History, the Great Reminder – ConspiracyOz

How Germany uses the silent ‘witnesses’ of its Nazi past

Photo: Many tourists would never know the ageing Munich buildings were once Nazi “honour temples”. (ABC News)
To the untrained eye it doesn’t really look like much.

Grass and plants grow from a platform of ageing limestone and concrete that sits, seemingly abandoned, on a Munich street corner.

Most tourists would never guess that it was once a site of enormous significance for supporters of the Third Reich — the remains of one of two “Nazi honour temples”.

“We cut the thick vegetation back more than a year ago,” architectural historian Professor Winfried Nerdinger says.

“Now everyone in Munich has to look at it.”

Photo: Professor Nerdinger runs a new Nazi documentation centre in Munich. (ABC News)

The Ehrentempel once housed the bodies of Nazis killed during Adolf Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch.

The structures were levelled by American troops at the end of WWII and the human remains removed — only the bases remain and for some time they were both hidden by foliage.

But in recent years this city has renewed its commitment to confront and come to terms with the darkest period of its past.

“Everything started here in Munich,” Professor Nerdinger says.

“The [Nazi] party was founded here, Hitler came to power… with the help of many parts of the society.”

We are chatting inside a white block of a building that overlooks the former temple.

Photo: The Hofbrauhaus in Munich where Hitler gave a number of speeches during his reign. (ABC News)

It houses a relatively new Nazi documentation centre, which Professor Nerdinger leads.

It was built on the site of the infamous Brown House, the former headquarters of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, and details how the movement rapidly took control of the country and then much of Europe.

“It is important to give information about how this could happen and there is a sort of responsibility on the city itself because General [Dwight D] Eisenhower once called Munich the cradle of the Nazi beast,” he says.

Outside is the spot where a number of Third Reich walking tours end.

Photo: The Munich Agreement was signed in this building in 1938. (ABC News)

After visiting the beer hall where Hitler delivered some famous speeches, the site of the former Gestapo interrogation centre and the square where several early Nazi rallies were held, tourists pause in front the building where the decision to annex part of Czechoslovakia was made.

“We tell the story at these sites,” tour guide Eric Loerke says.

“We tell people what happens when everything goes wrong.”

But there’s long been debate about how authorities should treat the sites.

Photo: “We tell people what happens when everything goes wrong,” Munich tour guide Eric Loerke says. (ABC News)

Some are still visited by white supremacists or far-right extremists, who hold rallies and protest.

Professor Nerdinger wants them preserved “for explanation” of the true horrors of the Nazi movement, which he worries is “fading” in the public consciousness.

“They are our authentic witnesses which go on for centuries,” he says.

“The eyewitnesses they will leave us, they will die, but the buildings will still be there and our task is to use them as witnesses and use them as authentic places for learning.”


Posted on September 30, 2017, in ConspiracyOz Posts. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. To think I was having a Beer at the Hofbrahaus a couple of months ago…who would have thought – Mick Raven


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