Yesterday’s excursion lead to two places in Nürnberg: The Reichsparteitagsgelände and the Memorium, that is Courtroom 600.
Nürnberg is a treasure box, it’s filled with museums representing every era of the history of the proud Reichsstadt. The undisputed crown of these collections belongs to the GNM – Germanisches Nationalmuseum – a house of European prominence. Some years ago the Bavarian centralized gouvernement nourished plans to take parts of the collections to Munich with the justification, that art of international importance should not be shown in the Franconian province. The reactions were not as joyful as those Bavarians expected and the plans were dropped.
The Third Reich is part of the German history and undeniable a part of the history of Nürnberg – 12 hectares of land in the middle of a city and some unfinished megalomanic buildings are not to be ignored. Nürnberg was called the Stadt der Reichsparteitage, the annual meeting of the NSDAP were held here (Ger., Eng.), it was seen as a name of honour. München was the Hauptstadt der Bewegung, Capital of The Movement, and until today has no idea how to deal with this past and what to do with the numerous nazi buildings still standing around.
The Reichsparteitagsgelände (Ger., Eng.) today is preserved and protected, plans for building houses, industry and other uses were put aside. Since 2001 the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (Eng.) is in use showing a large and informative exhibition.
On our arrival we were greeted by the spiritus rector of the institution, Dr. DIETZFELBINGER (wiki). He gave us a short introduction and after our visit of the exhibition we would have the possibility for a discussion. The place is unique in the brick shell of the giant Kongresshalle (Ger., Eng.). They have good texts, good pictures and a good presentation. Later in the discussion our host sayed that a survey showed that young people seeing the exhibition did not use the computers and touchscreens – these gimmicks in fact fall completely through. The content is transported by text mainly, and images, but these need explanation. All these photo albums on touchscreen are in vain. The Centre has a very busy schedule and offers educational programs and discussions – and these services are used and accepted very well.
The second station was the Memorium Nuremberg Trials (Ger., Eng.), also part of the Nürnberg museum landscape and closely related to the Dokumentationszentrum. I had visited Courtroom 600 (Ger., Eng.) some years ago together with a friend. It is still used as courtroom and in the earlier years it was possible to see it on weekends only. Now above the courtroom under the roof an exhibition about the Nuremberg trials (Ger.) is created, four rooms with modern exhibition technology. We were greeted by Frau ZENTGRAF of the scientific staff. While we visited the exhibition I had the possibility to talk with her. The subject of this exhibition is pretty “bulky goods”, history of law, finding new law. We had a nice conversation about the start of the exhibition. The first three texts depicting 19th century’s ideas about Völkerrecht (Ger., Eng.), the change of the character of war and the final need to react to the deeds of the Third Reichs leading caste were a bit abridged in my humble opinion. I did not come to see the last two rooms where the longtime consequences of “Nürnberg” were discussed. The International Criminal Court (ICC) in DenHaag (Ger., Eng.) is based explicitly the Nuremberg Principles (Ger., Eng.) and thus they were crucial for the development of an International Crime Law. And its enforcement. The group had a nice discussion in the courtroom.
It was a very enriching and inspiring excursion. But what the activities of the city of Nuremberg can mean for this city’s view on her own history still needs to be figured out.