Fascination and Terror Documentation Center, Nazi Party Rally Grounds, Nürenburg, Germany

Entrance to the Fascination and Terror Documentation Center

Entrance to the Fascination and Terror Documentation Center

Located in a large horseshoe-shaped building with granite façade, this museum tells the entire sordid and brutal story of the rise of the National Socialist Party (NSDAP). Nineteen theme rooms with photographs and exhibits outline how Hitler came to power by creating a cult-like image, how and why the rally grounds were created, racism and anti-Semitism, war, annihilation and genocide, and German resistance. Audio guides are available in English and recommended.

Two 35-minute films (subtitled in English) about Nürnberg and its role in the rallies, and the Nürnberg Trials, make interesting viewing. Watch both films before continuing through the museum. The first shows interviews with two local women who boast how they had a competition to see how many times they could see Hitler each year. One saw him 13 times, and the other 12. Another film interview shows an old soldier telling how marvelous the rallies were, demon-strating his parade ground drill using an umbrella, and doing the goose step.

The “Hitler Myth” theme room shows how he was portrayed to the German people as their savior, achieving cult hero status. The “Party Rallies Ritual” shows the different types of rallies Hitler staged, and how they were designed to have an emotional effect on the participants and crowd, rather than to carry any real deep meaning.

After finishing the museum tour, visitors can take the 15-minute walk to Zeppelin Field where the rallies were held. The long stone section of the Fuhrer’s original grandstand still remains, minus large Roman-style columns. Visitors can stand on the Fuhrer’s Rostrum and imagine a party rally with over 100,000 rabid Nazis chanting, singing and marching.

Fascination and Terror Documentation Center, Nazi Party Rally Grounds (Bayernstraße 110, 90471 Nürnberg, Germany; phone [0911] 231-5666 or visit www.museen.nuernberg.de/english/english/reichsparteitag_e/index_reichsparteitag_e.html) is open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Adult admission, €5. Allow at least two hours for your visit; longer with the viewing of the two films.