Showing posts with label Rheinhotel Dreesen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rheinhotel Dreesen. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (1)

 North Rhine-Westphalia
As with England, the first written account of this area and its people was by its conqueror, Julius Caesar who had subdued the territories west of the Rhine that were occupied by the Eburones and across from Cologne east of the Rhine the Ubii and other Germanic tribes such as the Cugerni who were later settled on the west side of the Rhine in the Roman province of Germania Inferior. Kenneth Wellesley (91-92) describes this region during the year of the four emperors, describing the opportunities its destruction during the Second World War provided for archæologists: 
At Cologne, the capital city of the Lower Rhine District, the saturation bombing of the 1939–45 war opened up the possibility of excavation. It was carefully conducted for many years. We now know the site and shape of the governor’s palace by the Rhine, and public spirited ingenuity has seen to it that the visitor can still, despite rebuilding, study something of the impressive remains in a large crypt beneath the Town Hall. Already in 69 a walled city with its municipality, Cologne, the colony of the people of Agrippina, had a permanent bridge over the Rhine, serving to connect it with many Transrhenane Germans and funnel the trade flow in both directions. No legion guarded it; but slightly further on, at Bonn, just before the hills begin, lay the third station holding another single legion. A little before Koblenz a humble stream trickles into the latter from the west, flowing from a well-defined side valley penetrating the wooded hills; its name, the Vinxtbach, suggests that this was the frontier between Lower and Upper Germany, and inscriptions found north and south of the tributary make the supposition certain. At Mainz, where the inflowing Main forms a broad highway to and from the east, the double legionary fort was the main military site of the Upper District, of which the remaining legion lay now far to the south at Windisch in the Aargau. ... On the waters of the Rhine the ships of the German fleet gave further protection, and forwarded a useful riverborne supply of commodities and munitions.

The current German state of Rhine-Westphalia was created by the British when, after the war, they were tasked with ruling the largest and most populous of the four zones that Germany found itself divided into. The British military administration established it in 1946 from the Prussian provinces of Westphalia and the northern part of Rhine Province (North Rhine), and the Free State of Lippe. Giles MacDonogh summarises how great the task was that the British faced; my family didn't experience rationing growing up in England during the war; it did after:

The British needed to take stock of their zone. They had the largely empty farmlands of Schleswig-Holstein, the industrial and farming areas of Lower Saxony, and the industrialised but also highly cultural region of the Rhine and the Ruhr. The area had been very badly damaged by bombing. Cologne was 66 per cent destroyed, and Düsseldorf a staggering 93 per cent. Aachen was described as a ‘fantastic, stinking heap of ruins’. The British reordered their domain, creating Rhineland-Westphalia by amalgamating two Länder. 
(255) After the Reich
Bad Godesberg
Bad Godesberg was the first major German city to be transferred to Allied forces control without a battle in 1945. Before this however during the Nazi era, Bad Godesberg gained the reputation of being a particularly popular place for the Führer; between 1926 and 1945, Hitler stayed on the Rhine no less than seventy times. His most spectacular appearance took place here on September 22-24, 1938, when he met Chamberlain in Bad Godesberg to negotiate the Sudeten Crisis with him. During this visit, as on previous visits, numerous Bad Godesberg citizens lined the streets to cheer Hitler on his journey from the centre of Godesberg to the Rheinhotel Dreesen, shown here behind Hitler with its imposing facade and still  renowned accommodation due to its location, its historical significance and its numerous prominent guests such as Gustav Stresemann , Walter Rathenau, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich. In 1925 the hotel underwent extensive renovations based on plans by the architect Christoph Brüggemann. It's also still run by the old Rüngsdorf innkeeper family Dreesen.
The Rheinhotel Dreesen had been  the site of a convention of SA and ϟϟ leaders on August 19, 1933 in which Hitler delivered a two-and-a-half-hour address, commenting, among other things, on the relationship between the SA and the Reichswehr. Eventually the hotel would be the site of Hitler's planning for the purge of the SA and its leader Ernst Röhm in June 1934.
It was from this hotel, run by Herr Dreesen, an early Nazi crony of Hitler, that the Fuehrer had set out on the night of June 29-30, 1934, to kill Roehm and carry out the Blood Purge. The Nazi leader had often sought out the hotel as a place of refuge where he could collect his thoughts and resolve his hesitations.
When he first visited the hotel in 1926,  Hitler signed himself in as a “stateless writer” and then often stopped there. even though the hotel owner at the time was considered a “ half-Jew ” in the sense of Nazi ideology and had a Jewish sister-in-law and numerous Jewish friends, but was able to continue operating his hotel unmolested. On June 29, 1934, Hitler met with Joseph Goebbels and Sepp Dietrich in preparation for the Röhm Putsch.The hotel also played host to meetings between Hitler and Chamberlain on September 21-23, 1938, regarding Hitler's proposed annexation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia; before he flew to Bad Godesberg, Chamberlain aptly remarked that he was setting out "to do battle with an evil beast." As Kershaw relates,
It was almost eleven o’clock when Chamberlain returned to the Hotel Dreesen. The drama of the late-night meeting was enhanced by the presence of advisers on both sides, fully aware of the peace of Europe hanging by a thread, as Schmidt began to translate Hitler’s memorandum. It demanded the complete withdrawal of the Czech army from the territory drawn on a map, to be ceded to Germany by 28 September. Hitler had spoken to Goebbels on 21 September of demands for eight days for Czech withdrawal and German occupation. He was now, late on the evening of 23 September, demanding the beginning of withdrawal in little over two days and completion in four. Chamberlain raised his hands in despair. ‘That’s an ultimatum,’ he protested. ‘With great disappointment and deep regret I must register, Herr Reich Chancellor,’ he remarked, ‘that you have not supported in the slightest my efforts to maintain peace.’
At this tense point, news arrived that Beneš had announced the general mobilisation of the Czech armed forces. For some moments no one spoke. War now seemed inevitable. Then Hitler, in little more than a whisper, told Chamberlain that despite this provocation he would hold to his word and undertake nothing against Czechoslovakia – at least as long as the British Prime Minister remained on German soil. As a special concession, he would agree to 1 October as the date for Czech withdrawal from the Sudeten territory. It was the date he had set weeks earlier as the moment for the attack on Czechoslovakia. He altered the date by hand in the memorandum, adding that the borders would look very different if he were to proceed with force against Czechoslovakia. Chamberlain agreed to take the revised memorandum to the Czechs. After the drama, the meeting ended in relative harmony. Chamberlain flew back, disappointed but not despairing, next morning to London to report to his cabinet.
Chamberlain and Ribbentrop leaving the Hotel Petersberg, on September 25, 1938.
 Despite his misgivings about the growing opposition to his policies at home, Mr. Chamberlain appeared to be in excellent spirits when he arrived at Godesberg and drove through streets decorated not only with the swastika but with the Union Jack to his headquarters at the Petershof, a castlelike hotel on the summit of the Petersberg, high above the opposite (right) bank of the Rhine. He had come to fulfill everything that Hitler had demanded at Berchtesgaden, and even more. There remained only the details to work out and for this purpose he had brought along, in addition to Sir Horace Wilson and William Strang (the latter a Foreign Office expert on Eastern Europe), the head of the drafting and legal department of the Foreign Office, Sir William Malkin. Late in the afternoon the Prime Minister crossed the Rhine by ferry to the Hotel Dreesen where Hitler awaited him. For once, at the start at least, Chamberlain did all the talking. For what must have been more than an hour, judging by Dr. Schmidt’s lengthy notes of the meeting, the Prime Minister, after explaining that following ”laborious negotiations” he had won over not only the British and French cabinets but the Czech government to accept the Fuehrer’s demands, proceeded to outline in great detail the means by which they could be implemented. Accepting Runciman’s advice, he was now prepared to see the Sudetenland turned over to Germany without a plebiscite. As to the mixed areas, their future could be determined by a commission of three members, a German, a Czech and one neutral. Furthermore, Czechoslovakia’s mutual-assistance treaties with France and Russia, which were so distasteful to the Fuehrer, would be replaced by an international guarantee against an unprovoked attack on Czechoslovakia, which in the future ”would have to be completely neutral.”
Shirer (349)
At the beginning of the war in 1939, the hotel was confiscated by the German armed forces and served as the headquarters of the army high command under General Fedor von Bock. In February 1943, whilst continuing the hotel business, it was initially used as temporary accommodation for South and Central American diplomats at the French Vichy regime and after their departure in 1944-45, especially for French officers; During this time, from April 1944 at the latest, it functioned under the code name Winzerstube as an external detachment of the Buchenwald concentration camp and was under military guard. 

     
Another gasthaus- the Zur Lindenwirtin- with the Godesburg tower in the background, now with a different flag. Its origins begin on October 15, 1210 when the Archbishop of Cologne, Dietrich I von Hengebach, laid the foundation stone for a new building. Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden expanded the castle in 1244 by adding the first five storeys of the keep which Archbishop Walram von Jülich increased to 32 metres and had the outer bailey built. It was destroyed when troops of the newly-elected Elector Ernst of Bavaria besieged the complex in 1583 and the wall was blown up during an attack and on December 17, 1583 a Catholic mercenary got into the castle. Other attackers followed him along the same path, so that the crew, threatened inside and outside the partially destroyed walls, finally had to surrender.
Bad Godesberg itself survived the war largely unscathed; largely spared from the air war, the town was heavily populated with the wounded and the elderly. Therefore, Lieutenant General Richard Schimpf, in consultation with some Godesberg citizens, decided to have the approximately 7,000 men of his division cross the Rhine to the east on the night of March 8, 1945 and not to defend the city, but rather to hand it over without a fight. Deputy Mayor Heinrich Ditz handed the city over to the Americans after the Nazi mayor Heinrich Alefdropped to the right bank of the Rhine. This made Bad Godesberg the first major town to fall into the hands of the Allies without a fight and undestroyed. A commemorative plaque at the Godesberg town hall commemorates the three key people who saved Bad Godesberg at risk of death: Lieutenant General Schimpf, City Councilor Ditz and the Swiss Consul General François-Rodolphe de Weiss.

Bonn
Bonner Münster on June 6, 1941 and today
During the war, Bonn acquired military significance because of its strategic location on the Rhine River, which formed a natural barrier to easy penetration into the German heartland from the west. The Allied ground advance into Germany reached Bonn on March 7, 1945, and the US 1st Infantry Division captured the city during the battle of March 8–9, 1945.  
Following the war, Bonn was in the British zone of occupation, and in 1949 became the de facto capital of the newly formed Federal Republic of Germany (the de jure capital of the Federal Republic throughout the years of the Cold War division of Germany was always Berlin).  Nevertheless,  Berlin's previous history as united Germany's capital was strongly connected with Imperial Germany, the Weimar Republic and more ominously with Nazi Germany. It was felt that a new peacefully united Germany should not be governed from a city connected to such overtones of war. Additionally, Bonn was closer to Brussels, headquarters of the EU.  The heated debate that resulted was settled by the Bundestag only on June 20, 1991. By a vote of 338–320, the Bundestag voted to move the seat of government to Berlin. The vote broke largely along regional lines, with legislators from the south and west favouring Bonn and legislators from the north and east voting for Berlin. It also broke along generational lines as well; older legislators with memories of Berlin's past glory favoured Berlin, while younger legislators favoured Bonn. Ultimately, the votes of the 'Ossi' legislators tipped the balance in favour of Berlin.
Bonner Universität hitler 
Solemn hoisting of the swastika flag at Bonner Universität in February, 1933 and the site today
 Beethoven's birthplace at Bonngasse 20 and during the war. Beethoven’s ‘Heroica’ symphony was played on February 3, 1943 during the official declaration that the battle of Stalingrad- the same piece played during Hitler's speech on Heroes’ Day in 1933. The year before Hitler declared at Berlin's Sportpalast on February 15, 1942 to 9,883 officer candidates that 
When Mr. President Roosevelt stutters about culture, then I can only say: what Mr. President Roosevelt calls culture, we call lack of culture. To us, it is a stupid joke. I have already declared a few times that just one of Beethoven’s symphonies contains more culture than all of America has managed to produce up to now! Strictly speaking, we colonised England and not the other way around.
On the other side Churchill’s V-for-Victory device was used by the BBC in Morse code as the opening bar of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. The house itself survived the war almost unscathed although during the air raid of the Bonn city centre on October 18, 1944, a fire bomb fell on the roof of Beethoven's birthplace. Thanks to the help of janitor Heinrich Hasselbach and Wildemans, who were later awarded the German Federal Cross of Merit, as well as Dr. Franz Rademacher from the Rhenish National Museum, the bomb did not ignite a conflagration. the connection with Beethoven no doubt induce the British to decide in Bonn’s favour when choosing the capital of the new Federal Republic of Germany by offering to make it autonomous and free from their control, helped too by the fact that Frankfurt was administratively too important for the Americans to relinquish.


Cologne (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Reichsadler found on the Autobahnbrücke Rodenkirchen. Rodenkirchen is a southern borough of Cologne.
At the beginning of the Third Reich, Cologne was considered difficult by the Nazis because of deep-rooted communist and Catholic influences in the city. The Nazis were always struggling for control of the city. Local elections on March 13, 1933 resulted in the Nazi Party winning 39.6% of the vote, followed by the catholic Zentrum Party with 28.3%, the Social Democratic Party with 13.2%, and the Communist Party with 11.1%. One day later, on March 14, Nazi followers occupied the city hall and took over government. Communist and Social Democratic members of the city assembly were imprisoned, and Mayor Adenauer was dismissed.  
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Jewish population of Cologne was about 20,000. By 1939, 40% of the city's Jews had emigrated. The vast majority of those who remained had been deported to concentration camps by 1941. The trade fair grounds next to the Deutz train station were used to herd the Jewish population together for deportation to the death camps and for disposal of their household goods by public sale. 
Swastikas above the Kölner Eis-und Schwimmstadion and today

On Kristallnacht in 1938, Cologne's synagogues were desecrated or set on fire.  It was planned to rebuild a large part of the inner city, with a main road connecting the Deutz station and the main station, which was to be moved from next to the cathedral to an area adjacent to today's university campus, with a huge field for rallies, the Maifeld, next to the main station. The Maifeld, between the campus and the Aachener Weiher artificial lake, was the only part of this over-ambitious plan to be realized before the start of the war. After the war, the remains of the Maifeld were buried with rubble from bombed buildings and turned into a park with rolling hills, which was christened Hiroshima-Nagasaki-Park in August 2004 as a memorial to the victims of the nuclear bombs of 1945. An inconspicuous memorial to the victims of the Nazi regime is situated on one of the hills.  
The city of Cologne was bombed 262 times during the Second World War , more than any other German city, over 31 of which were heavy. 
On the night of May 30–31, 1942, Cologne was the target for the first thousand bomber raid of the war. Between 469 and 486 people, around 90% of them civilians, were reported killed, more than 5,000 were injured, and more than 45,000 lost their homes. It was estimated that up to 150,000 of Cologne's population of around 700,000 left the city after the raid. The Royal Air Force lost 43 of the 1,103 bombers sent. By the end of the war, 90% of Cologne's buildings had been destroyed by Allied aerial bombing raids, most of them flown by the RAF.
 After that it was regularly bombarded until 1945. On the left is an image from a series of stamps, showing Sir Arthur Harris, with a Lancaster bomber from his command. It was his plan that brought about the indiscriminate area bombing of German cities, destroying houses and civilian morale as much as factories and military targets. As he stated,

Images of Cologne's destruction
The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everyone else, and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put their rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind, and now they are going to reap the whirlwind.
The Rathausturm from the Alter Markt
This strategy of area bombing was based on the assumption of the so-called Trenchard doctrine that bombing residential areas - instead of military facilities - would weaken the civilians' will to fight, based on ideas about the strategic air war from the First World War. It was hoped that an uprising or revolution against the governmental system could be triggered in an opposing state and that the destabilisation of the opponent could take advantage of war benefits. However, this turned out to be a fallacy and rather the opposite, namely a solidarity of the population with its governmental system towards the attacker.
An SA man walking through the Heumarkt, and today



The first air raid by the Royal Air Force with over 1,000 bombers was given the name Operation Millennium and aimed at Cologne. Harris had originally selected Hamburg as the destination, but this was not possible due to the weather conditions on the day of the attack. The attack was carried out as part of the British Area Bombing Directive offensive in which it was expected that widespread devastation in the big cities would weaken the German Reich or at least break the morale of the population. The attacks were also useful propaganda for the Allies and especially for Harriss' concept of strategic area bombing, with a focus on incendiary bombs. The moderate results of the British bombardments in 1941 (with a focus on explosive bombs ) had led to considerations about the dissolution and redistribution of Bomber Command. A spectacular attack on a
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now Ebertplatz.
German city seemed to be a good opportunity for "Bomber-Harris" to demonstrate to the British War Cabinet the importance of Bomber Command for the course of the war if there were only enough funds and planes. At the time of the war, Bomber Command had only a regular fleet of about 485 aircraft and was about to replace its older, pre-war twin-engined medium-sized bombers with more modern, heavier ones. In addition to his own planes, Harris also wanted to use around 330 training squadrons and 250 Coastal Command planes to defend against the target number of one thousand bombers. The order to attack was issued on May 23 to the bomber groups involved. On May 25, however, the Admiralty banned the use of Coastal Command bombers. It underestimated the propaganda value of the attack and referred to the importance of bomber operations against submarines in the Atlantic battle. Harris set all levers in motion and acquired enough aircraft and crews,
Prinzenhof in 1939 and today
some of them with flight students and flight instructors , in the initial training courses, and was finally able to send 1,047 bombers to attack Cologne - two and a half times as many as in any previous RAF bombing. In addition to the fleet that attacked Cologne, 113 aircraft were used to attack German night fighter airports.  It was the first time that a " bomber stream " tactic was used, and most of the knowledge gained from this operation formed the basis for Bomber Command's missions in the following two years of the war, and some were used until the end of the war.  It was assumed that such a large number of bombers, if they flew through the Kammhuber line in formation, would surprise and overwhelm the German night fighters, and that their own losses would remain manageable. The recently introduced GEE navigation system allowed the bombers to fly a given route with time and altitude planning very precisely. British night bomber activities have been going on for a few months and the knowledge gained from these operations has given an estimate of how many bombers would
The Heumarkt in 1938 and today
fall victim to the enemy night fighters and anti-aircraft fire and collisions. In addition, it was assumed that the pilots of the enemy night fighters could fly a maximum of six intercept flights per hour and that the anti-aircraft guns could not intercept this large number of attacking aircraft. A period of about four hours was calculated for such an attack earlier in the war. In Operation Millennium, the bombers only needed ninety minutes to drop the bombs. This time could be reduced to less than twenty minutes for around 800 bombers.  The first aircraft appeared in the Cologne night sky on May 31 at 12:47 a.m. Of the 1047 bombers launched, more than half of which were twin-engine Vickers Wellington, about 890 reached the target area and dropped 1455 tons of bombs, two thirds of which were incendiary bombs. The Bomber Command expected that the high concentration of bomb drops in a very short space of time would completely overwhelm the Cologne fire brigade and thus trigger large fires such as the attacks by the Luftwaffe on London during the Blitz. The attack caused about 2,500 fires in the city, 1,700 of which were described by the Cologne fire brigade as "large". Due to the efforts of the fire brigade and thanks to the vastness of many streets, there was no fire storm , but the majority of the damage was caused by fire and less by the explosive devices. Around 3,300 non-residential buildings were completely destroyed, 2,090 severely and 7,420 more easily damaged. This makes a total of 12,810 buildings in this category that have been hit.
The only military building that was damaged was an anti-aircraft position. On the other hand, 13,010 of civilian residential units, mostly in multi-storey houses, were completely destroyed, seriously and 22,270 more easily damaged.  According to the report by the chief of police, 469 people were killed involving 411 civilians and 58 military officers, 5,027 were wounded and 45,132 homeless. The number of registered residents of Cologne decreased by around 11% in the next few weeks. It is estimated that between 135,000 and 150,000 of the 684,000 residents left the city after the attack. 
The RAF meanwhile lost 43 aircraft, which corresponds to approximately 4.5% of the bombers used. 22 of them were shot down above or near Cologne, sixteen elsewhere by anti-aircraft fire, 4 by night fighters, 2 in attacks on surrounding airfields and 2 were lost in a collision.  
Later in the war there were "more 1000 bomber attacks" although only four-engine machines with a significantly higher bomb load were used.
On November 10, 1944, a dozen members of the anti-Nazi Ehrenfeld Group were hanged in public. Six of them were sixteen-year-old boys of the Edelweiss Pirates youth gang, including Barthel Schink; Fritz Theilen survived. The bombings continued and people moved out. On March 2, 1945, the RAF attacked Cologne for the last time with 858 bombers in two phases. As part of Operation Lumberjack, the first part of Cologne was captured by the 1st US Army a few days later. By May 1945 only twenty thousdand residents remained out of 770,000. The outskirts of Cologne were reached by American troops on March 4, 1945. The inner city on the left bank of the Rhine was captured in half a day on March 6, meeting only minor resistance. Because the Hohenzollernbrücke was destroyed by retreating German pioneers, the boroughs on the right bank remained under German control until mid-April 1945 before the British took over. As the director of the British Military Government, General Gerald Templer, put it, "[t]he city was in a terrible mess; no water, no drainage, no light, no food. It stank of corpses."
Troops entering the Rhineland via the Hohenzollernbrücke in March 1936 in contravention of the treaties of Versailles and Locarno.
Hitler inspecting a model of the cathedral and the real thing in 1936 when, on March 28, Hitler arrived in Cologne and had himself celebrated as the “liberator of the Rhineland” at an official reception in the Giirzenich banquet hall. He received the praise of various “liberated” districts and declared

That Providence has chosen me to perform this act [restoring German military sovereignty in the Rhineland) is something I feel is the greatest blessing of my life.
The cathedral in Cologne is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of thwenty thousand people a day, and currently the tallest twin-spired church at a height of 515 feet, second in Europe after Ulm Minster and third in the world. Together the towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. Its construction began in 1248 but was halted in 1473, unfinished. Work did not restart until the 1840s, and the edifice was completed to its original mediæval plan in 1880. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any mediæval church. Cologne's mediæval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the mediæval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as "a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value" and "a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe" according to UNESCO. Not mentioned is the fact that the cathedral has stones with swastikas, leading   church bell expert Birgit Müller to remark that “[i]f these were taken out, the cathedral would have to be reconstructed.” 
Cologne from aerial photos taken by the Nazis to assist in rebuilding plans once Germany won the war. The photos were recently discovered in an attic by the daughter of an employee of Speer's building inspection department.
The Hohenzollern Bridge, with Cologne Cathedral and Museum Ludwig in the background, after the war and as it appears today. Cologne was left after the war with its cathedral seemingly the only intact building whilst the Hohenzollern Bridge across which a faux German division marched in 1936 is destroyed. The Hohenzollern Bridge functioned as one of the most important bridges in Germany during the war; even consistent daily airstrikes did not badly damage it. On March 6, 1945 German military engineers blew up the bridge as Allied troops began their assault on Cologne. After Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945, the bridge was initially made operational on a makeshift basis, but soon reconstruction began in earnest. Originally, the bridge was both a railway and road bridge but after its destruction in 1945 and its subsequent reconstruction, it was only accessible to rail and pedestrian traffic. By May 8, 1948 pedestrians could again use the Hohenzollern Bridge.  The southern road traffic decks were removed so that the bridge now only consisted of six individual bridge decks, built partly in their old form. The surviving portals and bridge towers were not repaired and were demolished in 1958; finally the following year reconstruction of the bridge was completed.

The cathedral itself suffered fourteen hits by aerial bombs during the war. Badly damaged, it nevertheless remained standing in an otherwise completely flattened city; the twin spires provided an easily recognisable navigational landmark for Allied aircraft bombing. On March 6, 1945, an area west of the cathedral along Marzellenstrasse and Trankgasse was the site of intense combat between American tanks of the 3rd Armoured Division and a Panther Ausf. A of Panzer brigade 106 Feldherrnhalle. The Panther successfully knocked out a Sherman, killing three men, before it was destroyed by a T26E3 Pershing hours later. Footage of that battle survives. The destroyed Panther was later put on display at the base of the cathedral for the remainder of the war in Europe. shown in these photographs. Repairs of the war damage were eventually completed in 1956. An emergency repair to the base of the northwest tower, carried out in 1944 using poor-quality brick taken from a nearby ruined building, remained visible as a reminder of the war until 2005, when it was decided to restore the section to its original appearance. Repair and maintenance work is constantly being carried out in one or another section of the building to this day, and thus the cathedral is rarely completely free of scaffolding, as wind, rain, and pollution slowly eat away at the stones.

Attempts to protect the interior from further collapse. Inside, under a choir-stall seat, a judensau is still allowed to remain. On the left a Jew holds up a pig by the front leg whilst a second Jew feeds it whilst a third kneels down in order to drink from its teats. In the right quatrefoil a pig with three piglets is knocked out of a trough. From the right a Jew leads a boy who is distinguished by a nimbus with a cross which continues to trot out the mediæval lie about Jewish ritual murder of Christian children.
 
The altar in 1943 and 2013, when lunatic Josephine Witt disrupted Christmas service by jumping topless onto the altar with the words "I am God" scrawled on her chest.
 The Nazis celebrating the Machtübernahme in 1933 in front of the rathaus, and how it appeared after their war, now extensively rebuilt
Hitler at the balcony of the Dom Hotel, March 30 1938; rebuilt after the war
On the left is a closer view of what was the Schlagetersäule on Rudolfplatz which in 1933 was renamed Schlageterplatz to which the column with the Swastika-adorned flagpole was added.  Albert Leo Schlageter was born in Schönau in the Black Forest on August 12, 1894. On May 26, 1923, he was shot because of sabotage in the Ruhr which had been occupied by the French at that time. Because of the special historical situation, Albert Leo Schlagter became the last soldier of the Great War and, at the same time, the first soldier of the Third Reich according to Nazi propaganda. Between 1919 and 1921 he was involved as a volunteer corps member in battles in the Baltics and in Upper Silesia as well as the suppression of a communist uprising in the Ruhr. From 1922 Schlageter had been a member of the "Greater German Labour Party," (Grossdeutschen Arbeiterpartei), a branch of the Nazi Party. He ended up being betrayed after his sabotage during the so-called "Ruhr struggle" against the French occupation forces, arrested by the French occupation forces and on May 26, 1923, shot near Dusseldorf.
The Hahnentor sporting the swastika and today.  As with the aforementioned opportunities the destruction of Cologne provided in the field of archæology, so too did it allow for urban planning that had been held up before the war.
Already in the 1920s there were considerations for car-friendly street breakthroughs, but failed due to the resistance of the mayor Konrad Adenauer. Upon his depaerture in March 1933, the traffic planners had free rein. After Nazi Gauleiter Josef Grohé received the order to redesign the city on June 7, 1939, Hahnenstrasse became the centre of planning for an east-west axis with a width of 68 metres from July 1939, but due to the events of the war could not be realised. Because of the international traffic exhibition planned for 1940 in Cologne, the planners had to be satisfied with a much reduced width of 28 metres due to lack of time. However, the exhibition was canceled due to the war. The breakthrough on Hahnenstrasse / Pipinstrasse began as early as January 22, 1939, which led to the straightening of the original course of the road. As a result, the older plots of land were under today's street whilst some buildings such as the Apostelgymnasium had to make way for the breakthrough in 1939. In August 1939 the breakthrough to the Hahnentor was made. After the war on the right, showing the severe damage. The Hahnentorburg was badly damaged in the Second World War with the half tower on the left of the field largely destroyed. After war, Rudolf Schwarz was commissioned to design the entirety of Hahnenstrasse in mid-1945, and the war ruins in the street leading to the tower were removed in 1946. Wilhelm Riphahn received an additional order from the city to develop a concrete "development plan" for this connection between Neumarkt and Rudolfplatz . In September 1945 he conceived his “basic ideas for the redesign of Hahnenstraße / Cäcilienstraße”  as a promenade and cultural mile with a city character as well as an architectural and visual connection between the high Wilhelminian-style buildings on the ring and the buildings of the lower old town.
What remains of the Stapelhaus from the south with the cathedral in the background. In 1942 and again in 1944-45 the building was devastated by fire bombs with only the stair tower and south side of the building survived. In the 1960s it was converted into the form it has today.
Gestapo Headquarters
Standing in front of the former EL-DE Haus, now officially known as the National Socialist Documentation Centre, the former headquarters of the Gestapo and now a museum documenting the Third Reich. The building was commissioned by the Cologne gold and watch wholesaler Leopold Dahmen in 1934 according to the plans of the architect Hans Erberich as a residential and commercial building at Appellhofplatz 23-25 on the corner of Elisenstraße. Dahmen had the Cologne coat of arms attached to the corner of the house and next to it his coat of arms, consisting of two crossed clock hands with the initials L and D and the lettering EL-DE above them shown in my GIF. After a standstill in the summer of 1935, the shell of the building was confiscated by the Cologne Gestapo, but not expropriated. For the Gestapo, the building had an excellent location in the heart of the city, being in the immediate vicinity of the police headquarters in Krebsgasse, the courthouse and the central prison in Klingelpütz. On December 1, 1935, the Gestapo rented the unfinished house and had prisoners build ten cells in the basement , which were equipped with iron bunks, small guard rooms, niche-like washrooms and toilets, and a gallows. The basement was accessible via two steep staircases secured with iron bars. The main entrance was at Appellhofplatz with the side entrance at Elisenstrasse. Two narrow corridors at right angles to each other separated cells 1 to 4 on Elisenstrasse from the remaining cells on Appellhofplatz. Between cells 4 and 5 was a large two-storey boiler room, which also narrowed the corridor. The cells on Elisenstraße had a size of 5.2 to 5.3 m²; the other cells, coming from Appellhofplatz, varied between 4.6 and 9.3 m². Although I've heard that an underground corridor connected the Gestapo headquarters with the justice building opposite on Appellhofplatz, there's no evidence for this. Indeed, the Nazis would not have needed such elaborate secrecy. There was an air raid shelter in the basement.
Inside the basement to the Gestapo cells:
Standing outside the cells which have been preserved from the original design of the cell block. The iron bars in front of the two staircases in the basement, the cell numbers and the door locks are still intact. Furthermore, a large number of wall inscriptions have been preserved, which can be seen primarily in cells 1 to 4 on Elisenstrasse. The indentations of the bunks can still be seen on the walls and floor, which were removed a few months before the end of the war to make more room in the cells, which were built for a maximum of two to three prisoners, but were severely overcrowded at the time were. 
These cells were originally used to house those arrested while they were being interrogated. Later it turned out from the inscriptions on the walls of the prisoners that they had to spend several weeks and months there. Most prisoners were prisoners of war and forced labourers. The Gestapo also took action against resistance fighters including, among others, members of the Ehrenfeld Group, some of whom belonged to the Edelweißpirates, and the organisation Komitee Freies Deutschland. Amongst those arrested were Joseph Roth, Otto Gerig, Jean Jülich and Gertrud Koch, Peter Schäfer and Hein Bitz. Many prisoners were also taken out of the Klingelpütz for interrogation and other detention centres to the EL-DE house. These interrogations initially took place at the level of the cell block. Since the house was in the city centre, many passers-by heard the screams of the tortured and so these brutal interrogations were later placed in the basement. The detainees were beaten with brass knuckles, blackjacks and rubber truncheons, as well as kicked and punched in order to obtain the desired statements. The Gestapo carried out many mass executions that were carried out without a sentence. Permission was granted to the Cologne Gestapo by the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin. Most executions took place on the gallows . Not far from the EL-DE house was a gallows frame from which seven people could be hanged at the same time.  The corpses were buried in a designated Gestapo field in the western cemetery in Bocklemünd. Municipal refuse collection vehicles were used for transport to the cemetery. Today, 788 dead victims of the Gestapo are remembered in the cemetery. Many were also buried by their relatives in their home towns. The last execution at the EL-DE house took place on March 2, 1945, shortly before the American troops marched in.
Contrary to popular belief, the deposed Mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, was never imprisoned here; on the day of his first arrest on August 23, 1944, he was taken directly to the Cologne Exhibition Hall, which had been converted into a prison camp. However, his wife Gussi was imprisoned in the EL-DE house for the night of September 24-25, 1944.
The Russian forced labourer Askold Kurow managed to escape from the El De House in mid-February 1945. When he was deployed to transport files in the basement, the Gestapo officer on duty was called to the first basement level, where the cells were located, by the ringing of the telephone one floor up. Kurow got into the boiler room of the house through an unlocked door and used one of the cellar windows, which were not barred in this area for the purpose of delivering coal, to escape. He escaped unnoticed from a window next to the main entrance door of the Gestapo headquarters onto the sidewalk and made his way to the Bergisches Land. Kurow survived the war and eventually returned to his homeland. 
Uncertain that they would never see their relatives again and that they would win their freedom, many prisoners wrote messages or simply drew figures, landscapes, animals and other things on the wall. Since the walls have been painted over several times, around 1800 of the countless inscriptions can still be seen, which date from the period between the end of 1943 and 1945. Other inscriptions can only be guessed at. About 600 inscriptions in Cyrillic script are from Russians and Ukrainians, another 300 are written in French, Dutch, Polish, English and Spanish. After the war, some of the partitions between the cells were removed, such as cells 2 and 3 and cells 5 and 6. As a result, some inscriptions were lost. 
Among the remaining examples, one is from a Russian PoW who had actually escaped and survived, Askold Kurov , from Cell 1: “Two friends from the Messe camp have been sitting here at the Gestapo since December 24, 1944, Askold Kurow and Gaidai Wladimir, now it is already February 3, 1945. 40 people were hanged. We've been in prison for 43 days, the interrogation is coming to an end, now it's our turn to hang on the gallows. I ask those who know us to tell our comrades that we too perished in these torture chambers.” 
In the same cell there is also the lettering by Hans Weinsheime from 1944: "If no one thinks of you, your mother thinks of you."
A French prisoner wrote in Cell 6: "German customs are particularly evident in cell 6, where they manage to cram up to thirty-three people in at a time." Probably from an edelweiss pirate: "Rio de Schanero, aheu kapalero, edelweiss pirates are loyal." 
After the war, some former prisoners and contemporary witnesses could be questioned about the prison and living conditions in the basement of the EL-DE building. Stefania Balcerzak: “Nata Tulasiewics was interrogated three times in the basement. When Nata went downstairs we could hear her screaming. She came back bleeding.” Nata Tulasiewics (Beata Natalia Tulasiewicz) was arrested in April 1944 and spent several weeks in the EL-DE house. She was then taken to the Ravensbrück concentration camp , where she was murdered on March 31, 1945. In 1999 she was beatified by Pope John Paul II. 
Wilhelmine Hömens, who testified before a British investigative court in 1947: “On March 1, 1945, a Stapo detail brought 70 to 80 girls and about 30 men tied together from the Klingelpütz on foot over the castle wall to the Stapo premises. They were Germans and mostly so-called Ostarbeiter. These people were all hung up on the Stapo premises, because I did not see the return transport, but found that around 5 p.m. three trucks with corpses were taken to the cemetery.” 
The bombing raids of July 8, 1941 caused severe damage in Langgasse and on Appellhofplatz up to No. 21; the house was largely spared from bombs during the war. After the war, tenants and municipal departments such as the registry office, pension office, legal and insurance office, price authority and occupation office  moved into it. From 1947 to 1949 the house was remodeled and the neighbouring houses on Appellhofplatz and Elisenstrasse were integrated into the house. In 1979, demands were made to turn the house into a documentation centrr. In the same year, the Cologne City Council decided to set up a documentation centre. In order to also put the cellar in the public light, the photographer Gernot Huber and the teacher Kurt Holl had themselves locked in the cellar overnight unnoticed. They photographed and documented the wall inscriptions and the cell block, which was used by the departments in the building as a file and storage room. Due to the loud public protest, another decision of the city led to the city curator Hiltrud Kier having the cellar and the inscriptions restored and then the cellar was set up as a memorial on December 4, 1981.
In 2006, the National Socialist Documentation Centre was awarded the Best in Heritage award, which is given to select museums. The only other German museum to have won the prize is the Buddenbrook Museum in Lübeck.
The neue Universitäts Hauptgebäude by architect Adolf Abel, shown in 1935 and today with the Nazi eagle removed. After the war the British military government graciously approved the reopening of the university which resumed its lessons on November 26, 1945. With 1,549 admitted students on December 10, 1945, the solemn reopening of the university took place. The students were to be educated into the "ideal of pure humanity". According to the Cologne history professor Erich Meuthen, these lines of thought corresponded to an interpretation common after 1945: the turning away from the anti-Christian tradition had led to the barbarism of National Socialism. Critics later evaluated this "new beginning" as a restoration and "silence" of the Nazi past. In fact, in 1948 Theodor Schieder was appointed Ordinary for Middle and Modern History despite his own personal history being known to his colleagues: Schieder had became a Nazi party member in 1937 and was an active member of the NS-Dozentenbund. In 1939 Schieder proposed the deportation of several hundred thousand Poles as well as the "Entjudung" of the rest of Poland in a "Polendenkschrift". By 1962 he became the rector of the University of Cologne for two years.
LEFT: The façade of the church of  St. Maria in der Schnurgasse in the 1930s and today. During the war in April 1942 after an incendiary attack hit the church, the building burnt down. The interior design and the image of the "Regina Pacis"were destroyed. Only the walls of the western façade, the southern transept and the church tower were partially preserved. After the end of the war Joseph Cardinal Frings and the mayor of Cologne, Konrad Adenauer, pressed for the return of the sisters who were to rebuild the original Carmel on the Schnurgasse. In mid-1945, the first Carmelites from Cologne returned from their refuge, the Welden Monastery near Augsburg, to Cologne and organized its reconstruction. As early as July 1946 the foundation stone was laid for a new monastery. In 1948 a donated statue of the Virgin Mary was consecrated in the partially restored monastery church to replace the destroyed image. In 1949 the sisters were able to return to a first tract of the rebuilt convent after about 150 years since their abolition. In 1957, after their consecration on Easter, the bells of the church rang for the first time again. By 1964 the church was externally restored as it originally appeared in 1716. Even the original interior was replaced by correcting the structural changes of the 19th century by, for example, rearranging the aisles as originally envisioned.

From Adolf-Hitler-Platz to Ebertplatz
A woman sits with all her possessions amidst the ruins.
The removal of some 13.5 million cubic meters of rubble from the centre of Cologne alone took over a year, to say nothing of the makeshift restoration of canals, bridges over the Rhine, and the central train station. As if the cleanup in the factories had not been hard enough, “the chief problems only emerged when actual production was restarted,” because the delivery of raw materials slowed and energy supplies remained unreliable. Time and again, frustrating bottlenecks thwarted a revival of activity. If the mines, for example, managed to extract sufficient coal, there would be “no rolling stock” available to transport it to either factories or homes. Likewise, supplying foodstuffs proved particularly difficult, since domestic production was unable to satisfy the needs of a population whose numbers had rapidly grown with the influx of refugees. Rationing of the shortages, moreover, led to a great deal of injustice, with some groups and areas inevitably getting more than others. Thus despite much hard work, by 1946 industrial production had only reached 50 to 55 percent of its pre-war level. 
Jarausch (82) After Hitler: Recivilising Germans, 1945–1995 
In the summer of 1945, the British wisely installed Konrad Adenauer in office as Lord Mayor of Cologne, but then ordered him to cut down Cologne's famous trees to feed the furnaces that winter. When Adenauer obstinately refused, the British angrily kicked him out of office. On October 6, Adenauer was summoned to appear before the head of the British Military Government in North Rhine Province, Brigadier John Barraclough, and two other officers in Cologne and was denied even the right to sit down in their presence. They read out a letter dismissing him from office. He was to be banned from all political activity and was to leave Cologne as quickly as possible. This would appear to have been a natural reaction against the representative of a prostate and occupied enemy especially given that, according to Giles MacDonogh (507), "the winter of 1946–7 was possibly the coldest in living memory. In Cologne there were sixty four days in the 121 from December to March when the temperature was below zero at 8.00 a.m." Such was the state the British found themselves, now ruling the largest and most populous of the four zones of postwar Germany.
 
The hauptbahnhof in the 1930s, 1960 and today. Things have definitely changed since, with the mayor of Cologne forced to admit the "outrageous" series of New Year's Eve attacks on women at the main train station by large gangs of some 1,000 men who took over the area around the main station on New Year’s Eve who proceeded to attack and rape numerous German women whilst the authorities covered up all mention of such attacks.


Bad Honnef 
The Feuerschlößchen on Rommersdorfer Straße 78–82 is a villa built in 1905/06 and remains as a monument under monument protection. Under the Nazis it became the new "Gauschulungsburg" when it was inaugurated July 1 1934 at the presence of DAF directors Robert Ley and Gauleiter Josef Grohé.   
During Reichskristallnacht in November 1938, the Honnefer synagogue, formerly an evangelical church, was set on fire on the Linzerstrasse near the Ohbach and was destroyed in this way. Many Jewish inhabitants emigrated. The Jews living in Honnef after 1939 had to leave their homes and were all concentrated within two houses in Honnef. From here they had to relocate to a camp in Much. In July 1941, transport to the east was carried out from Much to their deaths.  In the Second World War, around 250 Honnef soldiers were killed and the city had three civilian casualties. Honnef had been largely spared from air raids in the Allied air war. One of the few destruction was that of the Penaten factory. For this reason, foreign authorities moved to the city, including parts of the Upper Prussianium of the Rhine province from Koblenz, the NSKOV to Linzerstrasse 108. Numerous prisoners of war and later forced labourers, especially women from the Soviet Union, worked in Honnef. An air attack on Honnef with bombs dropped onto Lohfelder Straße took place in November 1944. On the evening of March 10, 1945, the 331st Infantry Regiment of the 78th Infantry Division of the United States had occupied Honnef. Three days later the American combatants reached Hohenhonnef and the Rhine heights near Rhöndorf.
The Heimbach Hydroelectric power station during the final defeat of Germany and today. The power plant survived the war relatively undamaged although on February 11, 1945, the German armed forces blew up the tunnel seals on the power plant's side to prevent the Anglo-American allied forces from breaking through to the Rhine. Consequently, the Urft reservoir drained completely and the power plant was flooded by masses of water and rubble. Following extensive and arduous cleanup and repair work – both labour and tools were in short supply – the first four turbines could be started up again in January 1948, followed by the other four turbines at the end of the year. In his book Kriegsende 1944/1945 – Zwischen Ardennen und Rhein by Hans-Dieter Arntz (169) writes how 
On Wednesday, February 7, 1945, the 3rd Battalion of the US 311th Infantry Regiment occupied a small, desperately resisting position of German infantry. The American march on the dam of the Rurtalsperre near Heimbach began. But General Rundstedt had left his demolition squads at this dam. On the following day, February 8, 1945, German engineers blew up the closures on the outlet pipes of the power plant in Schwammenauel , and now 100 cubic metres of water per second thundered into the bed of the Rur, causing a flood in the lowlands of the lowlands that, as it turned out several days later, did not bring the hoped-for success.

  Brühl
 
Standing in front of schloß Augustusburg which was bombed on March 4, 1945. From shortly after the war until 1994, the schloß was used as a reception hall for guests of state by the German President, as it is not far from Bonn, which was the capital of Germany at that time.

Dortmund (North Rhine-Westphalia)
Nazis hoisting the hakenkreuz over the town hall on March 3, 1933, thus marking the start of the transformation of democracy to dictatorship. Soon after saw the renaming of the town's streets: Rathenau-Allee became Adolf-Hitler-Allee, Stresemann- to Göringstraße, Erzberger- to Schlageterstraße and Republikplatz to Horst-Wessel-Platz. All democratic and socialist newspapers were banned. The left-liberal "Dortmunder General-Anzeiger" was confiscated and all of its business assets were confiscated by the Nazis. The first city councilors, especially from the ranks of the KPD and SPD, were immediately persecuted, mistreated or taken into so-called "protective custody". As with everywhere else, all political parties, with the exception of the Nazis, were banned in Dortmund. On April 20, 1933, Adolf Hitler became an honorary citizen of Dortmund (revoked immediately after the war in one of the first council meetings).
Hansaplatz in 1933 and during the 2006 World Cup
On June 20, social democracy was banned, and on May 2, 1933, the unions were "brought into line". Many supporters of the KPD, SPD, the trade unions, as welllas those from other democratic parties and the churches joined illegal resistance groups. Dortmund remained an unpopular city with the Nazi leadership due to its intense resistance actions.
Hansaplatz 1938 with swastikas and today
Supporters of socialist and democratic parties, "anti-socal" and "non-Aryan" were dismissed from the civil service or banned from their profession. Many resistance fighters and opposition figures fell victim to an unprecedented persecution of "enemies of the state". Like Fritz Henßler, who later became mayor of Dortmund, they were arrested, sentenced, humiliated and ill-treated for years in prisons and concentration camps. Hundreds of them were murdered by the Nazis and with the help of the Nazi arbitrary justice system. Between 1933 and 1945, a total of more than 30,000 political opponents of the Nazi system, including "racially persecuted" and foreign forced labourers, were temporarily detained in the "Steinwache" Gestapo prison alone.  The former Gestapo headquarters (and way station for those being sent to concentration camps) today serves as the site for the exhibition Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Steinwache.
Inside, shown below, is a reminder that from 1933 to 1945, over 66,000 people were imprisoned, some 30,000 of them for "political reasons".  
The Jewish population had been systematically marginalised and persecuted since 1933.  In June 1933 the Jewish population numbered 4,108 out of a total population of 540,875. That year 217 Jews were arrested, including a few from other communities in the district. Many fell victim to random acts of violence and harassment by individuals. The economic boycott against the Jews was rigorously enforced with municipal institutions breaking off commercial ties with the Jews and shoppers staying away from stores owned by Jews. Agitation against Jewish businessmen was intensified in the summer of 1935, with public boycotts organised in front of Jewish stores with windows occasionally smashed. Anti-Jewish demonstrations were accompanied by signs labelling the Jews as traitors, murderers, warmongers and defilers of women. Jewish traders and entrepreneurs faced a crowding-out campaign, which soon became an "Aryanisation" campaign. Even before Kristallnacht, the beautiful synagogue on Hiltropwall in Dortmund, which was in the immediate vicinity of the city theater on the one hand and the Nazi district leadership on the other, was destroyed. The synagogue in Hörde was set on fire by SA hordes and, like many Jewish prayer houses, shops and apartments, looted and destroyed.  Immediately following Kristallnacht six hundred Jews were arrested, most being sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where seventeen would die and others released only after paying extortionate demands. Another five hundred Jews fled the city after the pogrom, leaving a Jewish population of 1,444 by May 1939. Just 63 houses remained in Jewish hands in September 1939 and at the end of the same year a mere eighty businesses. With another two hundred Jews managing to leave after the outbreak of war, 1,222 remained in June 1941 - these were left without rights, property, homes or income. They were not allowed to use public shelters, radios, telephones, or even the streets without authorization. Gradually they were confined to “Jewish houses.”
The main railway station in 1944 and today. Through it, Dortmund was used as a central point for deportations to the East; between 1942 and 1945 there were eight transports, each containing about 5,000 Jews, including the Jews of Dortmund. On April 27, 1942 the largest group of Jews from Dortmund numbering 700 -800 was deported to Zamosc in the Lublin district of Poland and from there sent to the Belzec death camp, which a month earlier had commenced gassing Jewish communities in the Generalgouvernment. Of the approximately 4,500 Dortmunders of Jewish origin, two thousand were later murdered in concentration camps. On January 27, 1942, the first deportation of over 1,000 Jews from the Arnsberg region from Dortmund to Riga took place. The last deportation took place on February 13, 1945 to Theresienstadt. But not only citizens of Jewish origin, but also members of other "racial" or socially discriminated minorities like those of the Sinti and Roma were persecuted and deported from Dortmund to the Nazi extermination camps.
Book burning in front of the Amtshaus
The cultural and economic life that was so lively in the 1920s became impoverished in the period of National Socialism. However, Dortmund was able to claim the dubious reputation that the exhibition on "Degenerate Art" was already shown in Dortmund in 1935 - two years before Munich - in what was then the "House of Art" on Königswall. Other exhibitions such as the Hitler Youth exhibition "Schaffende Jugend" (1936), "Volk und Rasse" (1938) or "Kunst der Front" (1940) primarily proclaimed the ideology of blood, soil and race.
The Market operating in Hansaplatz with the swastika adorning the maypole during the Nazi era and today. Only with the armaments programme, accompanied by an improvement in the global economy, did the mining and steel and iron industries benefit from the Nazis' four-year plans, which further solidified Dortmund's economic monostructure. From 1937 onwards, total production rose sharply and the unemployment rate fell rapidly.  The Ruhr region industry, and above all coal chemistry, became increasingly important in the efforts to prepare for war, to secure an adequate fuel supply for the increasing motorization of the Wehrmacht and the economy, and to replace the missing oil.  The situation for Nazi Germany soon turned around as a result of the war. The war already affected the home front in 1943. Despite the most ruthless exploitation of foreign forced labourers, in particular Eastern European prisoners of war, concentration camp prisoners and abducted workers - 45,000 foreign forced labourers were still employed in the relevant factories and mines in Dortmund alone during the last year of the war - the arms industry and other branches of production collapsed.
Luftwaffe Nazi eagle remaining on the façade of the police academy 
In May 1943, Dortmund, considered by the Allies alongside Essen as one of the "armaments factories" in the Ruhr area, was the target of two major attacks. Six more were to follow by March 12, 1945, and 95 percent of the city center was to be destroyed. Around 6,000 civilians and forced labourers were killed in the bombing. Dortmund had completely lost its urban face, which was decisively shaped between 1890 and 1930, in the hail of bombs.  When the Americans advanced to downtown Dortmund on April 13, 1945, they found a chaos of rubble. Electricity, water and other important elements of urban infrastructure had completely collapsed. For the approximately 300,000 Dortmunders who experienced the last days of the war in their hometown, the city seemed to be at the end of its historical development at the end of the war in 1945 - more
Another continues to look down on the city
than ever before. On the part of the British military government and in parts of the fragmented city administration, people even played with the idea of rebuilding the city outside of its historical core.
In 1945 as many as 300,000 people lived in the ruins. Their most pressing concerns involved the housing shortage and the food supply; in April 1947 there were still hunger demonstrations in Dortmund.  Under the capable British military government, political, urban development and economic reconstruction were pushed ahead relatively quickly. Fritz Henßler, the later mayor who was liberated from the concentration camp, and Wilhelm Hansmann, who had returned from emigration, were regarded as the "chief initiators" or "motors" of the reconstruction who supported the British. The dismantling of irreplaceable industrial plants, which the British military government prescribed as sanctions, and which took place between 1947 and 1949 under massive protests by the steelworks, subsequently proved to be a barrier in the drive to modernise outdated production units. On the other hand, the monostructure of the mining, iron and steel industry was further stabilised.
nazi architecture 
The Dortberghaus was completed in 1938 after the plans of Cologne architect Emil Rudolf Mewes as an administrative building of the Gelsenkirchen Mining-AG and displays classic Nazi architecture. By the beginning of the Second World War it was planned as a U-shaped building but not fully completed. It sported a bust of Hitler inside shown here.
Hohensyburgdenkmal The Hohensyburg memorial, shown with Nazi flags in front from period postcards and today, located on a hill in the southern Dortmund district of Syburg. The memorial was erected in memory of Kaiser Wilhelm I from 1893 to 1902 and opened to the public on June 30, 1902. Under the Nazis the memorial was completely rebuilt in 1935 according to plans by the Dortmund sculptor Friedrich Bagdons and redesigned based on the National Socialist architecture. Of the four accompanying statues, those of Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm and Prince Friedrich Karl (both by Karl Donndorf) were removed whilst those of Otto von Bismarck and Helmuth von Moltke (also by Adolf Donndorf) were preserved in a different arrangement. On an inscription removed after 1945, March 16, 1935 was given as the date of completion. Nearby are the remains of the castle, partially destructed in 1287 by Count Eberhard von der Mark and probably eventually abandoned in the 16th or early 17th century. Inside its ruins is the war memorial dating from 1930 designed by the sculptor Friedrich Bagdons. It depicts a lying fallen soldier in the uniform of a German war participant from the First World War. At the level of his left lower leg an eagle stands guard. In the immediate vicinity of the war memorial there are three stone plaques erected by the Syburg community in memory of the victims of the Syburg war from the Franco-Prussian war and both world wars.

Essen


Renamed Adolf-Hitler-Platz in 1933 and serving as the main site for Nazi demonstrations in Essen, the main square reverted back to Burgplatz after the war. Here the Volkshochschule on Burgplatz 1 is decked out in Nazi regalia.
After the right-wing Kapp Putsch in Berlin had failed in the spring of 1920, the Rote Ruhrarmee rose up against the SPD-led national government with street fighting in Barmen , Duisburg, Elberfeld , Esseb, Remscheid and Velbert. On March 19, 1920 armed "Bolshevik" groups in Essen marched up to the site where civil defence units of the police and Home Guards waited; forty were killed. It was the largest resistance movement that has taken place in Germany since the peasant wars of the 16th century.
Burgplatz on the left in 1941 with the Johanneskirche and Münsterkirche and today.
 Hitler had visited Essen a number of times. During one speech he made here at the Exhibition Grounds on November 2, 1933 Hitler claimed that "I will never sign anything knowing that it can never be upheld, because I am determined to abide by what I sign." The following year on June 28 Hitler and Göring went to Essen to attend the church wedding ceremony of the Essen Gauleiter, Josef Terboven. This was taking place during the so-called Night of Long Knives during which he purged his own followers in the SA. While he had been in Essen and had toured the labour camps in the West German Gaue in order to create the outer appearance of absolute calm so that the traitors might not be warned, the plan of carrying out a thorough purge had been fixed to the last detail.
The Lichtburg on Adolf-Hitler-Strasse and Platz. The Lichtburg was built as a result of the city general plan of 1924. The exterior was designed by municipal planner Ernst Bode in a stark New Objectivist style without surface adornment; the building had a 20-metre dome, at the time the largest in a German theatre. It had 2,000 upholstered seats with an electrical system which sent a message to the cashier when the seat was occupied, and a 150,000 Reichsmark Wurlitzer organ, at the time the largest in any European cinema, with sound effects including traffic noise and thunder. The 30-person orchestra was drawn in part from the Cologne Philharmonic. Under the Third Reich, the Lichtburg's operator, Karl Wolffsohn, a Berlin publisher and entrepreneur, was forced as a Jew to sell it in 1933/34 for a tenth of its value to Universum Film AG (UfA). He and his family fled to Palestine in 1939 and he did not live to see the end of his lawsuit for recompense. In 2006 a memorial plaque was placed on the building; Wolffsohn's nephew, the historian Michael Wolffsohn, was present at the unveiling and heads the Berlin Lichtburg-Stiftung, among whose projects is a German-Turkish-Jewish cultural centre.  During World War II, the building was almost completely destroyed by Allied bombing in 1943. The auditorium was completely destroyed by fire, but the walls remained standing. 
 The Hauptpost on Hachestraße 2, completed in 1933.  The reichsadler still adorns its façade.
The Reichsgartenschau in 1938 with the swastika flying atop the Grugaturm 
The Reichsgartenschau in 1938 with the swastika flying atop the Grugaturm today. The Botanischer Garten Grugapark was established in 1927 for recreation, teaching, and research. Parts of the garden were destroyed in the war but gradually rebuilt and re-designed for the Essen Bundesgartenschau of 1965. 
The Hotel Vereinshaus, now renamed the Essener Hof and the oldest still existing hotel in Essen. The Hotel Vereinshaus was occupied by the French during the so-called Ruhrkampf on January 11, 1923 and they used the lobby as an horse stable. The occupiers released the hotel on September 1, 1924. The hotel was reopened on January 3, 1925 after repairing damage caused by the occupation amounting to 180,000  Reichsmarks.
Hitler himself spoke here on June 16 and 20, 1926. The first occasion saw him speak from 20.00-22.00. The closed general meeting, which according to the police report was attended by around 1,200 people, was chaired by Josef Terboven, leader of the Essen Nazi  Party district. After the end of the meeting there were clashes between Nazis and Communists.
His speech has been recorded as follows:
Our Nationalists have not managed to redeem the national idea from its isolation, which only made it understandable to the intelligentsia, and have not been able to make the mass of the "people of the fist" its bearers. Our socialists have not managed to root the social world of ideas as the world of wishes of the masses in the will to fulfill of the intelligentsia. Both walk side by side and each insist on his "privilege". But that is the meaning of the National Socialist idea, to combine one with the other. In truth,  a nationalist is not someone who teaches the worker to sing patriotic songs and cheer 'hurrah', but rather someone who creates the weapons for his people that are needed in all areas of life to fight for life. These weapons consist not only in a sound mind, but also in a sound body. Anyone who tries to help our people living in misery by improving their opportunities to make life physically healthy is a nationalist, and whoever also gives them the mental opportunities, the pride of the German citizen in his country, his people, his culture. To understand its history and to empathise with it fulfills its national task completely. But being a socialist is the same. Anyone who wants to be a socialist has to serve his people so that they can hold their own in the brutal struggle for life among peoples. Because in this fight only the strongest will survive. That is the iron logic of nature and her highest right, that she only lets the strongest and best live and the lazy and weak die. - If a new concept of community is to be formed from this knowledge, there is only one way: that the social power of the broad masses be paired with the national idea of the intelligentsia. It is the task of the Hitler movement to work towards this end. The way is not one of compromise, of lazy fraternisation of these two elements, but a new faith must arise. Only faith can reform as the Christian faith reformed the world. That is the mission, to shape the concept of this new faith and bring it to life.
The second time Hitler spoke for an hour and a half at a closed meeting. According to a letter from the chief of police in Essen to Terboven, the Nazis wanted to invite "about 50-60 representatives of industry and commerce" to this event, recording how "[a] circle of West German economists had asked Adolf Hitler to give a lecture on 'German economic and social policy' to invited business leaders from the district. The fact that many of the first business circles followed this lecture is the best proof of the importance that the National Socialist movement has already reached under Hitler's leadership.The impression made by Hitler's one-and-a-half-hour lecture can be judged by the great attention with which one listened to it and the applause that was given to it at the end."
The hotel is seen to the left of the Haus der Technik shown in 1941 and today. Designed by Edmund Körner and inaugurated in 1930, the HdT originally served as the Essen Stock Exchange building. During the war it ended up being completely destroyed in a bomb attack on March 5, 1943 and its actual reconstruction eventually took place between 1951 and 1953.
About three quarters of the Hotel Vereinshaus itself was destroyed by heavy air raids and arson. The great hall burned down in 1944. The Wehrmacht confiscated the building. After the end of the war, the Red Cross set up a care centre for returning prisoners of war on the ground floor. The hotel was provisionally repaired piece by piece and put into operation. In 1946 the guests could have running water again. It was only in 1948, due to the currency reform and the subsequent economic upswing, that the new restaurant was able to open on August 1, 1952.
Also shown on the left in 1941 and today,
Adolf-Hitler-Platz, now Willy-Brandt-PlatIt had fomerly been Burgplatz and had marked the historic core of Essen. According to written sources, there was an early mediæval courtyard here, from which the Essen convent for women was founded in the 9th century. Excavations in the 1920s and 1940s uncovered various remains of buildings and fortifications. In 1933, the Nazis renamed Burgplatz Adolf-Hitler-Platz and used the square, which had been the central meeting place in Essen since the mid-18th century, for their rallies and meetings. This took place after the Nazis had taken over the town in 1933 with Theodor Reismann-Grone appointed Mayor of Essen on December 21, 1932, initially on an acting basis after replacing Heinrich Maria Martin Schäfer before being put on leave on April 5, 1933 and later retired. Essen was subsequently divided into 27 local Nazi Party groups, whose offices are listed in the 1939 address book of the city of Essen. After the war, the first major events of the newly founded democratic parties took place here. 
The SA being sworn in on Hitler-Platz on March 9, 1933. During the war, the industrial town of Essen was a target of Allied strategic bombing. Given that the Krupp steelworks was an important industrial target, Essen was a "primary target" designated for area bombing by the February 1942 British Area bombing directive. As part of the campaign in 1943 known as the Battle of the Ruhr, Essen was especially a regular target. As a deception, the Krupp night light system was erected as a dummy on Rottberg ten miles away. The attack on Essen marked the beginning of a five-month British air offensive that lasted until mid-July 1943 and became known as the Battle of the Ruhr. The 26 air raids in 1942 caused relatively little destruction; In 1943 heavy bombardments followed. On March 5, 1943, over 442 aircraft took off from airfields in East and Central England. The Krupp works and downtown Essen are marked as destinations. The attacks on the inner city and densely populated working-class areas were part of the UK's area bombing directive as around 360 bombers dropped around 1,100 tonnes of high-explosive and incendiary bombs on the city in three waves within an hour. At least 457 people were killed and over 3,000 buildings were completely destroyed, leaving tens of thousands homeless. The Krupp works suffered major damage for the first time. 
Another view of Adolf-Hitler-Platz on the right, seen from the north. 
On March 11, 1945, Essen experienced the last major attack, which turned the city's rubble over again. The roads were impassable because of the many bomb holes and the mountains of rubble; the supply of gas, water and light collapsed; the Krupp factories were a gigantic field of rubble. The city centre was more than 90 percent destroyed. In Essen, which had been under artillery fire for some time, the deputy Gauleiter Fritz Schlessmann issued an appeal on March 27, 1945, announcing that the enemy would be "hewn out again with brutal severity". Before that, however, Essen had to be cleared, but the call went unheeded. Schlessmann did not fight for the propagated final victory, but went into hiding with his mistress. He ended up being caught by the Americans on April 15, 1945 and later sent to the Staumühle internment camp. In a court hearing in Detmold- Hiddesen he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, which he served in Esterwegen prison until mid-June 1950. He was then 'denazified' in Düsseldorf as a lesser offender and ended up moving back to Essen to work as a merchant.
 
The Hotel Handelshof in 1941 and today. The hotel was initially managed by the parents of the actor Heinz Rühmann, who was born in Essen in 1902 which a sign on the facade of the building commemorate. He was the star of such films as the 1941 comedy Quax, der Bruchpilot; my page on Erding shows scenes shot in the town with how they appear today. In 1916 Rühmann's mother moved to Munich with her children after separating from her husband and his alleged suicide. 
During the Battle of the Ruhr in the war the building was severely damaged in 1945 but repaired without needing major modifications.
As shown on the right, the Hotel hanged a banner alongside the Nazi and fascist Italian flags that read "Herzlich Willkommen in der Waffenschmiede des Reiches" (Welcome to the armoury of the Reich) during a visit by Mussolini accompanied by Hitler in September 1937 through which Germany's military strength was emphasised during a visit to the Krupp armaments. Essen had already acquired the myth of being one of the most important German armories during the First World War. Large cannons such as the 42-centimetre mortar “Dicke Berta” became world-famous, and people from Essen sent out postcards with “Greetings from the city of cannons”.  Hotel Handelshof Hitler Mussolini NazisAfter the German defeat in 1918, the company fell into a severe depression due to a lack of orders and lost tens of thousands of jobs. After this experience, despite the pressure from Berlin, Krupp boss Gustav Krupp shied away from becoming too one-sided in the armaments business, focussing more on custom-made products and mechanical engineering for global export such as in locomotive and engine construction rather than the mass production of grenades and cannons. The armaments share at Krupp grew slowly at first, but eventually reached 42% in the 1938/39 financial year. At the beginning of the war Krupp was declared a "Wehrmachtsbetrieb" and the influence of the civilian company management declined rapidly. Since then, orders important to the war had absolute priority, and exports were only permitted to allied countries. Economic historian Werner Abelshauser writes that Krupp was dragged further and further into the quagmire of the war economy and, as an "icon of German pride in arms", increasingly attracted the hatred of those opposed to the war.
After a major attack in October 1944, the Krupp factories were practically paralysed in the final months of the war due to the destroyed energy supply. After the surrender, the Anglo-Americanses began dismantling and blasting, which lasted until 1951. In the end, the Krupp ended up losing about 70 to 75 percent of its assets. After the war, they city'sp opulation didn't want to hear anything more about the former pride of the city, Krupp. The city had the Alfred Krupp monument in front of the market church removed and the names Berta and Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach were removed from the list of honorary citizens. It was only in 2006 that the monument returned to its old place in the city centre.
 
Berliner Straße then and now 

Essen's Alte Synagogue in 1941 and today. Initially known as the Synagogue at Steeler Tor, it was completed in 1913 after two years of construction together with the adjoining rabbi's house, according to plans by the architect Edmund Körner. Today the building is one of the largest and best-preserved architectural testimonies of pre-war Jewish culture in Germany. It's the largest free-standing synagogue building north of the Alps, even larger in terms of volume than the New Synagogue in Berlin. Its free-floating dome is 37 metres high and the building seventy metres long in total. From the start it was the cultural and social centre of a community with around 4,500 members in 1933 when the Nazis took power, having a main room for over 1,500 people with several galleries, an organ and a large bimah area (which was also often used for concerts), a weekday synagogue, classrooms, a community hall, a secretariat, a library, a garden and apartments for rabbis and cantors in the rabbi's house. It's shown on the left in 1915 and today; on the right is it in flames on the night of November 9-10, 1938, during the November pogroms. Badly damaged inside by arson, its appearance nevertheless remained almost intact. Due to its massive construction made of reinforced concrete, the Nazis couldn't demolish the building contrary to their plans; demolition was further made impossible because of the surrounding houses. The building ended up surviving the war without major damage.
 

Gymnasium Essen-Borbeck- the centre photo shows the school celebration for the re-establishment of the compulsory military service on April 5, 1935. The speaker is Head master and Propagandawart Walter PfeilIt.
 „Heldengedenktag" in the auditorium on 11 March 1933, „Day of Potsdam" 21 March 1933, „Ehrung des Lieblingskomponisten des Führers"- (Wagnerfestival as Hitler's favourite composer) 3 April 1933 and „Schlageter-Feier" 27 May 1933
May Day 1933 with portraits of Friedrich the Great, Hindenburg and Hitler, „Saarbefreiungsfeier" 1 March 1935, “Celebration for memory of the seizure of power” on 30 January 1936 and „Heldengedenktag" March 7 1936 with memorial to the dead of the Great War.

 The hauptbahnhof before and during the war, and today
 
Erwitte   
In the time of the witch hunts around 1630, witch inspector Heinrich Schultheiss led the witch trials in Erwitte. In 1630 the Westerkötter complained that "unfortunately this inquisition, execution and extermination of the witches was far too lenient" even though the Erwitter pastor Jodocus Boget was burned at the stake that year for witchcraft.   
During the Nazi era, a Reich training castle of the DAF and the Nazi Party was housed at schloß Erwitte, shown here in a 1937 postcard where it's described as the Reichsschulungsburg den NSDAP. Erwitte Castle was first mentioned in a document in 1273. Today's moated castle was built for Jobst von Landsberg zu Erwitte in the immediate vicinity of the previous buildings at the beginning of the 17th century. Nearby is another earlier noble estate, the House of Erwitte. In the 19th century the castle passed to the line of the Counts of Landsberg-Velen and Gemen. They sold it to the Nazi state in 1934 for 60,000 Reichsmarks which used it as a Reich training castle for the German Labour Front and the Nazi Party. During this time, the castle was extensively renovated under the direction of the architect Julius Schulte-Frohlinde. In addition, a number of outbuildings were built such as the Horst-Wessel-Halle, part of a school complex for the DAF also designed by Julius Schulte-Frohlinde with the Nazi eagle sculpture that remains in situ by Willy Meller.  In 1934, at the suggestion of Albert Speer, who by then was already overburdened with orders,  Schulte-Frohlinde became deputy head of DAF's own construction department, and from 1936 head of this DAF architectural office. Besides Erwitte, he designed the Nazi training castles Sassnitz on Rügen, arranged folk festivals in Berlin, Nuremberg and Hamburg as well as the First International Crafts Exhibition in 1938 in Berlin and undertook the construction of the DAF community centre in Berlin. In the course of the reorganisation of the offices of the DAF, he was also responsible for the planning department of the Reichsheimstättenamt , where he was responsible, among other things, for the training and recruitment of architects in the planning departments of the Gauheimstättenamt. When the general inspector for German roads, Fritz Todt, commissioned Schulte-Frohlinde to "ensure the most economical and architecturally flawless further development of housing", Schulte-Frohlinde was able to expand his area of work. For the increased rationalisation of housing construction, the DAF construction department developed construction sheets with "Reichsbauformen" and "Landschaftsbauformen", which - related to the typology of German landscapes - laid down floor plan types, facade patterns, plan sheets for individual houses. When in 1935-36 in Braunschweig- Mascherode a Nazi model settlement of the German Labour Front was to be founded, Schulte-Frohlinde became head of the architecture office of the DAF for this settlement. With its mixture of small settlements, single-family houses, terraced houses and rental apartments, as well as the structure around a central square with a community house, the picture of a traditional village was created, which architecturally symbolised the Nazi ideal of ties to the home soil. In 1936 he designed the Strength Through Joy city for the Olympic Games in Berlin. The folowing year he joined the Nazi Party. His conservative, traditionalist construction style shaped the housing architecture of the Third Reich and thus represented the most significant influence of the Stuttgart School on building under the Nazis.  The Horst-Wessel-Halle today, no longer with the Nazi eagle-mounted column as seen in the period photo. Schulte-Frohlinde also belonged to the movement's ideology as seen in his foreword to the book Bauten, in which he openly expressed anti-Semitic tendencies by denouncing the Jewish-Marxist influence on German construction. On the role of architecture in the reconquered east by the Nazis, Schulte-Frohline wrote: "We are fighting for Germany, for the maintenance and recovery of the soul of our people, which is mirrored most visibly in our craft and architectural culture." 

During the war, Schulte-Frohlinde served as an officer in the Wehrmacht Air Force from 1939 to 1943. Initially deployed as a technical officer on the staff of Combat Squadron 2, he led the staff squadron of this squadron as a captain in 1940. He was shot down in the western campaign with his Dornier Do 17Z and barely survived the crash landing about ten miles southwest of Diksmuide, receiving the Iron Cross first class and was promoted to major. During the First World War he had served as a pilot in the Richthofen fighter squadron until the end of the war. On the left is the former Reichsschulungsburg der NSDAP und DAF in a period postcard and today, unchanged. In 1941 Schulte-Frohlinde was appointed honorary professor of architecture at the Technical University of Munich. Midway through the year he was relieved of his duties as head of the DAF architects' office and from that point on he headed the planning of the DAF's large-scale buildings in Munich. From 1943 to 1945 he took over the chair for architecture from German Bestelmeyer at the Technical University of Munich and in the final phase of the war he was appointed Gaudozentenbundfuhrer of Munich-Upper Bavaria. In the task force for reconstruction, which met from 1943 under the direction of Albert Speer, Schulte-Frohlinde was involved as an advisor and was entrusted with planning the reconstruction of Bonn. In August 1944, Hitler included Schulte-Frohlinde in the God-gifted list of the most important architects. On Easter Sunday, April 1, 1945, a member of the Freikorps Sauerland shot dead eight Soviet forced laborers in Erwitte.   

 Despite being banned in all uses by the German government, the town still uses the Wolfsangel, heraldic symbol of the forbidden Jungen Front, in its Nazi-era arms which were approved by the Oldenburg Ministry of State for the Interior and have been used since July 10, 1934. The Wolfsangel was used by Nazi organisations and SS units such as the Waffen-SS Division Das Reich and the Waffen-SS Division Landstorm Nederland during the Third Reich. Later the symbol was used by right-wing extremist organisations that were classified as anti-constitutional in the Federal Republic of Germany.  Because of its history, the Wolfsangel is a mark within the meaning of Section 86a of the Criminal Code (use of marks of unconstitutional organizations). According to the Brandenburg Higher Regional Court however, the use of the wolf's rod can also have a different meaning such as its use in municipal coats of arms or in the Federal Armed Forces. Nevertheless, the Anti-Defamation League and others list the Ƶ-symbol as a hate and a neo-Nazi symbol.
 

NS Ordensburg Vogelsang  
 The so-called NS-Ordensburg Vogelsang is a building complex built by the Nazis in the Eifel above the Urfttalsperre on Mount Erpenscheid near Schleiden- Gemünd. In contrast to the SS Junker School and the Reichsfuhrer School, the facility served the Nazis between 1936 and 1939 as a training centre for the offspring of the Nazi Party leadership squad. The part of the building that is under monument protection comprises a gross floor area of more than 50,000 square metres and is considered the largest preserved example of Nazi architecture in Germany after the party congress buildings in Nuremberg with almost 100 hectares of built-up area.
In 1933 Hitler called for the construction of new schools for the next generation of Nazi leaders in a speech at the Reichsfuhrerschule of the NSDAP and the Deutsche Arbeitsfront in Bernau near Berlin. Reichsleiter Robert Ley was entrusted with the construction, and he commissioned the construction of three "training camps" (NSDAP Ordensburgen) in Crössinsee (Pomerania), Sonthofen (Allgäu) and Vogelsang here in the Eifel.
The construction, which was mostly completed in the municipality of Schleiden, was financed with funds from the expropriated trade unions and employers' associations. The name Vogelsang came from the historical field designation of the site. The Cologne architect Clemens Klotz was commissioned to plan Crössinsee and Vogelsang and on March 16, 1934, the groundbreaking ceremony for the "Reichsschulungslager Vogelsang" took place. The construction of Vogelsang Castle began in March 1934 and was built in the first construction phase by up to 1,500 workers within just two years.
Hitler visiting the Ordensburg Vogelsang school on April 29, 1937 during the District leader conference from April 22-29, accompanied here by Dr. Robert Ley. 
In addition to the buildings erected on Vogelsang, much larger buildings were also planned. Among other things, a gigantic "House of Knowledge" was to be built as a library, which would have literally overshadowed the existing buildings with its floor area of 100 metres by 300 metres. In addition, a “Strength through Joy Hotel” with 2,000 beds was planned. The largest sports facilities in Europe were also to be built on Vogelsang. The construction work, some of which had already begun, was stopped at the beginning of the war. 
The eagle seen behind Hitler on the right is still there, albeit moved from the original location and left in a ruined state.
After Hitler's visit, the entrance gate was supplemented with Doric columns without any static function. According to reports, the initiative for this came from Hitler himself. Also on display were carpet cycles by Willy Meller, a bronze bust by Ferdinand Liebermann depicting Adolf Hitler , and an inlaid image by the Cologne sculptor Josef Pabst . A marble plaster mosaic by Ernst Zoberbier in the swimming pool and a tapestry by Peter Hecker depicting Siegfried's death and the fight in Etzel's hall completed the Nazi propaganda art, whose “teachers” are to be found in the environment of Werner Peiner and the Hermann Göring master school for painting.   
In total, the complex was designed for 1,000 people (500 servants and 500 guests). The area is around 100 hectares and the total usable area is around 70,000 square meters. Entrance guard, training and service buildings, airfield and accommodation are located as barracks on a ridge above the Urftstausee. At the edge of the slope is the community centre with an eagle courtyard and galleries with a large car park, as well as the tower towering over the site. 
The Thingplatz shown here is centrally located in front of a gymnasium and swimming pool as well as other sports facilities near the shore. It served as a Freilichtbühne- 
This stage, completed in 1936,  was a central element of the landscape-defining architecture of the building, visible from afar and for which the Cologne architect Clemens Klotz was responsible. It was placed centrally on the slope of the complex above the sports facilities including the grandstands and below the accommodation buildings, meeting the requiremnts of the "Reichsbund für deutsche Freilicht- und Volksschauspiele" founded in 1933 under the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda for the construction of 400 Thingstätten, all of which were orientated to the north and embedded within a scenically impressive location with its rows of seats rising in a semicircle as well as transverse corridors for march-pasts. The stone amphitheatrical grandstand created by Klotz directly above the playing level had 800 seats alone.
Whilst referred to as  a Thingstätte during its construction, sources from 1936 onwards describe it as a Feierstätte given that the Thing movement as a means of propaganda by the Nazi state had already had its day by the time the Ordensburg was opened and Goebbels's attitude towards the supposedly Germanic Thingspiel had changed negatively; the nebulous, mythical character of the events was now embarrassing, so that the official use of the term Thing was forbidden again by October 1935. At the same time, the open-air stage erected in Vogelsang illustrates the intended function of serving as a monumental meeting place for the emotional communal experience of the Nazi volksgemeinshaft and was only ever used as a multifunctional open-air stage upon which ceremonies of the political cult were held on it with the aim of creating a substitute religious meaning. This supported the actual goal of the training in Vogelsang with its emphasis on staging a male-heroic, activist and self-sacrificing image of man with the aim of establishing a lasting national-racist system of rule.
Most of the sculptures in Vogelsang –  "Fackelträger" (torch bearer), "Der deutsche Mensch" (The German Man), "Adler" (Eagle) and the "Sportlerrelief" (sportsmen-relief) - were created by Willy Meller. Whilst the wooden sculpture German Man disappeared in 1945, the other two sculptures - partially damaged - are preserved today as seen here. The torchbearer at Solstice Square is a five metre high, martial-muscular figure of the Aryan "master race" to be bred according to Nazi ideology. The raised torch refers to the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus, who gives fire to man. It fits with the symbolism of light popular in National Socialism and was reinterpreted politically: The flame symbolizes the rebirth of the nation through the victory of National Socialist Germany. The white area next to "Fackelträger" (torch bearer) covers up references to Hitler which originally read: "Ihr seid die Fackelträger der Nation. Ihr tragt das Licht des Geistes voran im Kampfe für Adolf Hitler." (You are the torch bearers of the nation; You carry on the light of the spirit in the fight for Adolf Hitler.) The architect of the monument was Clemens Klotz and the statue itself was made by Willy Meller. On top of the monument a fire could be lit.
When the Americans took the Ordensburg in 1945, they fired their weapons at the torchbearer and other sculptures; the bullet holes are still clearly visible.
The Sportlerrelief (sportsmen-relief) from 1938 is made of red lava on the front wall of the grandstand and today is badly weathered and shows damage from bullet holes. 
On April 24, 1936, the three Ordensburgen were handed over to Hitler in a ceremony. A little later, the first 500 Nazi Junkers moved into Vogelsang, the course participants having come from all over Germany. They had been handpicked by Robert Ley at the suggestion of the Gau authorities. Most were in their mid-20s. Prerequisites were initial probation in party work, complete physical health, labour and military service, and proof of parentage, which went back to the 18th century. Furthermore, by order of Robert Ley, the applicants had to be married, but their academic achievements were of no interest at all. The applicants were promised when they joined that they would be able to hold any government or administrative office in Germany after completing their training. The timetable was: 6:00 a.m. morning sports, 7:00 a.m. flag roll call, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. study groups, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. lectures in the large lecture hall by guest or main teachers, afternoon sports, 5:00 p.m. 12:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. working groups, 10 p.m. tattoos. In the main lectures on the subjects of racial studies and "geo-politics", the Junkers were indoctrinated with aggressive foreign policy and racist theses. In addition, there was intensive sporting training, the focus of this training was on horseback riding at Ordensburg Vogelsang. The courses at the NS Ordensburgen also provided for pilot training. For this purpose airfields were built at all three castles. The Vogelsanger airfield was built near the Walberhof, near the village of Schleiden -Morsbach.
As might be expected, intellectual standards were very low and attendance to the Ordensburg did little to foster education. Students went to each of the four castles for a year at a time. At the academy at Krössinsee, the first year, the stress was on the study of racial science, athletics, boxing and gliding. Great attention was given to horse riding because that gave the Junkers the feeling of being able to dominate a living creature. The second year, at Sonthofen, the emphasis was on athletics, parachute jumping, mountain climbing and skiing. The third year, at Vogelsang, the students received political and military instruction, and physical training. One of the tests that year was the Tierkampf, combat with bare hands against wild dogs. The fourth year, at the prestigious Teutonic castle Marienburg, the Junkers were expected to obtain their final military formation, and political and racial indoctrination.
Jean-Denis G.G. Lepage, Hitler Youth, 1922-1945: An Illustrated History (97-98)
On the left is the Malakoff then and now, the entrance to the Ordensburg. In February 2020, the German Alpine Club announced that it had taken over the left wing from Malakoff and would set up a club home there. Before this the Malakoff entrance building with the vehicle yard was sold to an Opel car museum, and the Degener brothers moved from Vreden to the Ordensburg with their Europe-wide largest collection of Opel vintage cars.
At the request of the party leadership in Berlin, the Ordensburg Vogelsang was secured by a total of sixteen bunkers from the West Wall , the remains of which can still be seen today and were placed under monument protection on December 1, 2006. After the opening of the school, the political prominence of the Third Reich also used Vogelsang as a place of representation. Hitler and other leading members of the Nazi state visited the Ordensburg several times. Others came temporarily as guest lecturers, such as Theodor Oberländer, later CDU federal minister, in November 1936. 
In the July 1, 1939 report by Julius Kölker, head of the district training in the Cologne-Aachen district, a readiness for unconditional military action and a radical racial policy is contrasted with the “conceit” of the “Ordenjunker”, which makes them no longer suitable for political offices. 

Since 1989 the buildings have been under monument protection. In 2016, Vogelsang became a Nazi documentation center as part of a permanent exhibition and as an architectural memorial.Ordensburg Vogelsang is a former Nazi estate placed at the former military training area in the national park Eifel in North Rhine-Westphalia. The landmarked and completely preserved estate was used by the Nazis between 1936 and 1939 as an educational centre for future leaders. Since January 1, 2006 the area is open to visitors. It is one of the largest architectural relics from the Nazi era. The gross area of the landmarked buildings is 50,000 m². It remains an example of the rural version of 1930s Nazi herrschaftsarchitektur. Vogelsang was built by architect Clemens Klotz as a training centre for the young Nazi elite. It is situated on a terraced hillside above an artificial lake in the Eiffel nature reserve. Its design was based on the image of the feudal castle or "Ordensburg". In 1950 the British army generously offered Vogelsang to Belgium. In 2006 the military left and the complex was opened to the public. Plans are being made to turn the complex into a conference and exhibition centre, with proper respect for its historical significance.
On the left, the building housed the female service staff whilst that on the right formed part of the complex called Forum East which contained at one time an auditorium and ballroom, dining hall and kitchens.
This is the water tower and high point of the complex, meant to resemble a castle keep. Below the reservoir a cult room was situated for use in Nazi ritual. The photo on the right shows the dormitories called Kameradschaftshauser.
The Burgschanke, left, a restaurant and banquet hall for the senior staff and on the right, so-called Eagle Square

Eagle on a wall above the Assembly Square
Equestrian statue at the main gate and surviving reichsadler
In contrast with the Napolas, the castles were not linked with German military traditions, and the system failed miserably. The Ordensburgen never attracted a full complement of students despite the financial inducement and the prestige of attendance. According to some estimates, half the available places remained vacant. Even in the most fanatical NSDAP circles, the product of the Ordensburgen were occasionally considered too ruthless and arrogant.
Remaining Nazi Sites in Westphalia (2)