Heinrich Hoffmann, Hitlers photographer, once said “Der Fotograf bildet ab, sonst nichts.” (The photographer depicts, nothing else.) This was his argument for turning a 10 year prison conviction to only 4 years. Albert Speer, Hitlers architect and later Reich Minister for Armaments and Ammunition, was convicted to only 20 years of prison while other leading Nazis of his rank and with very similar collections of crimes against humanity were sentenced to death. Leni Riefenstahl, Hitlers infamous director, wrote: „[…] wo liegt denn meine Schuld? Sagen Sie mir doch das. Ich habe keine Atombomben geworfen, ich habe niemanden verleugnet. Wo liegt denn meine Schuld? (Where is my fault? Tell me that. I didn’t throw any atom bombs, I didn’t deny anyone. Where is my fault?
Together with Göbbels as Reich Minister of Propaganda and many others creatives, they created the myth around Hitler and the Nazis. Their grandeur and elevation. They depicted the führer as a Messias and the SS as saviors from evil. But their professions deal with visual aspects and they have been and still are underestimated in their effects. Is design able to create a monster? As you can see in this very distinct examples, it sure is.
A never finished building to host more than 50.000 people. With a planned height of 70 meters and a diameter of 170 meters the biggest still existing of the Nazi buildings.
from where the Reichsparteitag happened and Hitler held his infamous speeches.
A walk with an old and dear friend trough the marvelous village of Hirschhorn over Neckar river. It’s so good to see people grow and change and that every change has the chance to be a powerful boost of live. At the same time walking through historic environments and knowing her since our distant school days reminds me that there is a solid foundation that can last over centuries.
I started taking walks at night sometimes on my own, sometimes with a friend to move my tired home-office legs. You see some dog walkers around but even Unter den Linden and Brandenburger Tor is empty. Nobody is out there and it’s like in a movie where you wake up and suddenly you become aware that you are the only person around.
Is anybody in Berlin taking care of of urban planning at all? And if yes, why all this ugliness? And why does something cool happen every time there is abandoned building? And if yes: Why not build abandoned buildings?
Some years ago I visited an exhibition in the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin and only there I became aware that famous architect Egon Eiermann not only built part of a hotel in my hometown Buchen im Odenwald, but also several settlements for post-war refugees in 1947.
In 1946 Magnani, a priest from Hettingen, and Egon Eiermann made plans to build houses for the numerous refugees coming from the East to Baden. The settlers were strictly selected by ethical criteria (“no people caught with lies, theft or adultery”) – and had to build the houses mostly on their own.
Today it is possible to visit one of the simple houses which perfectly shows the different stadiums of occupancy – for example by not (always) recreating the original parts, but by leaving 40s, 60s and 80s taste of the residents shine through.
We’ve been lucky to have a guided tour by one of the former students of Eiermann. And I strongly recommend a visit for every friend of modern architecture.
Please look for opening hours and more history (German language) on the website.
Other Eiermann houses in Hettingen and Buchen today
One of those days. When you stray around in your city – necessary sometimes, to get a feeling of belonging and full of surprising discoveries. When I came here a long time ago, the historical Moltkebrücke (the bridge with the lions you can see below) was a solitary building in the middle of nowhere. And while there are some new, quite impressive corporate and private buildings, their aesthetic expression seams meaningless and empty compared to the Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Kongresshalle).
My Dad would have had his 76 birthday today.