Geoff Walden


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Munich / München

Part 5 - Other Third Reich Buildings and Sites in Munich

   

   Since it was the "Capital of the Nazi Movement," Munich had several buildings, monuments, and other sites associated with the Third Reich. This page features the following sites: Munich Rathaus, Luftgaukommando, Reichszeugmeisterei, Oberfinanzpraesidium, offices of the Volkischer Beobachter and Illustrierter Beobachter newspapers, Haus des Deutschen Rechts, Deutsches Museum, Entartete Kunst exhibit, Haus der Deutschen Ärtze, Künstlerhaus, Freikorps monument, Neptune Fountain, Karlsplatz, SS Barracks, Funk Kaserne, Oberschleissheim airfield, Nazi burials at the Nordfriedhof, Gräfelfing Cemetery, Ostfriedhof, and Westfriedhof, and the Munich War Memorial.

 

The Munich Rathaus (City Hall) on the Marienplatz, decorated with a large Nazi banner on 9 March 1933, during the Nazi rise to power in Germany. The flag was placed by Max Amann, one of Hitler's closest comrades and later Nazi Party publishing chief.  (Munich City Museum)

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Munich was the headquarters of Luftgaukommando (or Luftkreiskommando) VII, an air defense district command headquarters, located at Prinzregentenstraße 24-28. The 1937 building has changed little, and is now an office building for several Bavarian state ministries.  (above - Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938; below - Munich City Museum)

 

The Luftgaukommando building featured several martial decorations, including Greek heads and armored torsos, German WW1 helmets, Luftwaffe eagles, and iron grillwork swastikas, which can still be seen on the building today (see here).  ("Kunst im Deutschen Reich," 1939)

 


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Munich was also the headquarters of the Reichszeugmeisterei, the Nazi Party quartermaster office and material control office. The RZM controlled design, manufacturing, and quality control of Nazi uniforms, insignia, badges, and equipment items. The headquarters, completed in 1937, consisted of a complex on the Tegernseer Landstraße. Below is an artist's model of the entire complex.  (above - Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938; below - Herbert Hoffmann, "Deutschland Baut," Stuttgart, 1938)

 

The complex included a large automotive garage, and living quarters for the employees (these still exist along both sides of the Tegernseer Landstraße). The buildings remain very much as they were during the Third Reich period (save for the removal of Nazi emblems), mainly because they was taken over by the U.S. Army in 1945 and served as McGraw Barracks until the early 1990s. The complex is now used by the Munich police. A faint shadow on the façade shows where the Nazi eagle used to be.  (above - Herbert Hoffmann, "Deutschland Baut," Stuttgart, 1938; below - Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938)

 


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The Oberfinanzdirektion or Oberfinanzpraesidium (finance headquarters) was built from 1938-1941 on Sophienstraße. The Third Reich eagle remains on the façade, minus its original swastika, and the building still serves as a financial center.   (above - Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 2, Bayreuth, 1943; below - courtesy Keith Ball)

 


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The offices of the Nazi newspaper "Volkischer Beobachter" and later the "Illustrierter Beobachter" were at Thierschstraße 11-17. This building also housed the Franz Eher official Nazi Party publishing firm. Hitler's Mein Kampf and countless other Nazi books were published here. Today the building houses a piano business.  (left - Albert Reich, "Aus Adolf Hitlers Heimat," Munich, 1933; right - Munich City Museum)

 


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The Haus des Deutschen Rechts (House of German Justice) was located at Ludwigstraße 28. The building shows almost no exterior changes, except the removal of the eagle over the main entrance. The fountain seen in the photos below is across the street in front of the Munich University (now the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität), where members of the White Rose resistance group (Hans and Sophie Scholl) distributed the anti-Nazi leaflets that led to their execution.  (above - Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 1, Bayreuth, 1938; below - Fritz Wächtler, "Die Neue Heimat," Munich, 1940)

 

On the left is a view of the Lichthof foyer of the Munich university, where the members of the White Rose group threw their anti-Nazi leaflets from the upper balconies. On the right is a memorial to the White Rose members, with a bust of Sophie Scholl, in the Lichthof.

 

The foundation stone of the Haus des Deutschen Rechts was laid on 24 October 1936, and the building was completed in 1939. In the distance is the famous Siegestor, or Triumphal Arch of King Ludwig I. The upper part of the arch was badly damaged in wartime bombings (see 1945 view below right) and was rebuilt with a blank upper façade.  (above - Bundesarchiv; below left - "Illustrierter Beobachter," Sonderheft 1937; below right - U.S. Army Signal Corps Collection)

 


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  The Kongreß-Saal (Congress Hall) of the Deutsches Museum was completed in 1936 on a design by architect German Bestelmeyer. This building sits on the northern point of Museum Island, at the Ludwigsbrücke. It was used during the Third Reich for meetings, exhibits, speeches, and the state funeral of Gauleiter Adolf Wagner. It is used today primarily for rock concerts.  (Herbert Hoffmann, ed., "Moderne Bauformen," 1937)

 


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When the Greater German Art Exhibition was opened in the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in July 1937, a companion exhibition of "Entartete Kunst" ("Degenerate Art") was opened in Munich in the Hofgarten Arcades near the Odeonsplatz. The "Degenerate Art" or "modern art" on exhibit was chosen to contrast with the Nazi art ideal of realism and heroic "Volk." The building façade at Galeriestraße 4 has changed over the years, but is still recognizable.  (Munich City Museum)

 


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The Haus der Deutschen Ärtze (House of German Physicians) was designed by architect Roderick Fick at Brienner Straße 11 (the address now is Brienner Str. 23). The medical artwork over the doorway of two snakes and a goblet was by Bernhard Bleeker, and is still there there, although partly covered by a shield of arms for the current Upper Austria House. The engraving now behind the shield reads "Haus der Münchner Ärtze" in place of the original.  ("Bauten der Bewegung," 1938; Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," 1938)

 


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The Künstlerhaus (Artists House) on Lenbachplatz was a Third Reich redesign of an existing building. It is still the Künstlerhaus today.  ("München, Hauptstadt der Bewegung," 1940)

 

SA (Storm Troopers) march through Lenbachplatz. The famous Wittelsbach fountain is seen in the background.

 


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In May 1942 a memorial was dedicated to the Freikorps (a post-World War 1 right-wing organization) on the Giesing Hill, the site of a May 1919 battle between the Freikorps and local communists. The Freikorps memorial itself was removed after the war, but its concrete base can still be seen today on Ichostraße. The concrete wall now carries a memorial to victims of the Nazi regime.  (Munich City Museum)

 


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In 1937 a fountain with a sculpture of Neptune by Third Reich sculptor Josef Wackerle was erected in the Old Botanical Garden on the Elisenstraße. The view today is practically identical.  (Werner Rittich, "Architektur und Bauplastik der Gegenwart," Berlin, 1938)

 


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A Pzkw. V Panther tank was abandoned on the Karlsplatz (Stachus) at the end of the war. This tank was sent to the United States for testing and was originally located at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. It was transferred to the Patton Museum at Fort Knox, Kentucky, where it was displayed for many years before being sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, in 2011. The photos below show the tank on display in the original Patton Museum in the 1960s and 1970s. At this time, the tank still displayed its original camouflage paint (this pattern can be seen in the 1945 photo above).  (above - U.S. Army Signal Corps Collection; below - Patton Museum collection; bottom - author's collection)

 

The Panther tank was located in front of the Imperial Lichtspiele cinema, and was a popular photo subject for visiting Americans in 1945.  (above - courtesy Rob Johnson; below - posted on the Wehrmacht Awards Forum by Lloyd I.)

 

Other parts of Munich also suffered heavy damage from the bombing attacks. My father, U.S. Army Air Forces Lt. Delbert R. Walden, photographed the Marienplatz in 1946, with the Neues Rathaus (New City Hall) on the left, and the Altes Rathaus (Old City Hall) in the right distance. The building in the center was rebuilt in a more modern style.  (left - G.R. and G.A. Walden collection; many thanks to Christian Lauw for the modern view)

 


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Munich was the home of several military barracks (Kaserne). The largest and best known of these was the Kaserne for SS-Standarte "Deutschland" on Neuherbergstraße and Ingolstädterstraße in northern Munich. This was one of the largest military complexes in Germany, and housed the SS guards for the Führerbau, Ehrentempel, Feldherrnhalle, War Memorial, and other Nazi locations in the Munich area. It also served as a training site during the war. After the war it was used by the U.S. Army as Warner Barracks, and is now used by the Bundeswehr as Ernst-von-Bergmann-Kaserne.  (period postcards)

 

Above, the main gate to the SS-Deutschland-Kaserne. Below, a period view of the huge exercise and parade ground.  (period postcards)

 

The Funk-Kaserne was built in 1936 on Freimanner Straße (now the Frankfurter Ring). The Kaserne is now closed, but the Luftwaffe eagle remains outside the former front gate. A period view of the main kaserne building appears below.  (Frau Prof. Gerdy Troost, "Das Bauen im neuen Reich," Vol. 2, Bayreuth, 1943)

 


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The Oberschleissheim Airfield was used for military purposes during World War II and was occupied by the U.S. Army Air Forces in April 1945. My father, 2nd Lt. Delbert R. Walden, was stationed there in the 344th Bomb Group in 1946. Above, my father poses in front of the adjacent Schleissheim Palace (which had suffered bomb damage during the war). Below, some of the aircraft hangers in 1946, and today (the modern photo shows the "Junkershalle") .  (G.R. and G.A. Walden collection; below right courtesy Jacqueline Wilson)

 


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Most Munich cemeteries hold graves of interest to Third Reich researchers. Above is a view of a mass burial and memorial ceremony for victims of Allied bombing attacks, held at the Nordfriedhof (Friedhof = Cemetery) in 1944, with a modern view of the main gate building.  (Munich City Museum)

 

Another Nazi memorial ceremony and burial that took place in 1944 was that for Adolf Wagner, Gauleiter of Munich, who had suffered a stroke in 1942 and died in April 1944. His body lay in state in the Maximilianeum (seen here), and also at the Feldherrnhalle, before burial adjacent to the northern Ehrentempel, across from the Braunes Haus. The body was reportedly removed in 1945 along with those of the putschists who were buried in the Ehrentempel, although some sources say the grave remained in its original location until the area was excavated in 2011 for a Documentation Center. Wagner's grave was located just beyond the further newly-planted tree at the left, in the 2015 photo below, which shows the Verwaltungsbau in the background.  (above - Münchner Stadtmuseum; below - gettyimages)

 

Julius Schreck, one of the earliest members of the Nazi Party and a founding member of the SS, served as Hitler's personal chauffeur. He died of meningitis on 16 May 1936, and received a Nazi state funeral and burial at the cemetery in Gräfelfing, a suburb of Munich. His casket was borne to the grave by "Old Fighters" and SA and SS members.  ("Illustrierter Beobachter," 28 May 1936)

 

Adolf Hitler delivered the eulogy at Schreck's graveside. Also attending were Rudolf Hess, Christian Weber, Victor Lutze, Josef Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Wilhelm Brückner, Heinrich Himmler, Otto Dietrich (all seen above), and Franz Xavier Schwarz, Wilhelm Frick, Martin Bormann, Julius Streicher, Julius Schaub, Max Amann, Fritz Todt, Robert Ley, Walter Darré, Adolf Huhnlein, Josef "Sepp" Dietrich, and other Nazi leaders (seen in the photos below).  ("Illustrierter Beobachter," 28 May 1936)

 

In common with most other notable Nazi burials, Schreck's body and grave marker were removed after the war. A memorial to war victims now sits where Schreck was originally buried.  ("Illustrierter Beobachter," 28 May 1936)

 

Hitler also attended the burial of Dr. Gerhard Wagner, chief of medicine in the Third Reich, at the Ostfriedhof on 27 March 1938. The crematorium in the Ostfreidhof had been used to cremate the remains of the victims of the "Night of the Long Knives," the 1934 Nazi purge of Ernst Röhm and his followers. The Ostfriedhof crematorium figured large in history again on 17 October 1946, when the bodies of the ten Nazi leaders who had been executed in Nürnberg were brought there for cremation. Their ashes were strewn into the nearby Isar River.  (press photo)

 

During the ceremonies marking the opening of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst in July1937, Hitler visited the grave of architect Paul Ludwig Troost in the Nordfriedhof. The original grave marker is overgrown with ivy today and naturally has the eagle and swastika removed. Troost's wife Gerdy was later buried in the same plot.  ("Illustrierter Beobachter," 22 July 1937)

 

One Nazi grave in Munich that Hitler almost certainly did not visit was that of Ernst Röhm, the SA leader who was executed at Hitler's orders as part of the "Night of the Long Knives" purge of the SA on 30 June - 1 July 1934. Röhm's grave is in the Westfriedhof.

 


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The Munich War Memorial (Kriegerdenkmal) is located adjacent to the Hofgarten, in front of the old Bavarian Army Museum (now a government office building). A large stone block, with the slogan "Sie werden auferstehen" (They will rise again), covers a sunken crypt area with a sculpture of a German soldier laid out for burial. The memorial was erected in 1924-26 in memory of the 13,000 "heroic sons of Munich" who fell in the First World War, 1914-1918. After the Second World War, a memorial inscription was added for the 22,000 dead and 11,000 missing Munich soldiers and 6600 victims of the Allied bombing attacks, 1939-1945.  (period postcards)

 

The War Memorial is regularly decorated today. The original soldier sculpture was replaced in 1972 - the original is now in the Bavarian Army Museum in Ingolstadt.  (above - period postcard; center - courtesy Roland Fogt; bottom - Georg Schorer, "Deutsche Kunstbetrachtung" Munich, 1941)

 


(period postcard)

 

Hitler salutes a march-past of SA troops during a Gautag rally on 3 July 1932. Behind him is SA leader Ernst Röhm, with deputy Führer Rudolf Hess behind him. In the foreground is Hitler supporter Ernst "Putzi" Hanfstaengl, with SS leader Heinrich Himmler in the black uniform to the left. The address of Widenmayerstraße 31 has hardly changed at all.  (Munich Archive)

 

As originally engraved on the back, "This fountain was placed beneath the Hitler Linden Tree and at the same time with the opening of the German Housing Exhibition Munich 1934." After 1945 Hitler's name was removed, along with the upper part of the column which displayed a swastika. The linden tree is still there, although it is not in good condition (Herrenchiemseestraße 21).

 


 

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This page initially uploaded on 20 July 2000.


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