Posted by: sommecourt | 19/03/2013

Crumbling History: The Nuremberg Stadium

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Nuremberg stadium for the first time; it’s sheer size is overwhelming and when you consider what it symbolised and who once stood there, on a cold March day it was chilling in every way to walk around the site.

Nuremberg 1945

But one thing I noticed was this landmark of the ‘Thousand Year Reich’ is crumbling, and in places falling down. It took battle damage in 1945 and much of the original structure has been removed over the years; as such it appears to have damaged the integrity of much of the stonework. A main road runs close by with heavy traffic and the site is regularly used for public events, although not the type it was originally built for. While scrubbed out, graffiti and vandalism are obviously commonplace.

Crumbling Nuremberg

What to do with such a structure? Given what it once represented should it perhaps be left to turn to dust?

Some damage was done during the fighting in 1945.

I can hardly be called an apologist for the Nazi regime, as this post will show, but as an historian I view any form of history crumbling away as this is as a bad thing. Buildings are as important as documents in a dusty archive and to let such a structure fall to pieces is a crime; to understand what the Third Reich was and what its aims were we have to able to show future generations places like this. Sadly it seems locally there is little desire to do anything; but it was once like that in Berlin and now there is active interest in preserving Nazi period buildings. One can only hope it will change and as we move towards the 70th Anniversary of the end of the Second World War there might be a  local initiative to ensure important locations like the Nuremberg Stadium are preserved.


  1. […] History: The Nuremberg Stadium Comments? Crumbling History: The Nuremberg Stadium | Out of Battle __________________ "The only way you get out of infantry is on a stretcher or six feet under…" […]

  2. I visited Nuremberg too. I was chilled as you were. My daughter, who was 11 at the time, wouldn’t climb the steps. “That man killed Anne Frank,” she said. That chill is the reason it should be preserved.

  3. Paul, I read this on the way home on the phone but couldn’t then comment as I lost the connection. Firstly, I think it is great that someone as well travelled across the battlefields of Europe can still find places that you haven’t previously been to and is happy to

    Secondly, I think that it would be wise to preserve it in some state. I haven’t much experience of the modern German attitude to what happened under the Third Reich, but will go with your feel. It is important all of us understand so that what happened isn’t forgotten.

    It’s Germany’s misfortune it happened there; it could have been the same anywhere, really.

  4. Personally, I hate to see any piece of history related to WW2 demolished, regardless of what it was used for. After all, places such as this are a strong reminder of the past which must never be forgotten,

  5. too much of our history is destroyed by short sighted and thoughtless people. This should stand as a reminder, along side auchwitz , of what can happen, when a man like Hitler takes power….if they`r destroyed they are out of sight out of mind…which would suit some.

  6. I spent 8 years at Merrell Barracks just down the street as a soldier. We had chances to explore the Stadium /Soldiers Field and even in our own barracks that the SS had occupied. It was fascinating ! The tunnels under the barracks were pretty awesome and the large marble swastika inlay on our chapel floor was beautiful. We slept in the same rooms as the SS troops…Our NCO club was in the building used as the SS stables(That seemed fitting!) The same places the SS formations of troops were held we also stood in very like formations on the same cobblestones.

    • I was there in the 70’s and although there were tunnels under the barracks as the elevator shafts existed in all the major buildings went down somewhere. When we broke open the welds holding the doors closed in one of the 2rd floor barracks hallways and forced the doors open all that could be seen at the bottom was water.

  7. Look on my works ye mighty … and despair.

    My own preference would be for benign neglect to allow this monument to fade into irrelevance as the future leaves it behind as a sad relic of a poorer past, rather than preserving it in aspic. I speak from the perspective of an accidental veteran of a much smaller and ephemeral war, and I formed this view after visiting Prague, and seeing the absent remains of some rather grandiose Soviet Brutalist sculptures on the skyline. I felt that the few remaining iron rebars left in the footings, clawing vainly at the sky were more eloquent of the fate of dictators than a carefully preserved monument could have been.

    Kind regards,


  8. Having never visited this particular site, I’m a firm believer of preservation. The history of WW2 is a stark reminder of all those who died on all sides, and the great sacrifices given. Practically all of the Nazi structures were built by slave labour and rather than destroy them, they should be restored to remember those who gave their lives building them.

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