This weekend, I found myself with a free Saturday- no plans. What I did have was a BahnCard, a nearby train station, and a surge of wanderlust. But where could I go that would be interesting, but wouldn’t involve a hotel or an overnight stay… well, I never did get to see all the touristy stuff in Nuremberg, so that seemed like a winner.
Administrative note #1: I referred to the city in the title of this post as Nürnberg, and in the paragraph above as Nuremberg. Both are correct- Nürnberg is the German word, and Nuremberg is the English spelling. (See also: Munich and München.)
Administrative note #2: I’m splitting this trip into two posts because I’ve got about twenty photographs and there’s a good and logical place to split them apart. Moving on!
Every trip to another place so far has started with the same thing: Trains! And while the view from the train last time I travelled was snow covered fields, this time around the green is starting to come back. The snow that was there melted off, and the plants are pretty happy about it.
The trip to Nuremberg on an ICE (Inter City Express) train is roughly an hour long; a very quick and comfortable ride. Once I got to the city, I followed the signs to the tram, which is basically a ground level train system. The streetcars in San Francisco are more or less the same thing.
Side note: The crutches the girl in this picture is using? They’re very common in Germany. Frankly, I think they’re much better than the sore-armpit crutches that are commonplace in the US when people sprain an ankle or what have you.
The #9 tram takes about ten minutes to get to the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände, or the Doku-Zentrum for short. This is the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rallying Grounds. It’s a museum in the unfinished Congress Hall where many Nazi party rallies were held.
There is a tremendous amount of archival footage from the Nazi rallies, along with artifacts from that time. Although Nazi symbols and paraphernalia are illegal in Germany in the present day, that wasn’t always so. There’s an example of old army man toys- the same kind that children in the US play with all the time. The difference between little green US Army men and these is obvious and striking though:
It’s also interesting to see the commemorative things- this is the sort of products that the Franklin Mint sells today, except this was all Hitler all the time:
There were also newspapers on display from many nations during that time period. It was interesting for me to see the political cartoons of the time from the American newspaper.
There were a great many photographs and films of bombings, of allied troops reaching Nuremberg, and so forth. There was an entire section dedicated to the Nuremberg trials, and the original books, logs, and tapes of the Goering interviews are all on display here.
The exit path of the museum contains a section with chips that have the names of many concentration camp victims on them, along with the names of the camps. It’s designed to look like a train track that goes on and on- very striking.
All in all, this was a fascinating museum. Since my arrival, I’ve seen lots of news reports about Nazi activity- as I said previously, it’s illegal here now, but there are still pockets of Nazi activity in some of the cities. While I don’t think anything like the Holocaust could happen again, this was still a pretty sobering experience.
Luckily, the rest of the Nuremberg trip was all fun and games. And lots of walking. Lots and lots of walking. That will all be in the next post.