Nuremberg is tiny!
A lady I met in Munich asked me why I came all the way from Canada to go to Nuremberg.
If you are like me who is obsessed with the Nazi and World War II history, Nuremberg is the place to be.
It is not exaggerated that you can see the entire city within 2-3 hours of walking, but it was like you jumped into Medieval times. The buildings are reddish brown, reflecting on the waters surrounding the small German city, the wind in the willows, the quiet chatters…. I started my walk with a somewhat fast pace, but could not help to slow down and blend in with the calmness, the slowness, the peace.
It was so hard to imagine this quiet city served as one of the main Nazi cities during Hitler’s rule. There are 2 places that are highly worth a visit: Memorium Nürnberger Prozesse (The Nuremberg Trials Memorial) and Reichsparteitagsgelände (The Nazi Party Rallygrounds).
You can, of course, wiki the subject if you wish to learn more, but I want to share what had strucked me the most. Memorium Nürnberger Prozesse (The Nuremberg Trials Memorial), or the famous Courtroom 600, is where they tried the war criminals after WWII for 4 offences: Conspiracy, War crimes, Crimes against peace, and Crimes against humanity. Hitler shot himself on April 30, 1945 before the trials took place. 12 out of the 24 war criminals were sentenced to death by hanging, many more into long imprisonments, and others commited suicide.
There was a video clip showing each defendant standing up and stating whether guilty or not guilty. Every one of them claimed with a loud and confident voice: “Not guilty.” Every one. Was there any remorse or regret?
Another video clip shows the trial of Rudolf Höss, head of the Auschwitz concentration camp (he was not considered as one of the main war criminals). The prosecutor asked, “Do you have a family? Wife and kids?”
Höss: Yes I do.
Prosecutor: Did you think of your own family when you were killing these women and children?
Höss: I did.
Prosecutor: How could you still do it?
Höss: I only know to follow the commands of the Führer (Hitler).
We need to realize the dark dangers of blind beliefs.
Reichsparteitagsgelände (The Nazi Party Rallygrounds) is a must. Nuremberg was used as the most influential propaganda tools during the war to rally up public support. Every year, a big party was held on the Nazi Rallygrounds where citizens were invited to attend, and to see Hitler himself. In the museum, you will see photos and propaganda films during this annual event, and it will blow away even your wildest imagination. Hundreds of thousands of citizens waiting and saluting to Hitler. Thousands and thousands more SS, SA, Hitler Youth, marching for their leader. You cannot even begin to estimate how many people were there. The buildings so grand and impressive, like football stadiums made of marble. Today, the Rallygrounds lost its old glory. Buildings are under-renovated, the Grand Street (Große Straße: supposingly a wide and long street leading to the main rallygrounds) is now a parking lot. Understandably, a past difficult to preserve and to remember.
Only after going to the Rallygrounds did I feel Hitler’s power of influence. He was the predecessor to Steve Jobs in terms of marketing. He led people to believe in his myth, he came with the most thoughtful and deceiving propaganda package, he promised his people a paradise in the midst of terrible conditions. I don’t think anyone today could say they wouldn’t fall in the Hitler myth if they were transported back in time. We cannot compare what we know now to what they knew back then. We simply cannot imagine the atmosphere and sentiment in Germany during those years.
Germany is the most honest and opened country about its darkest history. We should honor that. If anyone wants to learn about the Nazi past, Nuremberg is one of the best outdoor classrooms.
City Hostel Nürnberg
Klaragasse 12, Nuremberg, Germany
Room: 4-bed female dorm
Price: 19 euros/night
Rating on Hostelworld: 84%
Recommended for the location and price. Personally, I might consider another place if I return.
Character: The hostel lacks character. The room was simple but comfortable. The hallways can be creepy at night because the lights are automatic, but not very sensitive, so I sometimes found myself walking down the hall in the dark, or taking a shower in the dark. The kitchen was really awesome with all facilities you can think of: for example a waffle-maker and a deep frying pan. The receptionist was always kind.
Security: The keylock system is advanced to the room. There are lockers but you need to bring your own padlock. The hostel is in a very safe area of town. However, during my stay there were some creepy people living there, a clown for example. I didn’t linger around the common areas because I was a little scared of some of the hostelmates.
Location: Unbeatable. Right in the middle of downtown Nuremberg, 2 min from the train station, 2 min from all the tramlines. It was superbly easy to get around the city. The area is very safe so I had no problem walking around even at night.
Cleanliness: Always always clean. Except the hostel constantly smelled like cigarettes. The rooms did not, only outside in the halls. If you don’t mind, then it’s a good place.