Geoff Walden


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Obersalzberg

Martin Bormann's House

     Reichsleiter Martin Bormann took over "Haus Hudler," a small home owned by a Dr. Seitz. This house site was ideal for Bormann, as it overlooked Hitler's Berghof and much of the rest of the Obersalzberg complex. From here, Bormann could keep an eye on everything, including the comings and goings at the Berghof. Bormann later enlarged and modernized the house, installing costly interior furnishings.  Bormann also had an extensive air raid shelter and bunker system built into the hill behind the house, connecting to the main air raid control and communications center underground. The April 1945 bombing attack substantially destroyed the house. The ruins were completely razed in 1951-52, with only scattered rubble to be found today in the woods that have overgrown the site (the bunker system is intact, but closed to the public).    

 

Bormann's house as seen from the Hotel zum Türken. The hillside across from the Türken is overgrown today. The small stone structure at the lower right was a guard house at a gate across the road (see here).

 

Bormann's house in the early 1940s. In contrast to many of the Obersalzberg buildings, photos of Bormann's house are uncommon, because he gave orders that it was not to be photographed.  (period postcard, from an Ernst Baumann photo)

In this photo from Eva Braun's albums, Bormann's house can be seen on the hill overlooking the Hotel Zum Türken.  (National Archives RG 242-EB)

 

This view shows how Bormann's house overlooked the Hotel Zum Türken just below,
and also Hitler's Berghof (just beyond the Türken). Bormann had a private swimming
pool, seen here at the left.  (period postcard)

 

The winter view at left was taken by Nazi photographer Ernst Baumann. The photo on the right, taken from a similar vantage point, shows the ruins of Bormann's house ca. 1950.  (author's collection)

 

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A colorized postcard view of Haus Bormann, with the Untersberg mountains behind.

Bormann's house after the 1945 bombing - a photo taken by my father, Lt. Delbert Walden, in 1946.  (collection of G.R. and G.A. Walden)

 

The photo on the left shows the appearance of Bormann's house right after the American occupation in May 1945. The photo on the right, in common with the ruins photos above, shows the house later, after the tin roof had been plundered.  (left - private collection; right - "Historische Blitzlichter vom Obersalzberg")

 

These rare color slides show the ruins of Bormann's house ca. 1950. The postcard view on the right below, from the same period, also shows the Berghof ruins in the distance to the right of Bormann's house, with the Platterhof garage ruins in the distance on the left side. Just to the right and below the Bormann house ruin is the rebuilt Hotel zum Türken.  (color slides by Col. John J. Tarsitano, courtesy Nancy Tarsitano Drake)

 

A soldier of the U.S. 45th Infantry Division took this photo (left) in the summer of 1945. He was standing in the Berghof driveway, looking past the Hotel zum Türken to the bombed-out ruin of Bormann's house on the hill beyond. The ruined house at the left edge was Unterwurflehen, part of the administrative headquarters of the Obersalzberg. The 1930s painting on the right shows the Unterwurflehen house (as seen from Bormann's house), across the road from the Hotel zum Türken. The only ruins that remain today of Unterwurflehen are parts of the foundation (see here).  (photo courtesy Frank Tompkins; painting in the Hotel zum Türken collection)

 

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Examples of miscellaneous rubble pieces of Bormann's house, which can be found today downhill from the house site. The emergency exit to a nearby bunker system (on the right) is closed off by rubble several yards inside. See the Bunkers page for photos of the interior of this tunnel.

 

Hermann Göring's House

   Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's house was one of the few not forcibly (more-or-less) taken over from previous owners. It was a gift from the Nazi Party in 1933. It began as a small rustic mountain lodge, but Göring later (1941) enlarged it to about double its original size, and even added a large outdoor swimming pool, lined with blue tile. In spite of the enlargement, the house retained somewhat the character of a mountain lodge, with rocks on the shingle roof (a common sight in Upper Bavaria - the rocks hold snow on the roof, for added insulation, and to keep the snow from sliding off abruptly), and interior decor in line with Göring's passions for hunting and the outdoor life. Göring had his own underground shelter system in case of air attack, but Bormann would not allow it to be connected to his own, and thus to the main system (click here to see a modern photo of the emergency exit to Göring's tunnel). The 1945 bombing attack severely damaged the house, and the ruins were razed in 1951-52. For several years parts of the foundation and an entrance to the basement shelter could still be seen, but these were removed after the Armed Forces Recreation Center left the area in late 1995. In 2002-2005 a luxury hotel was built on the hilltop overlooking the site of Göring's house, radically changing this area, and the only traces of Landhaus Göring that can be found now are some concrete steps at the rear of the site. A decorative pond now sits on the site of the house itself.

 

These period postcard views show Landhaus Göring before it was renovated and enlarged in 1941.
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Landhaus Göring after its final renovation, with the Untersberg mountains in the background.  The view from Göring's house was the best of any of the Obersalzberg Third Reich homes.  (period postcard)

Similar view of Göring's house after the 1945 bombing - a photo taken by my father, Lt. Delbert Walden, in 1946.  (collection of G.R. and G.A. Walden)

 

This 1935-dated postcard shows the rustic chalet character of Landhaus Göring. On the right, Hitler visits while Göring practices archery.  (right - Heinrich Hoffmann, "Hitler in seinen Bergen," Berlin, 1935)

 

These views of the interior of Göring's Obersalzberg house show the rustic (albeit fancy rustic) character of the house, including tile Kachelofen heaters.  (author's collection)

 

Göring's house from the adjacent hill, the highest point on the Obersalzberg. This photo shows Göring's swimming pool. On the right is a similar view of the site of Göring's house, taken in 2001 before the construction of the hotel on the hilltop. The circular water filled depressions in the center and right foreground are bomb craters remaining from the April 1945 attack. The hotel construction has radically changed this site (see below).  (Library of Congress)

 

This view from a similar perspective was taken after the hotel construction. Göring's house sat where
the pond is now, to the right of the walkway in front of the treeline.

 

These photos of the ruins of Landhaus Göring show the site in the early 1950s, before the ruins were razed. The swimming pool was by then overgrown and choked with weeds.  The photo below shows a large piece of the blue glazed tile that once lined the swimming pool (this tile piece and others have disappeared due to the hotel construction).  (above left - courtesy Clarke Family Archives; above right - courtesy Chris Munz)

 

The view on the left was taken by a G.I. in May or June of 1945, and shows the front of the house before it was stripped by plunderers for building materials. This same side can be seen at the left of the other photo, with the roof and much of the other wood stripped away. Below are two views of the ruins in the summer of 1945.  (left - private collection; right - postwar postcard by Ernst Baumann; U.S. National Archives, Signal Corps Collection)

 

This aerial reconnaissance photo taken in early May1945 shows how bombs bracketed Landhaus
Göring, hitting both ends of the pool and damaging the house itself.  (U.S. National Archives)

Summer 2002 - Summer 2005 note  --  A large luxury hotel has been built adjacent to the site of Landhaus Göring,
covering the top of the Göringhügl hill. This hotel has, unfortunately, radically changed the landscape and views in this area.
Much of the Göringhügl hill was bulldozed away in June 2002, removing most of the former remains in this area.

Aerial view of the InterContinental Resort Hotel on the top of the former Eckerbichl hill.
Göring's house was located in the distance along the woodline, in the area now occupied
by an ornamental pond.  (2006 photo courtesy Frans Beekmans)

 


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A site adjacent to Göring's house, but also associated with Hitler, was the tall hill that separated Göring's property from most of the rest of the Obersalzberg complex. This hill formed the base for the greenhouse on the other side, and later sheltered the bunker systems of Bormann, Göring, and the anti-aircraft defense center. It was the highest point on the Obersalzberg, and was generally called the "Göringhügl." But at an earlier time, before Bormann had transformed the area and when the Berghof was still Haus Wachenfeld, this was "Adolf Hitler-Höhe," complete with a commemorative rock monument at the top. The period view shows the original Pension Moritz (Platterhof) in the left distance, with bare meadows of the Bodnerlehen in between, where the SS Barracks complex would later be built. This area is all wooded now, but a match can be made with the mountains (the ruins of the demolished Platterhof can be seen in the modern view; this view no longer exists today due to the new hotel construction).

The rock monument had plaques reading "Reichskanzler Adolf Hitler-Höhe, 21 März 1933" (date of the opening of the first Reichstag under Hitler as Chancellor), and a saying by poet Ludwig Ganghofer: "Wer Gott lieb hat, lässt er fallen, in's Berchtesgad'ner Land" (He whom God loves, He lets him fall into Berchtesgadener Land). Below, a child poses at the rock monument.  (period postcards in author's collection)

 

Under new management - soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division raise the Stars and Stripes on the "Göringhügl" on 5 May  1945. The soldiers raising the flag are Pvt. Bennet A. Walter and PFC Nick Urich, 7th Infantry Regiment.  (U.S. Army photo, National Archives)
Unfortunately, this historic spot no longer exists, as the top of this hill has been bulldozed away for the InterContinental Hotel.

 

On 5 May 2008, the 63rd anniversary, veterans from the 3rd Infantry Division raised the Stars and Stripes once more on the former "Göringhügl," when they dedicated a plaque to this historic occasion, near the InterContinental Hotel. The three 1945 veterans who attended were Ross Brown, Robert Dutil, and John Miller. Click here for more information on the ceremony.  (photos courtesy Tony McKinney)

 


Tour Guide service is available to the Third Reich and WW2 sites in the Obersalzberg area - see the Tour Guide page.


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

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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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