Heidelberg, Arno Breker, his Scultural Garden, Speer's House

Discussions on the propaganda, architecture and culture in the Third Reich.
JLEES
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Heidelberg, Arno Breker, his Scultural Garden, Speer's House

Post by JLEES » 10 Aug 2002 13:55

Hello,
I just found out I'm off to Germany again on this November. I'll be around Heidelberg and remember reading there is a park near the city that has many of Breker's works. Does anyone know exactly where it is and if it's worth seeing? For those interested, I've also included an image of his 1939 "Readiness" that was one of the main works in Munch's 1939 Great German Art Exhibition and I've been told a main piece in the Breker Garden near Heidelberg. I've been further told the arms on Readiness with sword were removed sometime after the war, but the statue still remains intact otherwise. This also brings up the question of Breker's other two works Party and Wehrmacht in the Chancellory. Did they survive the war, or were they destoryed by the Soviets in 1945? Albert Speer's parents house is also in Heidelberg. Does anyone know where it's located?
James
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Heraklit
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Breker, Speer, Heidelberg

Post by Heraklit » 11 Aug 2002 00:38

There may be an Arno Breker sculpture on display in the Heidelberg area, but Schloss Nörvenich (west of Köln) is the site of the largest collection of his works. Schloss Nörvenich, a 12th century castle, is the seat of the Order of Alexander the Great. Breker was a Knight of the Order.

The Hauptportal to the Reichskanzlei contained two Breker works: Der Fackelträger (the Torchbearer) and Der Schwertträger (the Sword Bearer) renamed by Hitler Die Partei and Die Wehrmacht respectively.

The vast majority of Arno Breker’s works in his Berlin atelier as well as those on public display, including Die Partei and Die Wehrmacht, were either destroyed or confiscated by occupation troops following the end of hostilities in May 1945.

It is my understanding that Albert Speer as well as his son Ernst, also an architect, resided in the family home on Schloß-Wolfsbrunnenweg in Heidelberg, but to my knowledge it is not a tourist attraction.

To Germans in general, Heidelberg conjures up images of a Romantic Germany. The Red Ox Inn (Zum Roten Ochsen) on the Hauptstraße near Karlsplatz might be worth a visit. A popular traditional student pub, it is usually crowded and, as is the German custom, tables are cheerfully shared with strangers. In the late 1940s, I and an Army associate shared a small table there with two Germans, a graduating student, who had just taken his doctorate in theology, who was celebrating his birthday with his brother, a pharmacist from Frankfurt am Main, a former SS Obersturmbannführer. Both professed to be devout Christians. The young graduate was going to darkest Africa to convert benighted heathens, his older brother supposedly fought in the war to “save Western Christian civilization”.

JLEES
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Heidelberg

Post by JLEES » 11 Aug 2002 01:46

Thanks for the great information about Heidelberg. I'll definatly look up the Red Ox Inn (Zum Roten Ochsen) on the Hauptstraße near Karlsplatz when I'm there.
James

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Geoff Walden
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Heiligenberg "Thingstätte"

Post by Geoff Walden » 12 Aug 2002 19:04

I highly recommend a side trip to the Heiligenberg hill, north of town. On the side of the hill was built a Nazi "Thingstätte" in 1935. This was an outdoor amphitheater, based on the Nazi "Blut und Boden" ideology, harking back to tribal Germanic "Thing" gatherings.

The Heligenberg Thingstätte is in excellent condition, and there are interpretive signs explaining its function and history.

Just ask for directions to the Heiligenberg ("Holy Mountain"). There is also a restaurant up there, and the ruins of a medieval tower.

Geoff Walden
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JLEES
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Heligenberg Thingstätte

Post by JLEES » 12 Aug 2002 20:35

Geoff,
I believe we meet about a year ago over the Internet and gave me some great tips about what to see in Nuremberg. I went there again in February and checked everything out you recommended. Meanwhile, is the Heligenberg Thingstätte an easy walk from the center of town or would I need a card to visit it? I'm defiantly going top check it out this November. Here's a card from my collection I also thought you might be interested in. I completely forgot about it until seeing your message.
James A. Lees
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Heraklit
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Heiligenberg Thingstätte

Post by Heraklit » 13 Aug 2002 00:28

Heiligenberg was erected 1934-35. Until 1939, National Socialist solstice festivities were staged here, using equipment that was somewhat advanced for the time, including sound mixing and loudspeaker equipment, which together with abundant floodlights supplied the acoustical and optical background for the presentations. After the war this area fell into decay for a few years.

A Thing is an open-air gathering of the people, harking back to old Germanic pagan gatherings. In the old Germanic use the word Thing designates a popular assembly.

The National Socialists erected Thingplatz or Thingstätte for the performance of Thingspiele. Forty were planned but only a few were actually built, supposedly because of a lack of public interest. Characteristically they were rudimentary natural theaters incorporating ancient ruins.

A Thingspiele was a staged outdoor performance. Thingspiele in some aspects encompassed a Germanic tradition in which the spectators were included in the action of the presentation. Military tattoos, pagan oratorios, with pageants involving Hitler Jugend and Sturmabteilung formations were also performed.

In recent times the Heiligenberg Thingstätte annually on May 1st lures a large number of visitors, mostly young people, to celebrate the Walpurgisnacht (Walpurgis Night, when the witch-world was supposed to hold high revelry under its chief, the Devil).

A delightful way to access Heiligenberg is the Philosophenweg. After crossing the old Neckar Bridge from Heidelberg, there are directional signs for guidance. The path is well maintained; you will encounter uneven forest stretches with fairly steep gradients, but you will be rewarded with good views of the Neckar, Heidelberg and the surrounding countryside. There is a cozy (gemütlich) restaurant (“Schenkewald”) in the area. To do it properly allow yourself a whole day.

JLEES
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Thingspiele Cards

Post by JLEES » 13 Aug 2002 02:10

Heraklit and Geoff,
Here's two additional Thingspiele cards in my collection. The top one is of a Thingspiele at Loreley and the other Thingplatz Kamenz near Sachsen. I wonder if these are still standing and in use.
James
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Geoff Walden
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Thing

Post by Geoff Walden » 13 Aug 2002 15:43

James,

Nice cards! I had not seen the ones of the Loreley and Kamenz. I have not visited either site, but I'm pretty sure the Loreley Thingplatz is still there. Another Thingplatz still in use is the Dietrich-Eckart Buhne at the Olympic complex in Berlin. There is also one at Segeberg. I have never seen a listing of all that were built, or survive.

Myself, I drove up to the Heiligenberg (it would be a pretty long hike from downtown). There are signs that direct one up there, but I did get turned around a couple times. I parked at the restaurant and walked from there, but I believe you can drive on up the road and park even closer. The day I was there it was raining (not unusual for that locale :), and I had the place entirely to myself most of the time I was there.

Geoff

JLEES
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Post by JLEES » 13 Aug 2002 18:04

Thanks Geoff! I'll probably take a taxi to the restaurant and then walk from there. It was great talking with you again.
James

Heraklit
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Thingplatz/Thingstätte

Post by Heraklit » 13 Aug 2002 18:59

Loreley: The Thingstätte Loreleyfelsen at St Goarshausen on the Rhein is currently a Freilichtbühne which, during the summer months, is the site of popular outdoor concerts, featuring a variety of music from classical to rock.

Kamenz: Following a long period of neglect, extensive renovations changed the former Thingplatz to a now much used Freilichtbühne.
See http://www.kamenz.de/stadt/kamenz/kultu ... index.html

In addition to those previously mentioned, other Thingplatz/Thingstätte were at Bochum, and at Braunsweig, Niedersachsen, as well as at Bergen auf Rügen, and at Tilsit, East Prussia (now Sovetsk, a city in the West Russian Federation in Europe).

It is interesting to note that initially as a project under the National Socialists, the Thingstätte were intended to be used for the performance of dramas specifically written as Thingspiele. These Thingspiele were to celebrate the experience of the community ritually and to serve as an illustration of the Blood and Soil ideology. This kind of theater was supposedly to be a vehicle for making the National Socialist community thought "visible" through a "presentation of the community and the community fate". In the center the "Volk", not the individual, should be featured. A little fuzzy, but that was essentially the aim.

The Thing project never really achieved its goal. By late 1935 the German press was suggesting its lack of relevancy. Reasons for the failure of the movement were, among other things, the absence of suitable works, its very limited popularity, substantial financial deficits, and internal party squabbles and rivalry arose between Rosenberg and Goebbels. The German weather was also a factor. It was apparently decided their limited resources could be better used in the promotion of the conventional (‘indoor") theater.
Last edited by Heraklit on 14 Aug 2002 01:12, edited 1 time in total.

JLEES
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Nazi Thingstätte

Post by JLEES » 13 Aug 2002 20:40

Heraklit,
Again-Great information! I can't waite to check this site out now.
James

JLEES
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Heligenberg Thingstätte

Post by JLEES » 26 Nov 2002 20:18

geoff,
just letting you know i checked out the Heligenberg Thingstätte yesterday and found it most interesting. thanks for the recommendation. i took a taxi up and checked the site out for about an hour. the sign stated goebbels was there when it was opened june 22, 1935 and it could accomidate 9,000 people sitting and 5,000 standing at one time. the day before i went to braunau and found hitlers birth place. while there they told me it had been torn down, but after looking around some i found it. they are really trying to hise some elements of their nayi history. i am in munchen now getting ready to fly back to the states. it was a great trip.
james

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