Our Viking River Cruise Grand European Tour: Day 8 – Nuremberg, Germany

The Fuhrer’s Congress Hall was supposed to evoke the feeling of ancient Rome. Instead, it sits as a bleak reminder of a horrifying time in history.

The Fuhrer’s Congress Hall was supposed to evoke the feeling of ancient Rome in German citizens. Instead, it sits as a bleak reminder of a horrifying time in their, not so ancient, history.

< Our Viking River Cruise Grand European Tour: Day 7 – Regensberg, Germany

Woke up to grey skies and rain, well travelling in this part of Europe in November, I guess it was inevitable. Today, we are no longer cruising along the Danube River, but along the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal which connects with the Danube at Kelheim and the Main River at Bamberg. It is sometimes referred to as the Europa Canal. I could bore you with more details because we are full of knowledge from the morning presentation about the canal which was quite interesting. During the presentation, we were reminded of different kinds of cruisers, because in low tones we could hear a woman quietly moaning about how she preferred the larger cruise ships with ice rinks, swimming pools and zip lines because river cruising was ‘too educational.’

At 11 am, a two-minute silence was observed for Armistice Day (Veterans Day in the U.S.)

Shortly after lunch, we arrived in Nuremberg. Instead of joining the included tour of the old city, we opted for seeing the dark side of some of the world’s history. It was a poignant experience made even more memorable because it was Armistice Day.

Now, piercing the ugly edifice of Fuhrer’s Congress Hall is the Congress Hall Documentation Center where a permanent exhibition titled

Now, piercing the ugly edifice of Fuhrer’s Congress Hall is the Congress Hall Documentation Center where a permanent exhibition titled “Fascination and Terror” explores the causes, contexts and consequences of the Nazi tyranny.

The museum itself pierces the heart of the structure and is designed not to actually touch the structure of the old monstrosity.

The museum itself pierces the heart of the structure and is designed not to actually touch the old monstrosity.

Nuremberg is infamously known as both the seat of Nazi propaganda (and as the place where the Nazi criminals were punished.) First, we visited Zeppelin Field, this being the former Nazi Party Rally Grounds where tens of thousands came to salute a manipulative madman, Adolf Hitler. The largest party rallies, the rallies you see in old films and documentaries, were held here between 1933 and 1938.

The museum itself holds many fascinatingly horrifying examples of average citizens being transformed into tools of evil by blind allegiance.

The museum itself holds many fascinatingly horrifying examples of average citizens being transformed into tools of evil through blind allegiance to their leaders.

Later, we visited the Fuhrer’s Congress Hall, which was built in the flamboyant style of the Roman Colosseum. The building of the Congress Hall, built to glorify one man’s sick vision, was suspended in September 1939, (funds and labour were being diverted to wars.) Today, the Documentation Center museum, designed to look like a gleaming spike the through the heart of the ugly bricks, is in the north wing of the Congress Hall. Through thought-provoking exhibits, it illustrates the rise of Nazi power, Nazi propaganda, the boycott of Jewish businesses, the infamous Nuremberg Laws outlawing Jewish citizenship, the Holocaust, eyewitness accounts of survivors and finally the Nuremberg trials. After watching a brief documentary on the Trials, we travelled across the city to the Palace of Justice, to Courtroom 600, where the actual proceedings took place.

What was supposed to emulate the ancient structures of ancient Rome was ultimately a cheap brick facade.

What was supposed to emulate the ancient structures of ancient Rome was ultimately a cheap brick facade.

 

For more information see: http://museums.nuernberg.de

We returned to the ship in a sombre mood. After a hearty dinner of fresh fish and much wine, our moods improved, but we will never forget the lessons of history taught in Nurenberg.

Hits

The fascinating, but terrible, history of World War II and the Nazis.

Misses

Rain, rain and more rain.

Our Viking River Cruise Grand European Tour: Day 9 – Bamberg, Germany >

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Author: Words by Sarah Wilson - Photos by Jonathan Look Jr.

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