For the three day President’s Day weekend, we found cheap train tickets to Nuremberg, so we packed a bag and hit the rails. The city is known for its Christmas market, architecture, little bratwursts, and has a haunting Nazi past. We’ve always talked about a quick trip to Nuremberg, but always put it off. Don’t put it off, people. This place is fascinating.
The swastika was blown to smithereens in 1945 after the war.
It was weird being there. Chilling, haunting. It was fascinating and it made me angry.
Traces of evil.
On one hand, I am all for letting Hitler’s empire rot away. In fact, let’s blow the whole thing up and then throw a big party. You know? Take that, Hitler. Or maybe we should just let it crumble.
But then, on the other hand, I have to say I was disappointed to see it covered in graffiti and full of people’s carvings in the sandstone. Tossed aside and in the way.
Maybe we should spend millions to preserve it. What will future generations think when they see this sprawling, four-square-mile park that once hosted party events and meetings? If we let it fall apart or discard it like the trash that Hitler and his beliefs were – and from the looks of it, that’s exactly what is happening – will my great-grandchildren know it as anything more than just what the history books tell us? I suppose then you could definitely count on a re-mystification of Hitler’s Nazi party. Being able to stand on the platform where Hitler stood makes it living history, more than pictures and books. History of such magnitude that can never repeat itself. Demolishing the buildings would surely cause an international outrage and while I don’t think a beautification is in order, I do think they should be kept in a semi-original-style. Preserving it doesn’t mean we’re proud of it. If we were proud of it, we’d erase it completely.
But then, who am I to make calls on such a sticky decision? I’m just a tourist who loves history. I’m really glad I got to see it.
Our final stop of the day was back in the city at the courthouse.
This is the building where the Nuremberg trials were held in 1945. And this is the very courtroom the trials took place in (and there’s me, listening to my audio guide while Owen pokes at my face…hi).
This is the room where 21 Nazi war criminals were put on trial before an international tribunal of judges appointed by the four victorious countries.
It took a full year of trials and deliberations to determine that 12 Nazis were sentenced to death by hanging, 3 were acquitted, and the rest were sent to prison. The criminals sat on the left side of the room, escorted by individual American soldiers through an elevator from a series of tunnels leading to a prison, behind the squared off section. We watched several videos of them on the stand, the one that rattled me the most was the commander of Auschwitz. He spoke about the death chamber. How they knew when they were dead because the screaming stopped. How they removed rings and gold from the teeth of the corpses and melted it down to give to the SS in Berlin. He claimed he didn’t know Hitler’s intentions were to completely obliterate the Jewish population. Really? Because I’m not sure how one could possibly miss that. It was pretty obvious. You can read the transcript of his testimony here.
We took the long way back to the hotel and took an evening stroll through the Old Town. We toured it more in-depth later and I’ll share that with you in another post (I’m getting tired and this post took three days of naps to write as it is).
It’s his thing. I don’t try to understand.
I celebrated the holiday of love with TWO valentines at a delicious and very authentic Italian restaurant across the street from our hotel.
I’ll be back later with the rest of our trip. I actually have a lot of posts planned on this sticky note sitting here by my computer, including a couple of recipes, how-tos, about the baby, and travel…we’ll see just how many of those get accomplished in the coming days…heh heh, I’ll do my best.
In the meantime…Owen is asleep (for now), the Viper Pilot is night flying his fancy jet and won’t be home until midnight or so, so I’m going to crack open a Koster Pilsner, put my feet up and watch Private Practice on Netflix. Cheers to that, amIright? I’m right.