Nazi party rallies in Nuremberg

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There’s really no way around admitting that Nuremberg’s history is very much enshrouded by a dark cloud of National Socialism.  Hitler’s Nazi party rallies took place there annually during the mid 30s and Nuremberg was even named “die deutsche Stadt” (the German city).  It became a symbol of Nazi pride, as these rallies were very over-the-top celebrations.  Of course, Nuremberg was the same city in which the postwar ‘Nuremberg trials’ famously took place – convicting Nazis of their crimes against humanity.

I visited Nuremberg’s Nazi Documentation Center twice this past year.  Here are some photos of Nazi propaganda posters on display inside the museum area.  The poster on bottom right says “Unsere letzte Hoffnung: Hitler”, which means, “Our last hope: Hitler”.

DSC00890And here is a photo of Hitler being greeted by Nurembergers (and other Germans)  during one of the Nazi party rallies.DSC00895

Left: members of the Hitler youth (or even younger) saluting/“heiling” Hitler upon his entrance into the city.

Right: Inglorious Basterds, anyone?DSC00897Below is a photo of the Nazi party rally grounds (empty), where Hitler would address his people from the grandstand podium (front and center).


In 1945, the US Army held its victory parade at the main grandstand (seen in the above photo).  After the ceremony, the swastika was blown up, symbolizing the end of National Socialism. 


Below is a photo of the American soldiers, standing atop the grand stand, waving the American flags victoriously.DSC00905The paper below lists the “worst” Nazis and their sentences determined during the Nuremberg trials.  The sentences range from 10 years in prison (10 Jahre Gefaengnis) to death by hanging (Tod durch den Strang).  At the top and bottom of the list, the names Goering and Bormann can be seen – two of the the top 4 Nazi leaders (Hitler and Goebelles being dead already, at this point).  To reference Inglorious Basterds once again, “you need[ed] all four to end the war”.DSC00906I took this photo standing at Dutzendteich, facing the Doku-Zentrum.  The area served as the location for the National Socialist cult, for the demonstration of power and mobilization of the masses.  DSC01058 Since 1973, the buildings have been under a historical monument preservation order.  Nowhere else in Germany can the remains of Nazi architecture be seen to such an extent as they are here.  Below, you can see the door from which Hitler walked before addressing the masses from the grandstand podium.DSC01068

I took this photo, below, standing at the same grandstand podium where Hitler once stood to make his party rally speeches.  During the rallies, this area before the grandstand was filled with around 200,000 Nazi supporters, all gathered to cheer on and encourage their Fuehrer.  Today, it is (unofficially) used as a skate park.


Anonymous said...

That photo in the woods looks like it could be the set of Inglorious Basterds!

Unknown said...

I think the part of germany that stuck with me the most after my visit was anything having to do with WW2. The memorial in berlin with all of the cement columns is simply amazing, and has to be experienced to be understood. Thanks for this informative post!

Anonymous said...

I'm so fascinated by Nazism - not in a bad way, obviously, but just the idea that an entire population (pretty much) could be so convinced that a movement so terrible was the right thing to do...

Jenni Austria Germany said...

Agreed. I feel like it's impossible to live here, at least in this area, surrounded by so much disturbing history and not become fascinated or deeply intrigued.

Brenna [fabuleuxdestin] said...

That is so crazy. Whenever people go to Germany, I feel like they want to see this part of history. I guess you have to go to Nuremburg! So interesting.

Karasyn said...

this is so interesting. I would love to visit Germany and learn more about the history there.

The Michelle Show said...

Thanks for sharing that, its really awesome! My fathers family is from Germany and my Grandfathered was orphaned at 4 years old after his family was killed in the war. He ended up making his way to Bolivia where he met my Grandmother who was also an orphan!

Brissa said...

ww2 has always been one of my favorite time periods to study. i can't help but be drawn in by the suffering and strength of those affected by hitler.
and yes! thank you for the inglorious basterds reference. it's one of my favorites.

Pretzel Thief said...

Wow...incredibly moving and chilling, also.

It's astonishing and scary that not so long ago people were indoctrinated on such a grand scale, to say nothing of the millions of exterminations that were carried out so clinically and horribly.

Having lived through war myself first-hand (the civil war that erupted following the disintegration of Fmr Yugoslavia in 1991), war as a concept and a reality all hits very close to home.

In the Fmr Yugoslavia, crap happened on all three sides, each of the three governments had their own shitty agenda and each military committed atrocities (contrary to media propaganda that it was the "eeeeeevil" Serbs who were the only bad guys).

No normal person wanted that war, whether Serb, Croatian or Bosnian (I'm Serbian, grew up in Croatia). No normal person allowed themselves to be brainwashed against people who are people just like them. People who loved people, irrespective of the political landscape of the time, continued to love people of all ethnicities. Because, er, what the hell does it matter? How could it ever matter?

My parents brought me up that way, so it was a rude shock when certain kids in our neighbourhood would refer to us in derogatory, disgusting terms which essentially boiled down to "Serbs, get out of here." Then again, THEY were brought up by parents who were semi-literate and who themselves had been poisoned with hatred way back when everything was Yugoslavia and everyone was one big happy family.

(I will never understand "parents" who actively poison their children to hate anything, who influence them in such a way as to create offensive creatures out of them.)

My father was a tragic civilian casualty of the war, dying in November 1993. It seems superfluous to say that it was devastating and hollowing and father was an incredible, bright, loving man, a seems crueler still that such a peace loving person was so callously taken from us, and yet...well, that's the thing: war doesn't discriminate. You can be an asshole of the highest order or the most wonderful person in the world, but if it's the wrong place at the wrong time...and that's the most infuriating thing, the randomness of it, the unfairness of that randomness.

I'm at peace now about it all (partly through my faith) much as one can be. I was a few months shy of nine when dad died, 26 now. I was his little girl. You come to attain a sense of peace even though the pain actually never moves from wherever it embeds within you. It's just dormant and you learn to deal with it when it does infrequently flare up. It's funny what we learn to cope with, what we overcome.

Pretzel Thief said...


I guess what I wanted to say was that, as a survivor of war, someone whose childhood was tainted and yet not beaten by it, the overwhelming thing is that war destroys. Period. It destroys in every sense imaginable; in a physical, visceral, intangible sense. I can't even hear the word "war" without immediately returning to the period between 1991-1994 (we immigrated to Oz July '94) and all that that encompassed.

But ultimately, war is the thing that was sprung upon me, my family, all good people, the thing that snatched my father away without any of us being asked, the thing that paralysed us with torment and anguish and made us wonder why so many other families got to remain intact while ours had to suffer. Far from it, why did ANYONE have to suffer?

I know that my case is one of many. Millions upon millions of others around the world have died in countless other wars and circumstances induced by them, innocent civilian deaths of people who were just trying to get by with their day, yet another day in what became the monotony of war, a war that became part of my quotidian at one point, a thing to which we were almost desensitised because of its ever-presence...almost, but not quite. Because every time that siren let out its sickening wail, we all shuddered a bit, trying to hide our collective fear and dread, all wondering what the day would bring, how much shelling there would be, what tomorrow or the tomorrow of the oncoming weeks would bring.

War is an evil that is so maddening and so unwarranted...looking at WWII, one wonders how people continued to have faith with all the tragedy that befell them, how they continued to survive in the face of grisly images and the attempt on their hearts and souls, the attempt to render people faceless the better to kill them off. And how those who wanted to make them faceless succeeded in doing they got there in the first place.

F--k war; f--k warmongers and hateful xenophobes.

(So sorry about the length and going on and on, ACK! Didn't plan to hijack the comments with this epic screed!)

Jeneric Generation said...

I just can't believe how recent it was. In my mind, it is so far back in history...but it is so not. It would be like our grandkids thinking that 9/11 was ages and ages ago. I think a part of me cheered in my head when you said that area was now a skate park.

Jasmine said...

I would love to visit this place, it's so fascinating! My grandfather told me much about Nazi time in Switzerland which wasn't really bad compared to Germany. I can't get enough of his stories.. to me it's so hard to imagine to grow up in a time like this

Abby said...

Chills... I recently watch the Third Reich: rise and fall on the history channel and it was fascinating and scary. I usually can't watch WWII stuff. I went to Dachu with my parents and then fiancé, and it traumatized me for life.

Erika Lee @ A Tiny Rocket said...

What's interesting when you travel and you go to the places that major historical events have happened- there is this odd sense of power .. sort of indescribable..

Whim Wham Life said...

So much history! I'm half German, and I always wonder about that whole other branch of my family. What a crazy world we live in! xoxo

Erika @ rouge + whimsy said...

thank you for fulfilling my history nerd side of me today.

loved the photos & the history!

so fascinating that it all happened really not that long ago (in the grand scheme of things)

Sophie said...

wow this is insane. i cant get my head around it. it all seems so raw...even if they use an old grandstand that used to be filled with Nazi supporters as a skate park. i would love to visit just to see it all but i reckon i would get nightmares or something. such a great post.

p.s ive misseddddd you!

Unknown said...

i would absolutely visit this!

annnnnd jb and i quote lieutenant aldo raine at least once a week. at least.

Jan said...

Very interesting!! Glad you got to go and take pictures.

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