- Vogelsang IP, Vogelsang, Schleiden, Allemagne
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The Vogelsang complex was built as a National Socialist training institution before becoming an international military training area. Today, Vogelsang IP is an international place of active remembrance, where in addition to conveying historical facts about the Nazi era, issues regarding our present social life are addressed.
The first phase of the Vogelsang ‘Ordensburg’ was built from 1934 to 1936 on a wooded mountain spur above the Urfttal dam. It was to be a training institution for young party members of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). The term Ordensburg (order castle) came from the party and state leadership’s need to adopt powerful symbols from German history and to give them a new ideological interpretation. The Vogelsang complex was to be understood as a symbol of the rule of state and party over nature and great trouble was taken to create a relief effect on the hillside where it is located.
The complex is thus by no means a hilltop mediaeval castle but a modern, purpose-built structure made of reinforced concrete and faced with natural stone; the ‘keep’ was used as a water tower. The trainees did not belong to an order in the sense of a medieval community of knights but were fanatical adherents of the system, who boastfully and arrogantly referred to themselves as junkers.
Instruction at Vogelsang ended when the German Wehrmacht attacked Poland on 1 September 1939 and the trainees signed up for war service. From 1946 until 2005 it was the centre of initially a British and later a Belgian military training ground.
Today, Vogelsang IP is an international place of active remembrance, where in addition to conveying historical facts about the Nazi era, issues, messages and reflections regarding our present social life are addressed. The focus lies on the question: “What has Vogelsang got to do with me?”
The state of North Rhine-Westphalia, in western Germany, holds a deep industrial heritage. During WWII, the region housed the industrial Ruhr district, which was vital to the German war production, and therefore several cities and towns were totally destroyed. Nowadays,
The Ordensburg Vogelsang was a training venue for an upcoming Nazi-elite. Young cadets were persuaded they were racially superior and therefore justified to dispose of other, lesser humans. The imposing architecture supposedly demonstrated the power of the ‘Aryan master race’. However, for the Allies who occupied Vogelsang in 1945, it became a symbol of the predominance of democracy over nazism.