Now some modern history

We’re in Nuremberg, a very modern city since it was 95% destroyed in 1945.  We chose the optional expedition to see the artifacts of Nazi architecture and the location and history of the war crimes trials.

You might not think of architecture as propaganda, until you see these places.  We began with the coliseum, the never completed temple to the glory of national socialism, modelled after the Coliseum in Rome but twice the size, planned with a dome.

The great unfinished coliseum is now a museum

The great unfinished coliseum is now a museum

Inside the coliseum is now a museum devoted to the history of the national socialist party and the second world war.  Germany faces its past in a very forthright manner, insisting that all schoolchildren learn about it in depth, to ensure that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.  The museum is ultra-modern, brilliantly and beautifully designed, and starts with Hitler being jailed for treason in the early 1920’s, his subsequent rise and then the war, the holocaust, and the demise of the reich.

Photograph supposedly of a major rally in Berlin in January, 1933.  Then somenone noticed that nobody is wearing a coat--the photograph is a staged recreation for propaganda purposes.

Photograph supposedly of a major rally in Berlin in January, 1933. Then a researcher noticed that nobody is wearing a coat–the photograph is a staged recreation for propaganda purposes.

 

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A section about the monumental architecture of the Reich.  Hitler, a frustrated artist, was personally involved in the designs.

 

The next stop was the Zeppelin field, where Count von Zeppelin himself brought in his airships.  It was turned into a massive ampitheater where rallies and parades could be held, and where the fuehrer himself gave his most bombastic, stem-winding crowd pleasing orations.

Now in a state of major disrepair, the platform from which Hitler spoke is still visible.

Now in a state of major disrepair, the platform from which Hitler spoke is still visible.

After the big buildings, we headed to the Palace of Justice where the war crimes trials were held.  The building is not only still standing, it is still in regular use, and historic courtroom 600 may or may not be available on any give day.  It was not open to the public when we arrived, so we were herded into the museum of the war crimes trial upstairs, which is vastly more interesting in any case.

This was one of the few times Viking let us down, not providing the handheld wands with the translation of what the exhibits said.  We had them in the earlier museum that day, but not here.  Our guide was quite helpful, but not as much as knowing what I was looking at would be.

Still, we were enthralled with the detail, the photos, the sense of the place.  The world came together and put war criminals on trial and then executed a goodly number of them, imprisoning others for long periods, through a system of justice and not blind revenge.  That’s the way the world should work, and I wish it still did.

As we were leaving an announcement was made that courtroom 600 was open, so we stopped in.  It isn’t really a large place for the amount of history that occurred there.

A panorama of the entire room.  The crucifix is modern, and will be covered on request.

A panorama of the entire room. The crucifix is modern, and will be covered on request.

The tour bus dropped us off in the middle of town, near the cathedral of course.  We decided to try something native for lunch, and found a crowded bratwurst house.  The sausages here are quite small.  They are boiled, then put on the grill until brown.  You can order 6, 8,10 or 12 of them, with potato salad or fries.  I went with 10:

A lunch fit for a burgher.

A lunch fit for a burgher.

 

There are rolls and large, fresh, soft pretzels on the table.  The potato salad was warm and excellent, with very little vinegar.

Gail tried the pig’s knuckle:

Pig knuckle.  It tastes better than it looks.

Pig knuckle. It tastes better than it looks.

It’s really just ham.  Gail likes most anything with sauerkraut, and enjoyed her lunch after her intial shock at its appearance.

There is a tower in the market square that was bricked up to protect it from the bombing.  I guess I owe them a photo:

Two towers of Nuremberg

Two towers of Nuremberg

 

And that’s all the fun we could have in Nuremberg.  Now down the river towards Vienna.

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2 thoughts on “Now some modern history

  1. Chris, this ties in great with your recommendation of “The Boys in the Boat”, a book about the mens crew team which went to the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Those Olympics were used by Hitler and Goebbels used as a massive propaganda effort with a starring role played by the architecture.

    I’m glad to see you are enjoying some history … and some sausage! Have fun.

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