Himmler’s SS Wewelsburg Castle
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It is said that the Wewelsburg was going to be the “Grail Castle” of the Nazi regime, once it had established itself as rulers of the world. Is this true, and, if so, what was their ambition in this vast building project? It is clear that any Grail Castle to be built would have a geometrical design, and in the case of the Wewelsburg, that is a triangle. For Himmler, the Wewelsburg was not so much the location where the Grail was hidden, but where his Grail Order – the SS, the Schutzstaffel – and its sacred treasures – rumoured to be the Spear of Destiny – would be brought, and from which the magical power of the Nazi regime would radiate out.
Day One: Guests are met by MHT at Dortmund Airport at 10:00 before transferring by mini bus to our first destination: Teutoburg Forest for the battle in 9 CE when an alliance of Germanic tribes ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions and their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus. Arminius (Hermann the Cherusker), leader of the Germanic tribes during the battle, became something of a legend. During the period of national renaissance in the wake of the Napoleonic wars, German people saw him as an early protagonist of German resistance to foreign rule and a symbol of national unity. We visit the monumental statue of Arminius commemorating the battle, known as the Hermannsdenkmal (the “Hermann monument”), which was erected close to the site where the most popular theory of the time placed the battle. Emperor William I, the first Kaiser of the unified German Empire, dedicated the monument in 1875. We then head to Wewelsburg Castle.
Day Two: We spend the day in and around Wewelsburg Castle. With the aid of maps, architectural drawings and photographs we familiarise ourselves with the layout of the ‘Grail’ castle as planned by Himmler and as achieved in reality. We visit the documentation centre as well the highlight of the trip: the crypt and the Hall of Generals. All this is done by explaining every day life in the castle during the war as well as other events such as Nazi weddings that took place there. We also take the opportunity to walk in the valley below which will allow for some fantastic photo opportunities of the castle.
Day Three: We visit the quarries around the castle which housed Forced Labour Camps whose stone and workers were exploited by the Nazis in the construction of their dream. We explore the local town and pay our respects at the memorial on the site of the former camp before making our way to the location of a German rifle range in the woods which survives in remarkably good condition. We visit a nearby cemetery which houses members of the Hitler Youth and SS who fell in the battle to take the town. We end our tour by heading back to the castle to discuss the advance of the Americans and the surrender of the castle before we make our way back to Dortmund airport arriving circa 18:00.