On March 10, 2015, our group, well minus two social butterflies, visited the Documentation Center in Nuremberg. This museum is in the north wing of the unfinished remains of the Congress Hall of the former Nazi party rallies. The museum concentrated mostly on the causes, connections, and consequences of Nazi Germany. Although it seems a bit weird, the documentation center had photos of those who had been hung as proof of death. This was fascinating to me because I would never have thought to request something of that nature. One part of the museum allows you walk out into the middle of the hall. This reminded me of a Roman structure where people gathered.
A few of us quickly browsed the items at the documentation to be able to visit the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. We, of course, ask for directions. The tour guide told Bowman specific directions, so we followed Bowman. We guessed that we had taken a few wrong turns when we ended up walking completely around the lake in order to get to the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. Luckily, it turned out for the best because it was a beautiful day for a two mile walk out that was completely out of our way.
Apart from the documentation center, the Nazi Party Rally grounds were originally created to demonstrate the power of the Nazi party and the increasing number of individuals who joined the group. Zeppelin Field and Grandstand were built on the Zeppelin meadow between 1934 and 1937. The field was designed to accommodate up to 100,000 people and the main stand providing seating for 60,000 spectators. The Zeppelin field originally had a swastika, but the US Army blew that up and the main grandstand has significantly deteriorated.
Once we finally made it to the Grounds, it was incredible to see how large and important the Nazi Party anticipated the area to be. The pictures at the documentation museum do not do the area justice. Several people mentioned that the area was allowed to deteriorate because the area should not be commemorated as this rally ground for the Nazi party. Others believe that it should have been used for something beneficial in the community to change the original intention of the area. You could definitely tell that the area was not being preserved. There were tons of garbage and broken bottles. There was also graffiti all over the walls expressing the artists’ distaste for the Nazi Party. It was eerie to be standing in the same place as Adolf Hitler as he commanded thousands of people. I got the chills several times as Bowman, Kathy and I sat to enjoy the nice day after our long walk around the lake.
I learned several things that day about the city of Nuremberg, the rally grounds and about my friends as we walked around the lake on our way. Despite the negativity surrounding the rally grounds, I felt honored to be able to witness such a spectacle.