CONTENTS - FILM LOCATIONS - WARTIME LOCATIONS - GRAND TOURING - EQUIPMENT - INDEX

Schloß, Burg & Ruinen

 

- Burg Hohenfreyberg & Burg Eisenberg

- Ruine Falkenstein

- Schloß Ehrenberg

- Kehlsteinhaus

- Schloß Klessheim

- Festung Hohensalzburg

- Schloß Neuschwanstein & Schloß Hohenschwangau

- Schloß Colditz

- Festung Königstein

- NS-Ordensburg Sonthofen

- Taufers im Münstertal

- Schloß Kufstein

- Volkerschlactdenkmal, Leipzig

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Hohenfreyberg & Eisenberg

Burg Hohenfreyberg Burg Eisenberg
Burg Hohenfreyberg left and Burg Eisenberg right.

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Burg Eisenberg

Burg Hohenfreyberg Burg Eisenberg
The approach to Burg Hohenfreyberg

Burg Hohenfreyberg Burg Eisenberg
What is takes to keep a Schloß from returning to nature: Lots of cash.

Burg Hohenfreyberg and Burg Eisenberg belonged to two brothers. They were destroyed like so many of Germany's Schloß during the Thirty Years WarWikipedia - . Burg Eisenberg (the right hand Schloß when viewed from the village of Zell or from Ruine Falkenstein) has been repaired to the point where it will remain standing, and has had wooden access walkways added to it. Burg Hohenfreyberg is still being worked on. It is still owned by the family, who still own a number of their hereditary Schloß.

Burg Hohenfreyberg Burg Eisenberg
Burg Hohenfreyberg left.

Burg Hohenfreyberg
Burg Hohenfreyberg

Burg Hohenfreyberg Burg Eisenberg
Burg Hohenfreyberg left and Burg Eisenberg right. They occupy respective hills.

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Ruine Falkenstein

Falkenstein
Ruine Falkenstein featured on 19th Century illustrations because of its precipitous aspects. The other side of Schloß drops away vertically. In the illustrations, it is depicted with an overhang. There is a restaurant several hundred meters from the summit at the head of the trail.

Falkenstein
Neuschwanstein from Ruine Falkenstein, away to the south at Füssen. The town of Füssen can be observed to the lower left of frame. Neuschwanstein is the lighter patch within the forest exactly mid frame. It is only just visible with the naked eye. This photograph was taken at 10x.

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Spielhahnjäger Gebirgsjäger Denkmal

ZUR GEDENKSTÄTTE

DER UBER 150000 GEFALLENEN
SPIELHAHNJÄGER-KAMERADEN

EHEM. 97. JÄGER-DIV.

AUFSTELLUNGSRAUM BAD TOLZ
EINSATZ-SUDRUSSLAND-KAUKASUS

1939-1945

Spielhahnjäger Gebirgsjäger Denkmal

 

 

Schloss Ehrenberg

Schloss Ehrenberg complex at Reutte, Austria
The Schloß Ehrenberg Link - Ehrenberg complex, above Reutte, Austria. I took the monochrome photograph in 1969 and another photograph in 2003. Note that the round tower left of frame has undergone some restoration with the addition of a roof.

 

 

 

Schloss Klessheim

Schloss Klessheim
Schloß Wikipedia - Schloss Klessheim: Himmler's headquarters in Austria, just to the west of Salzburg.

Schloss Klessheim
Detail of the left hand pillars of the gate at Schloß . You can see the front elevation of the Schloß through the bars of the gate.

 

In March of 1944, Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein Wikipedia - Erich von Manstein Wikipedia - and his ADC Alexander Stahlberg Wikipedia - Alexander Stahlberg Wikipedia - visited Hitler at the Berghof. After their visit they travel to Schloß to visit Himmler. Stahlberg relates the details in his memoirs Bounden Duty page 334.5. The travel from the Berghof in one of the official 7.7 liter Mercedes-Benz to Salzburg and Schloß . The next day the same chauffeur takes them on a hair-raising high-speed dash along the deserted Salzburg-Munich Autobahn to meet their aircraft at Riem:


          When we subsequently drove to Berchtesgaden - with an SS man as chauffeur - Manstein told me we would not be spending the night as planned at the Hotel Berchtesgadener Hof, but at Schloß Wikipedia - Schloss Klessheim near Salzburg. It was, I was told, a beautiful old Baroque Castle, converted by Reich Foreign Minister Ribbentrop into a guesthouse for official visitors.
         At first I took this to mean that we might be spending the evening with Ribbentrop , and was already beginning to wonder what was ahead of us, when the Field Marshal said quite matter-of-factly: 'We shall be spending the evening with Reichsführer SS Himmler.'
          The brief phrase struck me like a thunderbolt. All I could say was: 'With Himmler, Sir ?' But something inside me began to reel. I could say nothing, with an SS man sitting in front of us, but I told him stop at the Berchtesgadener Hof, cancelled our rooms and sent for the cases we had already left there. We drove on towards Salzburg, with me sitting in the back beside the Field Marshal without a word to say, but my head was whirling. The end of the war was in sight, we were facing the unimaginable - and this was the moment Manstein chose to get in touch with Himmler ? Or was it the other way around ? Who had more blood on his hands than this monster ? Manstein had once told me that he had never seen Himmler, let alone spoken to him.
          It was almost dark when the sound of the gravel crunching under the wheels of the heavy Mercedes recalled me to reality. SS servants took our bags, SS officers saluted us with loud 'Heil Hitlers!' Our suite was on the ground floor , and here we were , surrounded by marble and silk - and in the hands of the SS.
          When the orderlies had left the room I repeated softly: 'With Himmler, Sir ?' 'Why not ?' he said. 'What is there against it ?' 'Everything, Sir ?' I replied. He embarked reluctantly on something like an apology: it was never a bad thing to meet people personally, nor could be predict even now when it might be useful.
          We dropped the subject.
         SS orderlies rolled in a laid table and served us dinner of several courses. Then an SS officer appeared and announced that the Reichsführer SS was at home and expected the Field Marshal upstairs. When we were alone again I asked Manstein if I had to attend the meeting. 'Of course,' he said, and asked me why I obviously did not wish to. I said as quietly as possible that it would be hard for me, and suggested telephoning the headquarters of our Army Group for a situation report. Then I would follow him up and report any changes to the situation. He agreed, and I asked the exchange to send an officer to fetch him.
         I extended my telephone conversations with our headquarters as long as I possibly could, talking to General Busse, our Chief of Staff, and most lengthily to Schulze-Büttger, the 1a. Each time I began by saying that we were in 'Reichsführer SS Himmler's guesthouse'. It was important for them to know that before we spoke.
          Finally I walked up the big staircase to the upper floor. There were SS men all over the hall and stairs. Himmler took good care of his safety!
          The central reception room of the castle was dominated by a great round table with eight or ten deep armchairs. Manstein and Himmler were sitting side by side, but all the other chairs were occupied by senior SS officers. A great many more SS officers stood chatting in casual groups round the walls of the room.
         I reported to the Field Marshal and told him in a few words what Busse and Schulze-Büttger had passed on to me; there was no news of particular significance. When I had finished the Field Marshal turned to Himmler and said he wished to present his ADC, Stahlberg. Without rising, Himmler gave me his hand, practically forcing me to bow to him, when I saw to my astonishment that his cheeks were made up.
          Manstein encouraged me to sit with them and I walked round the big room, as if in search of a chair. No one greeted me or involved me in conversation, and it suited me to remain a stranger here. I took up a position where the Field Marshal could see me, and stood there.
          The conversation between Manstein and Himmler seemed to be restricted to conversational matters, although I knew how lively and sparkling Manstein could be in intimate conversation. So it was not long before the Field Marshal rose, took his leave of the officers round the table and came over to me.
          The next morning a lavish breakfast was brought to our suite and soon we were back in the big 7.7 litre Mercedes Wikipedia - Mercedes-Benz 770 of the previous day. The driver had opened the roof, although it was a cold morning. Was it done from malice ? On he almost empty autobahn to Munich the SS chauffeur did his best to show us what he and his car were capable of. More than once we were on dangerously icy surfaces. It was a horrific drive and both the Field Marshal and I were freezing. It was not until we were saying good morning to our pilot, Captain Langer, by his Ju 52 in Riem Wikipedia - Munich-Riem Flughaven that the tension relaxed.

 

DDAC Durchfahrtspläne fur 150 deutsche Städe - Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden

 

After his trial Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein advised the Bundeswehr and lived in retirement at a village south of Munich. He died in 1973. The last von Manstein moved away to the Rheinland around 1992. Alexander Stahlberg was the only link left with this time. When he died in 1995, there was nothing left.

 

Berchtesgaden - Salzburg - Munich DDAC 1940 Map
DDAC 1940 Europa map

On 1945-MAY-04 US troops of the XV Corps, the 106th Cavalry Group, arrived in Salzburg, which had been heavily bombed three days before. The Schloß became the divisional command post.

Salzburg: schloss Klessheim in wartime under camoflage netting
Schloss Klessheim under wartime camouflage netting

 

Salzburg: schloss Klessheim
Schloss Klessheim under wartime camouflage netting

 

Salzburg: schloss Klessheim: The US Army arrives in a looted Mercedes-Benz 770 Grosser probably belonging to Heinrich Himmler
Schloss Klessheim: The US Army arrives in a looted Mercedes-Benz 770 Grosser

 

 

DDAC Deutsche Alpenlands 1940 Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Munich
DDAC Deutches Alpenlandes 1940: Berchtesgaden - Salzburg - Munich. After the end of the war, an American officer used to drive a looted Auto Union racing car Wikipedia - Auto Union Type A-D racing car along the autobahn from München to Augsburg every night after curfew.

 

Schloss Klessheim in 1959
Schloß in March 1959 for Porsche's Christophorus magazine

 

1974 - Dr Henry Kissinger while engaged in one of his many shuttle diplomacy flights in 'Air Force 2' (LBJ's vice presidential Boeing 707) stopped off in Salzburg in order to give a press conference on a matter relating to internal Whitehouse matters. The press conference was held at Schloss Klessheim.

 

Salzburg: schloss Klessheim showing the extensive grounds before the Salzburg ring-strasse was built right past the main gates
Post war Schloss Klessheim showing the extensive grounds before the Salzburg ring-strasse was built right past the main gates

 

- Schloß at the Salzburg Wiki Wiki - Schloss Klessheim at the Salzburg Wiki

- Generalfeldmarschall von Manstein at WW2 Gravestone Link - WW2 Gravestone

 

 

Festung Hohensalzburg

Hohensalzburg

Hohensalzburg
The town of Salzburg from the battlements.

Hohensalzburg
Hohensalzburg from the town of Salzburg.

Hohensalzburg

 

Himmler inspects troops at Salzburg, 1938
Himmler performs an inspection below Hohensalzburg, 1938

 

 

NEUSCHWANSTEIN & HOHENSCHWANGAU

 

Neuschwanstein
Neuschwanstein features in a scene of The Great Escape (1963) Wikipedia - The Great Escape Link - Great Escape LocationsLink - Mr Location - The Great Escape

Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein

The Marienbrucke above Neuschwanstein
This is the Marienbrucke, which features in Royal Flash (1975)

Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein
Workmanship

Neuschwanstein

 

HOHENSCHWANGAU

Hohenschwangau, opposite Neuschwanstein
Hohenschwangau features briefly in The Eagle has Landed (1976).

 

 

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz Wikipedia - Schloß Colditz Wikipedia - Schloß Colditz is the most famous of the wartime PoW camps. While centrally located in Europe it is so far from anywhere else that no one ever goes there. On my first visit I was alone. The lady in the office telephoned down to the town to ask the local historian if he would like to come up and meet me. Under the DDRWikipedia - , Schloß Colditz was a hospital for children. When he FRG took over, they had no need for the primitive facilities at the Schloß and it remained empty. The building belonged to the state of SaxonyWikipedia - who had no idea what to do with it. It was up for sale for one Deutschmark but the buyer had to be approved. I thought about using it as my office, as it was equidistant from every where I needed to go. The state thought about making it into a youth hostel but why would any youth want to come here ? Saxony, specifically »Saxon Switzerland« is a one of my favorite locations in Festung Europa, and is spattered with magnificent Schloß, which make enjoyable enchaînements when one is driving a touring car.

The number of memoirs of Colditz PoWs, obituaries, is vast and even a comprehensive Colditz Bibliography would be a huge undertaking, let alone a Colditz library. If you have Colditz related materials I suggest you contact the Schloß and ask them if they would like to receive your materials. If you find memoirs which feature Colditz I suggest you place an entry on the Wikipedia page. If you are unable to do this just email to me the details and I will make sure it finds the correct place. Colditz OFLAG IV-C is a subject in itself and requires extensive attention from historians - far more than I am able to give.

Schloß Colditz was designated OFLAG IV-C during the war because PoW camps were given abbreviations. Stalag-Luft for airmen for example. The OF in OFLAG stands for Officer. Colditz was used to house officers and Prominete - important invividuals who were PoWs.

 

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C
The town of Colditz below the battlements of Schloß Colditz.

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C
The exersize yard on the eastern side of the Schloß.

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C
Papers and rubber stamps forged by the PoWs.

 

Graffiti made by PoWs
Graffiti on the walls left by the PoWs. 1990, when the Schloß was handed over to West Germany, basic renovation work was undertaken to restore the forty-five years of neglect. Sadly, an over-enthusiastic painter painted over the inside of one of the solitary confinement cells obliterating its walls of historic graffiti.

 

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C
During renovation work in 1990, an undiscovered tunnel was found. This tunnel had been kept a secret during all these decades. In the 1970s a group of ex PoWs returned to the Schloß and found that their radio set was still in its hiding place. They retreived it and took it home.

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C

Schloß Colditz - Oflag IV-C
The thick walls of the Schloß.

 

+ Top Gear Series 15 Episode 2 Wikipedia - Top Gear Episodes featured a visit to Schloß Colditz.

 

Festung Königstein

 

Festung Königstein Wikipedia - Festung KönigsteinWikipedia - KönigsteinWikipedia - Oflag IV-B

Festung Königstein by Bernado Bellotto
Festung Königstein by Bernado Bellotto Wikipedia - Bernardo Bellotto

Festung Königstein is built on one of many volcanic bosses which dot the landscape in the area. It is best viewed from a distance from where its scale may be sensed. The actual castle buildings are small because the fortress is formed by the rock itself.

 

 

NS-Ordensburg Sonthofen

 

NS-Ordensburg Sonthofen
NS-Ordensburg Sonthofen Wikipedia - Ordensburg SonthofenWikipedia - Ordensburg Sonthofen

 

Völkerschlactdenkmal

The Völkerschlactdenkmal Wikipedia - in Leipzig.

Walter Schellenberg, wartime head of SS Intelligence section Amt-IV told in his memoirs of an incident during the struggles with Stalin's intelligence apparatus. The Russians were attempting to recruit a German as an informant. During a long series of attempted contacts, the agent, a woman is instructed by the Russians to visit a »drop« to collect some instructions. The drop is at the Völkerschlactdenkmal in Leipzig, the huge monument to the largest battle of the Napoleonic wars.

The Labyrinth - The Memoirs of Hitler's Secret Service Chief by Walter Schellenberg published by Harper NYC 1956 LC 56-8761

From Chapter Five The Vietinghoff Brothers Page 154.4:

   After four days Wilhelm reported that Maria had received a typed letter, written on white paper and with no signature. It ordered her to travel alone to Leipzig on the following day, and gave the time of the train she was to go by. In Leipzig she would have two hours in which to dine; the name and address of the restaurant she was to go to were also given.

   In the afternoon she was to visit the Völkerschlactdenkmal [Memorial to the Battle of Nations at Leipzig]. There she was to examine the wall near the main entrance closely, and in the third buttress on the right of entrance she would see a crack; in it she would find a small parcel wrapped in old newspaper. She was not to remove the parcel until after nightfall, when visitors to the Memorial and the caretaker would be gone and then to do it quite unobtrusively. After finding the parcel she was to return on foot, walking for at least an hour, and only after that time had elapsed she was to return to Berlin that same night. Obviously these very detailed instructions had been given so that her movements could be checked all the time.

   I sent two of our officials ahead to Leipzig to organize a thorough and comprehensive watch. The night before Maria's arrival the crack in the wall at the Memorial was examined and the parcel seen and left in position.

   Watching Maria's movements on the following day brought no startling result; apparantly the Russians' surveillance was conducted only on the train and at the restaurant. Maria carried out her assignment very skillfully and returned to her lodgings in Berlin without incident.

   We wondered what other instructions were in the parcel and whether she would be allowed to discuss them with her accomplises. Wilhelm called me the next evening and told me that the old newspaper contained 400,000 marks wrapped in sailcloth. Nothing else was in the package, which had apparently been lying in its hiding place for at least a year.

The Volkerschlactdenkmal was used in the defense of Leipzig by Wehrmacht troops as US troops approached. The US Army shelled the Volkerschlactdenkmal with heavy artillery but it made no impression on the granite walls. Finally the started shelling the upper apertures using a tank gun but this had no effect because the German troops were hiding in the basement areas. Unable to dislodge the defenders, they sent a German speaking officer to negotiate. Over nine hours he persuaded them to surrender. Of course, the area around Leipzig had been partitioned into the Soviet Zone and the US troops would withdraw to allow Soviet troops to enter. The area surrounding Leipzig was itself heavily defended by huge flak belts used to defend the manufacturing areas. The flak artillery proved to be just as effective against infantry and tanks and, like in Berlin, proved able defenders.

 

Völkerschlactdenkmal - Leipzig

Völkerschlactdenkmal - Leipzig

DDAC Durchfahrtspläne fur 150 deutsche Städte, 1939
DDAC Durchfahrtspläne fur 150 deutsche Städte, 1939, Leipzig. The Völkerschlactdenkmal is marked (6)

 

Volkerschlactdenkmal - Leipzig 1945
Volkerschlactdenkmal - Leipzig 1945. A GI poses amid the ruins.

 

 

 

 

Taufers im Münstertal

Taugers im Münstertal
Glurns Wikipedia - GlurnsWikipedia - Glurns in the Münstertal Wikipedia - Taufers Wikipedia - Taufers up to the west of the Vinschgau Wikipedia - Vinschgau Wikipedia - Vinschgau en route to what is now the Swiss border.

Originally, one entered the walled village from the east, (furthest from the camera), drove through the tiny narrow streets to the west gate (visible center frame) and then climb onwards up the valley in the direction of the Swiss border. Sadly, a new bypass has been constructed (2001) which this photograph has been taken from. Driving through the walled village at night on a journey back to Switzerland was always highly atmospheric and enjoyable. Pulling through at night, the images of the tiny darkened street and narrow gateways were evocative of both Sergio Leone Westerns and Dracula movies.

 

 

 

SCHLOSS KUFSTEIN

 

Large Schloß punctuate almost all the large passes on the northern border of the Alps and Schloß Kufstein Wikipedia - KufsteinWikipedia - Kufstein controls the valley of the Inn. The present border with Germany is just to the north. After the war, Eichmann crossed the border somewhere near here, probably to the West, on his journey from Germany to Genoa to take a ship to Argentina.

Schloss Kufstein from the North

 

Schloss Kufstein

 

Schloss Kufstein

Burgen and Ruinen im Allgäu by Dieter Buck, published by Theiss
Burgen and Ruinen im Allgäu by Dieter Buck, published by Theiss.

 

 

 

 

+ SEE ALSO

+ Burg Hohenwerfen

+ Schloß Fischorn

+ Schloß Fuschl

+ Schloß Labers

+ The Obersalzburg, Hitler's Berghof and the Eagle's Nest

 

 

+ EXTERNAL LINKS

- After the Battle Magazine Link - journal of historical research

 

 

+ BIBLIOGRAPHY

Burgen and Ruinen im Allgäu by Dieter Buck published by Theiss 2002 ISBN 3-8062-1602-9

After the Battle Number 63 - Colditz Link -

Die Allgäuer Ordensburg in Sonthofen by Hartmut Happel published by Eberl, Immenstadt 1996

The Labyrinth - The Memoirs of Hitler's Secret Service Chief by Walter Schellenberg published by Harper NYC 1956 LC 56-8761

Die Verdammte Pflicht: Erinnerungen 1932 bis 1945 by Alexander Stahlberg, published by Verlag Ullstein, Berlin, 1987 ; in English Bounden Duty by Alexander Stahlberg published by Brassey's 1990 ISBN 0-08-036714-3

Verlorene Siege by Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein, published by Athenaum-Verlag, Bonn, 1955 ; Lost Victories Field Marshal Erich von Manstein published by Greenhill Books, London, 1987ISBN 0-947898-70-0

 

 

 

 

 

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