Chiemsee Autobahn Rasthaus
Chiemsee is a large resort lake in southern Bavaria, and was chosen by Adolf Hitler to be the site of the first Rest House of the Autobahn system. One of the earliest of Hitler's Autobahns was the route between Munich and Salzburg, since Hitler traveled this way often en route to his home on the Obersalzberg. Hitler wanted the best for this Autobahn, including a route that passed by the shore of Chiemsee lake. This required quite a bit of engineering work, as the planners wished to route the highway closer to the mountains where the land was firmer, and the lakeside route required additional roadbed preparation. However, Hitler's wishes were fulfilled, allowing a large Rasthaus complex to be built directly on the shore of the lake, which opened in 1938. This complex served its function for only a few years, before being used as a hospital during World War II.
Following the end of the war, this complex was taken over by the U.S. Army and for many years this building was the Lake Hotel, part of the U.S. Armed Forces Recreation Center at Chiemsee. However, the AFRC closed its Chiemsee facilities in September 2003, and following the return to the German government, the facilities remained closed to the public for several years. In the fall of 2011 a health clinic was opened in the partially renovated main building. Unfortunately, the interior of this historic building was broken up into offices, and the complex is now closed to the general public. (MapQuest Map Link)
Architectural model of the Chiemsee Rasthaus complex. The main building was on the lake shore, with associated buildings on the other side of the Autobahn. (from Official Catalog of the 1st German Architecture and Crafts Exhibition, in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in Munich, January-March 1938 (author's collection)
One obvious reminder of the American
Forces Recreation Center remains today at the Chiemsee Rasthaus site.
Click here to visit another Chiemsee site associated with the Third Reich.
Click here to visit a similar Autobahn Raststätte in Thüringen.
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Geoffrey R. Walden; all rights reserved. All photos taken by or
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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.