Siegener Nachkomme wrote: ↑
28 Oct 2019 03:02
I recently found this early post-war US Army film on YouTube entitled "Bavarian Holiday" that promotes the recreation center at Königssee. I thought certain footage within in would contribute to this thread on the Berghof and Obersalzberg. (The Obersalzberg sites begin around 13:38.)
The film was uploaded to YouTube by travelfimarchive, which offers licensed footage from the film for commercial use at there website: www.travelfilmarchive.com
While the uploader gives a date of 1950, I believe it was filmed no later that spring 1947 due to the presence of Third Army soldiers featured in the film. (I believe the Third Army departed for the States in March 1947.) Of course, the Army may have released this film after that date.
Welcome to AHF, mein Freund!
My friend Matt and I had discussed this video before he posted this. It's a quite remarkable early postwar look at what would become the Berchtesgaden Recreation Center, then the American Forces Recreation Center, which operated until 1995.
Although the Travelfilmarchive dates this to the 1950s, Matt and I agree that it is earlier. I think it likely was filmed in 1946, or maybe even late 1945. (Travelfilmarchive also claims copyright ownership, that's absurd, as all media produced by/for the US military is in the public domain).
I have tried to find the history of the 489th AAA (unit marked on the truck), but I have not found their immediate postwar location. They served in the US 4th Infantry Division during the war, and by 1950 they were back in the States as a reserve unit in Kansas. Most active duty units that had served during the war did not hang around in Europe for long after the summer of 1945. In addition, the wearing of helmet liners by most of the soldiers would seem to mark this as soon after the war ended (in my father's photos from late 1945 into mid 1946, no-one is seen wearing any head gear but a soft cap).
The soldiers were billeted at the Hotel Schiffmeister, which is still there at the Koenigssee lake shore. They sure lived like kings (as they deserved!) – we weren't treated quite so well when I visited AFRC-Berchtesgaden as a soldier in 1981. I wondered what their destination would be on the Koenigssee boat ride, when they went past St. Bartholomae, and sure enough, they ended up at the Obersee, walking right past one of the "Hitler rocks" (although I'm sure they didn't realize the significance).
http://thirdreichruins.com/miscbldgs3.h ... seeobersee
I also found it interesting that the boat pilot played a horn at the "Echo Wall," instead of shooting the traditional pistol. Could it be that the U.S. occupation in 1945 is what put an end to the pistol shooting (which gave seven echoes) and brought in the horn playing (which only gives three or four echoes)?
The Koeningssee waterfall mentioned is the Koenigsbach Fall, where Eva Braun and family liked to bathe (also shown on the page at the link above).
Check out the surplus Wehrmacht wood-burining truck, complete with camouflage paint, at 04:40.
While they were at the Obersalzberg ruins, the state of the roof on the Kindergarten building also argues for an early postwar date, as this roofing was largely gone in photos taken in 1947 and later. (15:06)
I wonder what became of that big 3D terrain map of the Obersalzberg that they were shown in the Platterhof Hotel (which obviously had not yet been turned into the General Walker Hotel) … (13:50) I've seen 1945 photos of it, but nothing since.
Wonder why they didn't go up the mountain to the Kehlsteinhaus? Too much snow when this was filmed, or not on their tour itinerary … who knows.
I think also that this film was probably shot at different times. The Almabtrieb (return of the cattle from the high pastures) takes place in September, but many of the mountain scenes show far too much snow for September, more like early-mid May. And scenes not shot at the same location were later spliced together for this production – at the end, right before the soldier steps out onto his balcony of the Hotel Schiffmeister at Koenigssee, there is a quick shot of the Hotel Bavaria in Berchtesgaden itself – not the same place. (17:02)
In all, a thoroughly interesting film! (and a lengthy analysis, I know!)