6,017 feet above sea level sits one of the most predominant architectural relics from modern history and Europe’s NS era. The “Eagle’s” Nest (as branded by the American Army) was given to Adolf Hitler for his 50th birthday by the National Socialist Party or the NS. Since visiting Mauthausen last year, Andrew and I have been interested in seeing this part of Germany for a while and the history that goes along with it. Open only from mid-May through October, we knew we had to make the trip soon. Located just an hour and a half from us is the town Obersalzburg and since the 19th century has been mainly a tourism village. While the town and surrounding area is absolutely beautiful, it also holds a dark place in history.
It was Hitler’s holiday resort since 1923 and his second place of power aside from Berlin. After forcing out many of the area’s residents, he had built himself the Berghof, his residence, and the “Führersperrgebiet”, which was where important political decisions were made. The town was also mainly used for propaganda. It was here that the media was able to portray Hitler as someone who was close to the people, a friend, a lover of nature, a good neighbor, and a political visionary. At the Dokumentation Obersalzberg, we were able to go through the tour of how this area was used in these ways by Hitler and the NS. There were many documents, pictures, and artifacts chronicling this period. After we spent some time going over the history, we made our way to the station and boarded a bus up the steep mountain.
Once off the bus, we walked through a large, long tunnel. With the rain, it was a bit damp and cold, making it that much more eerie. At the end of the tunnel is the massive brass elevator to take you through the mountain up to the Eagle’s Nest.
The Eagle’s Nest has been turned into modern-day restaurant and gift shop. There is nothing remaining from the NS period besides the famous red Italian marble fireplace Mussolini gave to Hitler. It was really crazy being inside. Looking around I kept having flashbacks to Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers (an HBO mini series I’d highly recommend). It was the exact same room. Andrew and I enjoyed a nice leberkäse and bier. The clouds cleared up and we went to go explore the mountain.
The view was hands down the best I have seen in all of Europe. The mountains were a gorgeous gray-blue and the valley below a neon green. We could see for miles and miles. If it was a few degrees warmer I could have sat there all afternoon.
This was again another memory I will have for a lifetime.