An incredible insight into an unimaginable era
Leaving Regensburg, we continue on our Bavarian road trip. However, before we head east, we’re going to make a 66-mile (106km) detour north, to visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg.
Nazi Party Congress Hall
Perhaps you may think, why bother?
Adolf Hitler’s past isn’t worth giving any airspace to, or even blog space, come to that.
Well, to be perfectly honest, I find it mind-blowing (and incredibly interesting) how this dictator showered his country with such propaganda.
Nazi Party Zeppelinfeld Grandstand
Once Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany in January 1933, he declared Nuremberg the "City of Nazi Party Rallies". Construction then soon began on building the imposing structures for the party's mass meetings to take place.
Perimeter of the Nazi Party Zeppelin Field
Nuremberg Rally Grounds
Today, only a few of the arenas, halls, stadiums and grandstands remain, as parts have since been demolished. However, during their peak, the grounds that once housed these assemblies spread across 4.25 square miles (11 sq. km).
Pictures and memorabilia of Adolf Hitler
Between 1933 and 1938 six Nazi Party Rallies were held at Nuremberg, each lasting around six days. Unsurprisingly the rally of 1939 was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II on 1st September when Hitler invaded Poland.
Years of planning
I know this sounds fairly ignorant, but, my thoughts of Adolf Hitler’s power in the build-up to the Second World War was that it happened over a couple of years. That he became the Führer of Germany, rallied around his friends and comrades, went hell for leather into his dictatorship and brainwashed the country.
But Hitler had been building up to this for years.
I just can’t imagine that anyone in their wildest nightmares, could have conceived the atrocities that were to be perpetrated onto innocent people.
A copy of Mein Kampf
The sign to the museum
The layout of the area
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Nazi Party Rally Ground Museum
Prior to wandering around to the Zeppelinfeld and what remains of the infamous grandstand, we headed into the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds exhibition. The permanent exhibition “Faszination und Gewalt” (Fascination and Terror), is located in the north section of the Congress Hall.
Entrance to Documentation Centre
An aerial photo of the congress building from 2001
The extremely iconic Congress Hall is one of the largest buildings still standing from the Nazi era. The imposing semi-circular Congress Hall was never fully completed. They planned to build a roof over it and also include seating for 50,000 National Socialists.
Inside the unfinished Nazi Party Congress Hall
Arriving at this building was astonishing as I’d seen it in books and on TV but, you just cannot believe how commanding a structure could be.
External view of the Nazi Party Congress Hall
“Fascination and Terror”
The exhibition inside is incredibly interesting, and the audio guide is a must as it gives you such an insight into how the whole Nazi Party era unfolded. How propaganda was spread across the nation, and the horrific impact it had on innocent lives.
Allow plenty of time for this exhibition, as there is so much information to absorb and so many touching stories to listen to.
Janis with the audio guide
There are some incredibly moving pictures within the exhibition and images you’ll never want to see again in your life. One exhibit along a railway track displayed name tags for all those who lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps.
Name tags for those who lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps
It was pleasing to see school parties visiting the museum and showing a genuine interest in this unbelievable period of history. The exhibition name of Faszination und Gewalt (Fascination and Terror) really does sum up the experience.
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After visiting the Documentation Centre, we strolled around the Dutzendteich Lake towards the Zepplinfield. During the 19th century Dutzendteich Lake had become a popular location for its locals, when the Congress Hall was built in 1935 part of the lake was filled in.
Dutzendteich Lake with Nazi Party Congress Hall beyond
Today you can jump on a pedalo as the Dutzendteich Lake is now a place of enjoyment, a stark contrast to what lies beyond.
Wandering around the lake further you then arrive at the Zeppelinfeld Grandstand (Zeppelintribüne) and the Zeppelin Field. The Zeppelin Field is the parade ground where thousands of Nazi devotees gathered to show their resounding support for their leader.
The Nazi Party Zeppelin Field
The parade ground was the size of twelve football pitches. It is now occasionally used for concerts, and sporting events. The road in front of the grandstand is also used as part of a motor racing track.
The once-imposing grandstand where Adolf Hitler would have emerged from to greet his supporters is now a shadow of its former self. The columned galleries that ran along the top were destroyed by Nuremberg City in 1967.
A wide view of the Nazi Party Zeppelinfeld Grandstand
The Nazi Party Zeppelinfeld Grandstand
A victory parade was held here on 22nd April 1945 by American Troops, and the iconic Swastika which stood above the main grandstand was blown up.
Steps up to the Zeppelinfeld Grandstand
Pictures of the Zeppelinfeld Grandstand
The coming years
In 2019 an €85 million restoration plan was granted. This will include the redevelopment of the permanent exhibition and renovation to the surrounding Nazi Party Rally Ground buildings.
Visiting Information for the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds
Free to park
Visiting hours:Monday to Friday; 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Weekends and holidays: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
I personally would allow 2 to 3 hours for your visit.
The exhibition at the Documentation Centre Nazi Party Rally Grounds is not suitable for children under the age of 14.
Updates and further visiting information can be found here.
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