“The Nuremberg Trials”- that’s all we knew about this city in the heart of Germany. Little did we imagine that this is one of the cities where hate and terror perpetrated by the Nazi regime started.
It was chilling to be there, to be stepping on the same spot where the Third Reicht and the other fanatics visited it for evil purposes and how it was built with slave labour.
The grand entrance to the Congress Hall or Nazi Party Rally grounds whose size was intended to sit 50,000 spectators.
It was supposed to be the biggest complex in the world but it never reached its full size due to the outbreak of World War II.
This complex, planned by Hitler, was built to hold his ritualistic Nazi mass rallies,
instead, it is now being used as a car park. I’m sure he is now crying from his grave.
Here is Charlie basking at the grandeur and style of this complex-turned-carpark.
Charlie here being fed the famous German bratwurst sandwich for his lunch (a treat for getting through his 8th country sojourn).
In the background is the Congress Hall as seen from the outside. It looks like the Coliseum in Rome.
Aerial photo of the Congress Hall
“Nuremberg Aerial Kongresshalle” by Nicohofmann – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –
Steps are being done to preserve this Nazi-era architecture. It may have been a terrible moment of history but it’s still history.
Since 2008, a part of the building has been made into a concert hall of the Nuremberg Symphony Orchestra.
That glass and steel arrow-shaped structure piercing the old building is part of the Documentation Centre
with a permanent exhibition entitled, “Fascination and terror”.
It shows visitors the rise and terror of the Third Reich – the causes, the context
and the consequences of the National Socialist reign of terror.
It was the International Holocaust Remembrance Day last 27 January so I thought of doing my own share of commemorating the genocide victims of World War 2 by visiting one of their memorials in Budapest. This one is set along the Danube not far from the Parliament Building. It truly is a sorrowful moment everytime I see these shoes. They are a poignant reminder of those who were shot by Arrow Cross militiamen between 1944 and 1945. The victims were lined up and shot into the Danube River. They had to take their shoes off, since they were valuable belongings at the time.
“Shoes on the Danube”
by Hungarian Sculptor Gyula Pauer, and his friend Can Togay in 2005.
Driving along this road around Paustenbach creates the impression of a quiet village in a bucolic setting.
But one will soon find out that along the country lane and behind those trees lay the remnants of an atrocious war.
In 1938, Adolf Hitler ordered the fortification of the western borders of Germany by having 12,000 tank traps built. The aim is to impede the movement of Allied tanks, channel them into killing zones where they can easily be disposed of.
They are called “Dragon’s teeth” because of the shape of each concrete block arranged in staggered rows and columns.
After the war and to erase the memory of it, tens of thousands of blocks were blasted to pieces, some were bulldozed, buried into the ground but a significant number remains and are now part of the rural landscape of west Germany. Paustenbach, a little hamlet near the Belgian border with 332 inhabitants are one of those places where you can find them.
Being there gave me the creeps, at the same time I felt transported back to the time of the Nazi period where Hitler’s army were omnipresent and I was standing in the middle of these blocks. The place was a war zone.
Fast forward to the present: it looks like a graveyard of pyramidal tombstones.
I wanted to get closer, to get a better shot but access is prohibited as you can see in this electrified fence.
Across the road, more of them are overtaken by grass and weeds.
Driving further away, we were bowled over by hundreds more of them appearing like a mirage from distant fields.
There are more underneath the trees, as if they are a dreadful sight that deserves to be hidden away..