Originally there was no plan for an SS-Barracks building in Nuremberg. But when Hitler declared Nuremberg the base for the annual NSDAP Rally in 1933, the SS-organization asked specifically for a barrack close to the NSDAP Party Rally grounds to accommodate their members during their stay. It was decided to construct a building at the Frankenstrasse. Architect Frans Ruff designed the complex and by 1936 it was finished.
The barracks were among the biggest buildings ever build by the National Socialist Party. The central main building had a “Portal of Honour” and two side wings built around a courtyard. Apart from the main building several smaller buildings were constructed on the complex grounds as well.
Waffen-SS training center
The barracks would however never accommodate SS-members for the purpose of NSDAP rally’s. With war coming closer, the complex quickly became a Waffen-SS center for design of communication equipment and training of it’s radio operators.
Starting from May 1941, prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were accommodated and put to work in various jobs inside the building. In June 1943 prisoners were relocated to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.
After World War Two
On 18 April 1945 the building was captured by the American 45th Infantry Division and instantly renamed to “The Merrell Barracks”, after soldier Joseph F. Merrell who fell the same day. The same year it was used to accommodate liberated forced laborers for a period of time.
From 1948 to September 1992 the barracks were the home of the Second US Armored Cavalry Regiment, util they were deployed in the First Gulf War.
The complex given back to German Authorities, who put the former SS-Barracks main building under a preservation order as a monument. Nowadays it is the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
The former SS barracks, now the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees was closed when we visited Nuremberg. A source told us there is an area open to the public in the main hall with more information about the history of the building.