Geoff Walden


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Berchtesgaden / Obersalzberg Notes & Updates

 

My guide book to Third Reich sites in the Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg area has been published by Fonthill Media.
"Hitler's Berchtesgaden" is available at Amazon and other retailers (the Kindle version is also available from Amazon).

 

Note: Since the U.S. Army returned its recreational facilities and control of the Obersalzberg area to the Bavarian government in 1995, many changes have taken place on the Obersalzberg. The following buildings and ruins have been removed by the Bavarian government: Platterhof (General Walker Hotel), residence wing of the Gutshof (Skytop Lodge), Berghof garage ruin, ruins of the SS Kaserne (basements and underground tunnels), ruins of Göring’s house, ruins of the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus, Kindergarten, Modellhaus, Platterhof garage building, aintiaircraft control system tower. A contractor working for the Bavarian government removed most of the Göringhuegel hill and built a luxury hotel there. In addition to these changes on the Obersalzberg, in Berchtesgaden itself, the Berchtesgadener Hof hotel has been torn down and a remodeling of the Adolf Hitler Jugendherberge changed its period appearance considerably. The following updates cover most of these changes in recent years.

Obersalzberg Information Update, as of June 2002 - If you ever plan to visit the Obersalzberg sites, I'd advise you to do it soon. As stated above, the Platterhof is now gone, except for the side building and terraces. The site is to be leveled off and turned into a parking lot. The contractor for the Bavarian government is in the process of tearing out all remaining ruins of the SS-Kaserne, Kindergarten, and Modellhaus/Film Archiv. The Hintereck cafe/kiosk will be removed, and the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest) bus ticket building moved to the site of the Platterhof garage. A modern hotel is to be built on the former Göringhügel hill, overlooking the site of Landhaus Göring (the location was staked out in 2001, and excavation began in 2002 - construction of this hotel may entail removal of the greenhouse ruins and observation tower, as well as radically changing the local landscape and views). It is expected that the Berghof site will be covered and replanted, and even the Gutshof and Koksbunker may be removed. A few years from now, little may remain except the Hotel Zum Türken and ruined piles of rubble out in the woods.

July 2002 Update  --  The Obersalzberg is now changing rapidly  ...  the removal of the SS-Kaserne ruins, which went somewhat slowly for over a year, is now almost complete. Within the past month, most of the former Eckerbichl / Hitler-Höhe / Göringhügel hill has been removed. This was the high hill beside the Hintereck parking area, overlooking the Obersalzberg  ...  the historic site where the 3rd U.S. Infantry Division raised the Stars and Stripes on 5 May 1945  ...  it is now gone, soon (apparently) to be replaced by a huge glass and steel "luxury hotel."

September 2003 Update  --  The new hotel is taking shape, and the Göringhügel hill and the site of the SS Kaserne have been completely transformed. The site of the Platterhof Garage has been turned into a parking lot for the Kehlsteinhaus buses.

January 2004 Update  --  All of the ruins of the SS Kaserne, the Kindergarten, and the Modellhaus have now been removed or buried. The new hotel structure is in place, obliterating the Göringhügel hill, but the Greenhouse foundation ruins remain. The Obersalzberg ring road has been closed just past the Hotel Zum Türken. A new ticket building for the Kehlsteinhaus buses is being built on top of the Platterhof Garage site.

July 2004 Update  --  The site of the Platterhof has been turned into a public parking area for the Kehlsteinhaus buses and the Dokumentation Center, and the ticket building for the Kehlsteinhaus buses is in service on the site of the Platterhof garage. The remaining arcade area of the Platterhof has been opened as a souvenir shop, and the adjacent Terrasse Halle will apparently be reopened as a restaurant.

May 2005 Update  --  The InterContinental resort hotel, built on the Göringhügel hill, has opened. Only a few remains can now be found of the Göring and Bormann houses, and the anti-aircraft control system tower above the greenhouse was removed. Construction continues in front of the Platterhof Terrasse Halle, perhaps for a modern restaurant to be added to the terrace area.

June-July 2005 Update  --  The grave marker of Paula Hitler has been removed from the Bergfriedhof cemetery and her plot used to bury someone else (see below).

September 2005 Update  --  A restaurant has now opened in the Terrasse Halle of the Platterhof hotel. The Berchtesgadener Hof hotel will be torn down to make way for a mountain area visitor center.

May 2006 Update  --  Destruction of the Berchtesgadener Hof hotel will begin in June. One or more of the back buildings may be kept as an administration building or garage. Paula Hitler's grave marker has been returned to her grave (see below).

September 2006 Update  --  Destruction of the Berchtesgadener Hof was halted temporarily, and the main building is still there, but will likely be torn down this month or in October. The ruins of the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus were removed in late August - early September.

October 2006 Update  --  Destruction of the Berchtesgadener Hof hotel continues - the main building is now gutted on the inside and the roof is being removed. The Jodl-Haus at the Kanzlei site was torn down and a new house was built in its place.

January 2007 Update  --  A clean-up effort has been going on at some Obersalzberg sites. For example, brush and saplings have been cleared from part of the Berghof site, and the Koksbunker has been cleaned up. Most of this was aimed at clearing brush from the roadsides, and this work cleared the SS guardhouse site below the Berghof, leaving it plainly visible now.

November 2007 Update  --  The side building of the Gutshof has been torn down and some modern apartment facilities may be built there. The remainder of the Gutshof may be torn down later. A 900-seat "Event Park" sports and concert venue is planned on the site of the SS Kaserne in the next couple of years. Paula Hitler's grave marker in the Bergfriedhof cemetery is again obscured.

June 2008 Update  --  Veterans from the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division placed a memorial plaque on the Obersalzberg on 5 May 2008 - see here (bottom of page).

July 2008 Update  --  The site of the Berghof has been marked with an interpretive marker, and more will apparently follow.

November 2008 Update  --  A ski venue is being built near the entrance to the Antenberg site. It is unclear whether this will eventually effect the Theaterhalle ruins or the ruins in the Antenberg camp area. (September 2009 update - only a pond for artificial snow was put in, not substantially disturbing any of the ruins.)

February 2009 Update  --  There are reportedly plans to modify or erase some of the extensive secondary road network in the vicinity of the Kehlstein Road, for unknown reasons. Many of these Third Reich access roads in the area (not the main Kehlstein Road that carries the tour buses) are now popular hiking paths.

November 2009 Update  --  Beginning in October 2009, there has been considerable attention and debate in the media and among historic preservation offices of the Bavarian government and the Obersalzberg Institut, regarding the destruction of historic buildings, ruins and sites on the Obersalzberg. While these actions are too late to save such artifacts as the Berghof garage, Platterhof hotel, Berchtesgadener Hof hotel, and ruins of the Teehaus, this interest will hopefully result in a halt to any further destruction of historic sites in the area.

March 2010 Update  --  A display of historical information panels has recently been installed in one of the large shelter rooms in the Platterhof bunker, accessible from the Obersalzberg Documentation Center.

July 2011 Update  --  The former Adolf Hitler Jugendherberge in Berchtesgaden-Strub is undergoing renovation; so far, the small garage building in front and the side wall have been removed. It is unclear at this writing, how drastic the changes to this historic structure will be.

October 2011 Update  --  The renovation to the Jugendherberge was a rather drastic change, inside and out, destroying the historic integrity of this building. The garage buildings of the Berchtesgadener Hof hotel (left when the rest of the hotel was demolished in 2006) appear to be in the process of being torn down - one has had the upper story removed. The entrance to the Antenberg tunnel system has been closed off. Some scenes for the movie "Rommel" were filmed in October at the former Dietrich Eckart hospital.

December 2011 Update  --  The clock and bell that used to be on the side of the Gutshof administration/quarters wing, which was torn down in 2007, have been installed on the side of the remaining Gutshof building.

June 2013 Update  --  An expansion is being planned for the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, to take place from 2015-2018. It is unclear what form this expansion will take, as the Dokumentation already occupies the entire site of the former Gästehaus Hoher Göll, and to expand would seem to mean further changes to what is left of this historic building.

December 2013 Update  --  A Burger King restaurant is opening in the former Postamt building beside the Bahnhof in Berchtesgaden.

May 2014 Update  --  The original entry staircase of the Platterhof Hotel complex (General Walker Hotel) has been removed and replaced by a metal staircase. The lower emergency exit of the Kanzlei Stollen has been reopened with a concrete tunnel exit and metal exit door (purpose unknown to me).

March 2015 Update  --  A real estate developer has bought the Berchtesgaden Bahnhof (train station), and plans to remodel the inside. Although the building is listed under Monument Protection, there will doubtless be changes to the historical character and appearance of the building. In the summer of 2015, the asphalt (tar) pavement will be removed from all the Third Reich period side roads in the Kehlstein area, due to a perceived danger to the Berchtesgaden water supply. This will not affect the main Kehlstein road, leading to the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's nest). (Update - protests from local citizens and preservations may have delayed these plans.)

April 2015 Update  --  The former InterContinental Resort Hotel Berchtesgaden is now under management by the Kempinski Hotel group.

July 2015 Update  --  A real estate developer has bought the Hotel Geiger and former Dietrich Eckart Krankenhaus, and plans to build a luxury hotel on one of the sites. This will doubtless entail removal of the current historic buildings, especially since the Hotel Geiger is now little more than a ruin.

September 2017 Update  --  The ruins of the Lenzerfeld Bee House were demolished in October 2016. See here - http://oldillusion.weebly.com/beehouselenzerfeld.html .

 

Guided Tours

For personal guided tours in English of Third Reich sites in Berchtesgaden and on the Obersalzberg (and other local sites) from a certified and accredited local tour guide, contact:
Tom Lewis
+49-(0)1602-641-800
atobersalzberg@sky.com
 

 

Third Reich in Ruins, http://www.thirdreichruins.com/

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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