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Northern Patrol 2012
Wednesday 29 August
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 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
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....
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.
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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