17.10.2011 - 17.10.2011 11 °C
Oct 17 Mon Nuremberg
Sue and Garry failed the Bavarian dress up for dinner last night - as did everyone else on board except for our mad relatives and their shipboard friends. They were the 'envy' of most and went down well with the oompapah band that came on board for an after dinner entertainment. No photos though; "what happens on board stays on board!"
Early today we passed the European Divide - we are now in the Main-Danube Canal heading towards the Rhine River. We are now going downhill in the locks and the first 2 this morning were each 30 m drops. The boat just fitted in the lock with about 20 cm on each side. In others there wasnt a lot of room front and back either.
After lunch we arrived in Nuremberg. It was the unofficial capital of the Holy Roman Empire around the 12th C. 698 Jews were massacred here in 1298. During the 15th and 16th C it was the centre of German Renaissance, religious reformation and growth in influence of the Lutheran church.
During the Nazi period it was important for big rallies. In 1935 Hitler passed
the anti-Semitic laws here which revoked German citizenship for Jews. It was also an important site for military armament production including shipping and submarines. The old city was severely damaged by allied bombing 1943-1945. Another example of 'justifiable war crime' - providing you are on the winning side. Extensive reconstruction has occurred since then.
The city is not the most attractive but it still has the reconstructed old walls and towers and plenty of green space. Modern apartments have a garden at the front and a larger space at the back for vegetable growing. There is an incredible variety of architectural styles among the many apartment blocks.
We visited the Palace of Justice housing courtroom 600 where the Nazi War criminals were tried and the Zepplin Field where Hitler held his propaganda rallies attended by millions (most of whom apparently paid for the pleasure). This area became an embarrassment to modern Germans and was deliberately damaged when it was thought the neo Nazis would use it as symbol of their cause. There was also the stadium Hitler had intended to be the only place where the Olympics would be held after he won the war. And the great road 2 km long and 60 metres wide. It was to lead south from the Congress Hall to the March Field and was to be paved with 60000 granite slabs mined from the concentration work camps it was essentially finished by 1939 and was used as a runway for the US Air Force after the war. It is now used as a car park for big events but also as the starting grid for the Nuremberg 200 car race.
Hitlers plans for this area were to create the best and biggest buildings to showcase the might of the German people. Work stopped on these in 1939.
Today they have inserted a modern steel and glass structure into the side of the shell of what was to be the NSDP Congress Hall. This was to be where the victorious Hitler planned to welcome party faithful and dignitaries. It was based roughly on the Roman Colosseum complete with marble columns and was to seat 50000 people under a glass dome ceiling. It is now called the Document Centre and houses an interactive history of the events in Nuremberg associated with the party rally grounds and the outcomes of National Socialist tyranny.
Nuremberg was the heartland of Nazi propaganda as Hitler saw it as a city steeped in tradition. The city was fundamental to his appeal to German pride and his own self-aggrandisment. Not surprising then that the allies chose Nuremberg as the site for the most significant war crime trials.