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During the period of the Weimar republic (from 1919 until 1933) in Germany, the city of Nuremberg had the “Ehrenhalle” monument erected to commemorate the 9,855 Nuremberger soldiers killed in the First World War.
The building is situated in the Luitpoldhain (Luitpold grove). Luitpold was a former ruler of Bavaria and was honoured with this park in Nuremberg. The “Erenhalle”, or “Hall of Honour” wasdesigned by architect Franz Mayer and finished in 1930.
NSDAP Party Rally’s
Every year, from 1923 on, the Nazi Party, the NSDAP, held “Party Rally days” to attract new followers into the Nazi Party and strengthen the bonds with existing members.
The visitors and participants listened to the Fuhrers speeches, marched for him, swore loyalty and paraded to show off the might of the German empire. In the first years the Nazi Party Rally days lasted 2 or 3 days, later on the Rally’s even lasted 6 to 7 days.
On the second Reichsparteitag (Nazi Party Rally) held in Nuremberg in 1929, the unfinished Erenhalle was used, for the first time, to remember the 16 fallen party members of the Beer Hall Putsch. On 8 November 1923, Adolf Hitler, together with Erich Ludendorff a national war hero and other main figures of the Nazi Party, tried to seize power by force in Munich. The coup failed and 16 Nazi’s lost their lives.
Construction of the Luitpold Arena
In 1933 Adolf Hitler re-modelled the Luitpold grove into the Luitpold arena. Across from the Ehrenhalle he constructed a crescent shaped tribune. A broad marble road led from this tribune to the Erenhalle. The tiles are long gone but the “footprint” of the path is still visible in Goole Maps or Google Earth. The main field was 84.000 square meters big. Mass parades of the SA and SS, with 150.000 participants filled up the arena, watched by 50.000 spectators on the tribunes.
The Luitpold Hall
Next to the Luitpold arena stood the Luitpold Hall. This hall was built in 1906 and initially used for expositions. Formerly known as the “M.A.N. machine hall” it was renovated and renamed by Albert Speer. The hall measured 180 by 49 metres and could house 16.000 people when Albert Speer was done with it. Beside the seats it held the largest pipe organ in Germany and 76 loudspeakers to impress the visitors. The hall was used for the Nazi leaders. In the hall they held their speeches to the public. In 1935 the Nazi Party declared the first two infamous “Jews Laws” in this Luitpold Hall. These two laws deprived German Jews and other minorities of their German citizenship.
The first law, protection of German blood and honour, prohibited any marriage and sexual intercourse between Germans and “Non Arians”.
The second law, the German citizen law; which declared that anyone without German blood was not a civilian of the German empire.
During an Allied air raid, in the night of 29 August 1942, the Luitpold Hall was hit and destroyed. It was never reconstructed.
An Annual Event
The Nazi Party Rally’s or “Reichsparteitagen” took place annually from 1923 until 1938. In 1939 a NSDAP Rally was planned to start on September the 2nd. It was cancelled on short notice on September the 1st in 1939, when Germany invaded Poland. The Party Rally’s were never held again.
A short overview on the Nazi Party Rally days:
1923 – 1st Munich
1923 – Nuremberg German day rally
1926 – 2nd Weimar Refounding Congress
1927 – 3rd Nuremberg Day of awakening
1928 – Cancelled due to a shortage of finance
1929 – 4th Nuremberg Day of Composure
1930 – Forbidden; Due to clashes between Nazi’s and Communist the Nuremberg city forbade the Rally
1931 – Forbidden; Due to clashes between Nazi’s and Communist the Nuremberg city forbade the Rally
1932 – Cancelled due to a shortage of finance
1933 – 5th Nuremberg Rally of Victory (Nazi party seized power over Germany)
1934 – 6th Nuremberg Unnamed at first, later on it was called Rally of power, or Rally of will, or Rally of unity and strength.
1935 – 7th Nuremberg Rally of Freedom (Liberation from of the treaty of Versailles)
1936 – 8th Nuremberg Rally of honour (Reestablishment of the army in the Rhineland)
1937 – 9th Nuremberg Rally of Labour (reduction of unemployment)
1938 – 10th Nuremberg Rally of Greater Germany (annexation of Austria)
1939 – 11th Nuremberg Rally of peace, The Nazi Party was supposed to use this day to show it’s desire for peace. It was cancelled due to the invasion of Poland one day before the start of this Rally.
After the war the deceased from the Second World War were added to the text inside the Erenhalle.
The city of Nuremberg re-modelled the Luitpold arena back into a park, and gave its former name back; Luitpold Grove (Luitpoldhain).
Visit the Luitpold Ehrenhalle and the former Luitpold Arena
The Erenhalle stands on open ground in the park Luitpoldhain, and is free to visit. Do walk around it, on the backside is another war memorial.
The park looks peaceful nowadays, there is hardly anything left from the crescent shaped tribune and the Luitpold Hall. There are information panels all over the place, with a background story in multiple languages and photo’s from the Nazi era to give an impression of the Rally’s back in the days.