Showing posts with label The Great Escape. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Great Escape. Show all posts

Nazi Housing Estates in Munich

Nazi Housing Development
The government of Chancellor Brüning in 1931 established the small settlement programme in order "to promote the population becoming settled in the country to reduce unemployment and to facilitate sufficient living conditions for the unemployed." The future settlers were to be involved in the establishment of their own homes and gardens and small animal husbandry to improve their supply in the economic crisis. The Nazis took over the model because it fit into their anti-modern and anti-urban ideology. 
According to Geoff Walden of Third Reich in Ruins, this first building at Kurfürstenplatz "was likely part of a Third Reich neighbourhood housing development (Siedlung) built in 1938. The Siedlung included a savings bank and a police office, and this building may have been one of those." friend_of_Obersalzberg, who contributed the photo on the left, confirms that it was built in 1938 by architect and graduate engineer Hans Atzenbeck.
At that time it was necessary to build new healthy and cheap apartments in Munich. It has five entrances and thus five living units. In the first floor (Erdgeschoß) were stores. In the courtyard was a fountain with a sculpture of a drumming Hitlerjunge. The swastikas and the fountain were removed after war.
Google Street view actually blocks the image of the entire building! Google isn't known for respecting privacy, so could this have been pushed by the authorities given the remaining Nazi-era reliefs?
The site on  February 26, 1938 when it was officially opened. 
It was reported at the time that
[t]he topping-out ceremony for the new residential buildings of the Städtische Sparkasse, which will also include new rooms for the Sparkasse branch and the northern police section, will take place on Kurfürstenplatz Mayor Fiehler then points out that a number of needs resulted in the need for the new building, such as the space requirements of the savings bank, the police, the creation of apartments and the necessary redesign of the square to create an appealing urban design.
Starting in 1938, the blocks of flats with 37 2½- to 3½-room flats, a savings bank branch, a police detachment with affiliated shops and a coffee house were built. After the Second World War, house number 5 was the location of the Municipal Police Office North of the then Munich City Police for a long time.
The coat of arms of Munich on the building with its form under the Nazis and today. On the right the Nazi version reappears on the clothing of a neo-Nazi in Munich.
Better photos of the building can be found on the the Munich thread at Axis History.
These siedlung on Klugstrasse all have bizarre Third Reich, astrological, masonic, and other obscure symbols over every door frame leading inside. To me, it's incredible that they continue to survive and form the entrances to people's homes:

The swastika is still faintly visible...

...whilst this one, dated 1933, is obscured by the shaking hands

Here the hakenkreuz has been erased, but the Nazi salutes allowed to remain!

Another excised swastika that completed the DAF symbol

And yet a couple have had their bizarre symbols completely removed.

The left image shows swords and a steel helmet whilst the one on the right reminds me of the lesson from the Disney wartime cartoon Education for Death...

Mustersiedlung Ramersdorf
The settlement at Ramersdorf was opened on June 9, 1934 to serve as a model for future settlement projects in Germany. Designed by Guido Habers, this siedlung on Stephanskirchener Straße provided 192 homes with 34 different building types and planned as an alternative to the multi-storey urban houses. The ensemble is self-contained and , pursuant to the garden city idea numerous green spaces.  As executive architects, among others, Friedrich Ferdinand Haindl, Sep Ruf, Franz Ruf, Lois Knidberger, Albert Heichlinger, Max Dellefant, Theo Pabst, Christoph Miller, Hanna Loev Delisle and Charles were responsible for the buildings. The hoped-for propaganda effect of the settlement did not materialise because, among other things, the generous living space for those days 56-129 m2 and individual modernist elements were criticised.  After the exhibition, the settlement houses were sold as homes. In 1935 a Protestant church building was opened with the Gustav Adolf Church in the settlement as shown in the then-and-now photos. A number of frescoes remain, barely, from 1934:
St. Christopher on Stephanskirchener Straße 20. When I last visited in February 2018, it appeared to have been removed.
Above a door on Schlechinger Weg 4 is this coat of arms; the former owner was Paerr and therefore he chose a play on words in the arms of a bear- Bärenwappen. Above one can still make out the inscription "G. P. 1934".

Further down at Schlechinger Weg 8 is this image of a German African colonial soldier. The original owner had served in Deutsch-Südwestafrika and designed the crest himself before giving it to the artist, Günther Graßmann.
Another by Günther Graßmann at Schlechinger Weg 10. The pointer of the sundial is at the centre of a sun, with the dial in the form of an harp. As can be seen in the 1934 photo, the bottom of the fresco depicts a sailing ship. Graßmann was involved in another sundial for the church of St. Raphael, München-Hartmannshofen; I think he was involved in its stained glass, as well:
Remarkably, the Adolf-Hitler-Brunnen still remains intact at Herrenchiemseestraße 44. 
On the base of the fountain a swastika with a lime leaf in raised relief was etched and at the back was the following inscription:
The blocks of stone with the swastika and lime leaf above the water spout were removed after 1945 as was the term " Hitler Linde". This fountain is one of the 75 drinking water wells in Munich.
Another water well at Törwanger Straße 2. In 1938 a small mosaic was set up as seen in the photo with a swastika by the painter Günther Grassmann. The mosaic has been coated with a thin layer of plaster and is left empty, the well no longer in operation.

Siedlung Am Hart
The Am Hart settlement goes back to the Reichskleinsiedlungsprogramm, which Reichskanzler Heinrich Brüning had initiated on October 6, 1931 by emergency order. The Reichsginsiedlungsprogramm was mainly for the unemployed and provided for the erection of simply equipped housing estates. All settlements were equipped with large gardening grounds for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables and for keeping small animals in order to allow for extensive self-sufficiency. After the end of the Weimar Republic the National Socialists continued the program, but put it into the service Their ideology. After two years of construction, the Reichskleinsiedlung Am Hart, which was adorned with swastikas, was officially handed over by Lord Mayor Karl Fiehler on September 8, 1935. The expansion of the Nazi regime was reflected in the naming of streets: Arnauer Strasse, Egerländerstrasse, Kaadener Strasse, Karlsbader Strasse, Marienbader Strasse and Sudetendeutsche Strasse were already in 1934 after cities in the west of the Czechoslovak Republic or the one living there German-speaking population, which Nazi propaganda wanted to bring "home to the Reich" by means of a territorial union.
The Volksschule at Rothpletzstraße 40 originally bore the inscription: "This school building was built between 1938 and 1939 at the time of the return of the Sudetenland to the German Reich." It remains unchanged apart from the Nazi eagle which has been removed.

Siedlung Neuherberge
 With the ϟϟ-Deutschland-Kaserne in the background seen December 1938.

In August 1936, west of Ingolstädter Strasse, the Neuherberge settlement consisting of 169 small houses was completed. Those chosen to live here were selected according to criteria of the Nazi ideology. The settlements enjoyed a large portion of the garden for self-sufficiency and were intended primarily for poor families with many aryan families. Many of the settled settlers were employed as civilian workers in the neighbouring barracks or in the armaments industry. The central square of the settlement, the Spengelplatz, was originally named after a young Hitler Youth member. After the Second World War it was rededicated to the landscape painter Johann Ferdinand Spengel.

Siedlung Kaltherberge
In 1936-1937, east of Ingolstädter Strasse, the Kleinsiedlung Kaltherberge, whose only direct access had ever been via Gundelkoferstraße, was founded as a self-employed settlement for needy workers' families. The Mettenleiterplatz is the centre of the settlement, which originally consisted of 221 settlements. The Nazi planners had originally named the square after one of the killed participants of the so-called "Hitler Putsch" whom Nazi propaganda worshipped as one of the "blood martyrs of the movement." After the war the place became after Johann Michael Mettenleiter, a copper cutter and lithographer. On December 4, 1945, the American Army confiscated all houses of the settlement, including the facility, to accommodate about 2,000 Displaced Persons under the care of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRR). Among those were numerous Jews from Eastern Europe who wanted to leave Munich to the USA or to British Palestine. The previous residents of the settlement had to leave their houses and were temporarily accommodated by the Munich housing office; by 1949 most were able to return to their homes.

Siedlung on Erich Kästner str.
This example of a siedlung consists of an huge building and on all four corners there are Third Reich reliefs.
The swastikas have been wiped out from the bottom of each relief
Similar decorative façade at the corner of Karl - Theodor and Mannheimer streets:
93 Winzererstr.
Another surviving building from the Nazi era with its iconography intact (with the colour still maintained) complete with reichsadler dating from 1936 found by odeon at Axis History Forum.

The Diana fountain on Kufsteiner Platz at the entrance to the Herzog Park in Bogenhausen. The Dianahaus in the background was destroyed during the war. It serves as a reminder that the area was formerly an almost impenetrable hunting area in Altwasssümpümpen within a meadow landscape with large deer. Thomas Mann recorded in his 1918 novella Herr und Hund his daily walks with his dog Bauschan in the immediate vicinity of his villa here.
From 1933 to 1937 the Nazis set up Reichskleinsiedlung here at Am Hart, Neuherberg and Kaltherberg after which time the housing policy increasingly turned back to the multi-storey, which could be accomplished more efficiently and cheaper.
This building at Mariahilfplatz 4, shown in 1934 and today where it now serves as an hotel, was originally used as an Hitlerjugend-Heim.

From the time the "Reichssiedlung Rudolf Hess" was built nearly eighty years ago south of Munich over 68 hectares in size, the area above the Isar in the district of Pullach has been shrouded in mystery. A lifestyle and everyday life that was completely permeated by the Nazi ideology was to be realised here. "Sonnenwinkel" was the domicile of influential and high-ranking Nazis, above all Hitler's secretary and head of the Nazi party chancellery, Martin Bormann. Bormann noted Hitler's first appointment in Pullach in his pocket calendar on September 14, 1938: "Visit of the Führer in the Sonnenwinkel (long discussions with Ribbentropp in the Bormann house). Then drive to Obersalzberg." There, on September 15, Hitler received Neville Chamberlain; and also before the next meeting with the British Prime Minister, a week later, on his way to Bad Godesberg, Hitler scheduled another preliminary discussion on the Munich Agreement in the Sonnenwinkel House. These dates marked a new function of Bormann's staff leader villa: as a place of important political negotiations - admittedly without publicity and representative accessories. After the Munich Agreement, Bormann was able to make the facility, attractive to Hitler as a place for confidential meetings and discussions. However, the majority of the convivial receptions that Bormann gave for film stars and entertainers such as Marika Rökk or Hilde Krahl took place without any staged public attention - especially when Bormann entertained his lover, the film actress Manja Behrens.
Various Nazi locations around the Reichssiedlung Rudolf Hess (aka "Sonnenwinkel"), built from 1936 by Roderich Fick (and later Hermann Giesler). The inhabitants of the compound were mostly high-ranking members of the Stab Hess and Parteikanzlei, among them Gerhard Klopfer, Gottfried Neesse, Helmut Friedrichs, Herbert Reischauer, Edinger Ancker and others. But there were some other Party officials living there as well for instance Walter "Bubi" Schultze. Martin Bormann's house was later the living place of Reinhard Gehlen. From 1943 to 1944 on the property east of Heilmannstraße the Siegfried headquarters was built as one of the Todt organisation's sixteen headquarters. The Führer headquarters consisted of a central bunker, defence tower, administrative and crew buildings, and was connected by its own rail connection from the Isar Valley Railway. It was never used as a headquarters.

At the site today, allowing one to see, as far as the barbed wire-covered wall allows, the architect’s design concept providing for spacious grounds in a symmetrical layout that were to be conducive to producing a community spirit. The one- and two-family homes that were situated around a rectangular green,were lined up to face the central staff building and were made accessible from today’s Heilmannstrasse via a loop called Sonnenweg. There was a large gardener’s shop with greenhouses, a car yard with workshops and garages and various houses for drivers and domestics. Despite the fact that the estate, which had been completed in 1938 and had been in use since was openly accessible to everyone, the individual houses were shielded from the public roads by head-high walls so that the privacy desired was maintained. Irrespective of the different sizes of the building types, there were recurring design elements in all the houses. They were simple, well-proportioned structures with steep roofs, strictly sectionalised facades with lattice windows that were let in flush with the external rendering and had folding shutters inside. It was characteristic that a uniform selection of simple materials was joined with a high quality of craftsmanship in the buildings of the estate. In their architectural type, they referred to a well-known antecedent from 18th-century architecture, namely to Goethe’s Gartenhaus in Weimar. The Stabsleiterhaus (Residence of the Head of Staff) lay at the centre of the estate. It was a representative villa which, on the ground floor, sported conference rooms as well as a music room, a dining room and a library, whilst the living quarters of the Stabsleiter Martin Bormann and his family was on the first floor. Bronze statues of the artists Josef Thorak and Fritz Klimsch, whom the Nazi regime patronised, were set up in the garden parterre which adjoined the south of the house and could be accessed through the large fireplace hall. The wing that had been added to the main building served as a maintenance building. The design of the garden had come from the landscape architect Alwin Seifert, who was responsible for planning all the open spaces and gardens of the estate. In 1939, the newly appointed Generalbaurat (General Building Surveyor), Hermann Giesler, took over the responsibilities of the architect Roderich Fick who had been appointed Professor of Design at Munich Technical University in 1936 and who was to become Reichsbaurat (Building Surveyor for the Reich) for the city of Linz later on. In 1943, he built the nursery school on the northern side of the communal green to form a counterpart to the Stabsleiterhaus. It was a building that was bound to the “Heimatschutzstil“ (“Style of Homeland Protection“, an architectural style favoured by the Nazis) in its architectural characteristics. The basement of the building was already converted into a shelter for the families living on the estate.
The Sonnenwinkel settlement was spared the direct effects of war for a long time. To protect against possible bomb attacks, the houses were given a dark camouflage. Until May 1943, the dictator was here for several days at least once a year. The area in an arch of the Isar was the perfect stop between Hitler's private apartment on Munich's Prinzregentenplatz and the Berghof above Berchtesgaden. However, the air raid shelter in the basement of the old building erected in 1914 on the lively Prinzregentenplatz could only be insufficiently converted into a driver's bunker. Therefore, since the beginning of air raids on Germany's cities, it made sense for Hitler to spend the night in the Sonnenwinkel when he was in Munich. Bormann had set up a bunker there. Albert Speer noted in 1944 that the system in Pullach, called "Siegfried" or "Hagen", cost 13 million Reichsmarks. That was more than a third of the Wolfsschanze and almost ten times the size of the new Führerbunker in the garden of the Reich Chancellery in Berlin. Whilst it hasd been assumed that Bormann had this facility built without Hitler's knowledge, in May 1943, during the last documented visit by Hitler, the 70.5 by 20 metre open-plan bunker must have been visible. The facility was generously equipped, especially if one compares it with the Berlin bunker. The more than thirty rooms were partly wood-paneled. The installations ran under the floor and met the most modern requirements - in Berlin, on the other hand, there were only earthenware tiles on the solid concrete of the floor slab. The usable area in Hagen was more than 700 square metres; in Berlin it was only a third. The ceiling was three meters thick, reinforced by a layer of 24 centimetre thick steel girders - only here was the Führerbunker in the imperial capital a little better equipped: with a total of four meters thick ceiling. A branch from the Munich-Wolfratshausen line to the restricted area was specially made to make the guide's journey more convenient. Two special trains could be parked side by side.
Although Hitler never visited the Pullach Führerbunker, the facility was used: Field Marshal Erwin Rommel prepared here in the summer of 1943 for the German invasion of the renegade ally Italy. Despite the fact that the Führerhauptquartier had never been used as intended, it nevertheless remained “in operation“ until the end of the war. The communications centre in the bunker was operated by signal soldiers and operators delegated from the Reichspost.
At the end of March 1945, the families of the party leaders left the estate. The next month most of the inhabitants fled to South Tyrolia whilst the locals plundered the vacant houses. At the end of April, American soldiers occupied the area. The total damage caused to the compound by aerial warfare was limited. Thus, the bunker compound did not sustain any damage from the war, were however ravaged by looters. A fact-finding commission of the American Army that was there in May of 1945 rated the compound “modern and first class." At first, the undestroyed buildings were used as accommodations for troops passing through and as a prison camp, and for a short while also served for sheltering “displaced persons”. In the autumn of 1945, the Civil Censor Division was established, an institution for censoring letters. The division existed until 1947 and then made room for the “Organisation Gehlen“ in December. Because of the Control Council Directive No. 50 of April 29, 1947, the freehold property was retroactively transferred to the Free State of Bavaria in 1949, which in turn sold the entire property to the Federation in 1962. In December 1947 the Organisation Gehlen moved in.  Eventually the location of the Führer Headquarters became the headquarters of the intelligence agency of the German government, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), shown on the right from this time in 1979 before the agency moved to Berlin in 2014. This made Pullach a metonym for the BND just as Langley is for the CIA. Some of the buildings in the Reichssiedlung can be seen from the Heilmannstraße via the BND wall although the site even today is not accessible to the general public and photography is prohibited in the area of the BND.
Heinrich Himmler's daughter Gudrun arranged Anton Malloth's stay at this nursing home in Pullach, a supervisor of Theresienstadt from 1988 to 2001, until he was sentenced to life in prison.
Just outside Pullach is the former railway station located at Bahnhofsplatz 2 in the Großhesselohe district of Pullach which, as with Füssen and Markt Schwaben, provided scenes for The Great Escape, shown here as Gestapo and SD arrive to search for the missing prisoners.with the site today. It had been part of the Munich–Holzkirchen railway line, about an hundred metres west of the Großhesseloher bridge. About 400 metres west of the station there is still the old railway bridge, on which the Isar Valley Railway used to cross the tracks leading to the Großhesseloher Bridge. The station was built during the construction of the Bavarian Maximiliansbahn. The Munich – Großhesselohe section was put into operation in 1854. Since the continuation of the route was delayed by the necessary construction of the 300 metre long Großhesseloher bridge over the Isar, Großhesselohe was the end of the route for about 3 years. The next section, Großhesselohe – Rosenheim, was not opened until 1857, and Großhesselohe station became a through station. With the completion of the Braunau railway bridge in 1871, the Großhesselohe station lost its importance for long-distance traffic, as a large part of the long-distance connections were made over the shorter new route. It was here in 1962 that the train station was used as a backdrop for the film The Great Escape. For this purpose, the station building and the platform roof were provided with a sign "Neustadt." Here Flight Lieutenant Robert Hendley (James Garner) helping the almost blind Flight Lieutenant Colin Blythe (Donald Pleasence) onto the platform. Pleasence had actually been an RAF pilot who had been shot down, held prisoner and tortured by the Germans during the war. After offering advice to the film's director John Sturges, he was politely told to mind his own business. Later, when another star informed Sturges that Pleasence had actually been a RAF Officer in a Stalag camp, Sturges requested his technical advice and input on historical accuracy from that point forward. A number of individual incidents shown in the film were mostly based on fact, but rearranged both chronologically and regarding the people involved as noted at the start of the film. In reality, of the 76 who escaped, three had managed to succeed whilst fifty were murdered in reprisal, but in small groups and not all at once.  
After the escape and now masquerading as French businessmen, Flight Lieutenant Sandy MacDonald (Gordon Jackson) and Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) climb the stairs onto the platform at Neustadt station, now completely gone at the now closed Großhesselohe Staatsbahnhof. Whilst waiting to pass through a Gestapo checkpoint at a railway station, Bartlett is recognized by Kuhn, a Gestapo agent; Ashley-Pitt sacrifices himself by killing Kuhn, and is shot and killed. Bartlett and MacDonald slip away, but MacDonald blunders by replying in English to a suspicious Gestapo officer. MacDonald is quickly apprehended, and Bartlett is recognised and recaptured by Untersturmführer Steinach, an SS agent.
Based loosely on a true story based on Paul Brickhill's 1950 book about the real-life mass escape by British Commonwealth PoWs from Stalag Luft III in Sagan (now Żagań, Poland), the first part of the film focuses on the escape efforts within the camp and the process of secretly digging an escape tunnel. The second half of the film deals with the massive effort by the German Gestapo to track down the over seventy escaped prisoners individually attempting to make their way to England. As one sadly expects from American films, the nationality of most of the prisoners were changed to emphasise the role of Americans at the expense of British Imperial heroes.
Indeed, the real escape was by British and other allied personnel, none by Americans. Coburn actually plays an Australian. Whilst Americans in the PoW camp did initially help to build the tunnels and work on the early escape plans, they were moved to their own compound seven months before the tunnels were completed. A large part had been played by Canadians, especially in the construction of the tunnels and in the escape itself. Of the 1,800 or so PoWs in the compound of whom six hundred were involved in preparations for the escape, 150 of these were from the Dominion of Canada; Wally Floody, an RCAF pilot and mining engineer who was the real-life “tunnel king”, was engaged as a technical advisor for the film. Fourteen Germans were executed after the war for their roles, which ended up being among the charges at the Nuremberg War Crimes trial.


The station in the summer of 1976. After the introduction of the S-Bahn to Wolfratshausen and the conversion of the Isartalbahnhof Großhesselohe into an S-Bahn station, the Großhesselohe station was shut down five years later. The buildings that have been preserved date from around 1870. These are the two main buildings of the station; the platform hall originally located in between has no longer been preserved. Both buildings are two-story brick buildings, one in a T-shape, the other in an L-shape. Parts of the upper floor are clad in wood. The buildings have flat gable roofs. Near the train station at Bahnhofsplatz 4 and 5 there are two similar two-story brick residential buildings with a gable roof which originally belonged to the train station and are now also listed buildings.