Showing posts with label Wasungen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wasungen. Show all posts

Remaining Nazi Sites in Thüringen

Nazi Thüringen
Excluding Weimar and Buchenwald
Cycling into Thüringen from Bavaria to be confronted by the legacy of the Cold War. On August 13, 1961, the complete closure of the borders between the DDR and the Federal Republic hit Thuringia particularly hard. Some villages in the border area were forcibly relocated and demolished (for example, Billmuthausen, Erlebach, Leitenhausen and Liebau on the border), and others divided by walls (Mödlareuth and Heinersdorf  here, the wall still seen in the left background with border post remaining as a museum).
 The November Revolution of 1918 after the First World War saw the eight Thuringian monarchs abdicate between November 9-25, 1918, clearing the way for the establishment of a unified state in Thuringia. On May 1 1920, therefore, the state of Thuringia was founded. In the Free State of Saxony-Gotha formed a communist council as it fell into political turmoil and civil war-like conditions until 1920. A special incident was the murders of Mechterstädt in 1920.
Because of the political unrest in Berlin, the new constitution was drafted by the National Assembly as the Weimar Constitution in Weimar in 1919, signed in Schwarzburg by Reich President Ebert and thus established the first democratic constitution for the whole of Germany. Society here as with the rest of the country was divided as young modernisers who gathered at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1919 onwards faced off against old traditionalists who longed for the monarchy.
Memorial to the Death marches at the end of the war
At that time, Hitler was banned in many German states, but not in Thuringia, which is why he was able to hold in the 1920s again and again in Weimar rallies. In 1923, a state government formed from the SPD and the KPD, which led to Red October in Saxony and Thuringia. The two states were occupied on October 29 (Saxony) and on November 6 (Thuringia) with the Reichsexekution and the Reichswehr marching in to depose the governments. The SPD responded with a vote of no confidence against Chancellor Gustav Stresemann in the Reichstag, which led to his dismissal.
As early as 1930 Thuringia was one of the free states where the Nazis gained actual political power when Wilhelm Frick was appointed Minister of the Interior for the state of Thuringia after the Nazis won six delegates to the Thuringian Diet. In this position he removed from the Thuringia police force anyone he suspected of being a republican and replaced with men favourable towards the Nazi Party. He also ensured that whenever an important position came up within Thuringia, he used his power to ensure that a Nazi was given that post. After the seizure of power by the Nazis, the state of Thuringia was brought into line with its Gauleiter being Fritz Sauckel. TodesmarschsteleThe Nazis established three concentration camps in addition to the briefly operated Nohra concentration camp in 1933: the Bad Sulza concentration camp from 1933 to 1937, its successor, the Buchenwald concentration camp at Weimar from 1937 to 1945 and the Dora Mittelbau concentration camp at Nordhausen from 1943 to 1945. The British air raids on Nordhausen in April 1945 destroyed the city almost completely, with about 8,800 people died. Damage caused by bombardment and artillery fire also occurred in Erfurt, Gera, Jena, Weimar, Eisenach and some smaller towns and villages. Thuringia was occupied between April 1-6, 1945 by the Americans and handed over to the Soviet military administration on July 1, 1945, with areas around the city of Bad Sachsa in exchange for parts of the district of Blankenburg to the British military administration were left. The exclave Ostheim before the Rhön remained under American military administration and later became part of Bavaria. The state of Thuringia was restored and extended to the former Prussian administrative district of Erfurt. It was dissolved by the East German government in 1952 and replaced by the district of Erfurt, the district of Gera and the district Suhl. The Soviet occupation maintained the "special camp No. 2 Buchenwald" in the area of the former concentration camp near Weimar from August 1945 to 1950.
Blankenburg hakenkreuz
The former barracks, seen in here in Nazi-era postcard flying the war ensign, is now classified as a schlosshotel.  Built between 1857 and 1860, the barracks served as a training facility for recruits from various military units until the First World War. The palace barracks complex also includes some additional buildings, such as the military hospital (now a residential and commercial building), the drill and riding hall (now serving as a sports hall) and the NCO's house in Hasselfelder Street. After the Great War, the barracks had to be closed due to the Versailles Treaty. During the Third Reich the castle barracks were used again for military purposes, serving the purpose of accommodating various military units.
On May 13, 1946, the barracks was cleared by the Soviet military administration and made usable exclusively for residential purposes with a permit. Parts of the castle barracks were still inhabited until the beginning of 2009 when, from April 2009 until the opening on February 1, 2010, the palace barracks were converted into a four-star hotel. 

Important for being the site where, on October 14, 1806, Napoleon fought and defeated the Prussian army in the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, near the district of Vierzehnheiligen.
Nazi Jena
The Volkshaus at Carl-Zeiss-Platz during the Nazi period and today. Hitler first spoke at this site on November 19, 1925 from 20.30 to 23.30 for which, according to the Jenaische Zeitung, around 2,000 people took part, the majority of which were from outside Nazi local groups. The Communist Party had called for a weakly attended counter-demonstration. He spoke here again at 14.30 on December 2, 1932. According to the police report, there was no disruption as roughly 3,000 people took part. Despite this, during the Weimar Republic the SPD and KPD were very popular among the workforce of the large Zeiss and Schott factories, resulting in the conservative parties and the Nazi Party achieving the worst election results in Thuringia. As a result, later resistance to the Nazis here was considerable between the influential left-wing and right-wing Nazi milieus. Discrimination and persecution of all political and humanist forces began once the Nazis took power with many receiving prison and penitentiary sentences or taken as "protective prisoners" to the first concentration camp Nohra, its successor concentration camp Bad Sulza and later to the concentration camp Buchenwald. After the civil service law, numerous unpopular scientists were expelled from their posts. The university mutated more and more into an ideology producer of racism (Chair of Social Anthropology) and anti-Semitism. Thus on the one hand the university suffered from new restrictions against its independence, but on the other hand, it consolidated the Nazi ideology, for example with a professorship of social anthropology (which sought to scientifically legitimise the racial policy of Nazi Germany). Kristallnacht in 1938 led to more discrimination against Jews in Jena, many of whom either emigrated or were arrested and murdered by the German government. This weakened the academic milieu, because many academics were Jews (especially in medicine). 
Jena Stadtkirche hakenkreuz NSDAP
The Stadtkirche as seen from the town square then, flying the swastika flag, and now
On April 1, 1933, Jewish shops and establishments were boycotted. In October 1938, ten Jews  denied citizenship were deported to Poland as part of the so-called Poleaktion when on the instructions of Himmler and in coordination with the Foreign Office, at least 17,000 Jews who had immigrated from Poland and were living in Germany were arrested and deported to the Polish border. The deportation was violent and came as a complete surprise to those affected. Herschel Grynszpan, whose parents were affected, shot the German embassy employee Ernst Eduard vom Rath in Paris on November 7th , who died on November 9th, which in turn served as a reason for the November pogroms of 1938 which saw anti-Jewish riots break out in Jena. In the years that followed, numerous Jewish families and individuals were able to emigrate abroad.
Fuchsturm einst jetzt
The Fuchsturm, Jena's oldest landmark, then & now
Between 1942 and 1945, the remaining Jews were deported from the Westbahnhof to the ghettos and extermination camps in the East and murdered. The Federal Archives memorial book for the victims of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany lists 73 Jewish residents of Jena who were deported and mostly murdered. A number of Jews, including Clara Rosenthal, took their own lives. Considered the most beautiful woman in Jena, in 1941, under Nazi pressure, Rosenthal committed suicide. The "Clara-und-Eduard-Rosenthal-Scholarships" founded in Jena in 2009 were named after Clara and her husband Eduard Rosenthal.
The law for the prevention of offspring with hereditary diseases made it possible to carry out numerous forced sterilisations in the surgical clinic and the women's clinic. Later, patients were delivered to euthanasia institutions. Meanwhile, thousands of forced labourers were employed in the Jena armaments factories. Shortly before the end of the war, a sabotage group carried out a bomb attack on the Nazi Party office. From September 1944 onwards, up to a thousand prisoners had to do forced labour in the adjacent Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (RAW) in the subcamp "RAW Jena", a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp .
Schillerkirche einst jetzt
 A couple of historic buildings in town that managed to survive the war. On the left, the so-called Schillerkirche, where Friedrich Schiller married in 1790. On the right bottom, the Zeiss Planetarium, is the oldest continuously operating planetarium in the world which opened on July 18, 1926. Its renowned scientific director, Rudolf Straubel, chose to resign his post rather than divorce his Jewish wife. As Daniel Engber relates in his fascinating piece on the man,
The local Nazi minister of the interior, a brutal ideologue and drunk named Fritz Wächtler, sought to overhaul the management at Zeiss, which he described as being “infested with Marxists and Liberals.” (Wächtler would later be executed by the S.S. for cowardice.) Straubel was given an ultimatum by his fellow directors at Zeiss, who now included Walther Bauersfeld: Either divorce his wife or quit his job. He chose the latter. 
Zeiss Planetarium NS-zeit Engber goes on to reveal that the fall of the Nazis did not restore Straubel’s name. 
The Zeiss company was split during the Allied occupation, with one half based in West Germany and the other in East Germany. The directors who had ousted Straubel—a group that still included Bauersfeld—ended up in charge at Zeiss West. Soon the two branches were engaged in a battle for control of Zeiss trademarks and other assets. Peter Volz believes that the Western firm could not acknowledge Straubel’s contributions because doing so would mean admitting that its directors had acquiesced to Nazi pressure. That in turn would legitimate its rivals at Zeiss East.
After the war when Anglo-American bombing raids, particularly in February and March 1945, caused extensive destruction. The heaviest bombardment took place on March 19, 1945 when the US Army Air Forces dropped a total of 870 tonnes of bombs on Jena during their attacks.  The bombings caused severe damage and total destruction, a large part of the city centre was completely destroyed; the ruins of the partly historic town houses were later removed. The house on the market square where Goethe and Schiller had formed their bond of friendship, the Griesbachsche and Bachsteinsche house, the city museum and the historic castle cellar were lost. The town church of St. Michael suffered severe damage as seen here on the right. The college or university church was destroyed and the ruins removed in 1956. Its tower as well as the Collegien buildings were damaged. The town hall was partially destroyed, the court and council pharmacy as well as the university library were destroyed and later removed. The Abbeanum suffered severe damage and was rebuilt by 1951. The university library and six university institutes were completely destroyed, and several clinics on Bachstrasse were partially destroyed. 709 people lost their lives and 2000 were seriously injured. When the city was shelled by American artillery on April 11, 1945, forty people were killed. By April 13, 1945, American troops occupied the city without a fight. By now large parts of the city had been destroyed. 1,424 apartments and 140 business and department stores were totally destroyed, 4,743 apartments were badly damaged. After Nordhausen, Jena was the most destroyed city in Thuringia. On July 1, 1945, American troops on April 13, 1945 and was left to units of the Red Army who moved into the city and Jena became part of the Soviet occupation zone.
Hummelshain HJ Hitlerjugend

The former Bauernschule (with flag of the Hitlerjugend in front) and today, now a seniors' home. During the war the Nazi armaments company REIMAHG (an abbreviation of Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring) established a hospital for its forced labourers in the form of six barracks built in the castle grounds, each with 89 beds. The REIMAHG underground armaments factory itself was sited in Walpersberg near Kahla in thelast years of the war where the Messerschmitt Me 262, the first mass-produced jet fighter, was to be produced. According to propaganda, 1,200 units were to have been completed each month, but in the end only 17-27 units were made, depending on the source. Under catastrophic hygienic conditions and constantly overwhelmed, the death rate among the 1,088 patients, including 980 foreigners, was correspondingly high. In this hospital a total of 175 forced labourers died, most of whom came from Italy. The dead were buried in a field east of the cemetery. In 1967, young people from the Jugendwerkhof erected a memorial made up of 175 stones from the former armaments factory to commemorate the forced labourers who died here.

Oberdorla then now
A photograph taken on April 4, 1945 by American reporter Charles Eugene Sumners showing infantrymen of 'B' Company, 44th Armoured Infantry Battalion, 6th American Armoured Division crossing the street past the body of 19 year old Pfc. Robert Vardy Wynne from Texas who had just been mortally wounded by a sniper. As subsequent research has revealed, the then 21-year-old photographer is said to have stood directly behind his fallen compatriot and had just inserted a new film in the camera. At the time Sumners served with the 166th Signal Photo Company, a unit attached to General Patton’s Third Army. This photo is the one used for the cover of his 2002 memoirs, Darkness Visible: Memoir of a World War II Combat Photographer, which recounts the author’s life as a photographer covering the war in Northwest Europe. He accompanied soldiers not only from the 6th Armoured Division but the 10th Armoured Division and other combat outfits.

Eisfeld Dreifaltigkeitskirche hakenkreuz NS-zeit
 Looking at the Dreifaltigkeitskirche St. Nikolai from 1535  at the end of what was Straße der SA from a Nazi-era postcard and today, renamed Markstraße. Eisfeld had been dubbed called the "brown town" because as early as 1932, twelve of the sixteen city councilors belonged to the Nazi Party and and made Hitler an honorary citizen. This took place on December 3 that year during a Nazi rally in which Hitler spoke. According to the Eisfelder Zeitung, Hitler appeared "quite healthy and strong" and "had made a strong impression." The local Nazi group leader in Eisfeld, Werner Büchner, presented him with honorary citizenship of the city of Eisfeld after the city council unanimously agreed, claiming "that 75% of the Eisfeld population, i.e. in their overwhelming majority, opted for the leadership of the German freedom movement". Hahne - city council member of the KPD, who was the only one against the proposal - was excluded from the event. From 1933 officials and members of the other parties were intensively persecuted. During the war, 733 foreign forced labourers, including 542 women, were forced to work in the Bruhn works, in the Ritzma works, in the Eiso-Schrauben GmbH and at the Günsel and Dressel companies. Three of the forced labourers who died from the inhumane living conditions are buried in the local cemetery. 
In 1920, Albin Ritzmann founded a company here, the Ritzma-Werke, which manufactured razor blades among other things. After the war, Ritzmann was detained by the Soviets and died in Buchenwald Special Camp No. 2 in 1947
After the war Eisfeld found itself in the so-called restricted area along the inner-German border until 1972 due to its proximity to the border.

Hermsdorfer Kreuz
Hermsdorfer Kreuz NS-zeit
The Nazi-era Hermsdorfer Kreuz resthouse built 1936-38 south of the Dresden - Weimar  autobahn. Here the federal motorways A 4 (Aachen - Eisenach) and A 9 (Berlin - Leipzig - Munich) cross Görlitz. It has existed in its current basic form since December 1936 when it was built in the course of creating the continuous motorway connection between the Reich capital Berlin and Munich making the Hermsdorfer Kreuz the second oldest motorway junction in Germany after the Schkeuditzer Kreuz. Two kilometres west of the Hermsdorfer Kreuz, one of the largest reinforced concrete arch bridges in Europe at the time was also built in 1938 with the Teufelstalbrücke. In the vicinity there are historically significant trading inns.

Gotha Adolf-Hitler-Platz
The fountain at what was once Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today, the Hauptmarkt. Hitler spoke here on January 21, 1927, declaring that
The idea of ​​the national bourgeoisie was opposed by Marxism, which wanted to establish its rule over the corpse of capitalism and the bourgeoisie. He failed in his ultimate goals, just as the conclusion of the political-national direction was wrong, because the entire culture and the nation does not rest on one group, but on the shoulders of one as well as on them of the other. In the wrong direction of the struggle, Marxism has not succeeded in forcing its idea on the people; here, too, failure is decisive. In the battle of the two great directions, the head and the fist, there is no victor, only two vanquished. The two tendencies, which have not been able to bring the people under one roof, face the great common demand to place the people under a unified idea. If the energy of the masses is put into the national idea, then the goal is achieved. The question is not whether this mass can tear down, but whether it can build up. There will never be a socialist state if the architect does not work alongside the bricklayer and vice versa. The coming together of the representatives of the head and the fist on a common idea is everything. The economy is the destiny of the nation.Gotha Stolpersteine
Stolpersteine shown on the right at Hauptmarkt 14 commemorating the Wirths, deported to Poland where they were killed. Under the Nazis the town became a centre of the arms industry with nearly 7,000 forced labourers working in the city's factories, where more than two hundred died. Furthermore, the Gotha barracks in the southern periphery were enlarged and the synagogue was destroyed during the Kristallnacht in 1938. Bombings in 1944 and 1945 damaged some buildings in the city, in particular the theatre (whose ruins were demolished in 1958) and the main station (which remains only half a building today) and the main church (rebuilt after the war). Nevertheless, some 95% of the city's buildings survived the war unscathed.  The American Army reached the city in April 1945 but was replaced by the Soviets in July 1945 and in 1949 Gotha became part of the DDR. 

Friedrichroda swastikas hakenkreuz
The High Street bedecked with swastikas and today. During the war, Friedrichroda was the site of manufacture of the mock-up production of the double-seat, all-weather fighter version of the Horten Ho 229 V4 and V5  jet aircraft. Over one hundred men and women from the countries occupied by Germany had to work in hotels, pensions, hospitals and the Eka furniture factory. From the "Judenhaus" in Alexandrinenstraße the Jewish inhabitants were deported between 1942 and 1943 to the concentration camps Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. In the city park reminds since 1949 a memorial to the victims of fascism. The Communist Käte Duncker lived for some time in Friedrichroda; a memorial stone was dedicated to her in the park. On February 6, 1945, Friedrichroda suffered an American air attack with the dropping of "120,500 pound bombs and 10 leaflets". According to the local Heimatmuseum, 135 died, including 29 children, with 74 houses totally destroyed and 350 left damaged. The victims were buried in a community cemetery in the cemetery, which was given a monument by Günter Reichert in 1989. When occupied by the American Army on April 7, 1945, the town was attacked by artillery, especially the dominant Kurhaus (Kurhaus Friedrichroda) was destroyed on a high altitude. Forty deaths were reported on the German side during the occupation.

theater Nordhausen with Nazis
Inauguration of the "Wehrfreiheits-Denkmals" in front of the Theater Nordhausen March 15, 1936 during the crisis in the Rhineland. During this ceremony the theatre staged a show dramatising the destruction of the "chains of Versailles" using imagery corresponding to the usual repulsive anti-Semitic stereotypes. In October 1933, the Nordhäuser Zeitung had described the theatre as "an important helper in the formation of the German people". Three Jewish artists - the general music director and two singers - had to leave the Stadttheater; nothing is known about what happened to them. The theatre manager Hans Bensch-Rutzer, appointed by the local rulers, saw his main task as "making the theatre a common property of the entire national community", as he wrote in 1937. In order to achieve this goal, the theater management lowered the ticket prices, launched a wide-ranging advertising campaign and included only "appropriate" theater art in the repertoire. A year before the end of the war, the Nordhäuser Theater, like most German theatres, ceased operations. The artists were employed in the armaments production of the Mittelwerk and other operations important to the war effort.
The theatre, formerly on Straße der S.A., is now at Käthe-Kollwitz-Straße.
Nazi Theater  Nordhausen
The memorial was removed on the orders of the Bürgermeister on May 27 1945.
Nordhausen rathaus flying Nazi flag
The rathaus flying the swastika and today. In Nordhausen the Nazi party immediately set out to realise its consolidation of the local administration. Just one week after the Reichstag elections of March 5, 1933, when the Nazi Party won over 46 percent of the vote in Nordhausen,  the left-liberal  Oberbürgermeister Dr. Curt Baller and the Social Democratic councillor Albert Pabst were, like other local politicians who did not belong to the Nazi party, deposed as was more than half of the city council. This led to a wave of arrests of its members, the seizure of party ownership and expropriation of property.  The new Nordhäuser rulers seized even bicycles and radios, in order to prevent "communist aspirations." With the election of the first Nazi Lord Mayor and long-time party member Heinz Sting (since 1925) on June 26, 1933, the "Führer" principle came into force in the administration of Nordhausen. From now on, as stated in a municipal administrative regulation from 1937, "the decisions of the head of the municipality alone were decisive".
Nazi flag flying from Nordhausen stadthausNazi flag flying from the stadthaus on the kornmarkt. From December 1939 to June 1940, around 9,000 Saarlanders were accommodated in Nordhäuser private households and collective accommodations. In the autumn of 1939 the first Polish prisoners of war arrived; at the beginning of 1942 there were about 450 prisoners and in March 1945 700 prisoners of war.  From 1937 to 1945, Nordhausen hosted the Mittelwerk Dora armament centre, and from August 1943 the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp with 60,000 inmates (of whom 20,000 died until 1945), in which after the attack on Peenemünde the production of so-called retaliatory weapons, especially the new V2, but also the older V1, took place. In addition, 10,000 German prisoners and foreign forced labourers, housed in 38 camps, had to force-work in various companies. The largest forced labour camp with a maximum 6,000 inmates, some of whom worked for the Junkers Group, were in the Boelcke barracks. This was from the end of January 1945 a "sick and death camp of the Mittelbau complex" and was located in southeastern Nordhausen. It was severely hit during the British bombing raids on April 3 and 4. The American Army forced the inhabitants of Nordhausen to salvage, transport and burial of the dead. The 1,300 victims were buried at the Ehrenfriedhof on Stresemann-Ring. It is reminiscent of a monument erected in 1999. Next to it is a memorial cemetery designed in 1946 for 215 Soviet fatalities. 
Nordhausen Adolf-Hitler-Haus
Adolf-Hitler-Haus on what is today Baltzerstraße 7; the buildings a testament to the efficacy of Anglo-American bombing. In many German cities there were representative public buildings used as "Adolf Hitler houses" or "Brown Houses" serving as the local Nazi party headquarters. The Nordhäuser party leadership had its headquarters in the former Kaiser Wilhelm club house here on Baltzerstraße, renamed in 1933 in honour of Hitler. Here was also the Nazi Party district headquarters and the offices of the Hitler Youth and the German Women's Federation. 
On the night of August 25-26, 1940 Nordhausen was the first target of an air raid when two bombers attacked the airfield. Smaller attacks were flown on April 12, 1944 and on July 4, 1944. On February 22, 1945 at noon thirty American bombers attacked the moving train yard, bombing the lower town, some plants of the industrial area and the former air force communication school in the Boelcke barracks. In total, 296 multipurpose bombs fell and killed forty people. The Südharzer Kurier published on February 26 a death notice for the "fallen of the terrorist attack" with the announcement to the funeral service of the city. On October 29, 1944, those born between 1884 to 1928 were forced into the Volkssturm and divided into 29 battalions. The first 200 Volkssturm men were called on February 21, 1945 to the front. By March 1945 42,207 inhabitants were registered in Nordhausen in addition to 23,467 "non-local people" (659 prisoners of war, 503 wounded soldiers in five hospitals, 420 members of the Kriegsmarine, 6082 foreign workers in mass quarters). About 1200 to 1300 victims were killed in the bombing on April 3-4, among whom were inmates of the KZ satellite camp in the Boelcke barracks. The bombs detonated on the camp roads and in the accommodation block.
Nordhausen Lutherplatz
Lutherplatz then and now. The Martini Festival on Luther Day in 1933 was used by the Nazis as a propaganda event. Superintendent Hammer, Mayor Sting and the Thuringian Gauleiter Sauckel gave speeches at Adolf-Hitler-Platz and later that same evening a public book burning took place, organised by the Hitler Youth. This took place on the occasion of Luther's 450th birthday and was intended to serve the Nazi ideology with the blessing of the Church- in one case the superintendent and senior pastor at the town and parish church of St. Marien in Wittenberg, Maximilian Meichßner, spoke of 
Luthertag Nordhausen
God's providence that Luther's 450th birthday falls at a time that in German history can only be compared with the time of the Reformation. It is a providence of God that Dr. Martin Luther comes alive again in a time of national awakening. Luther stands before us as a German man... It is a gift of God that Dr. Martin Luther comes alive again in the days of Adolf Hitler. Today we have opened our eyes again to what a God-appointed leader means to a people. It is a providence of God that Dr. Martin Luther comes alive to us again in the days of national renewal. Rotten, rotten things are torn away. Stones are carried to the new building of the Third Reich. Then we understand better than usual what reformation means to the church... et cet.
The day itself had originally been scheduled for November 10, 1933, Luther's actual birthday, as noted in the poster above promoting the event. However, since Hitler had called for Reichstag elections and a “referendum” on leaving the League of Nations for November 12, Luther Day was postponed to November 19. 
Nordhausen Amtsgericht NS-zeit
The regional courthouse in Nordhausen (now the Amtsgericht) and the adjoining court prison were integrated into the Nazi apparatus of persecution and suppression as early as 1933 when several communists and social democrats were held in the prison.From the mid-1930s the inmates of the court gaol, many of whom were imprisoned for political crimes, were used for forced labour. The prisoners worked for the R.Schulze & Co. brickworks, the A. and F. Probst gypsum factory and the Kornhaus Nordhausen GmbH, among others. The prisoners on remand were used to fold boxes for the domestic chewing tobacco industry. Sick people, those suspected of escaping and prisoners with pending proceedings before the special court in Erfurt had to work in the prison's own wood cutting plant, which supplied 1,500 households in Nordhausen with wood. Up until the spring of 1943, the Nordhausen court prison was mainly occupied by male pre-trial detainees and convicts. In February 1943, the Reich Ministry of Justice converted the prison into a prison for "fallen" women as part of the social-racist policy of persecution and had more than 100 women transferred from various central German prisons to Nordhausen. Most of them had to work in the army munitions facility in Wolkramshausen and were driven daily by truck from the prison to Wolkramshausen and back with their guards. They were accommodated in the confined space of the prison, and many prisoners had to share their cell with up to twelve other women.
Nazi-led anti-Semitic boycott of April 1, 1933 of Modehauses Schönbeck, owned by the Weinbaum family.
After the Reichskristallnacht of November 1938, the fashion house was 'aryanised' and taken over by the Muehlhaeuser department store and renamed the Modehaus Kramer. After this forced sale of the family business some of the Weinbaum family managed to emigrate to the Netherlands, surviving the German occupation and the war whilst others stayed in Nordhausen and sent to the camps from where they never returned.
The Nazi rule led to the destruction of the synagogue during the Kristallnacht in 1938. The Jews emigrated or were deported to the death camps. The Mittelbau-Dora Nazi concentration camp, established in 1943 after the destruction of Peenemünde, was located on the outskirts of Nordhausen during the war to provide labour for the Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory in the Kohnstein. Over its period of operation, around 60,000 inmates passed through Dora and its system of subcamps, of whom around 20,000 died from bad working conditions, starvation and diseases or were murdered. Around ten thousand forced labourers were deployed in several factories within the city, up to six thousand of them were interned at Boelcke Kaserne, working for a Junkers factory.
Nordhausen Siechenhof  KPD
The Siechenhof was the meeting place for Communists and Social Democrats in Salza, a small village near Nordhausen. It was on July 10, 1932 that 250 Nordhäusen Nazis, including SA-men, marched under the leadership of the later mayor Heinz Sting. This led to the so-called Siechenhof riots. The Nazis tore down election posters of the SPD and the KPD and smashed the windows of the inn. With sticks and stones they attacked the villagers and fought with their opponents; as the local SPD newspaper wrote on the following day, a "brawl such as Salza has not yet seen." Due to the strong opposition of the Social Democrats and Communists, they finally had to retreat. The so-called "Battle of Salza" went down in the collective memory of the inhabitants. The event is an example not only for the growing pressure on the population, which was exercised in the months before the seizure of power by the Nazis on political opponents, but also for the possibility of active resistance.
Nordhausen Pfaffengasse
Just one week before the invasion of American forces, the city was destroyed 74% by two British air raids on Nordhausen on April 3 and 4, 1945, killing around 8,800 people and leaving over 20,000 homeless. The bombing was ordered by the Allied High Command (SHAEF) on 2 April 1945. There they demanded an attack in support of the 1st American Army with priority to the earliest possible opportunity. The purpose of the RAF attacks in April 1945 was to pave the way for an unhindered advance from the counterattack expected in the southern Harz region. The first major raid on April 3 at 4:00 pm was carried out by 247 Lancaster bombers and eight Mosquitos of the 1st and 8th bomber groups, which dropped 1,170 tonnes of blast bombs in twenty minutes, especially on the southeastern quadrant of the city. It also killed about 1,200 prisoners.  The second major attack on April 4 at 9.00with 243 Lancaster bombers of the no. 5 Bomber Group and 1,220 tons of bombs is considered the heaviest attack and was targeted as a surface bombardment, including with fire bombardment triggered firestorm on the inner city area. It mainly destroyed residential areas (10,000 apartments), the hospital and numerous cultural monuments of outstanding importance. The city hospital, which had already been evacuated on the evening of April 3, moved to the Stollenanlage im Kohnstein on April 8. From April 3-4 many thousands of Nordhäuser forced to flee. beyond the former Boelcke barracks, no targets were identified as militarily or important to the war effort. Thus the station, the airfield, the railway tracks, the industrial enterprises and the concentration camp Dora, in which the V2 had been produced, remained unbroken. Heavily damaged were the St. Blasii Church, the cathedral and the Frauenberg Church. Destroyed were Frauenberg monastery, Neustädtische parish church of St. Jakobi, Marktkirche St. Nikolai and St. Peter's Church (its tower partially preserved). The remains of these buildings were demolished after the war. 
The Petriturm after the war
The city wall, including the partially used towers and Wiechhäuser was hit hard, the city hall destroyed to the outer walls. In large numbers, the characteristic for Nordhausen bourgeois half-timbered buildings from Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo and early Classicism were destroyed. For days on end, numerous fires raged in the city centre, bombs with time-bombs exploded, and the city was under attack by low-flying aircraft. Initially only a few inhabitants tried to bury the dead or to recover their belongings.  The estimated number of victims of 8,800 refers only to the narrower city of Nordhausen, without the losses in the later incorporated hamlets. There are also higher estimates of over 10,000 deaths, according to the Antifa Committee in June 1945.  Of the 8,800 dead, there were about 4,500 women and children.

 ...and reconstructed
At the beginning of April 1945 the Volkssturm made preparations to defend the city. In the Gumpe, on the Holungsbügel, on the promenade, in the enclosure and at the city entrances ditches were dug. Much of the officers and aviators sat down in the following days direction "Harz fortress". Shortly after the police and party officials left the city, the Volkssturm, decimated by the air raids, broke up.  On the morning of April 11, 1945 occupied over Werther 104th American Infantry Division (1st US Army) with tank support without a fight Nordhausen. At about 11.00 in the heavily damaged Boelcke barracks, the soldiers struck the survivors of the concentration camp Dora-Mittelbau. About 1,200 prisoners died in the bombing of the city in the accommodation block. On the same day, the northwest concentration camp was reached. The middle factory Dora itself had never been bombed and fell to the US troops undestroyed with all secret weapons and documents in the hands. In the vicinity of the Kohnstein and in the village of Crimderode, German followers blew up bridges over the Zorge. About 200 German soldiers and suspicious persons in the city area were captured and brought together in the collective camp Rothleimmühle. In the afternoon, the official transfer of the city took place; Military Governor was Captain William A. McElroy.  The military government released Nordhausen on April 12 for eight days to plunder former prisoners and foreign forced labourers. Activities of the organization Werewolf became known at the end of April and some weapons and ammunition supplies were confiscated. On May 8, 1945, the mayor appointed by the Americans, the social-democrat workers' leader Otto Flagmeyer, had to threaten the death penalty in a call to all plunderers. On May 13, a memorial service for the victims of the Boelcke barracks took place at the Ehrenfriedhof. At her all adult Nordhäuser had to participate, after which they received personal documents and food cards. Since the Nordhäuser hospitals had all been destroyed, from April 1945 an auxiliary hospital was established in Ilfeld. Also in Nordhausen in the spring of 1945, a typhoid epidemic exacerbated the desolate situation in the city.
The Horst Wessel memorial shown on the left has been destroyed whilst the old war memorial on the right was replaced after the war. On April 11, 1945, the Americans occupied the town, and on July 2 the Red Army took over. On July 18 the Soviet administration created the Institute Rabe to develop Soviet rocket technology on the basis of the substantially more sophisticated V-2 rockets. In May 1946 the Institute was subsumed into the new Institute Nordhausen, under an expanded programme of research across the Soviet occupation zone, including a new Institute Berlin. On October, 22 1946, under Operation Osoaviakhim, 10-15,000 German scientists, engineers and their families were deported to the Soviet Union, including around 300 from Nordhausen. Transplanted along with their equipment, many remained there until the early 1950s.

The Mariendom and Severikirche on Domplatz in 1942 and today. In 1933 the Nazis took control of the city and by 1938 Erfurt was one of the largest garrisons in the German Reich.
In preparation for the planned air raids on Erfurt during the war, the protection of the works of art on and in these valuable buildings became a priority for which the cathedral provost, Joseph Freusberg, advised by the Provincial Conservator Hermann Giesau, made a special contribution. Most of the church furnishings could be secured by relocating them within the church cellar vault, and by employing strong walls and reinforced concrete covers. Although an "instruction for the implementation of air protection in churches" was issued on April 15, 1940 in Berlin by the Reich Ministry of Aviation and the Commander-in-Chief of the Air Force in agreement with the Reich Ministry for Church Affairs, the country's churches and monasteries themselves were responsible for the "extended self-protection in civil air protection", through the formation of task forces and prescribed shelters for worshipers. In order not to let the cultural property fall victim to destruction, regulations were issued for air protection in museums, libraries, archives and similar cultural sites, including churches which provided for security measures on site as well as for the extensive outsourcing of "movable cultural assets". 
Attorney-General Frick, Gauleiter Sauckel, Hitler and Hungary's Minister-President Gömbös (the first Head of State to visit Hitler, setting off a continuous series of state visits from Hungary all the way up to 1945) in front of the cathedral at the Domplatz shown on the right.
The buildings themselves were severely damaged by mine bomb detonations in the area and some grenade hits which particularly affected the roof areas and tracery windows. The late mediæval stained glass windows of the High Choir, numbering twelve in total and nearly nineteen metres in height, were saved as early as 1940 and 1941 when they were removed from storage. The window openings were then closed with plain green panes of glass. Without the lead sockets, however, these replacement discs were not stable, especially with the air mines detonating in 1944 and 1945, and they partially fell down resulting in services in the High Choir having to be stopped in 1945. The last two windows, the Elisabeth windows, were not removed as, since they were only created in 1913, they were not considered valuable enough by the provincial conservator in Giesau - and were destroyed in the air raids. The mediæval stained glass windows of Erfurt's Barfüßerkirche ere also saved by being stored in the cellars under the crypt, but the church was "bombed out" and turned into ruins. In view of the increasing devastation of German cities in the air war, a guide decree followed at the beginning of 1943 for the systematic photo documentation of architectural, sculptural and pictorial cultural assets that could not be salvaged before their possible or expected destruction which would help in the restoration of the cathedral, practically completed by 1951. 

In 1914, the company Topf and Sons began the manufacture of crematoria later becoming the market leader in this industry. Under the Nazis, JA Topf & Sons supplied specially developed crematoria, ovens and associated plant to the death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mauthausen. With 1,150 employees, the workforce reached its highest level in 1939. Quite a few became accomplices and accomplices – engineers, business people, skilled workers, fitters. Topf & Sons was one of twelve civilian companies that played a key role in the construction of death factory crematoria, mass incineration equipment, and gas chamber ventilation systems. On January 27, 2011 a memorial and museum dedicated to the Holocaust victims killed using Topf ovens was opened at the former company premises in Erfurt shown here and below. According to Rebekka Schubert, senior curator of modern and contemporary history and deputy director of the site, the worrying thing is that neither the company owners nor the employees were fanatical Nazis or even anti-Semites. They acted neither under orders nor under pressure, but voluntarily, in the complete absence of humanity and civil courage. To her, the example of the Ruppmann company  in Stuttgart shows that one could refuse.
 In 1938, the new synagogue was destroyed during the Reichspogromnacht and the abduction of the approximately eight hundred Jewish residents began. Shortly before the Torah scrolls were secretly entrusted to the cathedral provost Freusberg, who ensured a safe hiding place under the cathedral. The memorial book of the Federal Archives for the victims of the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany lists 447 Jewish residents of Erfurt who were deported and mostly murdered. Anti-Semitic attacks in Erfurt intensified after the Great War; in 1924 the synagogue was daubed with Nazi slogans for the first time. The year before the Nazis took power there were 819 Jews living in the city. Three years later the number had fallen to 660, and by 1939 to 263. From 1942 to early 1945, the Jewish residents still living in the city were deported to the Theresienstadt and Ravensbrück concentration camps and to the Auschwitz, Majdanek and Belzec extermination camps. Only a few survived the times in the camps.
Between 1939 and 1945, between 10,000 and 15,000 prisoners of war as well as women and men from numerous countries occupied by Germany had to do forced labour here, especially in the city's armaments factories. 
Hitler signing the goldene Buch der Stadt Erfurt in the rathaus's Goldener Saal on June 18, 1933 and the site today. It was on this occasion that Hitler declared
Just as we have taken possession of this city today, we have also overcome the Social Democratic movement as it manifested itself in Erfurt, I am particularly pleased to accept the freedom of the city with very special thanks.
Hitler had spoken the year before on July 28 just before the general election that saw the Nazis become Germany's biggest party. He had delivered his fifteen minute speech, "Only the unified will and the unified commitment of the nation can rescue Germany," on Schützenplatz from 19.45. According to the subsequent police report, the meeting was attended by about 40,000 people who had paid from fifty pfennigs to one Reichsmark for admission. On Hitler's route from the airport to the event the Eisener Front had organised counter-demonstrations at the gathering place and Hitler's escort had been manhandled into the crowd in some places. After the event, there were various violent clashes between the Iron Front and the communists on the one hand and the Nazis on the other hand with the police struggling to disperse the mob.
The rathaus in 1936 and today.  Bombed as a target of the so-called Oil Campaign of the war, Erfurt suffered only limited damage and was captured on April 12, 1945, by the American 80th Infantry Division. During the war Erfurt experienced 27 British and American air raids, not counting the numerous attacks by fighter-bombers in April 1945. 1,100 tonnes of bombs were dropped during which time roughly 1,600 civilians lost their lives. 530 buildings were totally destroyed whilst 2,550 were left either severely or moderately damaged. 17% of the apartments were completely destroyed, many more badly damaged as the historic old town of Erfurt was particularly affected. 23,000 people lost their homes whilst an hundred industrial buildings were destroyed or severely damaged. Important historical sites such as the Collegium Maius of the old university and the library of the Augustinian monastery were lost and all the churches in the city centre were more or less badly hit by bombs and artillery fire. The ruins of the Barfüßerkirche which was destroyed by an air mine on November 26, 1944, still stand today as a memorial. Between April 3rd and 4th, 1945, the RAF had planned a carpet bombing of Erfurt using 2,740 tonnes of bombs only to be called off due to the rapid advance of American ground forces. 
The GIF on the right shows SA marching down the eastern part of the Schlösserstraße in June, 1933 and how the same location appears today.
On April 12, 1945, units of the 3rd American Army commanded by General Patton occupied Erfurt after fighting in and around the city. Eventually on July 1, the Prussian district government ceased operations and the city was assigned to the state of Thuringia with the administrative district of Erfurt. On July 3, based on the 1st London Zone Protocol of 1944 and the decisions of the Yalta Conference, units of the Red Army took over the city and Erfurt became part of the Soviet occupation zone. Erfurt slowly began to recover from the effects of the war. 30,000 cubic metres of rubble were cleared from the streets, the tram and gas supply were put back into service and schools were reopened. After the dissolution of the state of Prussia on February 25, 1947, which was also legally completed with the Allied Control Council Law No. 46, the Thuringian state parliament declared Erfurt to be the state capital of Thuringia on July 7, 1948, before the state of Thuringia was dissolved and divided into three districts in 1952 when Erfurt became the seat of the district of Erfurt.

Nazi demonstration June 23, 1933 at the Steigerwaldstadion; the entrance has not changed. It was offically inaugurated with a capacity of approximately 35,000 spectators on May 17th, 1931. On the occasion of the international match between Germany and Romania in 1935, a wooden grandstand with 1,270 seats was built on the west side. It reached full capacity for an international match on May 25, 1935. After the war, the stadium initially served the Soviet military administration- among other things, potatoes were grown on the pitch. Only in 1948 did the team get permission to play football games in the "Mitteldeutsche Kampfbahn". In the course of a stadium renovation and the application of a lawn, the stadium was reopened on November 6, 1948 and renamed "Georgij Dimitroff Stadium" after the first communist leader of Bulgaria from 1946 to 1949. Dimitrov earlier led the Communist International from 1935 to 1943 and gained renown when he famously decided to refuse counsel and instead defend himself against his Nazi accusers, primarily Göring, when on trial for complicity in the Reichstag fire for which he was aquitted.

Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today with the schloss and rathaus unchanged. Eisenach once had one of the largest Jewish communities in Thuringia with nearly 500 members at the beginning of the 20th century. Many Jews migrated from the Rhön area around Stadtlengsfeld to Eisenach after their emancipation in the early 19th century. 23 Jewish soldiers from Eisenach would die in the Great War.
Already by 1923 various Jewish shops in town were daubed with paint by schoolchildren, and in 1923 and 1925 the windows of the synagogue were smashed. By the time the Nazis took power the Jews of Eisenach were increasingly disenfranchised. From 1938 more and more Jewish citizens had to flee the country. During Kristallnacht the synagogue on Wörthstrasse, built in 1885, was destroyed, and Jewish shops and private homes were looted and vandalised. Today memorial plaques in the station building and on Karl-Marx-Straße as well as around fifty stolperstein commemorate these incidents. In September 1941, the 145 Jews still living in the city were interned in the house at Goethestraße 48 and deported from there to Belzec and Theresienstadt in 1942. Few of them survived.
St. George church at Adolf-Hitler-Platz from a Nazi-era postcard and today. On May 6, 1939, eleven regional evangelical churches founded the Wartburg Institute for the Research and Elimination of Jewish Influence on German Church Life, which had its headquarters at Bornstraße 11. The institute's work aimed to "liberate" Christianity from all Jewish influences and thus create a "species-appropriate" faith.
 When the Nazis took power the authorities built two housing estates- Am Klosterholz and Kirschberg-, two schools, the Thuringian State Bank building on Karlstrasse and the publishing house of the Thuringian Daily Pos among other buildings still in existence. Leading up to the war armaments factories, a large barracks and a Luftwaffe flying school were built as part of the rearmament. The town became the location of Panzer Regiment 2 of the 1st Panzer Division in 1935 and a camp for the Reich Labour Service was set up at Siebenborn. In 1940 the first prisoners of war and women and men from the countries occupied by Germany arrived and were forced to do forced labour, especially in the BMW municipal works and in the BMW aircraft engine works. The largest groups were made up of 2,154 Ukrainians, 1,314 Russians and 390 Belarusians. The forced labourers also worked in the surrounding towns; one memorial in Erlengräben commemorates 455 such victims. 1,040 Soviet prisoners of war and 102 civilian prisoners who died are commemorated in the Soviet Cemetery of Honour on the Wartenberg.  
On November 11, 1940 under the accusation of having committed “racial defilement”, a Polish forced laborer and a local woman were tied to a "shame pole" in the style of medieval denunciation on the market square with thousands of people from Eisenach attending. 
The now dilapidated Fürstenhof from where Hitler spoke on October 23, 1932 for just under an hour at 18.00 at a meeting opened by the Nazi Party district leader, Martin Seidel. According to the police report, around 7,000 people attended. Before Hitler spoke, the President of the Thuringian Parliament, Fritz Hille, and the Prime Minister of Thuringia, Fritz Sauckel, addressed the gathering. The latter declared that he would no longer be responsible for the misery in the country if Thuringia did not receive the aid demanded from the national government. The local press interpreted this statement as a threat to resign, which Sauckel denied the next day.

Now the Elisabeth-Gymnasium, it was opened August 13 1939 as the Hans Schemm School after the late Gauleiter of Bavarian Ostmark Hans Schemm. In the Second World War , the school was among other things used as a hospital and officers' mess. During the bombing of Eisenach, the building was badly damaged but today still sports its Nazi imagery.
More Nazi iconography on this gate on Jakobsplan which still has its hakenkreuz from when it served the SA. Before the Second World War, BMW had produced motorcycles in the town. In preparation for the war, new barracks were established in Eisenach and the car industry started the production of military equipment. After 1940, around 4,000 forced labourers (most of them from the Soviet Union) were pressed to work in the city's factories, where some of them died due to the bad working conditions. Postwar, the managing director of the BMW aircraft engine works, Dr Schaaf, told the Fedden Mission there were as many as 11,000 working in the town, 4,500 in a plant inside a hillside turning out BMW 132 engines and parts for the 801, the rest in town.
The former office of the book and art print shop Philipp Kühner, publisher of the Eisenacher Tagespost, today the office and commercial building of a bank at Lauchergasse 6-8 and which is another hold-out from the NS-zeit. The Nazi-inspired iconography dates from the opening year of the war. After working for the Nürnberger Tageblatt and the Lothringer Zeitung, Kühner became editor-in-chief of the Eisenacher Tagespost in 1883 and in 1886 the owner of the publishing house that published the newspaper. Under his leadership, the Eisenacher Tagespost developed into a left-liberal paper and the most widely read newspaper in western Thuringia. After his death in 1922, the company was continued by his son Felix Kühner. The Eisenacher Tagespost appeared until 1943; after the war the former publishing house operated only as a printer.
The bombings during the war destroyed about 2,000 housing units and big parts of the car factories, as well as some historic buildings in the city centre, which were rebuilt soon after the war. The American Army arrived in Eisenach on April 6, 1945, but the Soviets took over control of the city on July 1, 1945.

Now a dilapidated shell of what it once was, the Preußischen Hof had been the site of a speech by Hitler given on April 11, 1926 from 16.00 to 18.40. The public meeting, which according to the police report was attended by 1,600 to 1,800 people, was opened with a short speech by district manager Fritz Sauckel and involved various Nazi groups from Chemnitz, Leipzig, Plauen and Zwickau. 
Hitler began his speech by directly referencing a communist leaflet which he said was distributed wherever he appears and forces him to fight against "countless lies." Indeed, the Communist Party, together with the Red Front Fighters Association, had called for a counter-demonstration on the market square, which was attended by around 300 people. Hitler referenced this by stating how "we demonstrate because you no longer agree with the current situation. There are two extremes that are not satisfied. But there is a difference between the two..."
After the meeting Hitler consecrated the flag of the local Nazi group from Gößnitz and had the district and local group leaders present from the districts of Thuringia, Saxony and Halle-Merseburg introduced to him. After Hitler's speech there were several clashes between Communists and Nazis.
The Landestheater and Philharmonie on Adolf Hitler Platz in a Nazi-era postcard. 
Hitler would return on December 1, 1932 where he spoke that afternoon for about half an hour in front of around 20,000 people. The local paper Ostthüringer Volkszeitung described it as "just a feeble, feeble speech that contained nothing new. Convinced enthusiasm has been replaced by a manual routine that is the wildness of Nazi rhetoric given way to gentle resignation. No wonder when you are forced to deliver your speech promptly every day in order to get money into the coffers. [...] Even during Hitler's speech, which incidentally only lasted about 20 minutes, hundreds left the tent. It was not possible to determine whether Hitler's excessive self-assessment was getting on their nerves or whether their curiosity had been satisfied in the meantime."
Nazi flags behind the Scatbrunnen in the marketplace. The Skatbrunnen was built in 1903 and is the only monument dedicated to this game. During the war, the bronze Wenzel, the pig heads and the iron lattice were melted down. It was not until 1955 that the sculptures could be reconstructed although the iron grates were not replaced. As much as the Allies bombed the town, it was left to its own town council to destroy its own cultural heritage voluntarily- indeed, against violent protest from its own people. The demolition of the entire west side of Klostergasse, which opens into the south-east corner of the market square nearby and was supposed to be part of the Altenburg mit Vorstädten monument-protected complex, involving all buildings from numbers 1-5 by the municipal housing association Altenburg (SWG) in October 2011 made the alley known throughout Germany.
A couple of swastikas hanging from windows of the schloss with one flying from the top.
Altenburg was a stronghold of the SPD, which had formed in 1932 with the KPD a working group in the city council. After the Nazis took power heavy clashes between members of the workers' parties and the Kampfbund black and white red took place. 91 Communist officials were arrested and some were sent to concentration camps. Nevertheless, in the 1933 Reichstag elections, the candidates of the workers' parties still received more than fifty percent of the vote. On May 2 another attack took place against trade unionists and members of the workers' parties. The SPD member of parliament Erich Mäder, who had meticulously interrogated Hitler in the parliament, was mistreated for revenge by the Nazis and died as a result of his torture in January 1934. Further groups persecuted by the National Socialists were members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, Wehrmachtsdeserteure and "Wehrkraftzersetzer", a total of 274 recognised 'victims of fascism', including 45 murdered or deceased persons. 96 Jewish citizens of Altenburg lost their lives through the Nazi reign of terror, with over an hundred forced to emigrate. 390 people were victims of Nazi-induced suicides.
May Day 1933 and the site today. That year 134 Jews lived in the town. In the years that followed, some of them either moved away or emigrated due to the consequences of the economic boycott, increasing disenfranchisement and reprisals. Possibly 45 people were arrested in Altenburg on October 28, 1938 and taken to the Polish border; only four of them survived the Nazi period. Just over a week later during Kristallnacht the remaining Jewish shops and numerous apartments of Jewish families and residents were attacked; the apartment and shop fittings were smashed, and many of the Jewish residents were mistreated. Jewish men were arrested and later taken to the Buchenwald concentration camp. By August 1939 the remaining Jewish residents had to move into overcrowded so-called "Jewish houses" located at Kronengasse 2, Zeitzer Strasse 21, Teichstrasse 10, Pauritzer Strasse 37, Johannisstrasse 5/6, Wenzelstrasse 5 and Roßplan 2. Between 1942 and 1944 the last remaining Jewish residents were deported: on May 10, 1942, seventeen to the Bezlyce ghetto in Poland folllowed later that same year by another 41 more people -all 58 were subsequently murdered. In 1943 and 1944 eleven people were sent to Auschwitz and five to the Theresienstadt ghetto.   
This 31 year old Altenburg woman is forced to support a sign reading "I am cast out of the people's community." The Jewish community was destroyed during Reichskristallnacht in 1938 when many Jews emigrated or were killed in the concentration camps. Furthermore, communists and invalids from Altenburg were murdered. During the war several subcamps of the Buchenwald concentration camp were located here. They provided 13,000 forced labourers for HASAG, the third largest German company to use concentration camp labour. 
During the war Altenburg experienced several air raids between 1940 and 1945, a total of 265 times the sirens howled. There were building damage and at least 13 dead. Between 1941 and 1945 there were several camps in the city, in which prisoners of the Buchenwald concentration camp and foreign prisoners of war and civilian forced laborers were housed. During this time around 13,000 prisoners worked for the defence company HASAG. A total of 431 victims are remembered at the cemetery. On April 15, 1945, American troops invaded without a fight in the city, preceded by a coup d'état by Altenburger antifascists under the leadership of the Communist Walter Fröhlich, who was appointed in July by the Soviet commander as the first mayor. The Red Army took over the region Altenburg on July 1, 1945.

Saalfeld of course is best known as the ancestral seat of the Saxe-Coburg and Gotha branch of the Saxon House of Wettin, which was renamed the House of Windsor in 1917 during the Great War.  Because it served as a railway junction and garrison town of the Wehrmacht armed forces from 1936, it was strongly affected by strategic bombing during the war. In the time of National Socialism, people were subjected to persecution for racist, political and religious reasons, which began in 1933 with the imprisonment in the Amtsgerichtsgefängnis. People were also persecuted for eugenic reasons, such as the 571 persons who were made by the genetic health court to victims of forced sterilisation. The Jewish citizens of Saalfeld were forced into the emigration and from 1941 were put to death in ghettoes or extermination camps.  As early as 1939, Jews were employed in the construction of the Hohenwarte dam in the course of the Closed Work and placed in a camp near Saalfeld. 
Blankenburger Straße sporting swastikas and today.  

During the war 1,491 prisoners of war, as well as women and men from the countries occupied by Germany, mainly from the Soviet Union, had to carry out forced labour: at the optical station 99, at the SAG 99, at the Mecano works, at Mitteldeutsche Elektro, at the Max Schaede company, at Auerbach & Scheibe, at the working group of the Saaletalsperre in Hohenwarte, at the company Paschold, Döger & Co., the Mauxion chocolate factory, Adolf Knoch, Paul Eberlein Söhne, Gustav Bodenstein and the company Railroad. In the cemetery, a Soviet memorial was built in 1947 with 68 gravestones and three memorial plaques. In memory of the victims of the death march of Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945, a stele was erected at the Schloßstraße - Auf dem Graben junction in 1985. In 2008 ten Stolpersteine for Jewish victims of the Nazis in Saalfeld were set up.
Looking down Bruderstrasse from both directions. From 1936 to 1945, Saalfeld was the garrison town of the Wehrmacht. 819 Saalfelder citizens were killed as soldiers. The city had been severely damaged by bombardments towards the end of the war, the main focus being on the extensive railway installations. In an American air attack on Monday, April 9, 1945, the bombshell of the six attacks of six to seven airplanes, or of their guns, of at least 208 people, which had begun shortly before 7.00 and continued until 19.00. Victims were mostly women and children, military personnel, wounded in a hospital train station and railway staff. In addition there were countless injured people. According to surveys by the town administration, this attack destroyed 22 houses, bombing 146 apartments and damaging them. This resulted in a damage of 7.5 million Reichsmark, which caused more than 1,300 bombs with an explosive force of 500 to 1,000 pounds as well as the fires. The railway station, an important transport hub, and the industrial area (Altsaalfeld) near the railway station were severely bombed. An air raid attack at 8.20 in the morning also brought the production in the Maxhütte to a halt, because the energy supply centre was hit completely. Old-town buildings have also been affected: the Johanneskirche, the Franciscan Monastery (Stadtmuseum), the Saalfeld Palace, the Kitzerstein Castle, the Saaltor and the Town Hall. By April 12, American troops were on the outskirts of the city; on the 13th of April, in the morning, Saalfeld was handed over to the Americans by the acting mayor. Previously, on the 12th and 13th of April, all the bridges of the town and surrounding area had been blown up by the Wehrmacht.
Oberere Schloss from Adolf-Hitler-Platz
The Oberere Schloss from Adolf-Hitler-Platz and today. Between 1934 and 1943, 809 people were forcibly sterilised at the Wichmannstrasse State Hospital. The municipal old people's home and the district nursing home released 122 patients to be 'euthanised.' During the war, hundreds of prisoners of war as well as men and women from countries occupied by Germany had to do forced labour in the Sorgwald near Thalbach and in other commercial enterprises. At least 102 of them perished which is commemorated in the local cemetery. 
Greiz was the target of American air raids on several occasions from May 1944 to April 1945 causing significant damage and 25 citizens killed. On April 14, 1945, Wehrmacht officer Kurt von Westernhagen refused to blow up the town's bridges. Another unit blew up first the railway bridge and then the city bridges and the bridge up the river on the orders of the military command "Elsterabschnitt Süd" (11th Panzer Division ). The head of the Weimar Gestapo office arrested Westernhagen and had him shot in a square that same day; Platz der SA shown here from a Nazi-era postcard and when I last cycled through the town in July 2023 was renamed Von-Westernhagen-Platz in his honour.Platz der SA Greiz
Greiz was eventually occupied by soldiers of the 89th Infantry Division on April 17, 1945 ; this was subordinated to the 3rd American Army. The British and Americans evacuated Saxony, Thuringia and parts of Mecklenburg , leaving them under Soviet control on July 1, 1945. In return, they received their western sectors of Berlin. In late 1945 and early 1946, the Soviet security service NKVD arrested 15 youths (from fifteen to 19 years of age) accused of belonging to a believed werwolf Nazi rsistance movement. In March 1946 a Soviet military tribunal sentenced eleven of them to death; the four youngest had their sentences commuted to fifteen to twenty years in prison. The remaining four youths were sentenced to ten years imprisonment. The NKVD carried out the death sentences in Metschwald near Triebes, where the bodies were secretly buried. In 1994 the rehabilitation took place by the Russian judiciary; in 1997 the ceremonial installation of a memorial stone was sited at the scene of the crime.

During the German Revolution of 1918–19, the prince of Reuss had to abdicate and the state became a democracy – the Republic of Reuss, which joined the new founded state of Thuringia in 1920. After the incorporation of some suburbs in the 1910s and 1920s, Gera with its 80,000 inhabitants was the biggest city in what was Thuringia at this time (without Erfurt), nevertheless the more central located Weimar became its capital. After the Nazis' takeover, the Jewish community of Gera was destroyed, the synagogue burnt down in the Kristallnacht in 1938 and the Jews emigrated or were murdered in the concentration camps. Aerial bombing destroyed some parts of the city on April 6, 1945. Three hundred buildings were hit, including the former residence Osterstein castle and some historic buildings in city centre. Many of them weren't rebuilt after the war. The Americans occupied Gera on April 14, 1945 and were replaced by the Soviets on the first of July 1945.
  The town hall with Nazi flags in the kornmark on the left and theatre on the right. On August 6, 1944, the theatre was closed due to the war and eventually bombed on April 6 1945, the worst Allied bombing of the war on Gera. Already on September 15, 1945 by decision of the Soviet city commander the theatre reopened with Mozart's Marriage of Figaro. By November of 1945, the theatre was forcibly renamed the Reußischen Theaters. 
 The Heinrichsbrücke in 1934 and its current incarnation today. It was here in November 1925 that Hitler and his entourage were briefly prevented from crossing the over the Weiße Elster to get to the Gasthaus Heinrichsbrücke to give a speech entitled "Vaterland für Alle" which lasted from 20.15 until 22.45. He concluded the speech with remarks on international stock exchange and bank capital, taking the opportunity to attack Jews, claiming that the banks and stock exchange "which effortlessly brings and yields the greatest profits to its owners, is almost entirely in the hands of the Jews." Hitler then made comparisons between the bank and stock exchange capital and the enlisting capital of the entrepreneurs. According to the police report, around 1,800 people attended, the majority of whom came from local NSDAP groups. Before and after the meeting there were serious clashes between Nazis and those taking part in a communist counter-demonstration.
The central train station before the war and today on the right.
Hitler would return to speak in the double room of the Gasthof Heinrichsbrücke on September 6, 1931 at 17.00 for an hour. The meeting, which was attended by around 2,000 people, was chaired by Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel and opened with a brief welcome. Hitler's speech formed the conclusion of the Thuringian Gautag which had opened the day before with a meeting of all political leaders, followed by a torchlight procession, an SA concert on Schützenplatz and a firework display which, according to the police report, was attended by around 20,000 spectators. The following day a celebration was held on the Schützenplatz, consisting of a roll call, dedication of the flag, honour ceremony for the fallen and several short speeches. From 12.30 a march was formed of around 11-12,000 uniformed Nazis who marched past Hitler on the market square. In addition to the speech at the Heinrichsbrücke inn, Hitler gave shorter speeches at the dedication of the flag in the morning and at the end of the march on Rossplatz.
Hitler in Gera September 1, 1931. Randall Bytwerk has provided a translated copy of the Illustrierter Beobachter's September 26 article “Deutschland erwacht! Der Freiheitstag in Gera” about this September 5-6 Nazi rally on his German Propaganda Archive page. Hitler returned in June 1934 just before launching the so-called Night of the Long Knives:
Addressing the Party faithful in Gera, Hitler attacked the ‘little pygmies’ who were trying to stop the victory of the Nazi idea. ‘It is ridiculous when such a little worm tries to fight such a powerful renewal of the people. Ridiculous, when such a little pygmy fancies himself capable of obstructing the gigantic renewal of the people with a few empty phrases.’ The clenched fist of the people, he threatened, would ‘smash anyone who dares to make even the slightest attempt at sabotage’
Richard J. Evans  The Third Reich in Power
The year before Hitler spoke at the Gasthaus zum Goldenen Hirschen, at 14.00. 
According to the programme, Hitler's participation was not expected until the four large mass rallies scheduled for 20.00 but he suddenly appeared during the opening of the Gautag, which began at 15.00, at Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel, Minister Frick, and Gauleiter Wilhelm Friedrich Loeper spoke first. After his speech, Hitler spoke briefly, together with Sauckel and Frick, at four other meetings in the Harnisch-Garten, the Palmengarten and in the Wintergarten. According to the Ostthüringer Tribüne, the first three meetings were "strongly attended", but the events in the Palmengarten and Wintergarten were "extremely weak"; of course the Nazi paper Volkischer Bobachter claimed that the meetings were "all overcrowded." There, on Monday, July 7, 1930, an SS roll call took place in the with Hitler and 130 SS men. Under the command of Brigade Commander Sepp Dietrich, the entire standard had to line up at around 14.10 as Hitler appeared and greeted the standard with 'Heil Schutzstaffel.' Hitler accompanied Dietrich to inspect the Schutzstaffel by walking along the front.
The Handelshof during the 19th Sängerfest (Festival of Song) in 1935
The Biermann department store during the boycott of Jewish businesses organised April 1, 1933. It would become "aryanised" by the end of 1935. In front of the site today are stolpersteine for the members of the Biermann family who would be murdered in front of the former site of the Biermann department store at Johannisplatz.
The hakenkreuz flying above the town from Schloss Osterstein 
Schloss Osterstein before the Great War and today


The rathaus flying Nazi flags. Under the authority of Saxon Minister of Justice Otto Thierack on July 31, 1933, Schmölln citizen Alwin Engelhardt was hired as "Saxon Scharfrichter." The execution of every death sentence was rewarded with 350 Reichsmarks, with several concurrent executions - for the future - allowig each further one with 150 reichsmarks. The Schmöllner address book of 1910 named Engelhardt as managing director of a shop at the Kemnitzgrund. The Communist resistance fighter Alfred Nitzsche from Schmölln died October 1944 in the Zuchthaus Ludwigsburg after five years of imprisonment. The Alfred-Nitzsche-Strasse is named after him. During the war more than 300 forced labourers were employed in the hotel "Deutscher Kaiser."  On April 13, 1945, the Schmollner citizens handed over the city to the 76th US Infantry Division and the 6th Panzer Division. These were used in Schmölln as occupying troops until July 1, 1945. This is today comemorated with a memorial stone.  The Americans handed over the occupation to Soviet forces in July 1945.

Looking at the Osterburg, a 54-metre-high bergfried which is the third highest and one of the oldest surviving bergfrieds in Germany seen from the Platz der SA in a Nazi-era postcard. During the war in 1943, Weida became the seat of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt which came here with 300 scientists and their families from Berlin because of the bombing. In total roughly seventy companies were involved in the relocation to Thuringia. A letter from the district representative for the construction industry in Thuringia reveals that the textile goods factory Cladin Ronneburg and the Joseph-Goebbels-Haus on the market square in Weida, the Schöne Aussicht restaurant and the Prasse carpet factory in Weida were to be used as accommodation for PTR purposes. On the right is the former Joseph-Goebbels-Haus and as it appears today. A document dated March 3, 1944 on the necessary repair work with the enclosed list of material requirements makes it clear that the second wave of relocation dragged on until the spring of 1944. The relocation of PTR from Berlin was thus completed after a good six months. A total of around 400 trucks and 150 railway wagons were required for the transport. A total of 471 PTR members were transferred to Weida (129 civil servants, 248 employees, 94 workers), including 170 women. On April 1, 1944, the last rented premises in Weida were occupied.
 A grave field with a memorial in the cemetery on Friedhofstraße commemorates 48 Soviets who were deported to Germany during the war as victims of forced labour. Since 1986, further commemorative plaques have been placed to commemorate the eighteen victims of forced labour from other nations. A so-called "Honourary Grove" was set up at Platz der Freiheit where there is a memorial stone for the death march from the Buchenwald concentration camp and another large memorial for the victims of the Nazis. On March 13, 2017, the artist Gunter Demnig laid a group of stumbling blocks in front of the house at Geraer Straße 40 in memory of Simon and Klara Fröhlich, as well as Fritz, Margarete and Egon Sabersky.
The town hall during the Nazi era and today. In the city council elections of December 4, 1932, the Nazis won nine out of 25 seats. During and after the war many refugees came to the city, especially after the bombing. The high-frequency laboratory of the Physikalisch-Technische Reichsanstalt under its head Adolf Scheibe had been relocated to Zeulenroda with the onset of the surface bombardment. In an attack by theAmerican Air Force on Zeulenroda on March 17, 1945, eight were killed. On April 16, 1945 the United States Army took over Zeulenroda without a battle. On July 1 the Red Army occupied the town. In 1949 Zeulenroda and Triebes became a part of the German Democratic Republic. After German reunification in 1990, the Free State of Thuringia was reestablished. Zeulenroda merged with Triebes in 2006 and so the new name of the town is Zeulenroda-Triebes. On their departure from Thuringia, the Americans evacuated the high-frequency laboratory, including its employees and their families, to Heidelberg.
Nazis commemorating the town's 500th anniversary.

Adolf-Hitler-Platz then and now. During the Nazi era at least ten of Wasungen's inhabitants were victims of forced sterilisation. During the Second World War, 130 prisoners of war, military internees and women and men from the countries occupied by Germany had to endure forced labour in Wasungen. 295 persons died in the hospital in the prison. A memorial stone erected on the Hungerberg in 1948 commemorates the Soviet victims of the camp whilst an obelisk and another memorial stone are in the cemetery.

The Quittelsberg is a 709 metre high mountain in the Thuringian Slate Mountains in the district Saalfeld-Rudolstadt.  The summit of the wooded hill is a designated nature reserve, where the ruins of a tower built from June 1933 stand on a stone base- a tower named after Hitler with a swastika affixed. The observation deck was a skyward closed hand. The tower was inaugurated on May 13, 1934 in the presence of the then-Reich governor of Thuringia and Reichstag member Fritz Sauckel, who in 1946 was executed as a war criminal. The tower was destroyed October 1949 on the orders of the Russian occupying powers; of the wooden tower today only the base remains.

Meiningen Nazi rally
A mass Nazi Party rally in the marktplatz in 1932. Hitler had given a speech in Meiningen on March 19, 1921 and another on January 11, 1927 entitled German need and the way to liberation from slavery, shame and mass misery, from Jewish-capitalist and Marxist bondage." Speaking in the großen Schützenhaussaal from 20.00 to 22.45 to what the subsequent police report estimated to be about 2,000 people for what marked the beginning of Hitler's multi-day election trip through Thuringia on the occasion of the forthcoming state elections on January 30, 1927, he declared how "capital must remain the objective. The National Socialists fight capitalism in the form of "international loan capital. The large companies in Germany are today completely in the hands of this capital. The international world Jew is master in Germany." According to historians like Sir Ian Kershaw, this marks an ideologicial shift away from the 'socialism' aspet of National Socialism to focus its criticism mainly on the international banking system, and not so much the large industries, which diminishes the contrast with his later attempts to attack the industrial elite.
Nazi demonstration outside the rundbau of schloß Elisabethenburg
Another Nazi demonstration outside the rundbau of schloß Elisabethenburg. The three-storey round building connects the ends of the southern and northern wings in a semicircle and borders the courtyard of the schloß. Up to 1920 the ministries of the Duchy and the Free State of Saxony-Meiningen were accommodated, since the destruction of the Town Hall in February 1945, it is the headquarters of the city administration. The central arched gateway forms the main entrance to the castle ensemble. On the ground floor north of the gate, the city set up a citizen's office. South of this, the ground floor is occupied by a restaurant. During the war Meiningen was the site of a prisoner of war hospital, and several German military hospitals. The Deutsche Dienststelle was based in the Drachenbergkaserne barracks from 1943 to 1945. A heavy air raid on Meiningen on February 23 1945, by the USAAF caused 208 deaths, destroyed 251 houses and two bridges in total, and damaged 440 buildings. Meiningen was occupied by American armed forces on 5 April 1945. 
Built in 1927, within six years of the Nazis' seizure of power, the décor within the town rathaus still incorporates swastikas. In a blatant attempt to offset its uncomfortable history, its façade sported a shield of David over Christmas whilst keeping the hakenkreuzen. 
At the beginning of Nazi era residents were persecuted for political, racial and religious reasons, imprisoned with imprisonment or penalties or deported to concentration camps. Among them was the co-founder of the KPD locality group Otto Bergner in Köppelsdorf, who was arrested many times before being transferred to Buchenwald concentration camp and finally transferred to the concentration camp commando Witten-Annen, where he was killed in March 1945. A street name commemorates him. Adolf Wicklein, who was sentenced to death by the National Court of Justice and executed in the court of the Weimar district court for providing humanitarian aid to escaped Soviet prisoners of war, is also recalled through a street which had been renamed since then in Marienstrasse. In Köppelsdorf there was also resistance from Protestant churches against the Nazi regime, especially against the German-Christian church leadership. The pastor Reinhard Metz sat down with sermons and letters for preached priests. A member of the Confessing Church (BK) provided a room in their factory building Friedrichstraße 38 for confessional church youth work. The Jews of the city suffered anti-Semitic persecution and deportation, which brought them into the emigration or the extermination camps, which few survived. Between 1934 and 1943, 687 women and men from Sonneberg and surrounding areas were victims of forced sterilisation.

During the Second World War, about 4300 men and women, mainly from the Soviet Union, but also many other nations occupied by Germany, had to work mainly in armaments production: in the Thuringian gear trains, at Siemens-Schuckert (SSW) in Oberlind, in the companies Louis Siegel, JC Eckardt and Kopp & Solonot. In the KZ Buchenwald Auskommando Sonneberg concentration camp opened in September 1944 at the Reinhardt works site in Hallstrasse 39 an average of 400 mostly Jewsiah, Polish and Hungarian detainees worked under conditions that were unsuitable for men. Many prisoners were killed on the death row in the direction of today's Czech Republic. Along the two routes were installed in 1982, at the instigation of the SED Kreisleitung Sonneberg metal panels which remind them of them. 
Lutherhaus flying the Nazi flagThe so-called Lutherhaus, shown flying the Nazi flag. It has since been ascertained that despite earlier claims, Luther could never have stayed here given the later age of the building. On February 16, 1945 an air attack from 23 American flying fortresses B-17 dropped 800 bombs (half of them fire bombs, the other high-explosive explosive bombs) onto Sonneberg. A residential area adjacent to the railways received the most hits. 28 civilians died and dozens suffered serious injuries. Had not many bombs fallen on open ground, more victims would have been recorded. After the war Soviet military tribunals sentenced to death 21 juveniles aged 15 and over from 1946-47 in Sonneberg as being members of the so-called "Werwolf" resistance movement or to long-term work-bearing fines. Ten of the youths were killed in special Soviet camps. A total of 77 juveniles were condemned, of whom eight were shot and thirty died in camps. The three young men who were sentenced to death because of their supposed membership in the werewolf organisation were rehabilitated by the Russian authorities during the 1990s. Also rehabilitated was also pensioner Martin Albin, who was sentenced to death in 1946 because of the alleged production and distribution of leaflets and the visit of anti-Soviet assemblies. Other death sentences must be regarded as highly arbitrary.

Bad Klosterlausnitz
Bad Klosterlausnitz Nazi flag Gasthof Friedrichshofthen
The Hotel Herzog Ernst flying the Nazi flag and Gasthof Friedrichshofthen and now
Kristall Sauna Wellnesspark Kristallnacht
In an astonishing online marketing campaign by Kristall Sauna Wellnesspark, a spa in Bad Klosterlausnitz, guests were invited to take part in a “long, romantic Kristallnacht”—on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, a violent pogrom during which Nazis shattered the windows of Jewish businesses, raided homes, and lit synagogues on fire throughout Germany- with candles placed all over the baths. 
The hotel owners eventually apologised for their “insensitive naming of this event,” which they admitted had been “extremely inappropriate.” They explained that they frequently tag part of their name, “Kristall,” onto their events.  “We are extraordinarily regretful and of course this was unintentional; believe us, we are quite ashamed about our mistake,” the statement said.  They changed the name of the special event to “the long romantic night.”  Some who posted screenshots of the ad made crude jokes about the wellness center being a “Heil Bad,” or spa with hot springs, playing on the Nazi Heil Hitler salute.