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Published on : Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The latest Third Reich tourism attraction in Germany aims to educate the young against fascism at a time of increasing right-wing hate crime. Vogelsang is the last survivor of a series of Order Castles built as boarding schools to teach the future leaders of the regime.
The buildings of Vogelsang loom over the dense beech and fir forests of the Eiffel national park for several acres on the border with Belgium. It was a problem what to do with the place when it was returned to Germany and many Jewish leaders demanded it to be torn down. However, this year, part of it was smartened up for accommodating 300 refugees in buildings once designed to teach young men to despise “lesser races.”
A tour through this attraction is a walk back in history: hundreds of photos depicting ordinary men and women of Germany in the 30s and 40s who were conditioned by the Nazis to hate Jews and others. Stefan Wunsch, the scientific director of the museum said, “It is about what was wanted from Vogelsang but also about how those who passed through it were affected by it. The people who were ‘educated’ here were ordinary artisans, workers and usually in their mid 20s when they came here. Only the outbreak of war interrupted the programme and none completed their four year training.” The exhibition says that some 200 Order Castle graduates were involved in war crimes on the Eastern Front, with massacres of the worst kind. It displays a detailed picture of life in Nazi Germany.