Greens want war memorial at Hitler’s hideaway
BONN, April 5 (Reuter) – Germany’s Green Party demanded on
Wednesday that Adolf Hitler’s former Alpine hideaway be turned
into a memorial to the victims of Nazi horrors to prevent it
becoming a shrine for neo-Nazis.
The wealthy southern state of Bavaria said in February it
would keep control over the “Eagle’s Nest” on the Obersalzberg
mountain in Berchtesgaden after the United States army closes
its recreation centre there this year.
“The Obersalzberg threatens to become through the back door
a shrine to Nazi megalomania,” Greens deputy Gerald Haefner
wrote in a letter to Bavarian premier Edmund Stoiber.
“Berchtesgaden must not be allowed to become a pilgrimage
destination for old and new Nazis.”
The U.S. army has used the Eagle’s Nest, Hitler’s
mountaintop summer resort where he met British prime minister
Neville Chamberlain in 1938, as a winter sports centre and golf
course since World War Two.
But in February it announced its closure due to the sharp
cuts in U.S. forces in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
Bonn originally pledged 30 million marks ($22 million) to
help renovate the Berchtesgaden site to keep it from the public
property market. But it then pulled out of the project.
Haefner said in his letter to Stoiber that the idyllic site
showed few signs of the “rule of terror” that once emanated
from it and that Bavaria should take pains to illustrate its
past to visitors clearly.
“I demand the establishment of a memorial to the victims of
the Nazis, the establishment of a documentation centre and the
publication and distribution of information brochures devoted to
telling the truth,” he said.
Bavaria had pledged to keep control of the site in order to
ensure it was not misused.
In the heyday of the Third Reich, Hitler, his secretary
Martin Bormann, propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels and Luftwaffe
head Hermann Goering all had sumptuous villas in the grounds.
They were mostly destroyed in a British bombing raid in 1945.
A small part of the remaining complex is open to the public
and about 400,000 tourists visit it annually. Some occasionally
leave behind graffiti like “The Fuehrer lives on in our
hearts” and “Death to Jews” or swastikas scrawled onto the
The main attraction is the villa presented to Hitler by the
Nazi party on his 50th birthday. The terrace where he was often
photographed with his mistress Eva Braun and visiting statesmen
is now a restaurant with a breathtaking view of the Alps.
Archive/File: people/h/hitler.adolf/press memorial-at-lair