Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

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Production718
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Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Production718 » 26 Feb 2020 23:50

I am really not sure what section to post this in. If the mods think its better suited to another section, please by all means move it!

Hello WWII history people!

I have a long and interesting story to tell you.

Im a head of department at a company that should probably remain nameless for now. We mostly make horror/scifi films. Unfortunately not many of us here know very much about history. The only thing we really know about World War Two is from our experience with horror films, which is basically that WWII German personnel make excellent zombies and ghosts. Also everyone in EVERY end-of-the-world scenario EVER always somehow wears Red Army uniforms with 1990s NATO gas masks. Apart from that...shrugs. Thats pretty much our collective knowledge of WWII. We dont write films we just make them.

So why am I posting on this forum you might ask?
We have a good collection of stuff. Obviously your usual film stuff. German officer uniforms, some hardware, some random completely incorrect army hardware with “Chernobyl” written on it. You know. The usual junk a film studio would have.

Except we have this one item which nobody was really sure what it was. We all called it (as it turns out, very ironically!) “the communist box” because everyone believed its origins were from the Cold War and its some kind of portable radio station or...something. Who knows. Its a very heavy electronic device contained in a heavy wooden box. It played “heavy army box no3” in a film one time and was very good in this role!

It still works. A couple of our engineers made a device to connect a iPhone to it. Our film crew personnel get drunk and listen to dubstep and psytrance on it sometimes on Friday evenings when they party at the studio and think we dont know.

So The Communist Box lived its happy life at the studio until i accidentally found its number in the catalog and read what it actually was.

It seems that this device is not Communist at all! Its from Germany!

According to the history which was given to us by its previous owners, its story is as follows:

Its an audio rig called A ELA-411 made by Telefunken. Its basically like a big sound system i guess? Why the military would need a sound system I dont know. Maybe to shout at people?

Our engineer googled the info for a ELA-411 and looked inside the box and they confirmed that it indeed matches the PDF we found online. It seems it really is a ELA-411.

Everything that follows is what the witness said and i have NO idea if any of it is true

It was installed at a German base called SS Ordensburg Vogelsang. It was used for whatever it was used for (shouting at people?) but on weekends the people who worked at that base did a social event for the local population. Apparently every Sunday they set up some tables and things and the local civilian population was invited to come to the base. They had snacks and drinks, music, people making speeches, and dancing. Who knew that they had parties in the 1940s?! This exact machine was used for that.

Then the war finished and the base got invaded by other countries, but the guys who worked at the base and some people who worked for the local mayors office had the sense to hide some stuff in a cave on a cliff above the base before the war ended. One item that was allegedly hidden was this box.

Then many many years later the people who hid it (who were now old) decided to sell it. The guy who sold it was the son of the ex local mayor from the 1940s or something. He must have been a kid in the 1940s but is old now. It ended up on the worldwide WWII collectors market and then somehow ended up with us. We buy a lot of stuff if it looks like it may be useful.

So, now I turn to you.

Google says that German base was real.

Would they have used a ELA-411?

Did they really have dance parties for the local population on Sundays?

Did the locals really hide a bunch of stuff from there at the end of the war?

Or is this all just complete BS. I think 90% of stories about WWII are unfortunately not accurate. Isnt there more Hitler signatures for sale today than he ever actually signed?

If any of you have any info about it, I would love to hear it. I am just really really curious now. What is this mystery item that we have and is its story true?!

Thanks gals and guys.

Sejanus
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Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Sejanus » 27 Feb 2020 06:59

Greetings Production718:

For openers, Ordensburg Vogelsang (Order Castle Vogelsang) was not an SS base nor a military installation. Rather it was a training center for future Nazi leaders, one of several Ordensburgen located across Germany. There were other types of training centers for future leaders as well in addition to the Ordensburgen, known as Adolf Hitler Schools and NAPOLAs (National Political Institutes of Education), all of them considered elite. But the Ordensburgen were for adults in their 20's and 30's (the others were for youth) and already married students were preferred. EDIT: link added for further info: https://www.dw.com/en/former-nazi-colle ... a-19531884

Second, is there any independent proof that it came from there (for example markings on it or paperwork that might have accompanied it that can be researched to determine validity)? I know there are caves in the Eifel (where Vogelsang was located) so perhaps the being hidden in a cave part of the story may be accurate. Or not. Absent independent proof a story remains just a story, regardless of how detailed or colorful.

Something else to ask yourself is why anybody would go to the trouble to remove and hide something like this (quite heavy and bulky) in the first place, when the penalty for getting caught in the process of stealing it may have brought the death penalty? Food (because many were very hungry/malnourished and sometimes were even literally starving then) and/or some objects of much greater value certainly, but a used public address system that was by the end of the war, essentially worthless?

And what need was there to keep electronics like this hidden in a cave (as if its existence needed to remain a closely guarded secret, sounds like thinly veiled sensationalism), not a very conducive environment for such storage without damaging it. And of no practical use when many towns and cities had no power to operate such things due to the infrastructure being damaged or destroyed due to the bombing and fighting that took place. So there are elements to the story that do not seem all that plausible.

Such sound/public address systems were quite valuable in spreading the regime's propaganda though (their primary general use). Another general use was for public announcements and for morale purposes, when something like music would have been appropriate (but there were also live bands for that purpose). Whether dances were hosted at Ordensburg Vogelsang or not I do not know,

Finally, I have seen other things that were claimed to have come from Ordensburg Vogelsang (and other such institutions, primarily books from their libraries) that I believe were made solely to inflate their value among collectors of such material. In other words, faked by adding alleged property stamps. And claims that anything was SS used (like the claim that this came from an SS base) is another very common tactic used by fakers, again to inflate value.

So taking anything at face value when it comes to this sort of thing can lead to mistakes (sometimes very costly ones) and demands proper research to determine accuracy.

Hope this is helpful to you. :welcome:
Last edited by Sejanus on 27 Feb 2020 09:16, edited 2 times in total.

Production718
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Location: Ca, USA

Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Production718 » 27 Feb 2020 08:51

Hi.

Thank you very much for your help.

I was suspicious of this story because it seems, i don't know why but people like to make up a lot of stories about WWII. It seems EVERYONES great-grandfather was in Stalingrad, Pearl Harbor and D-Day all at the same time, all tried to shoot Hitler, and all found some nice made-in-China replica German items to bring home with them. AND was in the 101st airborn of course.

Anyhow, I have found the original statement in German that explained how this unit got onto the collectors market (way before we got it):
Der Verstärker war von ca. 1941 bis Winter 1944 im Einsatz für die SS Elite Schule in Vogelsang, die Tante meiner Ehefrau war dort jeden Sonntag mogens bis mittag, sie war bei der BDM, die SS lud die Mitglieder der BDM und HJ ein, organisiert wurde das Ganze von der SA, es gab dort Kuchen und Getränke, es wurde Musik gespielt und Reden zum Endsieg gehalten.

Im Winter 1944 als die Feinde sich näherten wurden wichtige Gegenstände von der SS Burg und dem Schleidener Rathaus in einer versteckten Höhle direkt über Schleiden versteckt, erst Anfang 1947 wurden erst die Dinge aus der Höhle herausgeholt, der vater der Tante war Gauleiter, er hatte einige dieser Dinge bekommen, und diesen Verstärker, der seit dem bei ihm war.
I google-translated that but there are so many references in there I don't understand.

Does any of that make any sense?

As a side-note, when our engineers opened it up, it was absolutely FULL of dirt, cobwebs and mummified bugs. It looked like generations of spiders and bugs have been living in it for many many years. The wood was very dry but not damaged so it seems it was kept somewhere dry where a lot of bugs lived. I can confirm this myself since i saw them vacuuming all that stuff out of it.

Thanks

Sejanus
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Posts: 208
Joined: 12 Mar 2016 10:55
Location: The Continent

Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Sejanus » 27 Feb 2020 09:56

Production718 wrote:
27 Feb 2020 08:51
Hi.

Thank you very much for your help.

I was suspicious of this story because it seems, i don't know why but people like to make up a lot of stories about WWII. It seems EVERYONES great-grandfather was in Stalingrad, Pearl Harbor and D-Day all at the same time, all tried to shoot Hitler, and all found some nice made-in-China replica German items to bring home with them. AND was in the 101st airborn of course.

Anyhow, I have found the original statement in German that explained how this unit got onto the collectors market (way before we got it):
Der Verstärker war von ca. 1941 bis Winter 1944 im Einsatz für die SS Elite Schule in Vogelsang, die Tante meiner Ehefrau war dort jeden Sonntag mogens bis mittag, sie war bei der BDM, die SS lud die Mitglieder der BDM und HJ ein, organisiert wurde das Ganze von der SA, es gab dort Kuchen und Getränke, es wurde Musik gespielt und Reden zum Endsieg gehalten.

Im Winter 1944 als die Feinde sich näherten wurden wichtige Gegenstände von der SS Burg und dem Schleidener Rathaus in einer versteckten Höhle direkt über Schleiden versteckt, erst Anfang 1947 wurden erst die Dinge aus der Höhle herausgeholt, der vater der Tante war Gauleiter, er hatte einige dieser Dinge bekommen, und diesen Verstärker, der seit dem bei ihm war.
I google-translated that but there are so many references in there I don't understand.

Does any of that make any sense?

As a side-note, when our engineers opened it up, it was absolutely FULL of dirt, cobwebs and mummified bugs. It looked like generations of spiders and bugs have been living in it for many many years. The wood was very dry but not damaged so it seems it was kept somewhere dry where a lot of bugs lived. I can confirm this myself since i saw them vacuuming all that stuff out of it.

Thanks
You are welcome! Here is the quoted German translated to English and what the references mean:

"The amplifier was in use for the SS Elite School in Vogelsang from around 1941 to winter 1944. My wife's aunt was there every Sunday until noon, she was with the BDM [1], the SS invited the members of the BDM and HJ [2] the whole thing was done by the SA [3], there was cake and drinks, music was played and speeches were given to the final victory.

In the winter of 1944, when the enemies were approaching, important items from the SS Burg and Schleiden [4]Town Hall were hidden in a hidden cave directly above Schleiden.Only in early 1947 were things brought out of the cave, the aunt's father was a Gauleiter [5], he had some of these things, and this amplifier that has been with him ever since."

[1] BDM is the Bund Deutscher Madel, the League of German Girls. Girls wing of the Nazi Party youth movement, the Hitler Youth.
[2] HJ means Hitlerjugend. The Hitler Youth. Boys wing of the Nazi Party youth movement.
[3] SA is the Sturmabteilung. Storm detachment, also known as the stormtroopers. While it may have been possible for the SA to have been involved in something like this prior to conscription, the vast majority of their members had been drafted into the military well before 1941 (about when these dances were claimed to have been, until 1944) and were serving there (and getting killed or wounded) instead of in SA formations behind the lines. So as time went on the SA in Germany mostly disappeared, having been bled of its personnel for the war effort.
[4] Schleiden was a town in the same district Vogelsang was located in.
[5] A Gauleiter is a very high ranking Nazi party position, equivalent to the governor of a US state.

The idea of BDM & HJ events being held on the premises of Vogelsang is possible. However, Vogelsang was never an SS facility. So it being labeled as "SS Elite School Vogelsang" and an "SS Burg [castle]" is inaccurate. It was a Nazi Party run institution, not an SS one and people familiar with all of this should know the difference. Also, why would the SS have invited anyone if "the whole thing was done by the SA" as is also claimed? They were two entirely different organizations. Things like cake and drinks also became scarce or impossible to supply or obtain (unless on the black market or for the high ranking, not applicable in this circumstance) due to shortages & rationing.

And while I am not a native German speaker, some of the way the German phrases are structured (in the description) makes me wonder if whomever composed it really is a German speaker or not? Maybe somebody that is can chime in?

I added a link to my original post about how Vogelsang has been turned into a museum. If no one else here can confirm your information, you might try contacting the museum to ask them. Maybe they can help?

BTW, given your line of work I wanted to ask, have you ever seen Michael Mann's The Keep from 1983? :wink:

Sejanus
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Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Sejanus » 27 Feb 2020 11:21

Almost forgot to mention this, but if I am not mistaken the town of Schleiden was located in Gau Köln-Aachen. If accurate it means the Gauleiter was Josef Grohé, and he was arrested by British occupation authorities in 1945 and imprisoned until 1950. This seems to contradict the information provided stating that "Only in early 1947 were things brought out of the cave, the aunt's father was a Gauleiter [5], he had some of these things, and this amplifier that has been with him ever since." But the Gauleiter was in prison in 1947, so how could it have been with him ever since then?

Production718
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Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Production718 » 27 Feb 2020 18:32

Ok, so from what you are saying, it sounds to me like maybe somebody copy/pasted a bit too much from Wikipedia, right?

Like if it was JUST the girl-scouts having a tea party, kind of believable. But they seemed to have invited too many other random branches of the military right?

Something aint right about this story.

So maybe we can turn to the device itself for some answers?

It came to us from a private collector or dealer or something from France. A lot of stuff comes from that guy. For the first few months of it being here, it was left in the back of one of the utility cars. We have a few that just sit in the parking lot and anybody can use for company business. The damn thing is so heavy that nobody was thoughtful enough to even take it out of the car, it just sat there. Then we took it out and our engineers made a iphone connector for it, you know, just because why not. Since it got to us nobody disturbed it much.

There are no identifying marks on it as such. The front panel looks like it had something which was then scratched off. Maybe the WWII German logo or something?

The thing that I find strange is clearly the whole device has been repainted at some point. It looks like it was gray and was then re-painted a mustard dull yellow/beige kinda color. It was repainted pretty badly with a paint brush, although iv seen this before on authentic stuff. It seems during the war people didnt really care about the finer details, we have a helmet thats 100% legit and thats been painted badly with a brush “in the field”.

Im going to take a closer look and see what else i can spot.

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Sheldrake
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Re: Ordensburg Vogelsang, dance parties and hardware hidden in caves?

Post by Sheldrake » 27 Feb 2020 20:14

By co-incidence I have met the curator at the Nazi documentation centre at Vogelsang. They are part of Liberation Route Europe.
https://liberationroute.com/germany/spo ... ional-park
Contact details here.
http://www.vogelsang-ip.de/en/leitmarke ... ntact.html

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