Monday, June 21, 2010


Our second day of the excursion we headed to Nurnberg, which you may have heard of the Nurnberg trials. The victorious allied forces of WWII put on a series of military tribunals held in the Palace of Justice, located in Nurnberg (wikipedia). 95% of the city was destroyed by bombings of WWII because it was the Nazi's main rally grounds. When we first arrived to the city we went to a plaza to watch the Nurnberg Frauenkirche clock tower at noon. We had about an hour to kill before noon striked, so we wandered around the streets to see the city. It appeared to be more like a village rather than a city because there was a main rubbled stone street with smaller alley streets branching off between the buildings and the streets were filled with people. We saw very few cars passing through. Most of the buildings and store fronts had an old cottage-like aesthetic with high pitched roofs and exposed wooden structural members on the exteriors. Of course, we were drawn to follow the main street which lead us to a castle located on the top of the hill. It looked like medieval castle made with large stones and heavy fortificating walls. We walked along the side of the castle where we passed through two vaulted tunnels and over a few suspended bridges. The castle was surrounded by individual small gardens with garden sheds, each having their own unique characteristic. I thought about my mom the whole time; I know she would have loved to see it for ideas of her future 'secret garden'. We eventually reached the peak of the hill (top of castle) where we saw a beautiful aerial view of the city. We then quickly headed down the hill to see the Nurnberg Frauenkirche clock strike noon. The clock tower can be described as a large scale 'cuckoo clock'. When noon stricked the horns of the soldiers raised and girls danced around the king holding hands in a circle, I found it to be anti-climatic but the technology was impressive for a church built in the 1500's. I was expecting an animation like the Duloc dolls performance off of Shrek.Later that afternoon, we headed to the Nazi rally grounds. There was only one part of Hitler's master plan for his rally grounds that was completed before WWII. He wanted these rally grounds to establish power and control where all of his supporters could gather. The museum that is located on these grounds has an exhibit titled "fascination and terror". Hitler gained support through propaganda and intimidation. Our tour guide shared with us the German's fascination with him; many had portraits hanging in their living room, his name was associated with VW advertisment, women wrote him letters pleading to sleep with him to have his babies, and his picture appeared inside chocolate bar wrappers (like willy wonka's golden ticket). Everyone knew of Adolf Hitler whether they supported him or not. Those who did not worship him, or were threatening to him were sent to concentration camps. We also learned some personal stories from our tour guide who's grandfather was a Nazi military soldier. He said one day his father and uncles were asking their father stories of what he did during the Nazi's military rule and their father smashed a hammer on his had and demanded they never speak of that again. Everyone in Germany wanted to forget about their defeat in WWII and forget about the terror of the Nazi regime. As we were touring the rally grounds, we got to visit the unfinished enormous arena (made to hold 50,000), the main axial street for military marching, and the parade grounds which was the only part complete before WWII. Hitler actually held a speech at this stadium, where many Germans rallied for Nazi power. I got to stand where Hitler made his speech. I cannot say it was an exciting experience because he was so evil, but it was 'thrilling' to become a part of such a profound moment in world history. After the parade grounds we went to the musuem to visit the "Fascination and Terror" exhibit. There we were able to learn more about Hitler and the Nazi party. The museum was located in the completed phase of the arena. The design of the musuem was done through an architectural competition where the winners designed a profound enterance and circulatory path that resembled a speer going through the Nazi rally grounds. This gesture represented how the Germans feel about their horrific history.

No comments:

Post a Comment