Geoff Walden

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Munich / München

Part 1 - Introduction   

   The Bavarian capital of Munich held a special place in the Nazi pantheon  ...  it was the "Hauptstadt der Bewegung" - the Capital of the Movement - the birthplace of the Nazi Party. Throughout the Third Reich period, Munich remained the spiritual capital of the Nazi movement, with headquarters buildings, museums to house the forms of artworks approved by Adolf Hitler, and shrines to the attempted Nazi putsch in November 1923. These sites were used as the scenes of lavish annual memorial ceremonies, and swearing-in ceremonies for new SS members.  (MapQuest map link to Munich)

 

The Munich coat of arms during the Third Reich period. The traditional monk ("Münchnerkindl")
in front of the city gate was joined by a Reichsadler with swastika.

 

   This page is divided into six main parts:

1. Introduction - foundation of the Nazi Party in Munich, and sites associated with the early history of the Party and Adolf Hitler in Munich (this page). Sites on this page include the Nazi Party offices at the Sterneckerbräu brewery, Cornelius Straße, Schellingstraße, and the Brown House; Hofbräuhaus and Löwenbräu beer halls; Park Café, Schelling Salon, Osteria Bavaria, and Café Heck; Hitler's residences at Schleissheimerstraße, Thierschstraße, and Prinzregentenplatz; and Eva Braun's house in Bogenhausen.
2. The "Beer Hall Putsch" of November 1923
(Feldherrnhalle, Bürgerbräukeller site, Bavarian War Ministry)
3. Nazi Party buildings on the Königsplatz (Führerbau, Ehrentempel, and others)
4. Haus der Deutschen Kunst (art museum)
5. Other Third Reich buildings and sites in Munich, 1933-1945
6. Dachau Concentration Camp site

 

The Deutscher Arbeiterpartei (DAP - German Workers Party) was founded in the hotel Fürstenfelder Hof in Munich on 5 January 1919. When the Party reorganized as the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter Partei (NSDAP - National Socialist German Workers Party), it had offices in the Sterneckerbräu brewery at Tal 54, near the city center (the address on the street side is now Tal 38 - currently a computer store). The Party had its offices here from 1 January 1920 until 31 October 1921. The official Party platform was formulated here on 24 February 1920, and Adolf Hitler (who had joined the previous autumn) outlined the Party program to the public in the famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall that same evening.  (National Archives, RG 242-HB)

 

The street address of Tal 54, and the entrance to the Nazi Party offices, was actually on what is now Sterneckerstraße, a side street off Tal, seen in this 1920 view and as it looks today (the street address on this side was recently changed from 54 to 38).  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Deutschland erwacht - Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP," Hamburg, 1933)

 

After the Nazi rise to power, the Sterneckerbräu office area was turned into a shrine and museum. On the left is the location of Hitler's first office as Nazi Party leader. On the right, Hitler visits the Sterneckerbräu museum, along with Rudolf Hess, Julius Schreck, and others.  (period postcards)

 

The main Nazi shrine in the Sterneckerbräu was this corner, where the Nazi party was founded in 1920. The wall originally displayed portraits of the seven leaders who "laid the cornerstone for German freedom" on 24 February 1920 (the original portraits included Goebbels, Göring, Hitler, and Ritter von Epp). Later, the wall displayed eleven portraits and a large painting of Hitler.  (period postcards; right - courtesy Helly Angel)

 

This room in the Sterneckerbräu was the Leiberzimmer, or veterans hall, named for the Munich Leibregiment (Bodyguards).  (left - Illustrierter Beobachter, Special Edition "Adolf Hitler," 1936; right - period postcard)

 

The Nazi Party offices moved to Cornelius Straße 12 in November 1921, and the Party offices were located here during the putsch of November 1923. The modern building façade has changed considerably since that time.  (left - Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler wie ihn keiner kennt" (Hitler as No-one Knows Him), Berlin, 1932); right - Illustrierter Beobachter, Special Edition "Adolf Hitler," 1936)

 

In July 1925 the Party moved to offices in the back of a building at Schellingstraße 50. This building at one time housed the photographic studio of Heinrich Hoffmann, official photographer of Hitler. The entrance to the Party offices was in the rear courtyard (seen on the right above).  (Illustrierter Beobachter, Special Edition "Adolf Hitler," 1936)

 

Left - the Honor Hall in the Schellingstraße Nazi offices, ca. 1927. Right - Hitler conducts a meeting of the Nazi leadership at Schellingstraße 50 in 1928. The attendees at the front table included Philip Bouhler, Arthur Ziegler, Alfred Rosenberg, Walter Buch, Franz X. Schwarz, Hitler, Gregor Strasser, and Heinrich Himmler. Julius Streicher rests his chin on his hands in front of the door.  (left - Illustrierter Beobachter, Special Edition "Adolf Hitler," 1936; right - Bundesarchiv)

 

The façade of Schellingstraße 50 today still displays a headless eagle, the only reminder of the Third Reich period.

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In January 1931 the Party occupied new offices in the remodeled Barlow Palace on Briennerstraße 45, near the Königsplatz. This came to be called simply the "Braune Haus" or "Braunes Haus." This section shows several views of the Brown House, including the view on the right below which shows the Braune Haus (in the center background) in relation to the Ehrentempel and Führerbau on the Königsplatz. The images at the bottom show the Braune Haus decorated on 15 October 1933 (left) and in 1935 (right).  (Heinrich Hoffmann, "Deutschland erwacht - Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP," Hamburg, 1933; Albert Reich, "Aus Adolf Hitlers Heimat," Munich, 1933; U.S. National Archives; "Der Staat der Arbeit und des Friedens," Altona-Behrenfeld, 1934; period postcards)

 

Views inside the Braune Haus. Above, Hitler at his desk in his office, and a view showing the portrait of Frederick the Great on Hitler's wall. Below left, a bust of Dietrich Eckart and a plaque honoring the dead of the November 1923 putsch attempt. On the right below is the flag display, with a statue of Otto von Bismarck. The last reported location of the famous Blutfahne (Blood Flag of the 1923 putsch) was in the Braune Haus.  ("Kampf um's Dritte Reich," Altona-Behrenfeld, 1933; Heinrich Hoffmann, "Deutschland erwacht - Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP," Hamburg, 1933)

 

 

On the left, another view of the flag display. On the right, the Senatorensaal, or Senators Hall. Nazi Party leadership was supposed to meet here, but in reality the hall was rarely used.  ("Kampf um's Dritte Reich," Altona-Behrenfeld, 1933)

 

Braunhaus2.jpg (121170 bytes) 

Hitler meets with SA men and other admirers in the basement casino of the Braune Haus. On the right, Hitler is seen leaving the Braune Haus - note the ornamental iron swastikas on the door.  (left - "Deutschland erwacht - Werden, Kampf und Sieg der NSDAP," Hamburg, 1933; right - Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler wie ihn keiner kennt" (Hitler as No-one Knows Him), 1935)

 

The Braune Haus was bombed and burned out in 1945. At the end of the war the shell remained,
with one of the Ehrentempel seen behind it in this view.  (Munich City Museum)

 

 

After the war the Braune Haus ruins were razed, and the site was an empty lot adjacent to the Führerbau for many years. In 2006 the basement was excavated, and several period relics were discovered. There was talk of using the basement rooms as part of a Documentation Center about Nazism in Munich, but the ruins were later reburied. In 2011 this entire area was re-excavated and the basement remains were removed, for the start of construction of the planned Documentation Center, which is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.

 


-

The world-famous Hofbräuhaus beer hall, located at Platzl 9, was the scene of several Nazi meetings and some of Hitler's most memorable speeches.  (period postcard; modern photo courtesy Guy Dartois)

 

This plaque in the Festsaal (Festival Hall) on the upper floor of the Hofbräuhaus commemorated Hitler's speech of 24 February 1920, in which he laid out the goals of the new Nazi Party. The building was badly bombed during the war, and the fire-damaged Festsaal was rebuilt somewhat differently from its 1920s-1930s appearance, but the plaque was located in the open area between these windows along the street side of the hall (the right side, as you walk in).  ("Ich kämpfe," Munich, 1943)

 

Hitler makes a commemorative speech in the Festsaal on 24 February 1940 (?). The photo on the right appears to have been taken on the same date, although it appeared in an English edition of Hitler's book Mein Kampf that was published in 1939. Jakob Grimminger holds the Blutfahne Blood Banner of the 1923 putsch, just behind Hitler's podium.  (above left -

 

Left - Hitler and the "Old Fighters" meet in the Hofbräuhaus on 24 February 1929 to mark the anniversary of the famous speech. Left-right: Gregor Strasser, Karl Fiehler (back to camera), Christian Weber, Hitler, Julius Schaub (back to camera), Franz Schwarz, Max Amann. Standing in the background, holding the Blutfahne, is Jakob Grimminger.  (Fritz Maier-Hartmann, "Dokumente der Zeitgeschichte," Vol. 1, 5th Ed., Munich, 1943)

 

   Under new management  ...  the Hofbräuhaus in April and May 1945. Above left, the Hofbräuhaus was photographed by a U.S. Army Signal Corps photographer on 30 April 1945, the day Hitler committed suicide in Berlin. Above right - the entrance when the hall was used as a Command Post (CP) for the 157th Infantry Regiment of the 45th Division. Below, GIs from the 45th Infantry Division tour the famous site.  (above left - U.S. National Archives, RG 111SC-207622; above right - 45th Infantry Div. collection; below - Life Magazine, 14 May 1945) 

 


 

The Löwenbräukeller (left), located at Nymphenburger Straße 4, was another favorite location for early Nazi Party meetings and speeches. The Park Café on Sophienstraße (right) was built in 1935-1937 on the site of the former Munich Glass Palace, which burned in 1931. The Park Café (built 1935) exhibited the neo-classic style favored by the Nazis.

 

Hitler frequented several Munich restaurants, guest houses, and cafés, particularly in the late 1920s and early 1930s, before security was an overriding issue. One of his earlier haunts was the Schelling Salon (left, Schellingstraße 56), although it has been reported that he stopped going there after the owner refused to extend his tab. Perhaps Hitler's all-time favorite, which he continued to patronize even after the beginning of World War II, was the Osteria Bavaria (right), located at the corner of Schellingstraße and Schraudolfstraße, near the Nazi Party offices . 

 

Changes have been minimal, although the name is now Osteria Italiana, and it is one of the best Italian restaurants in Munich. Above, Hitler visits the Osteria Bavaria in 1940. Below, Hitler dines with a guest in the Osteria in earlier times. Hitler's favorite seating areas were the back room on the right (as you walk in), and a table facing the front windows.  (above - Bundesarchiv; below - U.S. National Archives, RG 242)

 

In the early days of the Party, Hitler also frequented the Café Heck and its beer garden in the Hofgarten off the Odeonsplatz. The restaurant is still in business (but is no longer called the Café Heck) and its tree-shaded Biergarten is a popular spot on sunny afternoons.  (U.S. National Archives, RG 242)

 


 

During the period 1913-1914, before he joined the Army for service in World War I, Hitler lived in a furnished room at Schleissheimerstraße 34, above what was then the Joseph Popp tailor shop. This was Hitler's residence from 26 May 1913 until he joined the army in August 1914. At left is an early view, and in the center is a Third Reich period view when the building bore a commemorative plaque (I have read that this plaque still exists, in the building's basement). Hitler's room was on the upper floor, the room with the half-open window in the period views above. The building façade has been modernized, but the window and door layout is still easily recognizable.  (left- Bundesarchiv; center - Munich City Museum)

 

After returning to Munich following World War I, and subsequently leaving the military, Hitler lived in a two room apartment at Thierschstraße 41, on the first floor above the ground floor, from 1 May 1920 until 5 October 1929. The building remains almost identical to when Hitler lived there.  ("Wie die Ostmark ihre Befreiung erlebte - Adolf Hitler und sein Weg zu Großdeutschland," Heinrich Hoffmann, 1938)

 

In 1929 Hitler rented, and later purchased (largely with donated funds), a luxury apartment at Prinzregentenplatz 16 (eventually, the Nazi Party owned the entire building). The apartment was furnished with furniture and decorations designed by Gerdy Troost, widow of architect Paul Ludwig Troost. It was in this apartment that Hitler's niece Geli Raubal, whom some say was the only woman he ever loved, reportedly committed suicide in 1931. Hitler's apartment was on the second floor above the ground level (third floor, in American usage). This floor now houses the regional Police headquarters, and is not open to the public.  (above - Life Magazine, 28 May 1945; below - Munich City Museum)

 

Hitler meets with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (with German Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop in the view above and interpreter Paul Schmidt below) in the Prinzregentenplatz apartment during the negotiations that led to the Munich Accords of September 1938. The view above reportedly took place around this fireplace in Hitler's office area. The view below took place in the adjoining living area, near the windows overlooking Prinzregentenplatz.  (above - Bundesarchiv; below - Hoffmann, "Hitler befreit Sudetenland," 1938)      

 

Hitler waves to admirers in Prinzregentenplatz from one of the windows at the front of the apartment.  (U.S. National Archives, RG242)

 

On the left, Hitler's office area in his Prinzregentenplatz apartment, after the American occupation in May 1945. On the right, the janitor Herr Schissler and his wife.  (Life Magazine, 28 May 1945)

 

This bathtub, which is now stored in a basement room of the Führerbau, is thought to be Hitler's tub from his Prinzregentenplatz apartment. The famous photo on the right shows war correspondent and photographer Lee Miller enjoying a bath in this tub in liberated Munich on 30 April 1945, the day Hitler committed suicide in Berlin(Lee Miller Archives)

 

An air raid shelter with reinforced walls and metal bunker doors was installed in the basement of Hitler's apartment building.

 


 

Hitler's mistress Eva Braun was provided with a small house in the fashionable Bogenhausen district, not too far from Hitler's Prinzregentenplatz apartment. During the Third Reich period the street address was Wasserburgerstraße 12, now it is Delpstraße 12. Eva's younger sister Gretl also lived in the house. This house served as their primary residence when Hitler was at the front during the war, or otherwise not living in his home on the Obersalzberg. The period views seen here show the back of the house, which is not visible from the street. Foliage obscures much of the house view today.  (above - from Eva Braun's photo albums in the U.S. National Archives, RG242EB-2-11A; below - (Life Magazine, 28 May 1945)

 

On the left, Eva Braun's living room, after the American occupation. On the right is the bedroom of Eva's sister Gretl, complete with framed portrait of Eva and signed portrait of Hitler.  (Life Magazine, 28 May 1945)  

 

   Continue to Part 2, the Beer Hall Putsch of 1923

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