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Ein weiterer Artikel aus "off-duty" Oktober 1974

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Where Hitler Stood

X does not mark the spot - By DEDE WILLIAMS - Off Duty / Europe / October 1974

Unser Weg und unser Blick geht jetzt nach "Nuremberg"

VISITORS TO Nuremberg during 1971, the 500th birthday year of Albrecht Dürer, the city's famous Renaissance painter, were asked which of the city's attractions they would most like to see.

Many tourists wanted to visit the art galleries where Dürer's works are displayed and others wanted to stroll through the medieval Altstadt (old city) which has been meticulously restored. Some just wanted to taste the delicious Nuremberg sausages.

But the great majority of American visitors, Nuremberg discovered to its chagrin, wanted to see "where Hitler stood" when he held his mass Nazi party rallies in the city in the 1930s and 1940s.

Der Ort, an dem Hitler gestanden hatte .....

"Where Hitler stood" is a vast complex of buildings flanking the Zeppelinwiese on the outskirts of Nuremberg. Hitler stood in the mammoth congress hall, now a gaping, roofless ruin and he stood on the neighboring broad avenue the size of an airport runway, reviewing his brown-shirted troops as they marched by, jackboots thudding on the pavement.

But mostly he stood, arms raised above his head, on the massive tribune of the stadium which he had specially built for party rallies and which today serves as a racetrack - the Norisring.

Hitlers Tribüne in Nürnberg

The tribune was built between 1934 and 1937 out of limestone from the Jura Mountains and was designed to last for the duration of Hitler's Thousand Year Reich.

But only a dozen or so years after they were built, the 144 towering columns surrounding the tribune had begun to disintegrate. Rather than appropriate considerable sums of money, the city allowed the West German army, the Bundeswehr, to blast away the columns in 1967.

The rest of the torso - the imposing row of steps leading up to the podium where Hitler stood - still stands. Whether it will remain standing for another 40 years or longer, or go the way of the 144 columns, has not yet been decided.

Next year is national monuments year in Europe and Nuremberg officials are going to have to decide soon if the site of the giant gatherings is worth restoring as one of the relics of the city's past.

If the answer is affirmative, the city can request from the state of Bavaria the §30,000 its public works department estimates it would cost to support the structure for another two years. If the city votes to get rid of it, another reminder of the Nazi era will disappear from the German landscape.

Ein paar Orte in Europa erinnern an Hitler

Only a few other places associated with Hitler in other parts of Germany and in Austria are still around for the world to stare at.


Dachau, the notorious former concentration camp, now a memorial to the victims of Nazi persecution, is a short drive or train ride from Munich. A bus, labeled Dachau Ost, makes the run from the train station to the camp. Aside from wall displays of grisly pictures of bodies piled into mass graves and emaciated prisoners in striped uniforms hudding together for warmth, and a line of neat, whitewashed barracks, there is only one - singularly gruesome - reminder of what took place here: a row of rusting ovens.


The Berchtesgaden area was one of Hitler's favorite rest and relaxation sites. A map of the Führer's residential complex on the "Obersalzberg" is available for 25 cents at the desk of the General Walker Hotel.

The map shows the locations of buildings which are still standing and those which have been destroyed. It's all there, at least on the map, from the Berghof, Hitler's spacious house, to Hitler's, Goring's and Bormann's private bunkers and Hitler's pigsty. But here, too, the reminders that anyone named Adolf Hitler stood, sat or slept here, are skimpy.


Berlin's Dahlem section, a leafy green oasis on the city's edge is now the home of the American military complex. During the Nazi era it was the home of "80 per cent of German government officials," says Joachim C. Fest, author of "Hitler, a biography of the Fuhrer".

Fest visited Dahlem while doing research for his book, and was shown the spots where Nazi leaders once made their homes. But there are no traces of the villas' former owners; these private houses are now in other hands.

The only visible traces of Hitler in Berlin are the Olympia Stadium where the 1936 Olympics - calculated to display Aryan physical prowess - were held, Tempelhof airport, built by the Nazis, and the Reichstag.

Tempelhof, which looks much like any other airport in the world, has another claim to fame. It was the site of the 1948 airlift during the Soviet blockade of Berlin. The Reichstag, near the Berlin Wall, looks gray, depressing and empty. (Wir schreiben hier das Jahr 17971 !!)

The Nazis used the fire which broke out here on Feb. 28, 1933 as an excuse to purge the Communists from the scene. Claiming that the Communists had started the fire, the Nazis arrested some 4,000 people, not all of them Communists.

Heavily damaged in World War II, the Reichstag was restored in the hope that it would one day become the seat of Parliament for the government of a reunited Germany.
(Wir schreiben hier das Jahr 17971 !!)


In Austria, too, there is not much left to see of the Nazi era and the country's native son who started it all. In addition to the house in Braunau, where Hitler was born, you can still see the men's hostel, on Meldemann Strasse in Vienna. Hitler lived here while trying to make a go of it as a painter in the early part of the 20th century. But in Leonding bei Linz, where Hitler spent 10 years of his youth, there is no sign that he was ever there.


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