Geoff Walden


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Obersalzberg

Bormann's Gutshof (manor farm) and Hitler's Teehaus

(Click here to proceed directly to the Teehaus.)

   Since Reichsleiter Martin Bormann was interested in farming, he built an experimental farm as part of the Obersalzberg complex. Although this farm was to serve as a model for other farms in the Third Reich, it was never particularly successful. Bormann's farmers raised cattle, horses, and pigs here. The Gutshof complex also included bee houses, milk cooling buildings, a smithy, and various other structures in the pastures and meadows. The main buildings were not substantially damaged during the April 1945 bombing, and the main part of the farm was appropriated by the American forces and turned into a sports lodge and golf course, with skiing in the winter. Since the Americans left the Obersalzberg in 1995 the Gutshof has functioned as a golf club and restaurant. In the fall of 2007 the side building (seen on the right in the photos below) was torn down and plans call for a modern apartment or hotel facility to be built in its place.

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Administrative and residence buildings of the Gutshof
(Hartmann, "Verwandlung")

Same view in recent times. The buildings now house a golf club and restaurant (the taller wing at the right was torn down in 2007).

 

During and after the side building destruction. The area is now a putting green for the golf course. The view on the right looks down the length of the Gutshof complex (this view would have been impossible during the Third Reich period, as the side wing sat right here).

 

 

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Farm buildings of the Gutshof, then and now.  (Hartmann, "Verwandlung")

 

On the left, a view of the Gutshof from the meadow side in the winter, from Eva Braun's personal photo albums. The Watzmann mountain is in the background. On the right is the entrance to the wing of the Gutshof that housed the staff, with its original wooden door. (This building was torn down in October 2007.)  (National Archives, RG 242-EB, 20-41B)

 

The original Gutshof building plaque - several of the Obersalzberg buildings had similar plaques. This one was saved from the 2007 destruction, and is now mounted beside the entry doorway to the golf club.

 

The electric clock and associated bell which were originally mounted on the wall of the side wing that was torn down in 2007, were also saved and were recently installed on the main surviving building, near the entryway to the golf club.

 

Views of the back and side of the main Gutshof building, showing the massive construction.

 

Interior of the former Gutshof barn and cattle stall areas.

 

Original architectural pieces that can be found in the Gutshof today - left, a fodder stall; center, one of the heavy oak beams that support the ceiling; right, a stone water basin.

 

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The Gutshof complex from the rear. The period photo shows the famous Watzmann mountain towering in the background; the modern photo is from a slightly different angle. The meadow area is now a golf course. The perspective below shows a good view of Albert Speer's house on the hillside beyond.  (National Archives, RG 242-HB)

This picture taken by Eva Braun shows a similar perspective of the Gutshof, with the mountains in the 
background. This photo is interesting because it shows some of the Gutshof outbuildings that are rarely 
seen in period photos. At the left center of this view can be seen the pig sty (Schweinestall or Zuchtstall
- a low white building at the edge of the photo - with the larger hay barn (Heuscheune) next to it. Today there are no remains 
of the Heuscheune, and only a few rubble remains of the Schweinestall.  (National Archives, RG 242-EB, 11-11C)

 

The deep valley in front of the Gutshof was crossed by an elaborate stone bridge, one of many of similar construction in the Obersalzberg area.

 

The Gutshof area as seen in a pre-war aerial film, and as photographed by a U.S. reconnaissance plane in May 1945. The Gutshof itself suffered little damage, although a bomb did hit the building on the left side in these views (several other bomb craters can be seen scattered about the area). The buildings across the road from the Gutshof were the pig sty and hay barn - the hay barn took a direct bomb hit. At the top right edge of the 1945 photo is Albert Speer's architectural studio(U.S. National Archives)

 

The pig sty (Zuchtstall) and hay barn, as shown on a 1941 Obersalzberg map. The hay barn had
two stories, with ramps leading up either end so hay wagons could be driven into the upper floor.

The ruins of the pig sty could be seen on the Obersalzberg until the mid-1990s, when they were removed. Only a small amount of rubble can be found on the site today.  (above - courtesy Ana L. Jackson; below - courtesy Adrian Harvey)

 

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These buildings served as cooling houses for the milk of the Gutshof herds, until it was bottled. The one on the left is located on part of the Antenberg Hill above the Platterhof (there are two such buildings located there), and the one on the right is at the entrance to the Scharitztkehlalm pasture area.

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The Scharitzkehlalm is a mountain pasture at the foot of the Hoher Göll and surrounding mountains (the Kehlsteinhaus is on the mountain to the left of the view above - not seen in this photo). Martin Bormann appropriated it as a pasture for the Gutshof cattle herds. The Nazis installed elaborate water systems (seen in the foreground above), and even paved some of the stream bed running through the valley, including artificial steps. The stream was bridged with typical Obersalzberg construction.  (Florentine Hamm, "Obersalzberg - Wanderungen zwischen Gestern und Heute," Munich, 1941)

 

A tunnel dealing with the Scharitzkehl waterworks is located in this area. The date 1942 appears above the entrance, which is across the road from the entrance to the Scharitzkehlalm. The tunnel runs beneath the road near the bridge seen above, and ends at this metal covered shaft near the cooling house. The tunnel gives access to a large water pipe running underground here.

 

An original milk bottle from the Gutshof dairy  (author's collection)

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Another hobby occupation of Bormann's was bee-keeping, and he had at least two large bee houses built on the Obersalzberg. The Bienenhaus seen here was built at the edge of the meadow west of the Gutshof, and its ruins can still be found today. Note how the ruins still show the curved walls of the outer wings, seen in the 1945 aerial photo above. This bee house was not hit during the April 1945 bombing attack, but it was probably demolished in the early 1950s along with other Obersalzberg buildings. The other bee house was built in the Landlerwald area of the Kehlstein foothills, and its cellar is also extant (click here to see photos).  (many thanks to my friend Ralf Hornberger for some of the ruins photos; 1945 photo from the U.S. National Archives)

 

The original metal gate for the Bienenhaus still exists, in a somewhat dilapidated condition.

 

These stone pillars formed a gate at the Teugelbrunn roadway, downhill from the Gutshof. The road led back into the meadows behind the Gutshof. A heavy oak gate between the  pillars kept the road normally closed. This gate marked the edge of Bormann's main area of control, and the remains can be seen today in the woods on the left side of the road as one climbs toward the Obersalzberg from Berchtesgaden. There was also an SS guard house located near here, part of the access control system of the outer Führer security area on the Obersalzberg.  (photo below courtesy Ralf Hornberger)

 


Teehaus on the Mooslahnerkopf

   Besides his Berghof home, undoubtedly Hitler's favorite place on the Obersalzberg was a cozy Tea House built in 1937 on the northern boundary of the area, just below the Mooslahnerkopf hill, overlooking the Berchtesgaden valley below.  Most of Hitler's stays at the Berghof included a daily afternoon walk to this Teehaus. This pleasant walk often became the scene for important political decisions, but Hitler preferred to relax, and even nap, in the Teehaus itself, surrounded by his closest friends and associates. The Teehaus was apparently undamaged by the 1945 bombing, but was mostly destroyed ca. 1951, due to its association with Hitler. The ruins remained in the woods behind the Gutshof golf course, until they were removed in 2006. (Note - the 1937 architectural plans for the Teehaus as well as captions in Eva Braun's photo albums spell the name "Moslanderkopf," but it is generally given as "Mooslahnerkopf" today, and that is the spelling found on period maps of the area.)

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This view (which appears to be a composite photo) shows the location of the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus,
in relation to the more famous Kehlsteinhaus ("Eagles Nest"), high on the ridge above. The so-called Eagles Nest
is often called "Hitler's Tea House," but this is technically incorrect. Hitler did not treat the Kehlsteinhaus
as a tea house, and the location he visited daily for afternoon tea was actually the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus.
(Ernst Baumann photo)

 

Teehaus seen from near the overlook. This 2005 view shows the foundation ruins of the round part of the Teehaus.
Note - all the ruins shown on this page were removed in August-September 2006. The period view above now looks like this:

 

Destruction of the Teehaus ruins, September 2006.  (courtesy Charles Smith)

 

Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun in the Teehaus. On the right is a view taken from a U.S. reconnaissance plane in May 1945. The round part (where Hitler and his guests took tea) can be plainly seen, with the part that housed the kitchen partly hidden by trees.  (U.S. National Archives)

 

The photo on the left is a still from period movie film. Eva Braun's sister Gretl, along with adjutant Julius Schaub (on the left in uniform) look at the photographer, while others (including possibly Albert Speer and his wife) enter the Teehaus. (I believe the woman on the right is Hermann Esser's wife, or perhaps Sofie Stork.) This view shows the steps leading up to the Teehaus door - these steps still existed until the ruins were removed in 2006, as seen in the modern photos.  (US National Archives, RG242)

 

Ruins of the lower portion of the round part of the Teehaus - basement storage rooms.

 

Ruins of the back part of the house, which was built against the rock hill.

 

Ruins of the lower part of the kitchen wing.

 

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Roof of the round part of the Teehaus. The weather vane is said to now be on a building in the valley below. The modern photo shows one of the chimneys, upside-down and resting on the upper part of the main building ruins. The chimney retains its original tin liner. (The chimney seen here is likely the chimney for the kitchen in the main part of the building, not the fireplace chimney seen in this period photo.)

 

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The walk to the Teehaus featured an overlook above the Berchtesgaden valley, one of Hitler's favorite views.  (National Archives RG 242-H)

 

Hitler enjoys the view at the overlook with Eva Braun, his dog Blondi, Leibstandarte-SS commander Sepp Dietrich, and architect Albert Speer.  (National Archives RG 242-EB)

Same view today  -  the wooden railings had been removed for several years, but were put back in place just before this photo was taken in May 2004 (apparently for the filming of a German TV mini-series, "Speer und Er," aired in May 2005 - this show used several Obersalzberg sites).

 

Above, Hitler walks with Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, in a still from Eva Braun's movies. Below, a pensive Hitler sits at the overlook, while an apprehensive-looking Albert Speer gives Hitler plenty of space. A replica of the bench was put in place here in 2004 for the filming of "Speer und Er," but it has since been removed and a smaller version is now on the site.  (U.S. National Archives)

 

Hitler poses at the overlook with his favorite dog Blondi. In the background is Henriette von Schirach, wife of the Reichs Youth Leader Baldur von Schirach, and daughter of Hitler's photographer Heinrich Hoffmann.  (US National Archives, RG242)

 

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This panoramic view of the Mooslahnerkopf overlook is from a period color photo by Walter Frentz. Hitler,
with Blondi at his side, talks with Foreign Office ambassador Walter Hewel.  ("Hitlers Berghof 1928-1945,"
Kiel, Arndt-Verlag, 2000)

 

I have received several requests for information on the exact location of the Teehaus site, as this appears on few published maps. The Teehaus site and overlook are located in the woods behind the Gutshof golf course, but I strongly recommend that you do not cross directly across the golf course to get there; or I suggest you use this route only at times when the golf course is not being used by golfers. The route shown above is longer than walking across the golf course, and the first half of it is all downhill (so it is all uphill going back), but it keeps you from trespassing on the golf course itself. Begin across the street from the Hotel Zum Türken (lower right) -- walk into the woods and follow the graveled foot path that slants down the hillside. Follow this path through the woods then across the open hillside with the ski lift, until you reach an open area where several paths come together (there is a path sign post and a bench here). At this point, continue downhill to the left, a short distance, until you see a small dirt path leading off to the left, just beyond the edge of the golf course. This path goes mainly just inside the woods on the back side of the golf course (if you start sharply downhill, you have missed the left-hand turn to this path). Keep following this path through the woods for a few hundred yards. When you reach a broad dirt trail, turn right - this leads to the overlook and Teehaus site (marked by a star on this photo). There are several different paths going through the woods along this route, but basically, if you just keep the golf course to your left without actually going out onto the playing area, these directions will take you to the Teehaus site. But remember that the ruins shown in these photos are no longer there - they were removed in August 2006.  (aerial photo © SAGIS)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

Click here to visit a page showing details of the routes used during Hitler's walks to the Teehaus, by Dolf van Stijgeren.

 

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

 

For further information, including Internet links, check the Bibliography page.

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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