Showing posts with label Staßfurt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Staßfurt. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Saxony-Anhalt

In April 1945 the Americans took control of most of the western and northern area of what would become Saxony-Anhalt and the U.S. Group Control Council, Germany (a precursor of the OMGUS) appointed the first non-Nazi officials in leading positions in the area. In this way Erhard Hübener, put on leave by the Nazis, was reappointed the state governor. By early July the American Army withdrew from the former Prussian Province of Saxony to make way for the Red Army to take it as part of the Soviet occupation zone, as agreed by the 1944 London Protocol. The state of Saxony-Anhalt was then established in 1945 after the war by combining the former Prussian Province of Saxony and Free State of Anhalt by the Soviet army administration in Allied-occupied Germany. On July 9 that year the Soviets ordered the merger of the Free State of Anhalt, Halle-Merseburg, the governorate of Magdeburg (in its then borders), Allstedt (formerly part of Thuringia) and some Brunswickian eastern exclaves and salients (Calvörde and the eastern part of the former Blankenburg district) with the Province of Saxony. The previously Saxon Erfurt governorate had then become a part of Thuringia. Saxony-Anhalt became part of East German in 1947, but was dissolved in 1952 with its territory divided into the districts of Halle and Magdeburg, and the city of Torgau joining the district of Leipzig. Saxony-Anhalt was re-established in 1990 following German reunification, excluding Torgau, and became one of the Federal Republic of Germany's new states.

The town hall bedecked with swastikas and today 
On October 22, 1932 whilst touring the country before the Reichstag elections in November, Hitler wanted to talk to five thousand Magdeburgers on the Werder in the Stadthalle. "But his arrival was complicated" according to historian Maik Hattenhorst, who researched the change from the end of the Weimar Republic to National Socialism in Magdeburg. "Hitler's motorcade was hampered by stone throwers," an unfriendly reception in the "red city". Some would even speak of the birth of a legend: the Hitler had ever since avoided Magdeburg. The Volksstimme, at that time an SPD newspaper, reported about the incident two days after, describing Hitler as a violent man who had performed with an hippopotamus and a revolver. Within months however, the Nazis will have rapidly expanded their power base in politics and society: civil rights were suspended, the Reichstag disempowered, the Länder switched, unions banned, Jews persecuted- including the administrative district of Magdeburg. The Nazis quickly instituted a wave of violence. In March 1933 the SA occupied Madgeburg's town hall and numerous other buildings,with the aim of publicly humiliating mayor Ernst Reuter. He was thrown out from his office by the SA and driven through the city. As thousands of people stood in front of the town hall, a policeman rescued him and put him in protective custody; Reuter's deputy Herbert Goldschmidt could not spare the police officer however from reprisals. When Reuter complained to Reich President Hindenburg the letter went unanswered.   
Hitler spoke here at the Stadthalle on October 22, 1932 from 17.45 18.45. According to official estimates, around 15,000 people took part in the meeting (the VB: 35,000). The Prime Minister of Anhalt, the Nazi Alfred Freyberg, and the State Inspector for Central Germany-Brandenburg of the Nazi Party, Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper, spoke before Hitler. The adjoining Schützenhaus and the Ehrenhof were also filled with listeners as Hitler declared that "[a]nyone who swears by our flag has nothing left that belongs to him.". Before the event, several passers-by were apparently beaten with whips from a car in Hitler's motorcade. With the October 24, 1932 edition of the local paper providing the headline "Hitler with the predatory whip."
Despite increasing votes for the Nazis, Magdeburg remained an SPD stronghold in the 1930s as the DDP, DVP and DNVP haemorrhaged voters to the Nazis. The Nazis in the 1930s in today's Saxony-Anhalt gained more votes than the national average and was particularly successful in rural and Protestant regions, which suffered more from the economic upheaval. In the districts of Salzwedel and Gardelegen the Nazi vote reached over 60%, in Osterburg and Wernigerode more than 55 percent of the votes in the popular vote in March 1933. 
The Dom with the memorial to the SA in front during the Nazi era, now gone. After Hitler seized power, the SA and the Stahlhelm marched through the city to the cathedral square with a torchlight procession. This was repeated on March 4 when over 4,000 SA, SS and Stahlhelm members marched. On April 5 books and writings of the SPD were burned on the Domplatz. By the end of the war on July 22, 1944 tens of thousands of came to in front of the cathedral for a Treuekundgebung "loyalty rally" and subsequent parade with torchlight procession to Otto-von-Guericke-Straße. Magdeburg clergymen publicly thanked god for  "Errettung des Führers"- "saving the leader". On March 2, 1945 73 were killed with 24 injured after a day attack on the city which saw the cathedral badly hit.
The memorial replaced one removed by the Nazis (today inside the cathedral)- Barlach's Magdeburger Ehrenmal, ordered by the city to be a memorial of World War I, and expected to show heroic German soldiers fighting for their glorious country- shown here today and from a contemporary photo. Barlach, however, created a sculpture with three German soldiers, a fresh recruit, a young officer and an old reservist, standing in a cemetery, all bearing marks of the horror, pain and desperation of the war, flanked by a mourning war widow covering her face in despair, a skeleton wearing a German army helmet, and a civilian (the face is that of Barlach himself) with his eyes closed and blocking his ears in terror. This naturally created a controversy with the pro-war population (several nationalists and Nazis claimed that the soldiers must be foreign since true Germans would be more heroic), and the sculpture was removed.
 Alfred Rosenberg, in Blut und Ehre. Ein Kampf für deutsche Wiedergeburt. Reden und Aufsätze von 1919-1933 (Munich, 1934), described Barlach’s Magdeburg War Memorial thus: ‘A mixed variety of short, undefinable sorts of people wearing semi-idiotic expressions and Soviet helmets are supposed to symbolise German home guards! I believe that every healthy SA man will pass the same judgement here as any conscious artist.’ On March 18, 1933 the parish church council called for the removal of the Barlach monument from the cathedral. It was finally removed on August 9. Friends of Barlach were able to hide the sculpture until after the war, when it was returned to the Magdeburg Cathedral. 
After the war. Magdeburg was where the Soviets took Hitler's remains (and those of Eva Braun and Goebels and his family)  from the Reich Chancellery by the Soviets in May 1945 and in June 1945 were buried in a forest near Rathenau, Germany and then later in the year, disinterred and reburied in Madgeburg at the site of a Soviet Red Army garrison. They remained there until early 1970 when the garrison was turned over to the East Germans. In order to prevent the burial site from being discovered and turned into a fascist shrine, the bodies were disinterred, burned, and the ashes crushed/ground up, and dumped in the Biederitz River.The Russians claim that a fragment of Hitler's skull and his jawbone are in the FSB (former KGB) archives although DNA analysis has shown that the remains are from those of a woman aged 20-40 years of age.
When the Soviets’ Operation Myth was launched in 1946 to establish the real sequence of events leading to Hitler’s death, some of Hitler’s personal staff were brought back to Berlin and the bunker, in order to point out the precise details of the suicide and subsequent burning in the garden. The bones, for the time being, were stored in Magdeburg. Of particular importance were the objects in Hitler’s personal collection. For them an aircraft was laid on as Stalin wanted his bones examined by his foremost experts. The Führer’s skull was eventually put into a paper bag and deposited in the State Archives.
(385) After the Reich
Dessau has changed considerably since it was under the hakenkreuz, as the surroundings around the statue of Leopold I. von Anhalt-Dessau ("Der alte Dessauer") in front of the Marienkirche shows. Dessau is famous for its college of architecture Bauhaus. It moved here in 1925 after it had been forced to close in Weimar. Many famous artists were lecturers in Dessau in the following years, among them Walter Gropius, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky. The Nazis forced the closure of the Bauhaus in 1931, and it was not reopened until 1986. The regions around Dessau and Halle were more important for Hitler than those around Magdeburg. Dessau was the Gau capital and one of the first cities in central Germany to have a Nazi government, and the party structures were more pronounced. 
The Johanniskirche used to be situated on Horst-Wessel-Platz as seen in this 1942-franked postcard on the right.
 As in many other German cities, the Old Synagogue was burnt down in 1938, and the remaining Jews were deported. The city was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids on March 7, 1945, six weeks before American troops occupied the town. The Junkers aircraft and engine plants located on the outskirts of Dessau were the target of a total of 20 allied air raids from 1940 onwards. Part of residential development on the south-western outskirts of the city as well as railways were damaged. On March 7, 1945, the densely populated city centre of Dessau became the core target area of a nightly British bomb attack within the scope of the Area Bombing Directive, with 520 heavy Lancaster bombers and 1,700 tonnes of explosive and fire bombs. The air raids killed 700 people and destroyed 80% of the built-up urban area. In the Old Town, nearly 97 percent of all buildings were completely destroyed or irreversibly damaged. The historical cityscape, with its churches, castle grounds, many public buildings, aristocratic and citizen buildings, was almost completely lost. The very high degree of destruction is due in particular to the combination use of fire and explosive bombs, including many air mines.
Hitler spoke here at the Kristallpalast in 1931
On October 23, Hitler dispatched a telegram expressing his condolences to the widow of Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter Loeper in Dessau who had died following a prolonged illness. Three days later Hitler attended Loeper’s funeral in Dessau where his body was interred at the Napoleonsturm, calling him an “apostle of the Movement.” From Hitler's eulogy delivered at the Friedrich Theatre:
When Fate is especially fond of a man and wishes to bestow upon him the best thing in the world, it will give him loyal friends, men who are resolved to share with him equally both joy and sorrow, men whom nothing can lead astray, men who, particularly in days of need, stand by him firm and resolute. I have been given a most generous share of this happiness and good fortune such as perhaps only few people in this world have.
Yet this happiness of so many years turns to pain when I now see how this and that member of the community of fighters is called to his Maker. When I speak here today, I am speaking as the happy—yet now so unhappy—Führer who must now accompany a member of his old guard to the grave, a man the likes of whom are rare even in our Movement.
The townhall in 1938, postwar (bombed March 4, 1945) and today
Once he came to me when one could expect nothing more from this Movement than sacrifices and troubles, persecution and abuse. And truly it was only love of Germany which led him to that host of inseparable men who were determined to take up and pursue the battle for a new Germany against all odds. This man, with his boundless love of Germany, also had an unshakeable faith [in Adolf Hitler]. This faith was combined, in his case, with a unique loyalty [to Adolf Hitler]. He was one of the most loyal members of the old guard. During the time of struggle, we never spoke about it; no one would have understood it anyway. But today, at the bier of my dead comrade in arms, I must express it in words for German youth, that they may aspire to the same.
The new Reich was not given to us; it had to be hard won in battle, and in this fight only an over-abundance of love for Germany, of faith, of willingness to sacrifice, and of loyalty allowed [us] to triumph. That is something the German Volk must know. For it is my wish that the names of these first apostles of our Movement go down in German history for all eternity. Party comrade Loeper was a zealot, but he was more than that: a strong, self-sufficient man as hard as granite. He was persistent as only few are, untiring in his work and never swaying from the conviction: in the end we must succeed!
Hence for many of us this Party comrade was a model, in his unselfish modesty too, in his personal simplicity and in his lack of emotionalism: he was strictly a helper devoted to our great mutual cause.
Formerly the captain of the pioneers of the World War, he became a captain and pioneer of the National Socialist Weltanschauung, of our Revolution, and thus of our new German Reich. By having waged this battle in his lifetime, he lives on for us in death. He is a man for the German future. He deserves to be distinguished from the masses of hundreds of thousands and millions and be held up before the nation for all time! And this applies particularly to German youth. They shall hear this, and they shall learn from it. They shall once again realize that the old fealty was not only a virtue of the Teutons. The new Reich was built up with this virtue as its basis. This Reich would not be standing today were it not founded upon this fidelity [to Adolf Hitler].
A wonderful life has thus come to a close. Yet today we are all overcome by deep sorrow that our Party comrade, our Gauleiter and our Reichsstatthalter has been forced to leave us so soon, one of the old guard. Our hearts bleed when we see how our ranks slowly begin to thin out.
But as the old passes, so the young grows to take its place. For this old guard did not live in vain, did not struggle and fight in vain. From their work and their influence has sprung forth the richest of blessings—and Party comrade Captain Loeper was one of the most blessed of men.

On May 29, 1938 Hitler attended the opening of the new theatre in Dessau, the first building of its kind to have been completed during the Nazi regime. 
SV Dessau 05 w
The town football club giving the Hitler salute and today. SV Dessau 05 was founded in July 1905 as FC Adler. Thirty years later in 1935, after the re-organisation of German football under the Third Reich, Dessau played in the Gauliga Mitte, one of sixteen new upper class divisions. The club quickly emerged as a strong side, capturing three division titles from 1937–39, finishing second the next two seasons, and then winning another three consecutive titles from 1942–44. However, Dessau was never able to achieve any kind of success in the subsequent playoff rounds of the national championships, making it past the preliminary rounds only once in six attempts. In 1942, the team advanced as far as the quarterfinals of the Tschammerpokal, predecessor of today's German Cup.  After the war most organisations in Germany, including sports associations and football clubs, were dissolved by the occupying Allied authorities. The club was re-formed in late 1945 as Blau-Weiss Dessau.
Blankenburg (Harz)
Hitler had spoken at the Stadthalle in March 5, 1932 during his presidential campaign, shown here in 1937 and today.
In the early days of Nazi era, those who opposed the Nazi regime were persecuted and murdered, most notably during the notorious campaign by Brunswick SS commander, Jeckeln, in September 1933, when 140 communists and social democrats were herded together in the inn, Zur Erholung. Here and in the Blankenburger Hof they were severely beaten, some dying as a result. During the Second World War the Blankenburg-Oesig subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp was set up in the Dr. Dasch (Harzer Werke) Monastery Works and, shortly thereafter, subordinated to Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. Here some 500 prisoners had to carry out forced labour in the monastery factory and Oda Works. In addition, there was a work camp run by the Gestapo for "half-Jews" who were forced to do hard labour. Another camp was occupied in February 1945 by inmates of the Auschwitz subcamp of Fürstengrube and managed as Blankenburg Regenstein subcamp.  As part of the division of Germany into occupation zones in 1945, Blankenburg district was actually assigned to the British zone in accordance with the Potsdam Conference and London Protocol. But because the larger eastern part of the district was linked to the rest of the British zone only by a road and a railway, the boundary was adjusted and Blankenburg incorporated into the Soviet zone. The largest part of the district thus ended up later in East Germany and became part of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The main part of the former Free State of Brunswick went to the British zone and thus became part of Lower Saxony.
General Karl Litzmann speaking to a gathering of Nazi officials at the Stadthalle in 1932, and the Cavern Beatles performing inside recently.

Neustädter Tor in 1935 and today. Shortly after the beginning of the Nazi era in August 1933 about an hundred members of workers' organisations were assembled and mistreated in the town hall by SA men. A communist citizen succumbed to the abuse.  The war left relatively few traces in the city centre; American artillery destroyed valuable half-timbered houses whilst in the north of the city the Elbe bridge, completed in 1933, was destroyed in April 1945. The Elbe could, therefore, be crossed by the units of the 12th Army (Wenck's Army), with remnants of the 9th Army on its retreat to the west, over a narrow wooden bridge erected on the ruins of the bridge. 

The Alltagskirche Torgau. Outside Germany, the town is best known as the place where, during the war, American forces coming from the west met forces of the Soviet Union coming from the east during the invasion of Germany on April 25, 1945, which is now remembered as "Elbe Day". Units of the American First Army and the Soviet First Ukrainian Front met on the bridge at Torgau, and at Lorenzkirch (near Strehla), 20 miles to the south. The unit commanders met the following day at Torgau for an official handshake. This marked the beginning of the line of contact between Soviet and American forces, but not the finalized occupation zones. In fact the area surrounding Torgau initially occupied by American forces was later, in July 1945, given over to Soviet forces in compliance with the Yalta agreement. After the war, in 1949, a film called Encounter at the Elbe was released from Mosfilm about this meeting of the two armies.  According to journalist Andy Rooney, who was a correspondent in Europe at the time, the Red Army raided the Hohner accordion and harmonica factory at Torgau at the time. There was nothing surprising about that, Rooney said; armies have been plundering civilian property for ages. What was surprising was that half of the soldiers in the Red Army seemed to know how to play a musical instrument. There was a woman, a singer, who had been held prisoner at Torgau during the war, Rooney said, and the Russians freed her. She gave an impromptu concert in the town square, and the sound of her voice rising above the combined accordions and harmonicas playing in unison was something one would never forget.[citation needed]  Torgau was one of the prisons where Reinhold Eggers spent his post war imprisonment after being sentenced by the Soviets. Eggers had been the Security Officer at Oflag IV-C during the war, Colditz Castle. 

  Steinstraße in 1940 and today. Staßfurt had been the home of Graf Schwerin von Krosigk, who had served as Minister of Finance of Germany from 1932 to 1945 and as Leading Minister of the German Reich (Chancellor) in May 1945.  He had been appointed to the post by Franz von Papen in 1932. At the request of President Paul von Hindenburg, he continued in that office under Kurt von Schleicher and Adolf Hitler. During May 1945, after the suicides of Hitler and his designated successor Josef Goebbels, he also served in the historically unique position of Leading Minister of the German Reich, the equivalent of a Chancellorship, in the short-lived Flensburg government of President Karl Dönitz. Schwerin von Krosigk also held the essentially nominal offices of Foreign Minister and Finance Minister in the provisional government that controlled only a small, progressively shrinking portion of Germany, due to the rapid advance of the Allied forces who finally dissolved it and arrested its members. Besides Hitler himself, Schwerin von Krosigk and Wilhelm Frick were the only members of the Third Reich's cabinet to serve continuously from Hitler's appointment as Chancellor until his death. 
In the early weeks, Finance Minister Schwerin von Krosigk, who had met Hitler for the first time when the cabinet was sworn in on 30 January, was not alone in finding him ‘polite and calm’ in the conduct of government business, well-briefed, backed by a good memory, and able to ‘grasp the essentials of a problem’, concisely sum up lengthy deliberations, and put a new construction on an issue. 
By receiving the golden Nazi Party Badge from Adolf Hitler given for honour on January 30, 1937 he became a member of the Nazi Party (membership number: 3.805.231). He also joined the academy of German Law in 1937. At the 1949 Ministries Trial, he was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to ten years in gaol, but was granted amnesty in 1951. He later worked as an author and publicist.

 Alsleben an der Saale 

What had been the NSV (National Socialist People's Welfare) Erholungsheim, now the town's school. Alsleben was the hometown of one of Germany's greatest war heroes, the U-boat ace Gunther Prien, these two photographs show clearly the radical changes since the war. Alsleben was also the birthplace of Wolfgang Herrmann, whose blacklist provided the template for the Nazi book burnings in May 1933. The month before a committee including Herrmann met in Berlin to establish a "new order" for Berlin public libraries. For several years, he had already been preparing lists of literature to weed out, which he brought to the new committee. Herrmann's first lists served to indicate works that libraries should refrain from lending. However, he also had lists of books to recommend, such as Hitler – ein deutsches Verhängnis by Ernst Niekisch and Adolf Hitler, Wilhelm der Dritte by Weigand von Miltenberg, but set little store with Hitler's Mein Kampf. which resulted in him being treated dismissively by the Nazi Party press. This led to Herrmann initiating court proceedings within the Nazi Party on December 12, 1936, which were dropped on an order from Hitler from April 27, 1938. 
At the beginning of 1933, the German student organisation, the Deutsche Studentenschaft (DSt) asked Herrmann to make his blacklist of "harmful and undesirable literature" available to them; it then became the foundation for the book burnings. The book burnings were by and large organized by the DSt, albeit with support from the Reichsministerium. Likewise, Herrmann's blacklist, created on his own initiative, arose from his Nazi convictions. Not until later did Goebbels and his Ministry – after a long power struggle with Alfred Rosenberg – assume sole guidance of literature policy. The first "List of Books Worth Burning" appeared in the publication, Berliner Nachtausgabe on March 26, 1933. Preliminary and incomplete, it was soon replaced by a more thorough index. A month later, Herrmann began creating further lists of authors based on his blacklist, which he sent to the DSt for their "Action against the Un-German Spirit". Using these lists, student shock troops searched the libraries of universities and institutions and, beginning May 6, 1933, bookshops and lending libraries, removing the "harmful and undesirable literature". Public libraries were then pressured to "clean up" their own stocks; the books culled were to be handed over to the DSt for public book burnings on May 10, 1933.  Herrmann's blacklist was republished on May 16, 1933, in Börsenblatt, a weekly trade publication for German bookstores, as Prussia's first official list of banned books.

Schloßstraße with the Schloßkirche on the left and the Stadtkirche from the market square July 29, 1941 and now, from where Luther preached his famous invocavit sermons and which, in 1547 during the Schmalkaldic War, the towers' stone pyramids were removed to make platforms for cannon. Numerous air raids during the war led to the fact that the workers in the armaments factories could scarcely rest and yet still the machines running on high transects continued. Although the bomber units mainly flew to Berlin, 1944 Anglo-American bombshells in the eastern part of the city damaged several houses, destroyed the railway station and Filmburg cinema in the Mittelstraße. 
In the summer of 1944, an outer camp of Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Wittenberg was built to maintain the armaments industry. Before the invasion of the Red Army on April 26, 1945, the Elbbrücke and the Flutbrücke in the present district of Pratau were demolished.  After the arrival of the Soviet soldiers, Wittenberg, as in other German cities, was attacked by the civilian population. It was only gradually that the command of the Soviet troops could end the chaotic conditions. Gradually, life in the city became normal after the most severe war damage had been removed. Until 1991, the Soviet Army occupied several city districts (including the area around today's New Town Hall, the Arsenal Square, or the residential area around the eastern Thomas-Müntzer-Straße).
In 1988, the Sculptor Wieland Schmiedel was commissioned to produce a commemorative plaque paying homage to the victims of the Holocaust. It's currently in the consistory of the church, whilst the judensau showing Jews sucking the tits and anus of a pig is allowed to be exhibited outside on the façade.
Inscribed over the obscene scene are the words Schem Ha Mphoras, claimed to posses a power Jews have which they keep protected from gentiles.
Luther himself praised the sculpture on his home church in a 1543 text called “Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ.” stating how "[h]ere in Wittenberg, in our parish church there is a sow carved into the stone under which lie young pigs and Jews who are sucking; behind the sow stands a rabbi who is lifting up the right leg of the sow, raises behind the sow, bows down and looks with great effort into the Talmud under the sow, as if he wanted to read and see something most difficult and exceptional; no doubt they gained their Schem Hamphoras from that place.”
  This phrase is actually repeated in the commemorative plaque which reads 
 "Gottes eigentlicher Name, der geschmähte Schem Ha Mphoras, den die Juden vor den Christen fast unsagbar heilig hielten, starb in sechs Millionen Juden unter einem Kreuzeszeichen."
("God's original name, the maligned Shem Ha Mphoras, which the Jews held holy before the Christians, died in the six million Jews under the sign of the cross.") That the cross was the twisted cross of the Nazis as opposed to the Christian one, and that the phrase did not simply "die" shows how insincere and forced German attempts to say something about their collective guilt are. Indeed, in February 2020 a German appellate court ruled that the 700-year-old "Jew pig" sculpture depicting a rabbi peering inside the animal’s arse could stay openly displayed on the exterior of St. Mary’s Church. Plaintiff Michael Duellmann had argued that the sculpture is “a defamation of and insult to the Jewish people.”
 The Thesentor on which Luther nailed his 95 theses during the Nazi era and today. A former student's History Extended Essay on Luther's Use of Language in Allowing the Protestant Reformation to Succeed received an A from the IBO. During the Nazi era, on 13 June 1935, the most serious explosion occurred since the existence of WASAG's Reinsdorfer explosives plant in which 82 people were killed and large parts of the plant were destroyed. In the same year a branch of Arado Flugzeugwerke was set up in Wittenberg, where women from the Ravensbrück concentration camp were forced to work under conditions that were unsafe to thesay the least. In 1936, Wittenberg became a garrison town of the Wehrmacht. In the Pogromnacht in 1938 there were riots in front of Jewish shops and apartments with Jewish citizens subsequently arrested and deported.


Postcard showing the town flanked by Hitler and Hindenburg on the 1000th anniversary of the 933 Battle of Riade, where King Henry the Fowler gained his great victory over the Hungarians in the vicinity. In 1935 a military airfield was put into operation west of the city, where an aviation garrison was stationed. During the war Merseburg experienced 19 air raids in 1944 and 1945, of which three were classified as very heavy and several as medium. Often, the city was affected by attacks on the neighbouring Leuna works, but several times was the recipient of the main bombing. In doing so, the east wing of the castle as well as large parts of the inner city were almost completely destroyed and the towing sluice was damaged. Most of the attacks were courtesy of the American Air Force, always in the daytime. The RAF participated on December 6, 1944 with a devastating night attack, which followed an American day attack; a so-called "double strike". A total of 6,300 explosive bombs, 125 mine bombs, 3,000 bomb bombs and 300 phosphor bombs (together nearly 10,000 bombs) were thrown onto Merseburg by the strategic bomber fleets involved. "The city was almost completely destroyed afterwards." 9,800 buildings were destroyed or damaged (only 20% undamaged), there were at least 587 (up to 1,000) dead and 700 injured, 13,500 residents were homeless.
Memorial to the victims of the bombing in the town cemetery. The actual number of victims remains contested, but the city of Merseburg recognises a death toll of 540 although some claim a number closer to 1,000 dead. Most of the bombs were buried in the southern part of the St. Maximi cemetery on a burial ground and in ivy-growing mass graves. In addition to the extensive grave sites, this memorial was built. The inscription reads: "The victims of war and violence". On one of the seven surrounding stone slabs with a total of 400 names reads: "war- and bomb-victims 1940-1945 in Merseburg". A memorial stone  on the other side of the grave fields shows the lettering "Die Toten mahnen". The Italian Republic made a memorial with Italian and German inscriptions, "for the solemn remembrance of her dead here," who were killed in the air raids.

Regenstein Castle 
Burg Regenstein is a ruined castle that lies three kilometres north of Blankenburg. Of this once relatively impregnable castle, which was built in the early and high Middle Ages on a 294 metre high sandstone rock towering over the surrounding area, only ruins are visible today. Several internal rooms, carved into the rock, have survived, as have the ruins of the keep. The castle is surrounded by remnants of a more recent fortress. According to legend, once upon a time one of the most beautiful young women in the land was imprisoned in the dungeon of Regenstein Castle, because she had spurned the love of the Count of Regenstein. Using a diamond ring she scratched a hole in the rock, which became so large after a year that she was able to crawl through and escape. After her escape, she returned with her family to the castle, but the count had fled. A little later, she noticed thick smoke gushing from a crack in a rock wall. When she looked through it, she saw the count in purgatory. Then, out of pity, she threw him her ring to him in order to enable the spirit of the count to rest.

Burg Saaleck
On the morning of June 24, 1922, Walther Rathenau, the German foreign minister, was assassinated as he set off for work from his villa in the Berlin suburb of Grunewald. From another car one assassin picked up a long-barrelled machine-pistol and opened fire whilst the other assassin lobbed a hand grenade into the back of the limousine. The two killers, Erwin Kern and Hermann Fischer, drove into a side street, took off their leather gear, disposed of the machine-pistol and calmly walked away as police cars sped past them on their way to the scene of the crime. The police mounted the largest manhunt Germany had ever seen: ‘Wanted’ posters appeared all over the country, and police forces were issued with descriptions of the men. The two assassins made their way here to Saaleck Castle whose custodian was a sympathiser, but the police tracked them down. Kern was killed in a shoot-out and Fischer committed suicide; both were in their mid-twenties.
Kern and Fischer were buried in the cemetery below the castle and their grave became, inevitably, a holy place for the Hitler regime, which had a large memorial stone placed there. This was still in situ in the 1980s, though the inscription had been removed by the East German authorities. After German reunification, Saaleck became once more a gathering point for the far right. The stone was therefore removed altogether in 2000. But last July it was reported that a large roughly worked stone had been smuggled into the cemetery by night and placed at the grave. It bore a crudely incised inscription with the names Fischer and Kern and the date they died: July 17.

The rathaus on Adolf-Hitler-Platz, built in 1509.  At the beginning of the Nazi era  era, the Gestapo based itself in the Gewandhaus where political opponents from the workers' organisations were subjected to brutality. In 1937/38 a hydrogenation plant for the production of fuels based on brown coal was built in the north-east of Zeitz by the BRABAG Group in preparation for the war planned by the Nazi government. From the summer of 1939 the air-protection preparations in the city were intensified. From 1940, Zeitz became a hospital town, and in 1942 there were 450 wounded in treatment. The city had many "bombed" families from West Germany, Hamburg and Berlin. On the other hand, Zeitzer children were evacuated to rural areas in the framework of the "extended childrens' deportation". During the Nazi dictatorship, Rehmsdorf and Gleina (both at Zeitz) set up the external warehouse system, which was subordinated to Buchenwald concentration camp. From there, almost 10,000 concentration camp prisoners were deployed from the end of May to October 1944 to mitigate the destruction of the Allied bombings and restart production. Most of them were Hungarian Jews, among them Imre Kertész, who had to work in the Brabag factory in Tröglitz. Civilian engineers of the companies, the so-called "Werkbeauftragten", coordinated the work of the prisoners in the place. Production could hardly be carried out, however, given new bomb attacks by the allied bomber groups. One such bombing target of the Oil Campaig was the Brabag plant northeast of Zeitz which used lignite coal to synthesise ersatz oil foor which forced labour was provided by the nearby Wille subcamp of Buchenwald in Rehmsdorf and Gleina.The firm Braunkohle-Benzin AG (BRABAG), whose synthetic fuel was supposed to reduce dependence on foreign oil, deployed up to 8,000 prisoners in four plants; in Zeitz alone, 5,000 Jewish prisoners were deployed. On November 30, 1944, an American bomb attack took place on the city of Zeitz itself. During the bomb attacks on the hydrogenation plant, the concentration camp prisoners who were deployed weren't allowed to enter the shelters which were reserved for civilian workers and security guards, which repeatedly resulted in numerous victims among the prisoners. On April 10 a subsequent attack by American bombers on trains in the freight station, in which Chlorgas was released from hit tank wagons. On April 12, American battalions reached the Raum Zeitz. The batteries of the "Flak clock Zeitz" tried in vain to stop them in the loss of earthquake. All bridges over the White Elster were blown up. The city was taken after artillery fire on April 13 and 14 and the Zeitz barracks were taken the next day.

 Under the direction of an American soldier, German civilians from Gardelegen are shown on the left carrying wooden crosses to the site where they were ordered to bury the bodies of concentration camp prisoners killed by the SS in a barn just outside the town. It had been widely reported that members of the local population provided support to the SS during the operation. It took place on April 13 when more than a thousand prisoners, many of them sick and too weak to march any further, were taken from the town of Gardelegen to a large barn on the Isenschnibbe estate and forced inside the building. The assembled guards then barricaded the doors and set fire to gasoline-soaked straw. Prisoners who escaped the conflagration by digging under the barn's walls were killed by the guards. The next day, the SS and local auxiliaries returned to dispose of the evidence of their crime. They planned to incinerate what remained of the bodies and the barn, and kill any survivors of the blaze. The swift advance of the 102nd Infantry Division (United States), however, prevented the SS and its accomplices from completely carrying out this plan. On April 14, the 102nd entered Gardelegen and, the following day, discovered the atrocity. They found the corpses of 1,016 prisoners in the still-smouldering barn and nearby trenches, where the SS had had the charred remains dumped. They also interviewed several of the prisoners who had managed to escape the fire and the shootings. American Army Signal Corps photographers soon arrived to document the Nazi crime and by April 19, 1945, the story of the Gardelegen massacre began appearing in the Western press. On that day, both the New York Times and The Washington Post ran stories on the massacre, quoting one American soldier who stated:      
I never was so sure before of exactly what I was fighting for. Before this you would have said those stories were propaganda, but now you know they weren't. There are the bodies and all those guys are dead.  
 The Post office on the former Adolf-Hitler-Straße
On April 21, 1945, the local commander of the 102nd ordered between 200 and 300 men from the town of Gardelegen to give the murdered prisoners a proper burial. Over the next few days, the German civilians exhumed 586 bodies from the trenches and recovered 430 bodies from the barn, placing each in an individual grave. On April 25, the 102nd carried out a ceremony to honour the dead and erected a memorial tablet to the victims, which stated that the townspeople of Gardelegen are charged with the responsibility that the “graves are forever kept as green as the memory of these unfortunates will be kept in the hearts of freedom-loving men everywhere.” Also on April 25, Colonel George Lynch addressed German civilians at Gardelegen with the following statement: 
The German people have been told that stories of German atrocities were Allied propaganda. Here, you can see for yourself. Some will say that the Nazis were responsible for this crime. Others will point to the Gestapo. The responsibility rests with neither — it is the responsibility of the German people....Your so-called Master Race has demonstrated that it is master only of crime, cruelty and sadism. You have lost the respect of the civilised world.

The Turnhalle with the grave of 'Turnvater' Jahn and his house, then and now
Between 1825-1852, Freyburg was the home in exile to 18th century gymnastics educator Friedrich Ludwig Jahn. He was widely regarded as the founder of modern gymnastics and left behind the world's first gymnasium in Freyburg. He is buried in Freyburg and his memorial in the town as shown during the Nazi era and today has become a pilgrimage site for gymnasts such as Olympic champion Klaus Koeste and world champion Erika Zuchold. 
The swastika has taken on a number of meanings over time: Thor's hammer, a sun wheel, a wolf trap, a mill wheel. It has been depicted as crossed lightning bolts, the four "Fs" of Turnvater [father of gymnastics] Jahn (frisch = lively, fromm = devout, fröh­ lich = cheerful, frei = free),and as a fertility sign. In the twentieth century Kerensky's provisional government in Russia used the swastika on its bank notes as a symbol of independence.
Hilmar Hoffmann (15) The Triumph of Propaganda: Film and National Socialism 1933-1945
Looking along Hallesche Straße towards St. Jakob's church. The town is the birthplace of Werner Haase, a professor of medicine and SS member who became one of Hitler's personal physicians. After the war Haase was made a Soviet prisoner of war, dying captivity in 1950.
In the 1930 national election, 25.5 percent of the town voted for the Nazis, which was significantly above the national average of 18.2 percent. 
The synagogue was burned down on November 16, 1938, and demolished the following year. During the war, Köthen again became a military hospital as it was in the First World War; in addition to the city's seven schools, other buildings were also used for this purpose. By 1942, the last Jews still living in the town were deported to the Bohemian concentration camp Theresienstadt . The factory building of the Maschinenfabrik AG v. Wagner & Co. became the engine construction branch of Köthen (MZK) of Junkers Motorenbau GmbH in 1935. After the war, the Junkers aircraft and engine plants were expropriated by order of the Soviet military administration in Germany (SMAD) and the MZK later became VEB Abus (providing equipment for mining and heavy industry).
On the morning of July 20, 1944, an air raid was carried out by 69 American B-17 bombers of the 8th Air Force, dropping 165 tonnes of explosive bombs. The damage was caused to the MZK engine factory, the schloss with the hospital housed there, and the railway facilities. Seventy houses were destroyed or severely damaged, and 71 Germans and 16 foreigners died in the attack. On August 16, 1944, at 11.00 71 heavy B-24 bombers dropped 110 tonnes of explosive bombs and 79 tonnes of incendiary bombs, particularly over the engine factory. In both bombings together, 106 people were killed, so it can be concluded that the number on August 16 was around 35. On April 12, 1945, the 9th Tactical US Air Command attacked the town. At the end of 1944, the first refugees from the eastern territories reached the city. On April 14, 1945, American troops began bombarding Köthen from the direction of Pilsenhöhe, capturing the city shortly afterwards. At the beginning of July 1945, the garrison was handed over to the Soviet Army . The numerous refugees who streamed into Köthen were housed in barracks not far from the air base. The air base was subsequently used by the 73rd Soviet Guards Fighter Aviation Regiment (73 Gw.IAP) and became a military restricted area. In 1956, at the instigation of General Curtis LeMay , who ordered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and recommended a preventive nuclear war, around 1,100 targets in Eastern Europe and Asia were selected. [50] An atomic bomb with an explosive force of 1,200 kilotons of TNT was to hit this airfield. In comparison, the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in August 1945 had the equivalent of 20 kilotons of TNT.

Halle (Saale)
 Looking down rathausstraße before the war's destruction and today. During the war weapons were manufactured in Halle including airplanes, rockets and poison gas; concentration camp prisoners and forced labourers were tortured and Jews and communists were persecuted and deported like in any other city during the Nazi era. 
 Hitler spent his birthday in Halle in 1932 when he spoke briefly at the racecourse from 17:10 to 17:40. Around 35,000 people attended the meeting which was opened by Gauleiter Rudolf Jordan; according to the Nazis' own paper, no less than 120,000 turned up. Speaking just before Hitler was Paul Schulz, best known as the leader of the "Black Reichswehr" in the 1920s. He was accused of organising assassination attempts against unpopular members of the Black Reichswehr and against democratic politicians of the Weimar Republic and later would make a name for himself in the Nazi Party as a reorganiser of the SA after the 'Stennes Putsch' of 1930. Schulz survived an assassination attempt by the SS during the Night of the Long Knives of 1934 and then lived abroad until the end of the war. According to the Saale-Zeitung, Hitler's speech was "initially met with only muted applause." Later that year he returned on October 22 when he spoke in a tent for 30,000 people on Sarassani Square, interrupted when a saboteur cut the wire leading to the public address system, forcing a pause in the his speech, which, however, only lasted for a short time; the sabateur is said to have been the communist Franz Heyl who ended up dying in a concentration camp in 1936. In the DDR a street in Halle was named after him. Hitler's departure was hindered by communist counter-demonstrators, and mounted police cleared the way.  
The opera house around 1890 and today, and shown below. It was all but destroyed by bombing on Easter 1945. The reconstruction took place in a reduced form, among other things the tympanum lost its figure frieze and the gable top. The destroyed stage was reconstructed without the original dome and with a greatly simplified facade.  
Hitler returned to Halle that same year on December 18 as guest speaker at the official assembly of the Nazi district of Halle-Merseburg, speaking in the Stadtschützenhaus (the Town Rifle Club), after 14:30. At the event, which was attended by around 2,000 people, Gauleiter Loepcr spoke first, then Gauleiter Rudolf Jordan. Hitler's speech lasted about an hour, after which Jordan concluded the meeting with another speech. At a parallel meeting in the Small Hall of the Town Rifle Club, the leader of the Nazi faction in the Halle City Council, Bruno Czarnowski, spoke. Hitler's appearance in Halle was accompanied not only by communist counter-demonstrations, but also by fierce disputes within the Nazi Party; the report by the regional president of Merseburg stated that 
[b]efore and during the meeting, there were significant incidents which suddenly highlighted the long-standing conflict between the political leadership and the SS on the one hand and the SA on the other. Even before the meeting began, around 400 SA men under the leadership of the Sturmbannadjutant Seeger had gathered in front of the Stadtschützenhaus (the meeting venue) to intercept Hitler's car and bring it to the SA home on Merseburger Strasse. There, the SA intended to present its complaint about the Halle-Merseburg Gau leadership, in particular its demand for the immediate dismissal of the Gauleiter Jordan, to Hitler personally. The Sturmbannadjutant Seeger is said to have been supported in this by the leader of the SA's central group, Captain (ret.) [Hans] von Tschammer [1111d]-Osten. After this attempt failed, Tschammer-Osten, despite the ban on the Gauleitung, went to the town shooting hall, where there are said to have been minor clashes with the SS. In the town shooting hall itself, before the meeting, there were noisy arguments between the officials of the NSDAP, some leaders of the SS and Gauleiter Jordan, because a large number of the Halle officials had not appeared in uniform - contrary to the orders of the Gauleitung. With the help of the SS, the Gauleitung ordered the 'civilians' to be removed from the hall. At this moment, Tschammer-Osten appeared with his SA men, declared his solidarity with the officials of the Halle local group and declared that they would not leave the hall under any circumstances. This argument, during which shouts of 'SS out' and 'Jordan out' were heard, was then settled through personal discussions between Tschammer-Osten and Jordan. However, due to these incidents, the Gau leadership considered it more appropriate not to lead Hitler into the small hall of the town's rifle club, which of course aroused the displeasure of the NSDAP members gathered there. Due to these incidents, the Gau leadership is said to intend to expel the entire Halle local branch of the NSDAP for violating party discipline and for mutiny. On the other hand, in view of the incidents, von Tschammer Osten is said to intend to make a vigorous approach to the Halle-Merseburg Gau leadership in writing to Hitler at a meeting of officials to be held in Dessau.
Halle had a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp, which was not least known for its prominent inmate Ernst Thälmann. And the head of the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish Question", Reinhard Heydrich, was from Halle.During the war, the Außenlager Birkhahn, a subcamp of Buchenwald, was located in Halle, where prisoners from Poland, Czechoslovakia, the Soviet Union, France, Netherlands and other nations were forced to work in the Siebel aircraft plants, making combat aircraft. The plant was later dismantled.
The former post office on the right from the turn of the century and today. Near the end of the war there were two bombing raids carried out against the town: the first on March 31 1945, the second a few days later. The first attack took place between the railway station and the centre of the city and the second bombing was in the southern district. It killed over 1,000 inhabitants; 3,600 buildings were destroyed and many heavily damaged. Among them, the Market Church, St. George Church, the Old Town Hall, the City Theatre, historic buildings on Bruederstrasse and on Grosse Steinstrasse, and the city cemetery. On April 17 1945, Halle was occupied by American troops, and the red tower was set on fire by artillery and destroyed. In addition, the Market Church and the Church of St. George received more hits. However, the city didn't sustain further damage because a planned aerial bombardment was cancelled, after the former naval officer Felix von Luckner negotiated the surrender of the city to the American army. In July, the Americans withdrew and the city was occupied by the Red Army. 

Ammendorf is is a district of Halle. During the war was the leading centre for the production of what was given the camouflage name Orgacid which is a fatal chemical substance which produces bubbles on the limbs and internal organs. The costs were initially estimated at 36 million Reichsmarks. In 2001, the contaminated bunker temporarily sheltered after the collapse of the DDR in 1989, in which lost supplies were once stored, was still being monitored - albeit now only routinely. The soil surrounding it still contains evil-smelling remnants of warfare, mainly from decomposed products which today are officially (and conveniently) regarded harmless. The re-sealed, internally tiled, double-walled concrete bunkers remain, not least for an indefinite time, as a continuing memory of the poisonous legacy of the Nazis because blasting and disposal is not only too expensive, but also risky. The Russians had failed to remove the entire poison gas complex, and even during the Nazi era there had been problems with the production of orgacid gases, so that an expert's report was produced in 1940 repeated in 1991 with repeated warnings after extensive soil analyses.
The fire station and war memorial in 1940 and now. 
The Friedensschule in the 1930s and Grundschule Radewell in 1942 and today
Fritz-Kießling-Strasse and the corner of Hauptstrasse and Merseburger Strasse

Adolf Hitler Straße and Gutshaus Schafstädt then and now. The town cemetery is the burial site for two Soviet women who were deported to Germany during the war to serve as victims of forced labour.

Hotel Döring sporting Nazi flags; now Hotel Central. Before the war Bitterfeld had been an early modern industrial centre where war substances were also produced. Under the Nazis, several hundred prisoners of war, as well as women and men of different nationalities, had to carry out forced labour in the chemical and armament enterprises of the city until 1945. Under postwar communist control, the region became a symbol of the decay of the economy and dangerous pollution, as the modernisation of the industrial facilities was neglected, thus contributing to the pollution of the environment as far back as it was at the beginning of the 20th century. The accumulation of poisons from the many years of economic woes, especially during the two world wars, had resulted in considerable damage to the environment in this region leading the city to suffer the title of "dirtiest city in Europe." Bitterfeld is one of the most important centres of the popular uprising against the SED dictatorship. On June 17, 1953, up to 50,000 people demonstrated on the central square of the youth and the inland garden meadow - more than Bitterfeld's inhabitants. The teacher Wilhelm Fiebelkorn read a telegram to the government of the DDR demanding the immediate resignation of the government, free elections and the release of political prisoners.
The Sperlingsbrunnen with Nazi flags behind and today. Hitler spoke here in the Seehalle on October 22, 1932. Stendal increasingly became the focus of Allied bomb attacks in the Second World War, mainly because of the troops of the Wehrmacht stationed there. There were frequent air battles across Stendal, where Allied bombers also crashed over the city or nearby. The Jagdgeschwader stationed there (including the Jagdgeschwader 301 "Wilde Sau") lay directly in the Einflugschneise of the Bomberverbände, which had assigned Berlin as an attack goal. In the spring of 1945, three hundred people were killed in a bomb attack on the district of Röxe. The main station was also hit.

The Tangermünder gate flying the Nazi flag and extensively rebuilt. On the 8th of April of the year, bombs struck the St. Nicholas Cathedral, which was partly destroyed: especially the cloister, frescoes, glare and fences. The mediæval glass windows had previously been outsourced and were thus saved. In April 1945 one of the most controversial companies of the final phase of the war, the Sonderkommando Elbe, started from the Stendal-Borstel airfield. On April 13, Nazi mayor Karl Wernecke surrendered the city to the American armed forces. Joseph Goebbels Stendal then referred to him as "dishonourable" because of his supposed cowardly surrender. On May 4, 1945, the German 12th Army (Wenck Army) surrendered under the General Reichsfreiherr von Edelsheim in the Stendal Town Hall. British troops took over the administration in Stendal on June 12, but were tragically replaced by the Soviet army on July 1. The Red Army sent the former mayor of Wernecke in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he died in December of 1945. As a result of the refugee stream, Stendal was home to about 65,000 inhabitants on June 16, 1945; at the beginning of the war it had only about 34,000 inhabitants.