Geoff Walden


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"From Haus Wachenfeld to the Berghof"

Adolf Hitler's Home on the Obersalzberg, 1927-1945

Part 1  --  Haus Wachenfeld, 1927-1936

 

     "Haus Wachenfeld" was built in 1916 for a banker named Winter, as a vacation cottage (his wife's maiden name was Wachenfeld). It was a modest house, with only one large room and a kitchen on the main floor. Through his half-sister Angela Raubal, Hitler rented this house in 1927 for 100 Reichsmarks per month (some sources say in 1928), and he secured the rights to purchase it in 1932. He bought the house in June 1933 for 40,000 Goldmarks. After his election as Reichskanzler he commissioned architect Alois Degano to remodel the house, first with a sunroom added to the front (where there had been only an open front porch), a garage with a terrace on top, and additional out-buildings (later the Berghof Adjutancy). The major modifications were completed in mid-1933, with further small changes in 1934. The extensive second remodeling, which resulted in the Berghof, was carried out by Degano in 1936.

 

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Haus Wachenfeld ca. 1927, as it appeared when Hitler first rented it.  (Hoffmann Photo Collection, Bavarian State Archives)

Haus Wachenfeld ca. 1934, after the first reconstruction; showing the added garage and terrace, and enclosed sunroom.  (period postcard in author's collection)

 

Hitler poses at Haus Wachenfeld ca. 1932, before the first reconstruction. Left to right: Erich Kempka, Hitler, Bruno Gesche.  (Hoffmann Photo Collection, Bavarian State Archives)

Haus Wachenfeld in 1933 during the first reconstruction, showing the enclosed sunroom (Wintergarten) being added.  (period postcard in author's collection)

 

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Haus Wachenfeld, west side, ca. 1933. Facing the camera are, left-right, Wilhelm Brückner (Hitler's personal adjutant), Julius Schreck (Hitler's driver, in dark suit), Hitler, and Julius Schaub (personal adjutant).  (postcard in author's collection)

West side of Haus Wachenfeld, after the garage, terrace, and sunroom were added.  (postcard in author's collection)

 

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The rare view on the left, from an undated postcard, shows the side of Haus Wachenfeld before the initial modifications. The similar perspective on the right shows the house after the garage, sunroom, and terrace were added. (postcards in author's collection - right dated 1934)

 

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Views of Haus Wachenfeld after the first reconstruction. The views at left and center were taken from the Hotel zum Türken, and show the Reiteralpe mountains in the background (from period postcards in author's collection)

 

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An aerial view and colorized postcard view of Haus Wachenfeld after the 1933 modifications. The building on the right would later become the Berghof Adjutancy.  ("Obersalzberg Bilddokumentation," Plenk, 1976; period postcard)

 

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More views of Haus Wachenfeld, 1933-1936. The view on the right shows the Kneifelspitze hill in the center, with the Untersberg mountains behind.  (left - postcard in author's collection; right - colorized version of photo from "Adolf Hitler, Bilder aus dem Leben des Führers," Altona, 1936, (author's collection)

 

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Two views of the west side of Haus Wachenfeld, in the summer and winter. The summer view shows the terrace that later figured so prominently in day-to-day life at the Berghof. The rocks on the roof are a common component of Bavarian mountain houses - they help hold the snow on the roof for added insulation, and to help prevent large slabs from sliding off.  (both from "Hitler in seinen Bergen" by Heinrich Hoffmann, 1st Edition, 1935 (author's collection)

 

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Hitler walks his Schäferhund (German Shepherd) Blondi, and Eva Braun walks her Scottish Terriers Stasi and Negus at the west side of the house (after its conversion to the Berghof).  (National Archives RG 242-EB)

Hitler entertains visitors from the BDM (Bund Deutscher Mädel - girls' Hitler Youth) near the terrace of Haus Wachenfeld.  (from "Hitler in seinen Bergen" by Heinrich Hoffmann, 1st Edition, 1935 (author's collection)

 

Until about 1935, private individuals could visit the Obersalzberg and pose for photos with Haus Wachenfeld and the SS guards at the driveway gate. Later security measures would limit visits by the general public to organized mass march-pasts, as seen in the postcard view below, and later still the entire area was closed to the public.  (private collection)

 

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These two views are good examples of the souvenir postcards sold to the many visitors at Haus Wachenfeld in the mid-late 1930s. They bear stamps on the back from the "Kiosk am Haus Wachenfeld." The photo on the right was taken from the terrace of the Hotel zum Türken.  (author's collection)

 

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Haus Wachenfeld during the winter of 1934.  (postcard in author's collection)

Haus Wachenfeld above the fog in the Berchtesgaden valley below.  (period postcard in author's collection)

 

Haus Wachenfeld as seen from the Hotel zum Türken, and the same view today (the driveway seen in the modern view was not the Haus Wachenfeld drive, but a later addition). For further views of the site today, visit the Berghof page.  (period postcard)

 

Another view of Haus Wachenfeld as seen from the Hotel zum Türken (on the left) - this postcard was sold as a souvenir at the Türken, before the owner was forced to sell out to the Nazis in 1933. Note the Nazi flag flying from the Türken garden terrace. (period postcard and photo in author's collection)

 

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Front sunroom (or "winter garden") of Haus Wachenfeld. These windows looked out from the sides of the house (west side on the left, east on the right) The smaller windows looked into the living room. The large windows on the other side of the room looked out onto the main terrace. These windows were separated by a doorway (not visible here), and could be lowered in their casings for an open-air view, much like the later picture window in the Berghof Great Room. (Thanks to Bill Barth for discovering this property of the Wintergerten windows and passing this info to me!)  (colorized postcard versions of photos in "Hitler in seinen Bergen" by Heinrich Hoffmann, 1st Edition, 1935 (author's collection)

 

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The Haus Wachenfeld Wohnzimmer, or living room. This room was used for cozy meals or meetings, due to the comfortable atmosphere created by the green tile Bavarian Kachelofen (period postcard)

Hitler's upstairs bedroom in Haus Wachenfeld. This unique sketch is from a rare book of art by the son of Karl Schuster, owner of the Hotel zum Türken.  (Karl Schuster-Winkelhof, "Adolf Hitlers Wahlheimat," Munich, 1933, author's collection)

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The Haus Wachenfeld Wohnzimmer, before and after remodeling. Even after the conversion to the Berghof, the interior rooms of Haus Wachenfeld retained somewhat their rustic Bavarian charm.  (postcards in author's collection)

 

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Continue to Part 2, to see how Haus Wachenfeld was turned into the Berghof.
(all period postcards in author's collection)

 

Rstone.gif (1273 bytes)   Continue to Part 2, to see how Haus Wachenfeld was turned into the Berghof.

Rstone.gif (1273 bytes)   Visit other Obersalzberg sites - Bormann's and Göring's houses, Platterhof, Gästehaus and Kampfhäusl, Hotel Zum Türken, bunker system, Kehlsteinhaus, SS barracks, Gutshof and Teehaus, miscellaneous buildings, other miscellaneous area buildings.

Lstone.gif (1289 bytes)   Return to the Third Reich in Ruins homepage

 

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

 

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).

 

 

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

All contents copyright © 2000-2014, Geoffrey R. Walden; all rights reserved.  All photos taken by or 
from the collection of Geoffrey R. Walden, except where specifically noted.  Please respect my property rights,
and the rights of others who have graciously allowed me to use their photos on this page,
and do not copy these photos or reproduce them in any other way.

This page is intended for historical research only, and no political or philosophical aims should be assumed. 
Nothing on this page should be construed as advice or directions to trespass on private or posted property.

This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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