The Castles of WWII - Nine Medieval Strongholds and the Amazing Roles They Played in Wartime
From its perch high atop the famous White Cliffs, the sprawling fortress of Dover Castle protected England`s shores from invasion for hundreds of years. Overlooking the 21-mile stretch of sea separating the British Isles from France, the mighty 12th Century citadel was long considered the `Key to England.` No foreign army could hope invade the island without passing beneath its formidable walls. Amazingly, when Britain went to war against Germany in 1939, the 800-year-old bastion was once again pressed into service.
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Wewelsburg: Inside Heinrich Himmler`s Nazi Castle where he lived out medieval fantasies
Jackbooted SS thugs once paraded in Wewelsburg Castle as Heinrich Himmler held court wearing full medieval costume because he was convinced he was the reincarnation of a medieval king called Henry the Fowler. Even Adolf Hitler thought Himmler was a pfennig short of a Reichsmark. But the Fuhrer let the SS chief live out his fantasies in a castle that is now one of Germany`s top tourist attractions, along with the site of Hitler`s bunker in Berlin and the Nazi Party parade grounds in Nuremberg. Since a £5 million revamp completed in 2010 thousands of visitors have flocked to the SS`s spiritual home – till then a sealed, silent monument to mass murder.
WWII Castles - Nine Medieval Strongholds And The Amazing Roles They Played in Wartime
From its perch high atop the famous White Cliffs, the sprawling fortress of Dover Castle protected England`s shores from invasion for hundreds of years. Overlooking the 21-mile stretch of sea separating the British Isles from France, the mighty 12th Century citadel was long considered to be the `Key to England`. No foreign army could hope invade without passing beneath its formidable walls. Amazingly, when Britain went to war against Germany in 1939, the 800-year-old bastion was once again pressed into service.
Notorious Nazi PoW camp Colditz opens up as a hotel: Price includes 3-hour tour of tunnels and hidden rooms
It`s the place brave but foolhardy Brits risked everything to escape from in World War II. But now those looking for a different kind of escape are heading back to the notorious Colditz - after the prisoner-of-war camp in southern Germany was turned into a hotel. Tours from the UK are offering overnight stays for guests paying £20 a night to get the ultimate "prisoner experience" at the castle once used by the Nazis to hold troublesome Allied PoWs. Guests staying there get a 3-hour tour of tunnels and hidden rooms used by the POWs in their attempts to break out.
Wewelsburg Castle: New exhibition explodes myths about Heinrich Himmler`s SS Castle (17 photos)
Wewelsburg Castle, once a sanctum for Heinrich Himmler`s SS, has been shrouded in mystery since 1945. Its echoing crypt and occult symbols have sparkled stories about the rituals held there - spread by the neo-Nazis ever since 1945. A new exhibition - including black SS uniform, rusty dagger, SS honor ring - dispels such myths and explores the careers of the leading SS members. The 17th century triangular building was converted in the 1930s by slave laborers according to Himmler`s blueprint. The castle includes circular "Hall of SS Generals" - with the symbol of a "Black Sun" set into the marble floor.
Mysteries of Colditz Castle revealed as archives of Allied POWs go online
Willing to fight for their country, they instead spent much of WWII behind barbed wire. But the 100,000 British POWs in Nazi Germany still kept huge numbers of enemy troops occupied with their escape attempts. Now the German records of all the captured Britons are available online for those researching their ancestors. The most infamous of the Nazi PoW camps was Colditz Castle (Oflag IV-C), used to house Allied soldiers who had already escaped from other camps. Almost professional escapers, many of these men dedicated all their time to finding ways to outsmart the Nazi guards. Schemes included making German uniforms or gliders.
Vogelsang Castle Nazi college to become museum - Swastikas and Teutonic torch bearer
One of Germany`s largest Nazi sites, a training college built to look like a castle, is being turned into a museum after emerging from a 60-year time warp that left it filled with Nazi symbols like a giant swastika laid into a floor and the towering figure of a Teutonic torch bearer. Dominated by a mediaeval-style keep, Vogelsang Castle overlooks wooded hills in the Eifel region. The Nazi party built it in the 1930s to create an elite of brainwashed and physically fit bureaucrats to run the Third Reich. The museum and visitor centre will be completed 2011, but guided tours of the site are available already.
Germany reconstructs palaces long destroyed by World War Two
A new building boom is sweeping Germany - royal palaces ruined during or after World War II that are rising again. Planning is underway to rebuild long-destroyed palaces in Berlin, Hanover and Potsdam - and a palace in Dresden is nearing completion and last year the exterior of a Braunschweig palace was finished. After WW2, many German cities rebuilt destroyed palaces and historic buildings. But urban planners also destroyed many ruined buildings. Some argue that building only exteriors or replicas of palaces can be misleading for those with no memory of the original building.
Vogelsang castle to Become Museum - Photos of Nazi elite school
A forgotten monument to Adolf Hitler`s ideology: Vogelsang National Socialist Castle - built in the 1930s to train a new Nazi elite. Once vacated by the Belgian army, it now sheds light on the brainwashing that churned out a generation of fanatics. "NS-Ordensburg Vogelsang" is an arrangement of barracks, community halls and sports arenas hugging a steep slope down to a scenic reservoir. It was built 1934-1936, in the style of a medieval castle, to give Nazi party members a solid grounding in the superiority of the German race and its need for "Lebensraum" in the east. Little is known about the students who attended Vogelsang because records were destroyed.
Inside Heinrich Himmler’s spooky Wewelsburg castle - SS Shrine
Wewelsburg Castle: Inside the guard house museum are displays of the plans Heinrich Himmler had for Wewelsburg. "He wanted to make Wewelsburg the centre of the SS world. ...it appears he wanted to make the north tower of the castle into an SS shrine of some sort. Where people could remember the SS dead. It would be at the centre of a new SS village. This would be where the Germanic elite group would live." We stop at a cabinet with a copy of an SS "death head" ring, an SS belt buckle "My honour is my faith" written on it, and a copy of a letter written by Himmler signed off with "Heil Hitler!" Normally tours can’t come into the swastika crypt...
Colditz castle - Hostel in the world`s most famous PoW camp
Colditz castle was the most notorious PoW camp of world war II. The Wehrmacht declared it escape-proof; the allied inmates proved them fulsomely wrong, staging a string of break-outs so daring and audacious that they inspired a film and a TV series. In short, it’s a British icon, a part of our heritage that just happens to be in Saxony. Now the castle that was once intended to stop foreign guests leaving is inviting us back — this time on a voluntary basis. Last week, in a move that is bound to spawn a thousand "This place is like a prison camp" gags, they opened a youth hostel inside the castle walls. This I had to see - And, of course, escape from.
Kaliningrad Wants Its Castle Back - Movement to rebuild city center
For years Kaliningrad has been allowed to decay as a forgotten Russian enclave surrounded by Europe. It`s not uncommon for elderly East Prussians to break into tears when they see to what depths their city of birth has sunk to. The destruction of the former pearl on the Pregel River by the bombs of World War II was immense. Indeed, Kaliningrad, once known as Königsberg, became a symbol not just of loss, but also of the destruction, of homeland. 30 divisions and two air fleets of the Red Army attacked the city during the final battle in April 1945, remembers Otto Lasch, the German Wehrmacht`s commander in Königsberg at the time.
Aristocrats struggling to regain palaces seized after WWII
Central European nobility is struggling to regain palaces and property seized by the communists after World War 2 face an difficult battle. For many, the campaign ends in defeat. However, there are some successes, including the return of a Romanian fortress known as Dracula`s castle to the Habsburg dynasty that once ruled Austria-Hungary. "It is with great emotion that I find myself again at this castle," Dominic von Habsburg told. In Hungary there were 817,811 claims submitted for compensation.
Zbiroh castle hides Nazi treasure - A persistent local rumour
Every week team abseils into a well of a Czech Zbiroh castle in search of a secret passage or the Nazi treasure. Around 60 metres down they discovered Nazi documents. A local rumour has it that the castle hides Nazi treasure. "We know from witnesses that a Nazi aircraft landed and large cases were unloaded and taken to the castle. We know that the last SS fled on foot without their uniforms and without taking anything. No one has found any trace of the cases and no one knows what was in them." Castle has a series of tunnels and secret passages but closed off behind cement by the Nazis. Some dream that the "amber room" could be stashed somewhere in labyrinth.
Former Teutonic Knights claim Bouzov castle again (Article no longer available from the original source)
The German Order, or former Teutonic Knights seeking the return of Bouzov castle, north Moravia, has come up with new arguments now and therefore the court dispute will continue. The Order lost its property before World War Two already, when it was confiscated by the Nazis and the Order was dissolved. After the war, the property was taken over by the state but the German Order launched a suit to receive it back.
Vogelsang Castle: In the Shadow of the Third Reich
Since the US Army occupied Burg Vogelsang, one of the Nazi`s four elite schools, in 1945 hardly a civilian has had a chance to see it. Young men were molded into Nazi leaders of the future at Vogelsang Castle in the Rhineland. The complex is the best maintained example of Third Reich architecture in Germany, and since Jan. 1 it`s open to the public. For now though, security guards patrol the grounds to prevent former Nazis and neo-Nazis from making "pilgrimages" to the Third Reich`s old school.
Wewelsburg Castle - Himmler`s Fortress of Fear
Rumours of prominent Nazis` involvement with the realm of the occult have persisted for decades. Nick Brownlow and Jonathan Turner visited the SS headquarters at Wewelsburg Castle to unearth the truth behind SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler`s vision of an ancient and noble Aryan prehistory that verified the superiority of the Master Race.