NS Ordensburg Vogelsang

The Vogelsang Ordensburg was designed by Cologne architect Clemens Klotz, built on a hillside overlooking a large lake valley, most of which lies within the district of the town of Schleiden, Eifel, Germany. Burg Vogelsang, an imposing complex of dozens of buildings perched above Lake Urft, was built between 1934 and 1936 as a training center for the Nazi leaders of the future. The school was completed in 1936 and the first class of "Junker" (cadets) began training immediately. Young men attended classes there between 1936 and 1939, until they were sent home at the start of World War Two. These young men were molded into Nazi leaders of the future. The overall project as planned was never completed, with a large "House of Knowledge" hall, a 2000-bed hotel, and other buildings being omitted.

At the outbreak of the war in September 1939, the Orden Junkers departed and the Castle of Vogelsang was handed over to the German army (Deutsche Wehrmacht), which used it twice for billeting troops: in 1940 during the western campaign, and in December 1944 during the Ardennes offensive, the Battle of the Bulge.

During the interim, Vogelsang hosted a couple of classes of the so-called Adolf-Hitler-Schools. In 1944, a military fitness camp for 15- and 16-year-old members of the Hitler Youth (Hitler-Jugend) was held there. Allied air raids destroyed some of the buildings, including the east wing and the gymnasium.

During World War II the site was used for military purposes and to house refugees from bombed German cities.

The U.S. Army overran the area in February 1945 and briefly occupied Vogelsang, before turning it over to the British military. In 1950 Vogelsang and the adjacent military training area were turned over to the Belgian Army, who controlled the area until 1 January 2006. The complex is the best maintained example of Third Reich architecture in Germany, and since January 1, 2006 it's open to the public.

Since the US Army occupied Burg Vogelsang, one of the Nazi's four elite schools, in 1945 hardly a civilian has had a chance to see it. British and later Belgian soldiers used the building and its 33-square meter (21-square mile) exercise grounds for training. Vogelsang's future took a new turn when the Eifel National Park was established there in 2004 and the Belgians evacuated and handed the lands to the public on January 1, 2006.

Below you can find some Then 1939 & Now December 26, 2012 pictures.

In 1933 the Nazi Propaganda Ministry under Joseph Goebbels began a movement based on the "Blut und Boden" (Blood and Soil) ideology - the so-called "Thing" movement. A Thing was an ancient Nordic/Germanic gathering of the people, in an outdoor setting. The Nazi Thing gatherings were to be held in specially-constructed outdoor amphitheaters, called (in the singular) Thingplatz or Thingstätte. The Thing sites were to be built as much as possible in a natural setting, incorporating rocks, trees, water bodies, ruins, and hills of some historical or mythical significance.

Built in 1934-1936, on the hillside between the barracks level and sports field was a Freilichtbühne which served as a "Thingplatz" for the cadets (the stage was the semi-circular edifice in the center, a hillside seating area overlooked the semi-circular stage, above the sports field). This was not a public Thingplatz, but a Freilichtbühne that served the same purpose for cadets at the Ordensburg Vogelsang.


Overlooking the Sportfield was a relief sculpture "Sportlers" (Sportsmen), crowned by an eagle with swastika. This artwork by Willy Meller suffered greatly during the years of postwar military occupation, the sportsmen and the eagle all lost their heads, the swastika was removed just after the war.


The "Fackelträger" (Torch Bearer) is a detached sculpture by Willy Meller located on the northeast periphery of the site. The inscription originally read "Ihr seid die Fackelträger der Nation - Ihr trägt das Licht des Geistes voran im Kampfe für Adolf Hitler" (You are the torch bearers of the nation - You carry the light of the spirit forward into battle for Adolf Hitler). The light blocks containing the words Fackelträger, Adolf Hitler, and the Swastika have been replaced. The "Fackelträger" himself also suffered considerable damage during the postwar military occupation. (Meller also designed works for the Berlin Olympic Stadion.