Historic Preservation in Nazi Germany : Place, Memory, and Nationalism

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While numerous studies have examined the post-war contestation surrounding commemorative sites associated with the legacy of Nazi Germany, relatively little attention has been dedicated to the ways in which the Nazi regime itself sought to create places of memory congruent with the movement's political and cultural goals. Indeed, party leaders sponsored a variety of disparate, and at times contradictory, programs to re-orientate some of Germany's most prominent historic places to better serve the needs of the regime. To expand our understanding of this process, this article examines the practice and rhetoric of historic preservation in Bavaria during the Nazi period with a focus on the preservationist program sponsored by Bavarian President Ludwig Siebert. Nazi propaganda promised to rejuvenate and protect Germany's architectural heritage for the public good, but the regime's actual priorities and policies led to widespread confiscation, damage, and eventually destruction.


Hagen, Joshua (2009) Historic Preservation in Nazi Germany: Place, Memory, and Nationalism, Journal of Historical Geography 35:4, 690-715. Final publication can be found at http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03057488

Reprinted with permission.