Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg
to be rebuilt

| 11 comments

Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg to be rebuilt

News: a complex of Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg designed by Hitler's favourite architect will undergo repairs costing €70 million (£60 million) to prevent the crumbling structures endangering tourists.

Around 200,000 visitors flock to the site in Nuremberg, southern Germany, each year but the monuments, designed by Nazi architect Albert Speer to last as long as Roman structures, have been gradually deteriorating since the end of the Second World War and are in danger of collapsing.

Nuremberg mayor Ulrich Maly told German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung that the only other available choices are to fence off the grounds, which would "certainly not be an appealing story for the city", or to renovate the site and prevent future accidents.

Some parts have previously been demolished, but Maly says this is no longer an option as the site is now listed as a historically significant memorial.

"It's not about prettying up the city" he said. "We won't be searching for true to original sandstone."

The six-square-mile site featured as a backdrop for Nazi propaganda movie Triumph of the Will and includes 24 towers and a "Zeppelin Tribune". It was used to host six Nazi party rallies between 1933 and 1938.

The first section of repairs are set to include a structural examination of the Zeppelin Tribune, including the mosaic-lined "Golden Hall" that the Fuehrer used for private audiences. It is understood that graffiti left on the walls by Allied soldiers after the war will be left intact.

Speer designed the buildings of the Reich to outlast the regime and used materials like granite and marble instead of steel and concrete in the hope that they would prove as enduring as classical monuments. In his "Theory of Ruin Value", Speer wrote: "By using special materials and by applying certain principles of statics, we should be able to build structures which even in a state of decay, after hundreds or (such were our reckonings) thousands of years would more or less resemble Roman models."

See more architecture in Germany »

Photograph is courtesy of Adam Jones.

  • Sebastian

    Just to set some things straight that obviously got lost in translation… First off, they’re not going to be “rebuilt”. They’re falling apart and the city, or our country, has three options: tear it down, which isn’t an option as the entire world would protest; they can let it fall apart, which would have the biggest symbolic value – those buildings were meant to last forever and now can’t even survive a century, but it would also mean that nobody can visit or enter them any more.

    The third option is to maintain them – let them fall apart, but keep them from collapsing. That is exactly what they’re doing, in no way is it going to be a restoration! If pieces are missing and are a potential safety issue, they’re going to be replaced and the “golden hall” is going to be examined so people can enter it and see it in the state it is in now.

    There aren’t going to be any swastikas or gold tiles being put up! The most important thing, which is also missing in this article, is that the last paragraph is about the golden hall being this mysterious place that we only know from pictures but can’t enter even though we know it exists. The main goal is to de-mystify, because people who have been in the golden hall don’t find it that spectacular. In fact, it’s supposed to look pretty cheap.

  • seth

    Let them crumble/

    • seb

      The use of ‘Health and Safety’ of tourists is not a sufficient cover for the restoration. I agree, let the buildings yield to time and all the power put in these monuments disintegrate into far history.
      Keep the tourists behind tensabarriers.

  • Gavin

    People are so predictable. Just because these buildings have a dark and relatively recent history, people want them left to rot. Using that logic, there’d be no Rome, or Alcatraz, or New Dehli or Versailes… and so on. It’s naive to treat these differently. They still represent a slice of history we shouldn’t ignore by abandoning them.

  • Steeevyo

    Speer was a genius.

    • Johan

      No. He was projecting something similar to replicas and he was corrupted morally.

      • Brendan

        Since when is an architect’s morals, questionable or not, any yardstick by which to measure their buildings? Frank Lloyd Wright was a horrible little philanderer who ran off with the wife of a client, Oscar Niemeyer was a commie who loved Stalin and best friends with Castro etc. Corb was a man with little or no political backbone and vacillated from liaising with the Vichy regime to get his ideas to the monsters behind the iron curtain – not to mention his penchant for married women too. And these are just a few of the greats.

        Speer was by no means a genius, but credit should be given where credit is due – the Cathedral of Light / original party grounds, must have been a truly impressive sight, even from the old videos it looks awe inspiring. His theory of ruin value has some merit too, although it lacks originality. Essentially, the buildings didn’t do anything. The political machine ruling at that time committed atrocities, but trying to cleanse the collective historical memory by destroying pieces of history is never the way forward.

  • disqus_EbDsdxbsrm

    Just blow it up.

  • TheArchitect

    Apparently these structures are important to preserve, while each single trace of socialist DDR period is erased (Alexander Platz? Palast der Republik?)

  • central

    When people visit here, do they really go here to pay homage to Speer? Doubt it. The lure for most, surely is that this is where so much momentum was gained that allowed the NAZI party to wreck havoc with millions of lives, including their own Germans. Why not tear it all down and plant a meadow where each wild flower pays homage to a life lost. What we should commemorate are those lives, not the machinery and public relations of the killers.

    • pumpnethyl

      Some may visit for the reason you mentioned. I think that monuments like these are important. They remind us that an entire nation of intelligent, reasonable people can be easily swayed into a state of insanity. This is hard to comprehend. We cannot hide the parts of history we do not like.