Zeppelin Field and SS Barracks at the NSDAP Rally Grounds Nuremberg Germany


Posted: , Last update: October 30 2016, in Third Reich Sites & Architecture. 2 comments

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg

East from the Große Straße (The Big Street) lies the Zeppelin field. In August 1906 Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin landed one of his airships on this field, hence the name. In German it is called Zeppelinfeld.

The Zeppelin Field is 312 meter wide and 285 meter long, the same size as 12 soccer fields. It has enough space for 200,000 people. The main tribune is 360 meters long. It was one of Albert Spears first jobs for the Third Reich as an architect. It is based upon the Pergamon Altar from the 2nd century BC. The grandstand is famous for the “blow the Swastika off the grandstand“ movie.

The inside of the main tribune holds a big hall of 335 cubic meters, the ceiling is 8 meters high. The walls are made of marble, there are gold shining mosaic tiles on the floor.
Two stairways lead to the tribune of honour above. Inside are rooms for relaxation, toilets and a telephone exchange.

Around the Zeppelin Field Albert Speer placed 34 small buildings which held 6 flags each. They divided the seating areas, inside these buildings visitor could use the restrooms.

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The Grandstand at the Zeppelin Field
Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The backside of the Grandstand at the Zeppelin Field
Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The entrance door at the backside of the Grandstand at the Zeppelin Field

In the evening, one hundred and twenty Flak searchlights gave of beams of light straight up towards the dark night sky as grand spectacle. Albert Speer designed a Cathedral of light around the Zeppelin Field during the nightly Rally’s. The beams from the searchlights soared hundreds of meters into the night sky.

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
A view on the Zeppelin Field from the Grandstand

 

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The spectators tribune surrounding the Zeppelin Field

The Nazi Party Rally’s in 1933 and 1934 were held in the Zeppelin Field, the spectators tribunes were still made of wood in these years. In 1935 -1936 the stone tribunes came into view.

On 22 April 1945 the U.S. Army held a victory parade in front of the main tribune, the Rock of Marne ceremony. A large United States flag was used to cover up the Swastika placed on top of the tribune. On the 25th of April 1945 the U.S. Army blasted the Nazi symbol off the grandstand.

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The backside of the spectators tribune surrounding the Zeppelin Field
Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The buildings housed restroom for the spectators
Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
Entrance through the tribune to the Zeppelin Field

After the war

After the war the Zeppelin Field was used by the American High School for soccer and football. In the 1970’s the pillar on the back of the main tribune were removed due to the danger of collapse. In the 1980’s the Monster of Rock organisation used the field for their heavy Metal festival.

Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The grandstand with the speakers stand at the main tribune
Zeppeling Field Nazi Party Rally Grounds Nuremberg
The stairs from the main building towards the speakers stand at the main tribune

Because the main tribune was build rather hastily and with lower quality materials, it is deteriorating rapidly. The inside was sealed due to the danger of collapse. The rear wall, on top of the main tribune is fenced off, as is the Zeppelin Field itself. The tribune is freely accessible though. Lots of tourists visit the Rally grounds, busloads to be honest.

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl filmed propaganda movies on the NSDAP Rally Days in Nuremberg.
Joseph Goebbels ordered the movies to be made during the great Nazi Party Rally’s. Leni Riefenstahl was innovative in her time. For example she was the first used carts to move the camera on tracks to film the action during the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Besides a movie director she was an actress, author and photographer.

During her cooperation with the Nazi Party she made 4 propaganda movies:

  • 1933 – Der Sieg des Glaubens (Victory of Faith)
  • 1935 – Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will)
  • 1935 – Tag der Freiheit – Unsere Wehrmacht (Day of Freedom – Our Armed Forces)
  • 1938 – Olympia, a 2 part movie on the Olympic Games in Berlin.
    • Part one; Fest der Völker.
    • Part 2; Fest der Schönheit (Festival of Nations and Festival of Beauty)

Here is a short movie of the Zeppelin Field taken by LandmarskScout

Visit

Besides the fenced off area’s the tribune is open for visitors. Do search the internet if there is a concert or event going on before you visit the Zeppelin Field.

SS Barracks NSDAP Rally Grounds Nuremberg Germany

SS Baracks Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Originally there was no plan for a barrack in the neighbourhood of the Nazi Party Rally grounds. But in 1936, the SS asked specifically for a barrack close to the Rally grounds. Architect Frans Ruff designed the building at the Frankenstraße, and by 1933 the building was finished. The barracks were among the biggest ever build by the National Socialists.

The central main building had a “Portal of Honour” and two side wings built around a courtyard. Apart from the main building several smaller building were constructed on the complex grounds as well.

The SS trained radio operators in the complex. 150 prisoners from the Dachau and Flossenberg Concentration Camps worked inside the building in various jobs.

On 18 April 1945 the American Army occupied the building and used it to house her own troops. They stayed here until the end of 1946 and gave it the name Merrel Barrack. Nowadays it is the Federal office for Migration and refugees.

SS Baracks Nuremberg Nazi Party Rally Grounds
SS Barracks Nuremberg, a glass wall is used to fillup the Portal of Honour

Visit

We didn’t enter the former SS barracks to see the inside. It was closed when we visited the Rally Grounds. As mentioned it’s an office for Migration and Refugees these days, it seems unlikely it’s open for a historical visit. But it’s a public building and if asked nicely, who knows.

Overview on the NSDAP Rally Grounds

The NSDAP Rally Grounds at Nuremberg houses more buildings and places then we visited and wrote about.

  • There is the Märzfeld (Marching Field) with its own tribune, and the Dutzendteich lake train station nearby.
  • Behind the Marching Field is the Zeltlager, or camping grounds, for the SS, Wehrmacht & Hilterjugend.
  • There is the wooden KDF Town (KDF – Kracht Durch Freude, – Strength through joy).

The Municipal Stadium and the stadium swimming pools, right beside the Zeppelin Field.

The little map below we found on Wikipedia, it gives an overview of the Rally Grounds Layout in Nuremberg.

Map of the NSDAP Rally Grounds in Nuremberg, with the courtesy of Wikipedia

More on the Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg;

The Erehalle – Luitpold Arena & the Luitpold Hall

The Congress Hall – The Große Straße & Electrical Tranformer Building

Nazi Trails Nuremberg, Courtroom 600

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2 thoughts on “Zeppelin Field and SS Barracks at the NSDAP Rally Grounds Nuremberg Germany

  1. There is some misinformation about Sud Kaserne (aka Merrell Barraks) above. The US Army (specifically the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment) occupied that facility until the end of the Cold War 1991 or 1992. There is (or was) an area open to the public just inside the main entrance with some displays about the history of the facility.

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