I was also able to see something of the area while in Erlangen. There are some interesting nearby towns with architecture that survived the war, such as Bamberg which has an impressive cathedral.
The highlight was a visit to the Nazi rally grounds near Nuremburg with some of the staff and students. The buildings left are only a small fraction of what was intended, but they are still very large.
That’s the Congress Hall, which would have been higher and fully enclosed. They have put a new documentation centre into this, which has a very good exhibition on Nazi party history with special relation to the rallies held in Nuremburg, along with some good film material.
What to do with these sites seems a problem. The Nuremburg symphony orchestra uses a part of the site, as does Nuremburg football club. The ambulances in the photo above were being driven around inside at speed and they were practicing emergency stops in them. The Zeppelinfield where the mass rallies took place had the same thing going on – at once a very serious reminder of previous uses, but also people were practicing ice hockey on rollerblades and driving remote-controlled cars on it. The grandstand with the podium used by Hitler is still intact, although the rooftop swastika was destroyed after the war.
It’s a remarkable site to visit, since the film footage of the rallies, especially in Leni Riefenstahl’s The Triumph of the Will, are such familiar sights in the history of the Third Reich.