Berchtesgaden

BERCHTESGADEN
STADTWAPPEN BERCHTESGADEN


Berchtesgaden is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps



It is located in the south district ofBerchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich.

To the south of the city the Berchtesgaden National Park stretches along three parallel valleys.
Berchtesgaden is often associated with the Mount Watzmann, at 2713 m the third-highest mountain in Germany (after Zugspitze and Hochwanner), which is renowned in the rock climbing community for its Ostwand (East Face), and a deep glacial lake by the name ofKönigssee (5.2 km²).
Another notable peak is the Kehlstein mountain (1835 m) with its Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest * see below), which offers spectacular views to its visitors.
Berchtesgaden's neighbouring towns are Bischofswiesen, Marktschellenberg, Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee.
The first historical note dates back to 1102 and it mentions the area because of its rich salt deposits.
Much of Berchtesgaden's wealth has been derived from its salt mines.
The town served as independent Fürstpropstei until the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in 1803.
During the Napoleonic wars, Berchtesgaden changed hands a few times, such as in 1805 under the Treaty of Pressburg, when the area was ceded to Austria.

Berchtesgaden came under Bavarian rule in 1810 and became instantly popular with the Bavarian royal family, which often visited Königssee and maintained a royal hunting residence in the town itself.
Nascent tourism started to evolve and a number of artists came to the area, which reportedly gave rise to "Malereck" (literally painter's corner) on the shore of Königssee.
The most famous author who lived in Berchtesgaden was Ludwig Ganghofer.





ECKART - HITLER - AND THE OBERSALZBURG

The area of Obersalzberg was an area 1930s used by Hitler and senior members of his government.
Hitler's mountain residence, the Berghof, was located here.
Berchtesgaden and its environs (Stanggass) were fitted to serve as an outpost of the German Reichskanzlei office (Imperial Chancellery).
Some typical Third Reich buildings in Berchtesgaden include the railway station, that had a reception area for Hitler and his guests, and the post office next to the railway station.
The Berchtesgadener Hof Hotel was a hotel where famous visitors stayed, such as Eva Braun, Erwin Rommel, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, as well as Neville Chamberlain and David Lloyd George.

Not long after Hitler siezed the leadership of the party and became it's Fuhrer, his mentor, Eckart, introduced him to the lovely village of Berchtesgaden that was nestled in the Bavarian Alps.
Located near the Austrian border and only a two hour train ride south-east of Munich, Berchtesgaden was a small farming, mining and resort community.
Since about 1850 the area had been one of the summer stomping grounds for Germany's royalty and high society.
Since the first world war it had fallen on leaner times.
Under the influence of Eckart, Hitler adapted the custom of spending weekends, holidays, and vacations at the mountain retreat.
Hitler stayed with Eckart in a house, called the Sonnenhauesl, or as Hitler called it, the "Sonnenkopfl," at Lockstein.
About a year after his introduction to Berchtesgaden, Hitler and a friend made a two mile hike up to Obersalzberg.
Dotted with a few small farms and summer guest-houses, the area offered some of the most spectacular scenic views of the German and Austrian Alps.
Hitler described the region as "a countryside of indescribable
beauty."

He soon began spending most of his free time there and normally took a room at the Pension Moritz (see right).
A short walk below the Moritz was the Gasthof zum Turken (see left) (named after an innkeeper who fought the Turks) where Hitler and his friends enjoyed the "genuine goulash" and often lingered in one of the small public rooms lost in conversation.
It no doubt impressed Hitler to learn that the Moritz and Turken had once been the meeting places of such dignitaries as Prince-Regent Luitpold of Bavaria, the composer Johannes Brahms and even Crown prince Wilhelm of Prussia.
Having taught Hitler the oratory skills to manipulate an audience through the techniques of hand gestures, voice control and timing, Eckhart now presented his prodigy with a place that would overwhelm him with majestic and inspiring grandeur.
Little wonder that Hitler later said that it was here that he had spent his most pleasant times, and conceived his greatest ideas.

And opposite the Eckart's Sonnenhauesl (The Little House of the Sun) was the mighty Untersberg (see right) - the massive mountain that dominates the Obersalzburg.

Interetingly, the Untersburg is no ordinary mountain, and one reason Hitler became intrigued by the mountain is because of re-occuring events, legends and tales of people gone missing, people experiencing missing time, encounters with elves and extraterrestrials and passageways to what Hitler called “the inner earth”.
Often noted by occultists as an “energy spot” or “magnetic geo-node,” many seekers came to the Untersberg to be refreshed by the water and drawn to over 400 caves and tunnels by what is described as a “strong magnetic anomaly.”
The Untersberg has been characterized by the Dalai-Lama as the “sleeping dragon,” the “heart-chakra of the world.”
The legends of time portals, missing expeditions, tunnel systems leading to fountains, temples, forests and marble rooms go back hundreds of years.
One of the most persistent rumors involves the legend of Karl the Great (of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation), known in the west as Charles the Great or Charlemagne.
Though physically buried in the German village of Aachen, it is believed that the “astral form” of this emperor sleeps in the mysterious depths of a subterranean throne room, surrounded by his strongest knights, gnomes, frost giants and fire giants, Valkyries and other “Volk,” awaiting the final liberation of his country and kinsmen; that he will rule over a thousand year kingdom of Aryan dominion.

Other accounts maintain this entity is the spirit of the emperor Frederich Barbarossa.

Within the ancient mythologies of the Nordic People are the prophecies that at a future point in time, though time itself is a variable, the “Watcher-god”, Heimdall, will sound his horn to summon the children of Loki (see right).
This semi-divine/human Sixth Race will break their bonds and unite with mystical forces to sail from the land of the Niflheim, located in an astral plane beyond the auroras, waging the final battle with the current “usurpers” of the planet to culminate in the enthronement of their vaticinated king.
It is this anticipated kingdom and its preparation that has been the goal of the ancient spirits. This is the heart of 'The Awakening of the Black Sun' (see left).
The Untersberg is known to be inhabited by certain kinds of elemental spirits of Nature, some of which are good and benevolent, others of a wicked and malicious nature, and inimical to mankind; and there are innumerable tales circulating among the people in the neighborhood, telling about the doings of the gnomes, fairies, and giants, dwelling within caves and in gorgeous marble halls and grottoes filled with gold and precious stones that will turn into dead leaves and stones when seen in the light of day.
“Some of the friendly tribes come out of the Untersberg on certain occasions, and they are said to have sometimes associated with the inhabitants of our plane of existence, partaking in the dances and amusements of the peasants, and even taking stray children with them into the Untersberg; and, incredible as it may appear, it is even asserted by, “those who know” that marriages have taken place between citizens of our world and the inhabitants of the kingdom of gnomes.
Of course it is well known that within the mysterious depths of the Untersberg there dwells the soul of a great emperor in his astral form.
There, together with his retinue, he sleeps an enchanted sleep, waiting for the liberation of his country.
Sometimes very suddenly, even on a clear summer day, clouds are seen to issue from the sides of the mountain; grotesquely-formed ghost-like mists arise from the caverns and precipices, crawling and gliding slowly upwards toward the top, and form on the neighboring peaks also, clouds of monstrous shapes and sometimes of gigantic proportions floating on, until the head of the Untersberg is surrounded by a surging sea of vapours growing dense and dark.
Seldom included in historical analysis of the Third Reich and Adolf Hitler, is the spiritually mesmerizing impact of Mount Untersberg.
Hitler’s first direct encounter took place in 1923, upon which date the future führer would describe his feelings, “It was so wonderful ! A view of the Untersberg ! Indescribable !

While not specifically recorded, it is unlikely that the youthful Hitler would have been unaware of the writings of Franz Hartmann.

Franz Hartmann (22 November 1838, Donauwörth - 7 August 1912, Kempten im Allgäu) was a German physician, theosophist, occultist,geomancer, astrologer, and author.
His works include several books on esoteric studies and biographies of Jakob Böhme and Paracelsus.
He translated the Bhagavad Gita into German and was the editor of the journal Lotusblüten.
He was at one time a co-worker of Helena Blavatsky atAdyar.
In 1896 he founded a German Theosophical Society. He also supported the Guido-von-List-Society (Guido-von-List-Gesellschaft).
According to Theodor Reuss he was one of the original founders of the magical Order that would later be known as Ordo Templi Orientis, along with Reuss and Carl Kellner.


His obsession with occultism and theosophy, now well documented, would explain the peculiar fascination with the “sleeping dragon”, as described by the Dalai Lama.
Having rented Haus Wachenfeld, a small vacation villa across the valley from Mount Untersberg, for four years, it was in 1932, with proceeds earned from royalties from Mein Kampf, that Adolf Hitler purchased what would become the Berghof.

A major renovation of the house soon followed, including a series of extensions, a bowling alley, a library and a basement.
(see Grundstein - Foundation Stone of 1936 - left - with Thule Swastikas)
Around Hitler's home, several Third Reich leaders, such as Hermann Göring, Martin Bormann and Albert Speer, acquired residences.
By 1935-36 Party Secretary Bormann had all residents of Obersalzberg bought out, and three security zones were installed that encompassed the entire area.
After the demolition of the existing development, the so-called Führersperrgebiet shielded Hitler and his staff from public access.
Two other security zones protected the heavily expanded SS and SD barracks, support staff, guest houses, underground bunkers and air raid shelters.
From 1938 Bormann also had the 'Kehlsteinhaus' erected on a rocky promontory, including a lift system from the upper end of the access road.
It was presented to Hitler on his 50th birthday in 1939, he nevertheless seldom visited it, though he and his mistress Eva Braun spent much time at Obersalzberg.
From 1937 the German Reich Chancellery maintained a second seat in the nearby village of Bischofswiesen with Hitler receiving numerous guests of state at the Berghof.


Most importantly for Hitler, however, was the construction of a huge picture window, providing a completely open view of the Untersberg.

Hitler was deeply affected by the legend and remarked to Albert Speer, his architect and armaments minister:
Look at the Untersberg over there.
It is not just by chance that I have my seat across from it.
In February of 1942, the Fuhrer commented to Heinrich Himmler, “Charlemagne was the one of the greatest men to ever live.”
It may well have been that Adolf Hitler had hoped to see some type of manifestation: his telescopes were specifically designed for earth observation.
Those were the best times of my life,” he would later say. “My great plans were forged there.
So magnetic was the mountain that the Führer later explained,
I basically built the house around the window,” and he even named the structure Berghof: “The Mountain Court.”
The Berghof has been described as a “Bavarian country house guarded by 2,000 SS troops,” with Adolf Hitler gazing from a “gigantic window… across a valley to the Untersberg massif, a sheer wall of mountain that looms large in Teutonic myths.”
For almost a decade Obersalzburg had become the Holy Mountain of the Third Reich, drawing thousands of pilgrims to pay homage to their Führer.
A recent expedition (August 2008) into the gigantic cave-system under the mountain revealed that it goes down so far, that its lowest point had not been reached yet.
The cave explorers had to return from their expedition without knowing how far down it goes.
According to a German newspaper report they had gone down 1056 meters before being forced to return at an abyss-like precipce.
This had been accomplished by being able to pass an extremely narrow passageway that had been previously un-passable.
They also discovered more than 800 new passageways and a lake in 930 meters depth.


Initially Hitler rented a chalet called Haus Wachenfeld - a holiday home built in 1916 by Otto Winter, a businessman from Buxtehude.

Winter's widow (whose maiden name was Wachenfeld) rented the house to Hitler in 1928, and his half-sister Angela (see right) came to live there as housekeeper, although she left soon after her daughter Geli's 1931 death in Hitler's Munich apartment.
Several months after Hitler's 1933 appointment as Chancellor of Germany he purchased Haus Wachenfeld and began making a series of three important renovations.
The first included window shutters and a small office, followed a year later by a winter garden and stonework; finally the most extensive in 1935-1936 when the once modest chalet was finally transformed into the sprawling landhaus known as the 'Berghof'.
In time, Obersalzberg became overcrowded with Hitler's admirers from all over the land and beyond, which began to cause problems with the local population.
The small chalet-style building was refurbished and much expanded during 1935-36 when it was re-named 'The Berghof'.
A large terrace was built, a dining room was paneled with very costly cembra pine.
Hitler's large study had a telephone switchboard room.
The library contained books "on history, painting, architecture and music."


A great hall was furnished with expensive 'Nordic' style furniture, a large globe and an expansive red marble fireplace mantel.

Behind one wall was a projection booth for evening screenings of films.
A sprawling picture window (see right) could be lowered into the wall to give a sweeping, open air view of -the Untersberg. - And on the terrace Hitler installed the finest, very large terrestial telescopes (see left) so that he could observe the mysterious Untersberg in detail.


HITLER'S  BERGHOF





Haus Wachenfeld - Later known as the Berghof 





Haus Wachenfeld - Terrace






Haus Wachenfeld - Terrace 






Haus Wachenfeld 





Haus Wachenfeld and the Untersberg







Haus Wachenfeld - the Telescope









The Berghof - Final Form








The Berghof - Final Form 








Berghof - Salon





Berghof - The Picture Window





Berghof - Sitting Area




Berghof - Living Room




Berghof - Study




Berghof - Salon




Berghof - Dining Room






Berghof - Dining Room









Berghof - Dining Room




Portrait of Adolf Hitler in Eva Braun's Bedroom




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 KEHLSTEINHAUS
 *(Adlerhorst - The Eagle's Nest)



The Kehlsteinhaus - 'Adlerhorst' (the Eagle's Nest) is a chalet-style structure erected on a subpeak of the Hoher Göll known as the Kehlstein.

It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex erected in the mountains above Berchtesgaden.
The Kehlsteinhaus was intended as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler to serve as a retreat for Hitler and place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.
The Kehlsteinhaus was commissioned by Martin Bormann, with construction proceeding over a 13-month period.

It was completed in the summer of 1938, prior to its formal presentation to Hitler on his 50th birthday on April 20, 1939.
It is situated on a ridge at the top of the Kehlstein mountain 1,834 m (6,017 ft), reached by a 6.5 km (4.0 mi) long and 4 m (13 ft) wide road that cost 30 million RMs to build (about 150 million euros in 2007, adjusted in line with inflation).
It includes five tunnels but only one hairpin turn and climbs 800 m (2,600 ft).

The last 124 m (407 ft)[1] up to the Kehlsteinhaus are reached by an elevator bored straight down through the mountain and linked via a tunnel through the granite below that is 124 m (407 ft) long.






The inside of the large elevator car is surfaced with polished brass, Venetian mirrors and green leather.








The main reception room is dominated by a fireplace of red Italian marble, presented by Mussolini.
Much of the furniture was designed by Paul László.
A significant event held at the Kehlsteinhaus was the wedding reception that followed the marriage of Eva Braun's sister Gretl to Hermann Fegelein on June 3, 1944.
The building is often mistakenly referred to as a "tea house", a corruption of its abbreviated name, "D-Haus", short for "Diplomatic Reception Haus".
As a result it is frequently confused with the actual tea house at Hitler's Berghof, the Mooslahnerkopf Teehaus he visited daily after lunch.
Although the site is on the same mountain as the Berghof, Hitler rarely visited the property.


It has been suggested he only visited the Kehlsteinhaus around 10 times, and most times for no more than 30 minutes, however he did receive André François-Poncet (the departing French ambassador to Germany) there on October 18, 1938.
As a result of the lack of close association with Hitler the property was saved from demolition at the end of the war.A trail leads above the Kehlsteinhaus towards the Mannlgrat ridge reaching from the Kehlstein to the summit of the Hoher Goll. The route, which is served by a Klettersteig, is regarded as the easiest to the top.




click here for more information about 'Eva Braun'



click here for more information about 'Hitler and the Third Reich'

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