France and the subsequent breakthrough.”
Asked inevitably about the Nazi extermination camps, Göring was dismissive. “I was never so close to Hitler as to have him express himself to me on this subject,” he said. He was sure that these atrocity reports were “merely propaganda. Hitler,” he concluded, recalling that trembling right hand signing the documents, “had something wrong with his brain the last time I saw him.”
Irving (691) Göring: A Biography

Annakirche einst und jetzt  
The Annakirche einst und jetzt and the interior before and after its bombing   
Stephansplatz with what was left of the church and cloister by October 1947 and today.
Stephansplatz with what was left of the church and cloister by October 1947 and today. On the right is the Wertachbrucker Tor as it appeared before the war and after its 1998 restoration.
This was the hometown of Nazi politician Franz Xaver Schwarz and the infamous "angel of death" Josef Mengele, ϟϟ officer and Auschwitz physician. The town's memorial to the victims of the concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele, composed of a display board around which single eyes (around 50 created by pupils from Dossenberger-Gymnasium) and pairs of eyes (around 25 by the 6th form art foundation course pupils from Maria-Ward-Gymnasium) are grouped. The single eyes and pairs of eyes were modelled from clay in lessons and baked after air drying. From the “clay eyes”, the foundry finished the final step of making silicon formed wax models, through the manufacturing of moulds. The memorial was unveiled on March 8, 2005. According to Mengele's son Rolf, his father returned to the Gunzburg area toward the end of 1948 and stayed in the nearby forests until the spring of 1949. Mengele told Irene that he expected her and Rolf to follow once he had established himself in Buenos Aires. But Irene would not agree to go with him. Mengele's flight was arranged and paid for by his family through former ϟϟ contacts in the Günzburg area.
This was a town that had driven out its 309 resident Jews after the Nazis came to power. There was a widespread readiness to believe that the allegations against Mengele were false. And broadcasts across Germany by the overseas service of the BBC claiming that the ϟϟ had engaged in monstrous acts of carnage, were viewed as Allied victory propaganda.
Günzburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now. Hitler himself had, on October 11 1932, launched a campaign comparable in magnitude to his “Flights over Germany” in the Mengele factory. Today the so-called 'Guenzburg Question' continues to be raised by the allegation that Mengele lived openly after the war here in his hometown under his own name. This claim implies at least ignorance and at worst acquiescence or complicity on the part of American authorities stationed there. 
 According to the census of May 1939, the city of Guenzburg had a population of 6,949. During the war, the population grew to about 10,500, swelled by individuals fleeing to Guenzburg from areas that had been destroyed through intensive Allied bombing, as well as by workers, including foreign labourers, assigned to local armaments firms. Guenzburg escaped significant damage until April 9, 1945, when a Messerschmitt factory located there was the target of a large Allied bombing raid. Two further air raids, on April 15 and April 19, destroyed the rail yard
Günzburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz
The Sparkasse at Brentano-Haus on Hitler-Platz and the square today
s and disrupted public utilities. Guenzburg was the seat of Landkreis Guenzburg, a county made up of 67 separate communities with a total population at the end of the war of approximately 45,000. Located in Schwaben, Guenzburg lay in the westernmost part of Bavaria. Primarily agricultural, the most significant industry in Guenzburg was the Mengele factory, producer of agricultural equipment. Although not as large as it is today, the Mengele factory prior to and during the war was a significant economic factor in Guenzburg. The Mengele family, as a result, exercised considerable influence in the town and was well known by all. As a part of the initial activity of the Military Government following Germany's surrender, the city administration was purged of active Nazis, streets were renamed, and a welfare office was established. For the first phase of the occupation, in addition to the Military Government Detachment, an American Army infantry regiment was stationed in Guenzburg.
Günzburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz Immediately following the war, and for several years, the Mengele name and power were less a factor in Guenzburg life than previously or since, a decline due in part to the fate of the Mengele family. The head of the family, Karl Mengele, was arrested by the Americans at the end of April because of his position as the Kreiswirtschaftsberater (District economic advisor) and was interned, first in Ludwigsburg, north of stuttgart, and later at Moosburg in Bavaria. Two of his three sons were far from home: Alois was a prisoner of war in Yugoslavia, and Josef was, as far as the family claimed to know, "somewhere in the east." Karl's wife "Wally," his daughter-in-law Irene (Josef's wife), and grandson, Rolf (Josef's son), had moved to the small village of Autenried, not far from Guenzburg. Karl, Jr., who had received a draft deferment because his service with the Mengele firm was considered essential war duty, stepped down from the firm because he suspected, rightly, that he would place it in jeopardy by remaining with it. Günzburg Adolf-Hitler-Platz NS-zeitHe was the subject of a prolonged denazification procedure, the result of which left him banned from the Mengele premises. Karl, Jr., handed general management over to Hans Sedlmaier, whose loyalty to the family was unquestioned. Despite the post-war absence of anyone from the Mengele family in a position of power, for those who lived in Guenzburg before the war, the Mengele name still held an almost mythic quality. Known for his philanthropy, Karl, Sr., was reputed to have placed sausages in the windows of the poor people of the town. As the major employer, the Mengele factory meant food on the table for a large number of Guenzburg families.

The town of Nördlingen was unknowingly built inside a meteorite impact crater, and now all of the buildings are composed of tiny diamonds. 
Nordlingen town hall and Zur Sonne in 1935The town hall and Zur Sonne in 1935 and standing in front today. Four days after Hitler's appointment as Chancellor, torchbearers of the SA and ϟϟ from Nördlingen, Oettingen, Wallerstein, Wemding and other nearby villages marched alongside a drum corps and the Nördlingen city band through the city centre. In the Hotel Deutsches Haus Theodor Hippler was announced the Reichsbahninspektor and Nazi Kreisleiter, proclaiming that a new chapter of German history had begun, which will be "once overwritten: dawn on Germany". The hotel itself was bombed on the night of October 12-13, 1941 when the mediæval town experienced the force of modern warfare for the first time as British airmen became aware of a light in the town centre. The main wing of the Deutschen Haus hotel with its dining rooms and guest rooms on the ground floor and the guest rooms on the upper floors located on the north side of Löpsinger Straße became the target that night. Under the rubble were four dead and four seriously injured. A second explosive bomb hit the courtyard of the restaurant "Zum Rad" that night, damaging the roof. In the spring of 1945, a total of 33 people were killed in air raids at the end of the war. The station and several dwellings were destroyed and the St. George church was heavily damaged. The almost complete rest of the historic old town remained spared.
   From 1945 Nördlingen belonged to the American occupation zone. The American military administration set up a DP camp which was run by the UNRRA and housed about five hundred DPs, most of whom coming from Latvia and Lithuania. More than 4,500 home-displaced persons settled in Nördlingen after the war.
Nordlingen rathaus Nordlingen townhall
Nordlingen Richard B. Adams
Wife and son on the stairs of the rathaus which date from 1618- the year the Thirty Years War broke out- and the same stairs as depicted in 1927 by the painter Richard B. Adams (now in the stadtmuseum). It was not until the first year of the war in 1939 that the town's population reached the level it had been at the start of the Thirty Years War in 1618. I highly recommend the animated historical documentary series created by Toutube channel Kings and Generals; this one on the Thirty Years' War concerns the Second Battle of Nordlingen in 1645 in the aftermath of the battle of Jankow. The rathaus itself has been used continuously since 1382.

Hitler spoke in Nördlingen on October 11, 1932 attacking von Papen’s Government:
Either they govern as we wish—then we will bear the responsibility—or they do not govern as we wish—then the others bear the responsibility. I do not believe in any regime which is not anchored in the Volk itself. I do not believe in an economic regime. One cannot build a house from the top, one must begin at the bottom. The foundations of the State are not the Government, but rather the Volk. And my answer to the bourgeois parties and politicians who have been sleeping since November 1918 while National Socialism has been working is this: now your time is up, now it’s our turn. When Herr von Papen says: “Herr Hitler, you are only here because there is a crisis,” my answer is, “Yes, and if good fortune were here, I would not be needed, and I would not be here, either!”
On June 18, 1940, Hitler had met in Munich with Mussolini. On the way Hitler's special train stopped briefly for roughly ten minutes at the main Nördlinger railway station. The Nazi district leadership had been informed in time, and managed to organise about a thousand people to cheers at the station with barrier posts barely able to push people away from the special train. The schoolchildren had been specially released from school to see Hitler and a BdM girl handed a bouquet of flowers to the dictator. Soon after Augsburger Straße was renamed after Mussolini. The following month an infantry regiment was quartered in the city, and the arrival of the soldiers became a local spectacle with the marketplace crowded with onlookers around the specially constructed podium. Deputies from the party, their divisions and associations took part along with wounded from the Maria Stern reserve hospital and their nurses. The regiment had marched 1,200 kilometres from France to Nördlingen.
During the war prices for basic foodstuffs increased dramatically so that eggs for some were no longer affordable. Up to 85 reichsmarks had to be paid for suckling pigs on the Nördlingen pig market an increase of fifty percent from peacetime. Not even during the hay harvest was even enough beer delivered. The increasing bottlenecks in the food supply, led the Nazis to focus on the management of fallow land. In April 1940 Nördlingen joined Hermann Göring's exhortation to provide fallow land for the use of the gas factory.
 Nordlingen Deininger Tor       Nordlingen Löpsinger Tor
Seeking refuge from the rain at the Deininger Tor and an earlier comparison of the Löpsinger Tor
Nordlingen Bergertor Nordlingen Bergertor
The Bergertor from both sides
Nordlingen Wengers Brettl Nordlingen Wengers Brettl   Nordlingen stolpersteine
The I've stayed in then and now- the Wengers Brettl. In front of the building next to it are these stoplerstein- reminders of the Jewish family who lived next door and later murdered in the Holocaust.  Jewish families had resided in Nördlingen since the Middle Ages, burying their dead in the Jewish cemetery on Nähermemminger. Jews were recorded as living in Nördlingen in the 13th century Jews, forced to leave entire 1,507 had to leave all city, only returning in 1860. The synagogue built in 1885 on Kreuzgasse was destroyed by SA men during the November pogrom of 1938, commemorated by a memorial plaque on today's Protestant parish hall. In the fall of 1945 200 of the 260 tombs were restored in work assignments by former party members on the orders of the American occupiers. A memorial stone dating from 1979 in the Jewish cemetery also commemorates the event.
Nordlingen reichsadler Nordlingen reichsadler
The reichsadler remains in situ on top of the Art Nouveau Kriegerbrunnen, created in 1902 by the Munich sculptor Georg Wrba and inaugurated on September 7 of the same year. It is located on the Rübenmarkt, in the immediate vicinity of St. George's Church.  The Kriegerbrunnen was built to commemorate the Franco-German War on the site of a former so-called Judenbrunnen. The numerous design elements include an eagle on the fountain top, water-spouting busts of Rieser farmers as well as representations of the battles of the German-French War and its protagonists, including Helmuth von Moltke and Otto von Bismarck.Nordlingen View from the Holzmarkt from a Nazi-era painting of 1936 by Friedrich Gabler
View from the Holzmarkt from a Nazi-era painting of 1936 by Friedrich Gabler and today. 
Jewish families had lived in Nördlingen since the Middle Ages. They buried their dead in the Jewish cemetery on Nahermemminger Weg and built their new synagogue in Kreuzgasse 1 in 1885 which was all but destroyed by SA thugs during the November pogrom of 1938, which is commemorated by a plaque on today's Evangelical parish hall. Since 1979, a memorial stone in the Jewish cemetery has commemorated the Jewish citizens who were victims of the Holocaust. 
It wasn't until 1939 that Nördlingen again reached the population of 1618 at the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, an historical turning point of which was the siege of Nördlingen and the subsequent battle of Nördlingen in 1634, in which the Swedish-Protestant forces were decisively defeated by the imperial - Habsburg troops for the first time. The city had to open up to the victors, but was not plundered by the victorious troops after high reparation payments. However, during and after the siege, the city lost more than half of its population to starvation and disease. Also in the War of Spanish Succession , the city was affected by the effects of the nearby Battles of Höchstädtaffected. After the war, trade shifted to the seaports - another reason why Nördlingen lost its importance as a trading centre. Due to the forced standstill, the medieval townscape was well preserved.
Nordlingen Brettermarkt in 1918 Nordlingen Engelapotheke Nordlingen Altes Gerberhaus 
LEFT: The Brettermarkt in 1918 on the left and today. CENTRE: Engelapotheke. RIGHT: The Altes Gerberhaus

Battle of DonauwörthThe site of the Battle of Schellenberg (or Battle of Donauwörth) on July 2 1704, during the War of the Spanish SuccessionJohn Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, was marching from Flanders to Bavaria and came to the Danube river. The French decided to make a crossing of the Danube at this spot at Donauwörth, where they were surprised by Marlborough's troops and after heavy fighting pulled back, allowing Marlborough to capture Donauwörth and cross the Danube at ease. About five thousand French troops drowned whilst trying to escape. As for the 22,000 Allied troops engaged, over 5,000 had become casualties, overwhelming the hospitals that Marlborough had set up in Nördlingen. Amongst the fatalities were six lieutenant-generals, four major-generals, and 28 brigadiers, colonels and lieutenant-colonels, reflecting the exposed positions of senior officers as they led their men forward in the assaults; no other action in the War of the Spanish Succession claimed so many lives of senior officers. Such heavy casualty figures caused consternation throughout the Grand Alliance and whilst the Dutch cast a victory medal showing Baden on the obverse and a Latin inscription on the other side, there was no mention of the Duke of Marlborough although the Emperor wrote personally to the Duke: "Nothing can be more glorious than the celerity and vigour with which ... you forced the camp of the enemy at Donauwörth".
Donauwörth unter dem hakenkreuzThe High Street then and now. During the war the American 20th Armoured Division were poised to cross the Danube River at this spot on April 26, 1945. As Rich Mintz relates, early that morning engineers from an outside Division began constructing a treadway bridge across the river. At approximately 14.30 tanks of the 27th Tank Btn., C CO., 1st Platoon, began crossing the bridge under heavy artillery fire that rained shrapnel from overhead. As it reached the final section of the bridge, the weight of the lead tank, named “Pawnee,” began pulling the first section of the bridge away from the embankment. As Pawnee's rear-end struggled into the water and the crew (but for the driver, who stayed behind) evacuated for shore, subsequent tanks were ordered upriver. Hence, “Pinto” was the 1st to cross the Danube, gleefully fording at a shallow point and thus circumventing all the hours of bridge construction which had preceded. Pinto then pulled Pawnee across the threshold, wherein Pawnee's driver, T/4 John W. Nairn, earned the Bronze Star for fortitude and presence under fire, in saving both tank and pontoon bridge. After the repair and construction of an additional bridge, the 27th continued to cross, and turned South. 
Fuggerhaus Donauwörth Farbertor
The Fuggerhaus and Färbertor during the Nazi era and today.
Donauwörth NS-zeit Hitler visited the town three times although there is little information concerning his visits to Donauwörth apart from two newspaper articles that report a rally in April 1932 and one concerning a passage he made in a special train in May 1938. The former took place at a time when Hitler was trying to persuade the conservative rural population of his policies as part of his presidential campaign, The visit to Donauwörth was scheduled for April 16, 1932 - the year before the Nazis came to power. The Donauhalle with a capacity of 4,500 people had to be closed just one hour after admission due to overcrowding, and around 8,000 visitors had come to hear him speak. The remaining visitors were accommodated in the surrounding barns, where the events were broadcast via loudspeakers. Numerous people from different social groups came to hear as Hitler kept his listeners waiting. Earlier he had given a speech in Augsburg. When Hitler finally arrived at the Donauhalle after a delay of three and a half hours, the crowd burst into applause which repeated after his short speech, which had nothing to do with the actual political topic of the evening. The 1938 visit took place after a state visit to Italy when Hitler's special train was supposed to pass Donauwörther Bahnhof on May 10, 1938. At the behest of the Nazi district leadership, the communities on the railway line were instructed to fly flags and related decorations. Schools, formations, political directors, Hitler Youth and the Association of German Girls took part as well, accompanied by a large number of onlookers which included the employees of the neighbouring machine factory, all equipped with Nazi flags and pennants. When the special train appeared, there was great jubilation, accompanied by salutes, even though Hitler never bothered to appear at the window being too tired, as it was later said in the state press.
The GIF on the right shows the view of the High Street from the town hall entrance during the Nazi era and today. Donauwörth  Third Reich Through his research Lucas Hell managed to come across a short stay by Hitler in June 1940 during which time Hitler had had direct contact with the population which had only heard about his third visit on June 18, 1940 an hour earlier. After a short-term meeting with Mussolini in Munich, his special train stopped in Donauwörth on the way back. Within a very short time several hundred people had gathered at the station square. The entrance of the train was accompanied by shouts of "Sieg Heil"; this time Hitler went to the window to greet the cheering crowd, shaking many hands and accepting bouquets of flowers. He paid special attention to the children. After he had withdrawn from the window, people began to call out: "Dear leader be so nice, show yourself on the window sill". Even weeks later, this visit to the press was celebrated as a major historical event.
 Nevertheless, Hans-Leipelt-Schule in Donauwörth commemorates one who resisted- on October 13, 1944, Hans Konrad Leipelt was sentenced to death by the People's Court in Donauwörth for "military degradation and sedition" and subsequently executed in Stadelheim prison on January 29, 1945. Leipelt was 23 years old, having studied chemistry in Munich. He received the sixth leaflet of the White Rose on February 18, 1943, the very day on which Hans and Sophie Scholl were handed over to the Gestapo. In late summer 1943, he and his girlfriend Marie-Luise Jahn raised money for the destitute family of the murdered White Rose participant Professor Kurt Huber. When Leipelt heard of the death sentences for the siblings Scholl and Christoph Probst, he continued to resist under the motto: "And their spirit still lives on!" They were eventually betrayed and arrested along with other comrades-in-arms. Leipelt, who was considered a "half-Jew", was sentenced to death. Jahn received twelve years in prison. Other friends from the chemical institute of Nobel laureate Heinrich Wieland who were involved in the resistance were sentenced to prison terms.
Donauwörth nach kriegDonauwörth suffered shortly before the end of the war on April 11 and 19, 1945 from two air raids of the 8th and 9th US airfleet resulting in nearly 300 dead. The surroundings of the train station and the city centre were almost flattened. The inner city was destroyed to about three quarters. On April 11, 1945, at 12:30 pm. American bombers reached Donauwörth resulting in what Lord Mayor Armin Neudert recently declared as Donauwörth's "blackest day in town history". The two Allied air raids claimed 285 people according to research conducted by the city archive - most of them civilians. Roughly 75% of the town was destroyed, including 258 houses with another 253 badly damaged. This left 520 families bombed out and forced to live with relatives or others in the city or in the surrounding area. About seven hundred people were left without shelter by the last days of the war. Only four days before the first attack, Donauwörth had been appointed by the leadership of Military District VII in Munich to be a key focus of the Danube Defence through the "collection of scattered soldiers" on the Danube. Together with cities such as Ingolstadt, Dillingen and Günzburg, people here spoke martially about the "Donaufront". In fact, only a few Grenadier replacement and training battalions, often comprising of child soldiers, were provided with which to stop the arriving American tanks and aircraft. ϟϟ-Führer and Donauwörther councilor Friedrich Arlt played a leading role in the organisation of students and old men of the Volkssturm. 
Donauwörth rathausplatz
The view from Rathausplatz.
The Danube was an important milestone for the Americans - after crossing the Rhine by their troops, it seemed only a matter of time before they could reach it.  The bombers flew ahead of the tanks not, according to town archivist Ottmar Seuffert, intended as a bombardment to break morale as in Dresden, but as a "strategic bombing" with the main objectives station and bridges. Whatever the motivation, the civilian population was the main target. Even after the heavy bombing, soldiers resisted in and around Donauwörth, despite apparently faced with a completely hopeless situation. However, the end of the war in the region was terrible for the citizens as well as for those who had suffered systematically under the tyranny regime for a long time - like the concentration camp inmates. Two so-called "evacuation marches" through Donauwörth are registered; in addition, there was an external camp of the Dachau concentration camp with about 300 to 600 inmates. As early as March, almost everything was in disarray.  At noon on April 25, the American tanks attacked the Donauwörth bridgehead with the so-called "Donaufront" long gone. The end of the war in Donauwörth was sealed on May 1, when the American military government in Donauwörth appointed a new district administrator and mayor. 

The Christuskirche flying the Nazi banner and today when I visited in July 1923 where it has recently courted controversy after one of its paintings was identified as showing Hitler beside Christ, shown below. Recent cleaning of the painting - first unveiled when the Christus Church in the northern Bavarian city of Hof was consecrated in 1939 - shows an uncanny likeness to the former Führer. There is the toothbrush moustache, the hair parted on one side and the staring, maniacal eyes which made him a dark Messiah to so many Germans. Evangelical pastor Martin Goelkel, who recently left after eight years at the church some call the 'Nazi Temple,' believes the likeness is just a coincidence but its discovery so long after it was painted is causing a stir among his flock.  "Some people have called this a Nazi place over the years but
I don't think this is true. It was designed and inaugurated in a severe time for Germany, no question, but if I interpret the pictures correctly they are now about the glorification of the powerful during this time. On the contrary; the individual is made aware that his life belongs to Christ no matter how powerful he feels personally - there is another power over him, a stronger power. This is no Hitler homage, in my eyes. We find people asking something of Christ, there is someone kneeling before him. God resists the proud, but the humble he gives his grace to. Hitler, however, stands imperiously at the side, alone, wearing boots, his robe somehow militaristic. Haughty and arrogant. He looks like a rabbit before slaughter. He is a man on the edge, an outsider."  He claims that in all the years that the church has been open for worship no-one has objected to the Hitler painting near the altar. But now there are rumblings of discontent with some parishioners calling for him to be erased.  "It isn't right under any circumstances that the biggest mass killer in history should be featured in a painting in a house of Christian worship," one of the flock said in a recent interview on Radio Bavaria.  Pastor Goelkel added that he thought the painting should not be removed. "This image is a central challenge to Nazism: Christ is in the middle. The powerful can stand idle as much as they want," he said.
A plaque at the site of the old synagogue commemorating the Jewish community persecuted during the Nazi era of the Jewish inhabitants in the Shoah. Dating from 1927 and built on Hallplatz near the old train station, it became the target of attacks in the years that followed before eventually being completely destroyed in the November pogrom of 1938; the inventory was burned, shown being carted away in the inset photo. These pogroms in Hof began in the early morning hours of November 10, 1938, and mainly involved officers from the Hof Police Headquarters, the Allgemeine SS and SA men. In addition to the synagogue, retailers and private homes were the main targets of the attacks. Of the approximately eighty Jews in Hof at the time, a dozen were arrested. Most of the Jews left the city, so that in 1939 only seven Jewish residents were counted. After the war, no former Hofer Jew returned, but about 1,400 Jews were stranded in Hof as a result of expulsion at the Moschendorf reception camp. After the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, only a small community of 40 to 50 people remained, growing in the 1990s to around 400 by 2010 due to the influx of Jewish quota refugees from the successor states of the Soviet Union. 

Wemding Adolf-Hitler-StraßeAdolf-Hitler-Straße and today. A curious story happened in December 1932 when a businessman from Wemding had found out that the Nazi party chairman was in Eichstätt and travelled there with his daughter to have her present him with flowers. In the "Waldschlösschen" he made some sort of disturbance which led the police to take him into custody and later to the hospital. When the man calmed down the next day, he was allowed to return to Wemding. The war would result in 116 killed and sixty missing. In April 1945 sixteen buildings were destroyed during warfare and a further seventy were damaged. On April 24-25, 1945, American soldiers occupied Wemding and Amerbach. As a result of the admission of more than two thousand refugees and home-displaced persons in the city, the population rose to almost 5,000 people by 1950. The post-war period was characterised by housing shortages, food shortages and low employment opportunities.

Dillingen Adolf Hitler Straße Adolf Hitler Straße, now Königstraße, with the Mitteltorturm. The town was among many discussed in passing on this site which was involved in the witch mania. During the witch persecution from 1574 to 1745 in particular, 65 people were indicted in Dillingen, of whom most of the accused did not survive the process. In 1587 a housewife was burned alive at the stake. The last victim of the witch trials was Barbara Zielhauser in 1745. A plaque commemorating her fate was organised by the Rotary Club, which was unveiled on December 12, 1994 in the Dillingen castle courtyard against the resistance of the Episcopal Ordinariate. The plaque makes a direct reference to the Nazi persecution of Jews through the image of a shield of David with the legend '1933 to 1945' and the Novemberpogrom of 1938.
A 25-minute coloured home movie recently appeared in Aichach showing a local Nazi Party conference at district level recorded between April 27 to May 1, 1938 which attracted thousands of visitors. It was filmed by a local teacher, the head of the district picture office; a third of it is in colour- representing the first colour film recordings from the town. As Christoph Lang, Director of the Aichach City Museum stated, "[w]e didn't even know this film existed. We were approached by an elderly lady, the filmmaker's daughter, asking if we could tell her where we could have this film digitised." In order to digitise the three rolls of film, each individual image was scanned in the media laboratory at the University of Jena. The University of Augsburg , where a master's thesis on the film has already been written. The GIF on the left shows the Lower Gate serving as a backdrop during the event in which the film shows Nazi flags dominating the town, even flying from the tower of the parish church, as troop after troop formations of the various Nazi groups marched through the streets from the ϟϟ Totenkopf units of the Dachau concentration camp to the Reich Labour Service, shouldering their shovels like assault rifles.  
My GIF on the right shows the town hall from the south side as it appears in the film and today. According to Aichach historian Willi Artmeier, the film represented "a stroke of luck," demonstrating how the Nazis presented themselves in the provinces, especially in an area where their successes were rather limited until 1938, such as in the Catholic Aichach. It is known that such district councils were very common, especially in Upper Bavaria according to  Lang, but there is no other documentation of this kind anywhere else.
From 1919 to 1933, Aichach was one of the district offices with the lowest percentage of Nazi Party votes; the largest party was the Bavarian People's Party (BVP).
The town hall again in another Nazi event. Kershaw quotes a report of the Kreisleiter of Aichach dated March 31, 1939 after the invasion of Bohemia and Moravia in which "[p]eople rejoiced in the great deeds of the Führer and look up to him with confidence. But the hardships and worries of everyday life are so great that the mood is soon clouded again."
 Aichach was never bombed during the war.  Aichach during the war housed the only women's prison in southern Germany as well as the largest in Bavaria, used by the Nazi state for political prisoners who had just escaped the death penalty. Opened in 1909, the number of imprisoned women more than tripled under the Nazis from 691 prisoners in 1933 to 2,000 by 1945, not including the thousand women in the satellite camps. One of the inmates at the time was the well-known Viennese architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky sentenced to fifteen years for "preparing to commit high treason". In 1939 Schütte-Lihotzky joined the Austrian Communist Party (KPÖ) and in December 1940 travelled back to Vienna to secretly contact the Austrian communist resistance movement, agreeing to meet a leading Resistance member nicknamed "Gerber", Erwin Puschmann, and help set up a communications line. She met him at the Cafe Viktoria where they were surprised and arrested by the Gestapo only 25 days after her arrival. She was finally liberated by the Americans April 29, 1945.
'Asocial women were forcibly sterilised- local historian Franz Josef Merkl has established at least 110- and more than 360 women from "safety detention" were sent to Auschwitz.
The Upper Gate in Aichach from a Nazi-era postcard and today, built around 1418. The tower keeper 's apartment was on the upper floor. The eastern pedestrian passage was created in 1941 during the war. 
Aichach is where Ilse Koch, the so-called Witch of Buchenwald,” killed herself on September 2 , 1967 in the women's prison. She had been the wife of the camp commander of the Buchenwald concentration camp, Karl Otto Koch. They had married at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp when Karl Koch was its commander. Ilse Koch was notorious among the concentration camp prisoners, said to have hit inmates with a riding crop whilst on horseback inside the prison camp although witnesses like the camp inmate and later author Eugen Kogonhowever testified in the Dachau court hearing that they themselves had never seen Ilse Koch enter the prisoner area, which was shielded by a barbed wire fence. What is certain is that, unlike other ϟϟ wives, she often witnessed punishments as a spectator, which is why she undoubtedly had knowledge of the atrocities committed there and "her attitude towards the human misery in the camp was [at best] cold indifference". As early as October 1948, the American occupation authorities had instructed the Bavarian state government to institute new criminal proceedings against Koch for crimes committed against German citizens. Immediately after her release from the war criminals prison in Landsberg in October 1949, Koch was taken into custody. By January 15, 1951, Koch was charged with inciting murder, attempted murder, and inciting aggravated assault and sentenced to life imprisonment; presumably her pregnancy during her incarceration saved her from the death sentence. She was the only woman in Germany who was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with Nazi crimes compared to 165 men.  On September 2, 1967, she hanged herself in her cell in the Bavarian women's prison in Aichach , where she had been since 1949.
Aichach is also the birthplace of Vincenz Müller, a military officer and general who served in the Imperial German army, the Wehrmacht, and after the war in the National People's Army of the East German Democratic Republic, where he was also a politician. Müller eventually became a member of the East German parliament, the Volkskammer, and served as chief of staff of the National People's Army.