Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Nurnberg Day 2

This first part is still day 1, but I didn't get it until late last night, so we'll put it on day 2. Last night Mark and I walked around the old city a bit and he wanted to show me the cool old restaurant he ate in last time he was here. The door reaches his belly button. That's about how tall it is. So we opened up the door to the restaurant, bent over and went down a very steep staircase to this restaurant. Mark wanted a picture of the suit of armor behind me. I was just in the way. Anyhow, the building was built in the early 1300s and was not damaged much in the bombings in 1945. It's original use was a tenement house for the nobility, and the basement was converted into a restaurant just over 100 years ago. The food was spectacular!
Today I went around with a guide. His name is Robert and he was a German instructor at BYU Idaho for many years. He recently retired, so he came to Nurnberg with his son who works with Mark. He is very knowledgeable and it was a real treat to be able to walk around with him. We took the bus to the Nazi Documentation Station (Dokumentationzentrum Reichsparteitagsgelande with the dots over the a). It was Hitlers intention to make Nurnberg the hub of the Reich, and in the 30s construction began on a huge amount of buildings, most of which were never finished. There was to be a parade ground, which you may have seen in footage of Hitler speaking. The podium and seating for officials was finished, and the grounds were cleared for the parades, but the plans included so much more. He also planned for a zeppelin field and numerous other buildings that were all started but construction halted when the war began.

The documentation center was supposed to be a covered stadium with seating for 50,000, I believe, and the outside structures were built, but the ceiling was never completed. The final section of the museum was a number of interviews with citizens of Nurnberg who were alive as Hitler was rising to power, through and after the war. They shared their feelings and ideas about Hitler, why they followed him and what that whole experience meant to them personally. One of these interviews was with a Jewish man, there were 2 women who were teenagers at the time, and another man who was part of the Hitler Youth organization. The teenage girls were very interesting to me. One thing that was said that really hit home with me was they kind of competed to see who could see Hitler more often. They counted the times in each year that they got to see him. Much like our youth today count the times they see their favorite movie, or favorite sports figure.

Hitler was mad. If he were alive today he would have been the kid who took out a gun and opened up in his high school. Or run for president. I cannot express enough how obvious it is to me that history is repeating itself again. And this little visit has increased my anxiety over what is going on in our world. The cycle does not seem to go away with time. All the little governmental changes that resulted in this lunatic being able to take total control of the government are happening again. I just hope that there are more people in the world now that understand and will stand up for our individual rights and each person's right to be an individual. That we will take responsibility to know and understand what is going on in our world and that we will be our brother's keeper. The teenage girls said their neighbors went away but they thought they were sent to Israel or something, and that they were all together in one community where they belonged. They had no idea (or didn't want to know) that these good, hard working people were being sent to their death. We talked to an older couple on the bus. The man was 17 when the war broke out, and spent 5 years in a Russian prison camp. He expressed that he had no idea why they all got so easily caught up in the madness, but everyone was caught up in it. Kinda sounds like everyone was so busy trying to make their side (aka the Nazi party) be right, and better than the other party (aka the rest of the world) that they didn't really pay attention to the basic ideals of either party. Hmmm.

Enough of that. On to the rest of my day.

Once we finished with the station, we went to downtown old town again and wandered a bit. We went to many different churches but I only got a picture of this one. It's the St. Giles' Church, and it is amazing on the outside, and the only baroque church in the old town, but has been sufficiently modernized on the inside, so it wasn't very impressive. But the outside is beautiful. When we were going in to these churches, Robert commented, "It's no wonder not very many people go to church anymore". It was super cold outside, and the temperature didn't change much when we went inside. I guess they don't even try to heat those old giant buildings!

1 comment:

Parkinson Family said...

Jeny, you are my hero.

It's your turn on Words. Can't you take some time off from German history to play, for crying out loud?