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Driving from Berchtesgaden up to the Obersalzberg, a few hunderd meters before the guardhouse foundations of Hitler’s Berghof, you see the Gutshof on your left hand side.
The Gutshof, or “The Manor”, is a creation from Martin Bormann who, with his agricultural education, had a chance to design his dream while rearranging the Obersalzberg. He always wanted to build a super farm and being Hitler’s right hand gave him access to the NSDAP funds which provided an almost unlimited cash flow.
The Gutshof was a prototype farm that should be set up all over the Ukraine, and provide Germany with grain, vegetables and meat. The farm on the Obersalzberg had 70-80 horses in it’s ultra modern stables, next to a 100 pigs, and 80 cows. The Manor had about 70 hectares of farmlands on the Obersalzberg.
Martin Bormann was a former steward on an estate and considered himself an expert on agriculture. Though on a thousand meters above sea level, the Obersalzberg wasn’t as productive as the expert expected.
Still, the Gutshof was fruitful in making cider from apples bought from various German farms throughout the country. For a considerable amount, this cider was sold, so that party members of the NSDAP could drink cider from their holy mountain.
Below are the reminders of the Teugelbrunn road. A downhill road towards the Gutshof, leading to the meadows behind the building. There used to be a SS guardhouse near this gate.
Albert Speer house
Exactly across the street from the Gutshof entrance is the road towards what used to be Albert Speer’s house and atelier. The house is still lived in today.
Albert Speer lived in the Ostertal, a valley somewhere in Bavaria. Here he had a small atelier which was just big enough to house a few drawing tables and some employees. In this little hunting lodge he drew the layout for a new Berlin in 1935.
He was born in 1905 in the city of Mannheimm and like his father and grandfather, he always wanted to be an architect. In 1931 other students took him to a political meeting in Berlin, this is how he got his first impression of Adolf Hitler. A few weeks later he chose the NSDAP as political party, and joined Adolf Hitler, he said after the war. His party-member number is: 478.481.
In the beginning he was a courier for the NSDAP. Because he was an educated architect, he was called in for a small rebuilding job. With this small job he stepped in the spotlights of Adolf Hitler. He became Hitler’s most important architect.
When Albert Speer mentioned his living conditions to Adolf Hitler, Adolf immediately ordered Bormann to take care of Speer.
The Bechstein House
From the start of his political career, Adolf Hitler, received quite some support from Helene Bechstein. Her husband was a piano manufacturer and they donated large sums of money to Hitler’s Nazi party, the NSDAP.
Hitler got spoiled by Helene Bechstein, as a gift he received a luxury Mercedes from her. But this didn’t stop him to disown her from her house on the Obersalzberg when Martin Bormann needed one. By the time Albert Speer was commanded to live on the Obersalzberg, the Bechstein house was empty again.
While living in the Bechstein house, Albert Speer designed a house for his family and an atelier for his staff. In 1937 the house and atelier were finished, and Speer left the Bechstein house as well.
In his new atelier Hitler and Speer had long conversations about the layout of “the new Berlin”, “Germania”, or other majestic building plans. Albert Speer didn’t like living on the Obersalzberg, he lost a big part of his freedom and he compared it to a reserve for wild animals. Hitler had a high regard for Albert Speer. In 1939 he named him a “genius designer and architect”.
Minister of Armament and Munitions
In 1942 Dr. Fritz Todt died in a mysterious plane accident. Albert Speer replaced him and got his title; “Minister of armament and munitions” and succeeded to strongly increase the production for the demanding war machine.
In 1943 and 1944, the German war production was at it’s peak, even though they were losing territory on all fronts and Allied bombardments on German industry happened daily, because of Görings failing Luftwaffe. This peak was reached by forcing thousands of slave labourers from concentration camps to work themselves to death.
The Nuremberg Trails – Spandau Prison
Albert Speer’s trail was processed at Nuremberg, and he received a sentence of 20 year imprisonment in the Spandau prison near Berlin. He was the only Nazi that pleaded guilty, which probably saved him from the gallows. His release was on October the first 1966, after which he wrote a few books about his life and his years in prison. He died in 1981 in London, 76 years old.
Visit the Gutshof & the Speer Residence
The Gutshof is a golf club these days, and was closed on our arrival. We took some photos of the front, we didn’t go for the walk around this time . Somewhere in the last years a big part of the building on the right side (frontal view) was torn down.
The Albert Speer house and atelier are now civilian residences, so we treated them with respect and tried not to annoy the occupants. Our hotel was in Berchtesgaden where we wondered around a bit in the evening. We dined in a restaurant near the town square and on our way back to the hotel we saw some nice wall painting and a memorial on both World Wars.
If you like to read more from our trip to the Obersalzberg or the Nazi Trials in Nuremberg you can follow these links: