Sunday, September 7, 2014

76 years ago today...

...the huge annual meeting of the Nazi Party known as the Nuremberg Rally was underway in the beautiful medieval city of Nuremberg, Germany.The scale of the undertaking was unbelievable, similar to modern cities hosting Olympic games - building huge stadiums, figuring out logistics of feeding, housing, and moving tens of thousands of people in a short period of time. I've been researching that week-long Rally for the scene I'm writing. Here's just a few things I've learned -

-first and foremost- the entire event was propaganda designed to awe participants. Its massive scale, its high energy, its show of unity and strength gave people the sense that they were witnesses to something grand and glorious. Brainwashing at its finest.

- upwards of a million people descended on the city for part or all of the Rally

- local hotels and pensions (guesthouses) filled up quickly with Nazi Party officials and SS. Many local citizens offered Rally participants a place to sleep in their homes

- barracks-style housing and a 'tent city' were created adjacent to the Rally grounds for about 200,000 SA and Hitler Youth participants and spectators

-the Rally began with a five-hour long parade through the city

-the Rally grounds occupied an 11 square km area. An existing soccer stadium, community hall, and war memorial were re-purposed by the Nazis. Construction of several new stadiums and parade grounds began almost immediately after the Nazis came into power in 1933 and continued until halted by the war.

-one completed structure known as the Zeppelin field had a grandstand that held 50,000 people. The spectator stands and parade grounds below held another 150,000 people.

-a favorite event at the Zeppelin field was the nighttime torchlight parade. Over 100 searchlights at the stadium's perimeter pointed skyward, creating an effect that American journalist William Shirer called 'a cathedral of light.'

-the Great Street was built to act as a central axis to the grounds.This 60 meter wide, 2000 meter long walkway created a parade route between key sites. Photo ops abounded.

Not hard for me to see how my character, a 14-year-old girl, would be caught up.

Read more about the Nuremberg Rallies.
The Third Rech in Ruins
Nuremberg Museum and Documentation Centre
US Memorial Holocaust Museum

No comments:

Post a Comment