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SHARKHUNTERS International
Northern Patrol 2012
Wednesday 29 August

Wewelsburg Castle

The very mention of the name of this castle brings shivers up the spines of real historians.  It was built in the 17th century as a hunting lodge for a church bishop (nice benefits for the job!) but in the early days of the Third Reich, it was taken over by Heinrich Himmler as a training facility for his young SS officers.  There were sleeping rooms, training rooms - and a very special crypt.

As Germany was on the verge of surrender, Himmler ordered that the main tower, which was a very special place to the SS, must be destroyed by fire.  The SS troops on scene did indeed set fire to the tower, but the tower and much of the contents were not destroyed.

Come with us as we visit this historic place - which has undergone massive changes in the past two years.
 

 

As always, photographs are allowed - but NOT inside the tower.  This is a major change.  We will see why shortly.

Other changes - previously one could walk right into the underground crypt called Valhalla Halle by some, as well as the meeting room on the floor above.  Not any more.  One must have a guide who will tell the sanitized and enhanced version of this history and one must spend minimum of an hour in the newly built museum with the guide telling this 'history'.  Join us - you will be surprised.
 

 
We see the castle as we park   Picture of the North Tower shot 31 May 1925
     
 
The Important North Tower   We walk on a different path that was not
used when we visited before.
     
 
On the other side of the overpass   further into the courtyard
     

..........and we have arrived - but NOT YET into the North Tower....

......we must first go through the museum.  We asked the guide how long we would be in the museum before we got into the tower and he told us minimum of an hour but probably more like one and a half hours to see it all properly.  We told him we were pressed for time (we lost one hour on the Autobahn due to highway construction) and we had a schedule - we told him maximum twenty minutes in the museum.  He said this was not possible to see it all properly - we told him to talk fast and to walk faster.

As we walked we asked the guide why so much new security with the need for a guide and for so many new cameras.  He said that they did not want neo-Nazis coming there and saying things like "88" or making those gestures with the right arm.  Anyone who did such would be immediately thrown out and off the grounds.  One of our group asked if there really was freedom of speech in Germany but the guide apparently did not hear the question as there was no reply.

 


Photos were allowed in the museum and we shot some as we whizzed through, headed for the North Tower.  Following are just some random photos we took in the museum.

 
     
 
     
 


Finally we were in the crypt beneath the North Tower where young SS officers swore their oath of allegiance.  Photography was not allowed so you might want to look at any of our previous Northern 'Patrols' where we visited Wewelsburg Castle when photography was allowed.  Look also at our DVD-11 "Castles of the SS" and we give a thorough tour of this castle.  Log onto www.sharkhunters.com and click on 'DVDs' in the left margin.  You may click on these scenes to get a brief idea what is on this DVD. 
SCENE 1    SCENE 2   

Okay, we go into Valhalla Halle where photography is strictly forbidden.  There are security cameras everywhere and other electronic monitoring devices we couldn't identify.  However, the camera of one of our group malfunctioned and took photos - doggone!

 

These pictures on the walls depicting what the artist felt showed the anguish and suffering.........whatever, are all new here.  Previously there were just the plain stone walls.  We asked our guide what was the reason for them and he told us "they are meant to terrify right radicals".  None of our group ran out of the hall screaming, so I guess none of us are 'Right Radicals'.

 
At the entrance to the hall we see one of the many cameras   One of the 12 paintings.  Our guide was quick to tell us that
these are only copies - that the originals are kept in a safe
place.  Like who cares?  It's not like they are the Mona Lisa
and some clever art thief will steal & sell them.  Who knows?


 

 

We then went up to the meeting room directly above and found there were beanbag chairs all over the place and again, we asked the guide what was the reason.  He said that true Nazis would not sit on a Swastika.  HUH?  We had to burst his bubble and tell him that this was not a Swastika but in fact, it was a "Sonnenrad" - a German Sunburst.  He said he was aware of that, but this is what he was supposed to say.

It is highly unlikely that we will ever return to Wewelsburg but for the moment, let's go to Mittagessen - midday meal or more easily understood - lunch


We walked a few hundred meters to our restaurant.  This had been turned into an Officers' Club for the SS by Himmler.  it is now a restaurant with excellent food - and quite a history.  A group of WW II veterans had finished their lunch was departing, leaving the restaurant to us.

 

Look closely at the trim around the building.........

 

.....does anything stand out?

     
 
The main room is huge and traditional   This stove is only for show - they cook in another room
     
 
At the end of each booth the emblem of a different
SS division is beautifully carved into the end piece.
  The same emblem of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf


During the days of the Reich, the basement was given over to the Hitler Junge for their meetings and to be used as sort of clubhouse as well.  This HJ Keller is preserved in the same way as it operated in the days of the Reich (photos below).  A few years ago our entire Sharkhunters 'Patrol' group enjoyed our lunch in this Keller.

 
Always a roaring fire in the Keller   Flowers and candles were a favorite here


We decided to go upstairs for our lunch - into the rooms that had been the private rooms of Himmler and other high-ranking SS men.

 
Who relaxed on this sofa 70 years ago?   Who ate at this table back then?
     
  How many high ranking SS officers enjoyed their meals here in
this room - at these very tables?  Let your mind wander into history.

 


We saw a lot of Germany this day, riding for quite a while in the German countryside.  Tomorrow we tour the only Type XXI boat remaining in the world.  Join us.........it is a trip into the tunnels of history.

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