Most of what I knew before today about Nuremberg centered around its role in the trials of Nazis following WWII. Today, we learned al lot more about that but also a whole different chapter going back to the year 900 AD.
Our tour guide was a delightful Scottish (yes, Scottish!) woman who has lived in Nuremberg for 30 years and clearly has a love for the city And country. She began by taking us through the part of town with the strongest Nazi history. We saw the Zepplin Field where Hitler held his largest rallies. He selected Nuremberg because it was centrally located between northern Germany and southern Austria, which Germany had just annexed. The grounds are very run down, but that's the way the Nuremberg people want it - preserved but not pretty.
Next, we visited the unfinished "congress", a large round structure which Hitler designed to look like the Coliseum in Rome. He intended to cover it with glass and give speeches at noon with the sun shining brightly on him. Fortunately, the war ended badly for him and the structure was never completed. Just like the other site, the people want it preserved but not pretty. Both are stark reminders of what happened and what might have been had the Allies not prevailed.
We also saw the Palace of Justice where 22 Nazi prisoners were tried. A few were released, some were sentenced to prison and some sentenced to death. Our tour guide shared with us that it was the Americans who insisted that each person be tried separately and fairly. The Russians wanted group trials and quick executions. The timing of this lesson was interesting in light of the recent developments in Egypt.
Lastly, we left Hitler behind and visited the beautiful old city center, which is surrounded by a wall and moat. The area was the hub of medieval activity. Although much was destroyed in bombings during the war, it has been restored and offers a great look at how life was here over 1000 years ago. This part was absolutely fascinating and much more upbeat than our earlier discussions.
All in all it was aanother perfect day on our best vacation ever.
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