Though Munich is intimately connected with the life and times of Adolf Hitler, not many tourists would like to spend their limited time walking the Hitler Trail. But there are a couple of places that would pique the interest of any curious traveller. One such is the Shirker’s Gallery in the Druckebergergasse, behind the imposing Feldherrenhalle.
The Feldherrenhalle (Field marshal Gallery) is at one end of the Odeon Platz. It was a memorial to the heroes of the Bavarian Army until Hitler staged his infamous ‘Putsch’ there in November 1923. Though his movement was defeated and 16 Nazis were killed, he returned ten years later and took charge of the site. A very large monument was built in memory of those 16 men who were killed, which was surmounted by a swastika and an eagle. Two S.S. guards stood on constant duty at the memorial. Pedestrians were forced to give the Nazi salute ‘Heil Hitler’ every time they passed that way. But there were many who refused to do so and made a detour behind the building, through the Druckebergergasse. In 1945, the U.S.Army demolished the structure.
To commemorate this act of resistance, the City of Munich commissioned Sculptor Bruno Wank to design a 50-metre long silver line made up of brass cobblestones called Pflasterstiene, to trace the path of the Shirkers. Most people who trample over this line may not even be aware of its history.
The other forgotten spot is the memorial plaque of George Elser on the Bergerbraukellar of the City Hilton Hotel. He was the first man who exploded a bomb to kill Hitler during one of his speeches on November 8th, 1944. Hitler had left the venue, but the bomb killed eight Nazis and wounded many more. Elser was captured and spent his life in prison until he was executed in Dachau in April 1945. The commemoration plaque is lit up for a few minutes on November 8th, every year. The George Elser Plaza is the area where he once lived.
By Eva Bell