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April 5, 2011

Historic sites in Munich

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:03 am

Historic tower and old town hall in Munich

I have always wanted to take a walking tour of Munich with a professional guide, but I never have. I have been on the Hop-on, Hop-off bus tour of Munich several times, but never the walking tour.  One of the stops on the tour bus is the Marienplatz, where passengers can hop off.  You can read about the history of the tower and the Old Town Hall here.

Today I saw a photo of the tower on another blog with this caption:

Old Town Hall, Munich Germany almost entirely a post WWII reconstruction. The middle window in the row of three is the room where Hitler & the Nazi party made their fateful decision to begin their planned extermination.

Old Town Hall in Munich

If I ever get back to Munich, I will definitely go on a guided walking tour so I can learn all about the plans made by Hitler for “the extermination.”  I always thought that “the extermination” was planned at the Wannsee Conference, but apparently I was wrong.

The blogger, who also took a tour of Dachau, wrote this about herself:  “I have studied the holocaust intensively. I knew what occurred at camps and I prepared myself – and still it was horrifying and worst than I imagined.”

This quote is from the blog in which the author describes the guided walking tour of Munich:

The history part of the tour was very interesting as it was in Munich here the Nazi Party and Hitler first gained power during the hyperinflation of the 1920’s and where Hitler eventually overthrew the Bavarian government. You are able to see the window where the Nazi Party officially enacted their planned program of extermination of inferior races, which subsequently changed the course of history, killing over 6 million people.

So it was Hitler who overthrew the Bavarian government?  I always thought it was the Communists, led by Kurt Eisner, who overthrew the Bavarian government on November 7, 1918.  Historian John Toland described Eisner as “a small elderly Jew wearing a black floppy hat, which large as it was, couldn’t contain a shock of wild hair.  Especially untidy, he (Eisner) was a living cartoon of the bomb-throwing Red.” Quoted from Toland’s book entitled “Adolf Hitler.”

Here is another quote from the blogger’s description of the tour of Munich:

We also went to Odenonsplatz, which is where Hitler gave most of his speeches in Munich from. They would erect a stage on the steps of the Reldherrnhalle (sic), which over looks the Plaza between two Golden Lion Statues. The irony of this spot was that the King of Bavaria originally had the statues designed to symbolize freedom of speech and speaking out against the church (the one on the left side of the church has its mouth open and the one on the side of the royal palace is slightly turned away)…. If only Hitler had known. My favorite part of the tour was a small ally way between Marienplatz and Odeonsplatz. During Hitler’s regime a statue was erected and it was the law to salute it whenever you passed…. If you didn’t you would be sent to Dachau (the first Nazi work camp outside Munich). Originally citizens in opposition would walk down the ally way to avoid doing the salute. When the SS guards caught on a guard was posted at the ally to prevent this  – although Germans continued to walk down the ally as a sign of political protest. Today a golden line runs down the center of “Dogges Ally” as a symbol to their political protest and speaking out against the Nazi regime.

When I visited Munich in May 2007, the tour bus stopped for a few minutes right in front of the Odeonsplatz but the tourists were not allowed to hop off. The guide on the bus did not tell the passengers anything about this place, but I recognized it from photos that I had seen.  After the bus tour, I went back to the Odeonplatz.  I couldn’t remember the name of it, so I had to tell the taxi driver to take me to the beautiful yellow church.  The driver knew exactly what I was talking about and he seemed to be pleased that I did not speak the name of the place.  I took the photo below which shows the church facing the Odeonsplatz

St. Cajetan's church faces the Odeonsplatz

In the photo above, which I took in May 2007, St. Cajetan’s Church is shown on the southwest corner of the Odeonsplatz.  The church was designed by Italian architect Agostino Baralli who based the design on St. Andrea della Valle in Rome.

Construction work on the church itself ended in 1690, but the facade was built between 1765 and 1768. With its twin towers and copper dome, St. Cajetan’s, aka Theatinerkirche, is one of the most magnificent churches in Munich. It is an example of late Baroque style architecture. Inside the church are the tombs of nearly all the members of the royal Wittelsbach family which ruled Bavaria for 400 years until they were overthrown on November 7, 1918 by Communists led by Kurt Eisner.

My photo of Odeonsplatz, May 2007

The church is to the right, but not shown, in the photo above.  I wish I had known about the lion’s head being turned toward the church.  I didn’t take a close-up of the lions because I didn’t know the history of the place.  Next time, I will take a walking tour with a professional guide.  I would like to know more about Hitler and the “planned program of extermination of inferior races” which was apparently made long before the Wannsee Conference.


  1. Does one need any qualifications beyond private study of the Holocaust to conduct tours around Munich? I would hope so.

    Comment by lairdkeir — July 28, 2011 @ 2:16 am

  2. PS>Maurice Bavaud was tried by the Volksgerichtshof on December 18,1938,naming his motive that he considered Hitler a danger to humanity in general.He was executed by guillotine in Berlin-Ploetzensee prison on the morning of May 14th 1941.

    Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — April 11, 2011 @ 3:33 am

  3. I did read the blog of this young women that had “studied the holocaust intensively” who took a tour of Dachau, and could not help thinking not another one that was disturbed what she has been told at University and eventually what she saw at the memorial site, yet there are some omissions and outright discrepancies in her blog and hopefully she will read my comments:
    1) The old Town Hall with the historic tower which is called “Der Alte Peter” was indeed destroyed during bombing raids and rebuilt from donations the citizen of Cincinnati-Ohio USA, raised in 1949-50.I do not think the tour guide would have mentioned that.
    Hitler never gained power in the 1920’s, nor did he ever plan the extermination of inferior races in the upper stories of the “Alter Peter”, this took place in the 1940’s at Wannsee and it is still doubtful that he was present. Up to 1938 Hitler made every effort to get as many Jews out of Germany in the direction of Palestine or if they were wealthy to the USA. Only the UK had a scheme to help arriving poorer Jews to get back into business.
    2)Hitler never overthrow the Bavarian Government, on 7th November 1918 Kurt Eisner (a Jew) successfully organized (with five others) the overthrow of the Bavarian Government. After becoming Prime Minister, Eisner declared Bavaria a Socialist Republic but it would be different from the Bolshevik Revolution, he eventually lost in a vote of confidence and was on his way to hand in his resignation when he was shot in the back by Anto Graf Arco, a fanatical nationalist on 21st February 1919. Didn’t they tell you this at the University?
    3) The Feldhernhalle was built during the years 1841-44 on orders by King Ludwig I and is based on a copy of the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence to symbolize and in remembrance of the achievements of Bavarian Military Generals. He(the King) was am autocratic ruler and did not tolerate freedom of speech. He had to abdicate during the revolutions in 1848. The original thought to build was to improve the warren of smaller roads which lead to the older part of Munich and create a North-South Axis.
    The Lion Statues were created by Wilhelm von Ruemann in 1906 and the open mouth of one of them is just a deviation, but (Volksmund)=folklore has it, that the Bavarians in the south keep their mouths shut and the Prussians in the north have them open, yet Hitler who was Austrian and had the biggest mouth, like Schwarzenegger in California!
    4)In the morning of 9.November 1923 Hitler and Ludendorff marched with a few thousand followers towards the Feldhernhalle in an effort to take power over Germany and was stopped by Bavarian Landesplizei which resulted in 16 deaths plus 4 police men. 16 bronze caskets were on display after 1933 within the Feldhernhalle and an honor guard of 2 SS-men stood on a pedestal on each side against the columns.On the eastern side a plague with the names of the 16 dead was displayed and any one who passed this point was obliged to give the Hitler Salute. There was no Statue of any kind what-so-ever as stated by you. It is correct that Hitler made a number of untold speeches in front of the Feldhernhalle.On November 9th 1938 a Swiss national by the name of Maurice Bavaud made an attempt to shoot Hitler. I don’t know of the final outcome. It is also true that a number of people used a detour to avoid the salute procedure, but no one was ever sent straight to Dachau, rather beaten up by SS-men who stormed out of the Guard House near by. Even today the Viscardigasse is called in Bavarian dialect the “Drueckerbergergasserl”
    I have meet an SS-Guard who told me, he would lean backwards slightly to touch a door bell type of button on the column to alert the guard house, who did not salute and the SS stormed out to teach the offender a lesson.(I looked for evidence in 1998 of his claim but found nothing as the entire structure had been improved it was pockmarked by bomb fragments)
    5)At the end of the war the American Forces destroyed the plaque with the 16 names as well as the Ehrentempel which held the caskets later on. Living relations were able to claim their bodies.The Braune Haus which held the Blutfahne and other Nazi memorabilia as well as the building where the DAP was founded was also demolished. No one felt sorry.
    6)Only recently on 9th November 2010 a plaque commemorating the Putsch of 1923 which killed 4 Policemen was erected at the Munich Residence next to the Feldhernhalle. To conclude, I visited the Waldfriedhof in Dachau where 1200 inmates are buried, looking for names, that died unnecessarily after the “Liberation” due to the typhus epidemic that went out of control, when typhus carriers were given their “Freedom”!
    I don’t think your guide told you that either!

    Have a good day

    Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — April 8, 2011 @ 12:14 am

    • I think that most of the tour guides at both Dachau and Munich are Americans, or from some other country besides Germany. Cincinatti had a large German population in 1949-1950. However, an American would not necessarily have known that the people in Cincinnati donated the money for rebuilding; I didn’t know it until now. Thank you very much for giving us all this information.

      Comment by furtherglory — April 8, 2011 @ 6:30 am

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