• Germany's news in English
 

Nuremberg 'must fix up Hitler's parade grounds'

Published: 30 Aug 2013 12:24 GMT+02:00

The enormous rally grounds, which once covered 11 square kilometres and hosted the Nazi Party rallies documented in Leni Riefenstahl's propaganda film Triumph of the Will, have been a headache for the city since the war ended.

Some parts of the huge complex have been used for other purposes, and there is now a new museum in one chunk of a building, but many bits are starting to fall apart, presenting dangers to the hundreds of thousands of people who go to see it each year.

In a report on Friday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung suggested that Nuremberg had to chose between three possible approaches to the complex - a product of Hitler's megalomania designed in part by his architect Albert Speer and never completed.

The first option would be to destroy it. But, the paper says, although some parts were blown up to make room for housing in the 1960s, much of the rest is legally protected.

Demolition would provoke outrage

In any case, Maly told the paper demolishing the remaining buildings would provoke international outrage.

The second option would be to completely abandon the buildings to the weather and the process of natural degradation. Many in the city have suggested this would be a powerful symbol of how an era was left behind, morally as well as a physically, the paper said. The crumbling remains of the mad constructions of an empire which was supposed to last a thousand years would be a stark message against such hubris.

Yet allowing the buildings to collapse would force the city to fence them in - to protect visitors from falling rubble. Much of the area would have to disappear from public access, and, suggested Maly, could become a scene of mystery again. Some parts are already fenced off.

Some renovation necessary

So the city has decided to renovate the buildings to a certain degree - although Maly said he did not like the word, as it sounded too much like restore. "We will not be looking for original-style sandstone," he said. The process would be one of maintenance and a slow transformation into a place of historical learning, he said.

The first tranche of €3 million has already been earmarked to examine part of the famous Zeppelin tribune, and one of the 24 towers along the ramparts. There is also the Golden Hall underneath the stone steps, where the mosaic ceiling needs attention, while the questions remain about how to deal with post-war additions such as graffiti left by Allied soldiers.

Petra Waldmann, technical head of the Nuremberg construction office, told the Süddeutsche Zeitung that a survey would be conducted during the autumn and that by January it would be known how much the necessary work on the entire complex would cost.

Until now the rough estimate has always been €70 million, but a concrete sum would enable Nuremberg to approach national authorities for financial help. "This must be a national job, we cannot possibly take it all on alone," said Maly.

Around 200,000 visitors took part in official tours of the rally grounds last year, with probably hundreds of thousands more having a walk around on their own, the Süddeutsche Zeitung said.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'
Sudeten Germans practising traditional dance at a gathering in 2014. Photo: DPA

Sudeten Germans give up 'right to homeland'

The Sudeten German Homeland Association has given up its claim to the group's former home in parts of the Czech Republic, quieting one of the final echoes of the Second World War. READ  

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan
Families Minister Manuela Schwesig. Photo: DPA

Minister draws fire over wage transparency plan

Families Minister Manuela Schwesig confirmed on Sunday that she wants a new law allowing women to compare their wages with men doing similar work, provoking angry reactions from employers. READ  

Police wind down Bremen terror response
Heavily-armed police on patrol outside Bremen cathedral. Photo: DPA

Police wind down Bremen terror response

Police in Bremen said that the risk of a terrorist attack had been reduced in the city after they arrested two suspected arms dealers. The city remains under high alert, with special protection for the Jewish community. READ  

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone
Photo: DPA

Germany's Schäuble softens Greece tone

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Sunday Greece's new hard-left government needs "a bit of time" but is committed to implementing necessary reforms to resolve its debt crisis. READ  

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo
Photo: DPA

UK Pegida rally dwarfed by counter-demo

An estimated 375 people turned out for the Germany-based PEGIDA movement's first demonstration in Britain on Saturday, but were outnumbered by a 2,000-strong crowd of counter-protesters, police said. READ  

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote
Photo: DPA

Greek PM vows to 'start working hard' after vote

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed Friday to "start working hard" to implement vital reforms in the stricken eurozone country, after Germany's parliament approved a four month extension to its bailout. READ  

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce
Photo: DPA

Ukraine: troop deaths 'serious breach' of truce

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko declared the killing of three government troops by pro Moscow rebels a "serious breach of the ceasefire", during a telephone call Friday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, her office said. READ  

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps
Trouble at the top. Photo: DPA

Man wins court battle over loud footsteps

Germany's highest civil court ruled in favour of a man who swapped the carpet in his new apartment for parquet flooring, incurring the wrath of the retired couple who lived below him over his loud footsteps. READ  

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday
Photo: DPA

Teachers to strike nationwide from Monday

Teachers all over the country are expected to stike starting Monday, German education trade union GEW said, after negotiations with the wage commission of the federal states (TdL) failed to achieve results. READ  

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes
Andre Shepherd at the European Court of Justice in June 2014. Photo: DPA

EU court deals blow to US Iraq objector's hopes

American soldier Andre Shepherd, who applied for asylum in Germany as a conscientious objector against the war in Iraq after going AWOL from his unit, saw a judgement by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) go against him on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Photo: Police
Rhineland
Student driver crashes tank into family garden.
Photo: DPA
Politics
There was a notable absence at the Anti-Semitism Commission
Sponsored Article
Tourist or lifer: what sort of expat are you?
National
How Dresden bombing still divides Germany, 70 years on
Sponsored Article
Are you an American expat? How to face FATCA
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Take a cute break with this gallery of baby animals
International
What's keeping UK expats from voting?
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
All you ever needed to know about Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,199
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd