Geoff Walden

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Weimar and Dresden   

   Weimar in Thüringen and Dresden in Sachsen were both planned for large Nazi building projects, including Gauforums and military headquarters complexes. Some of these projects were realized and remain today. (Click here to go directly to the Dresden section.)

   Weimar, which is perhaps best known today as the location of the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, had a long history in the Third Reich. The first Nazi Party Rally Day following the 1925 refounding of the Party was held in Weimar on 4 July 1926, and the Party met there again in 1936. Weimar was also the scene of large Nazi rallies during the election campaign of 1932.

 

                              

When Hitler was in Weimar he stayed in the Haus Elephant hotel on the Marktplatz, and he often greeted crowds and reviewed marching columns from the front of the hotel. In the view at top, Hitler salutes from his car in front of the hotel, with Rudolf Hess seen in the background; on the right, Hermann Göring strikes a martial pose, with Hitler at the left and Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel in front. These photos were probably taken during the 1932 campaign (the view just above was later, probably 1933 or 1934). The façade of the hotel was changed during a remodeling in 1936-37 (as seen below).  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

Architect Hermann Giesler remodeled the Haus Elephant in 1936-37, adding a Führer Balcony over the main entrance and another in the back courtyard, which has changed hardly at all today.  (Werner Lindner and Erich Böckler, "Die Stadt: Ihre Pflege und Gestaltung," Munich, 1939)

 

A Nazi rally in the Weimar Marktplatz in 1932 and a comparison view today.

 

A 1937 Nazi parade in a square before one of Weimar's palaces (today's Platz der Demokratie).  (MapQuest Map Link)

 


 

The most ambitious Third Reich building project in Weimar was the Gauforum, north of the city center. During the Third Reich this was known as "Adolf Hitler Platz," under the East Germans as "Karl Marx Platz," and now as "Platz des Friedens" (Peace). Similar complexes were planned in many German cities, but few were started and fewer still were completed to the level of the Weimar Gauforum (which was, indeed, never completed to plan). On the left above, Hitler examines a model of the Gauforum, along with Fritz Sauckel, Albert Speer, Julius Schaub (chief of staff), and Wilhelm Brückner (personal adjutant). On the right is an artist's conception of the completed Gauforum. The large community hall at the left was never built.  (left - Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler abseits vom Alltag"; right - Albert Speer, "Neue Deutsche Baukunst," Berlin, 1943)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

The Reichsstatthalterei at the Gauforum served as the headquarters for Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel. The bell tower was originally planned to be considerably higher, but it was never finished.

 

Across from the Reichsstatthalterei was the Haus der Gliederungen, an office building for SS, SA, HJ, BDM, RAD, NSKK, NSV, and other Nazi organizations. The view on the right shows the wings at the rear of this building, seen at the left center of the architectural model.  (Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938)

 

On the right is a front view of the Haus der Gliederungen.  (Albert Speer, "Neue Deutsche Baukunst," Berlin, 1943)

 

The building in the foreground of the architectural model seen just above was the Deutsche Arbeits Front (DAF) office building. These views show the front (facing the Adolf Hitler Platz) and a rear corner.

 

Kreishaus der NSDAP at Schwanseestraße 27 in Weimar. Save for the removal of the eagle and swastika above the main entryway, the building remains remarkably unchanged.  (Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938)  (MapQuest Map Link)

 


Dresden

 

The headquarters of Luftgaukommando IV (Air Region Command) were built on August-Bebel-Straße in 1935-38. The complex is still in military use today and is remarkably well preserved (some sections have been rebuilt after wartime damage).  ("Kunst im Deutschen Reich")  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

The decorative obelisks still retain their original art-deco style lamps.

 

On the left, one of the flanking entry buildings to the main headquarters area, with a closer view of the original iron gateway on the right.

 


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The Dresden Luftkriegsschule (Aerial Warfare School) was built adjacent to the airport, off Königsbrücker Landstraße in 1935. The complex included school buildings, barracks, gymnasium, officers' club, and several other buildings, such as this arched entryway.  (MapQuest Map Link - note - this is actually the other street just to the south that is marked Zur Wetterwarte)

 

The main school building featured the Arno Breker sculpture "Der Flieger," which is no longer present.  (Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938)

 

The period decorations have also been removed from this school building, but you can still see where the helmeted head and metal swastika once resided.

 

This building was the officer's mess or club. It stands abandoned today.

 

This section of the school complex is now a home for the elderly.

 

The Kommandant's house remains virtually unchanged.  (Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938)

 


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An administration building for the Reichsnährstand (Bureau for Food and Nutrition) was built on Ammonstraße in 1936-38.  (MapQuest Map Link)

 

The Reichsnährstand was a central administration for agriculture and food production, associated with the "Blut und Boden" (Blood and Soil) movement.

 

The original decoration over the entryway was the insignia of the Reichsnährstand - an eagle and swastika national symbol with a bar reading "Blut und Boden." When this building was taken over after the war by the East German Railway, this was replaced by a winged train wheel, reminiscent of the Nazi period Reichsbahn symbol.

 

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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