Nurnberg is an awesome place for romantics who find history facinating. My earliest academic writing achievement involved consulting my new 1958 set of the Encyclopedia (yes, I did learn the spelling from Jiminy Cricket!) Americana on the "Nuremberg Trials" --a topic suggested by my father who paid big bucks that he didn't have after a clean-cut college student salesman came to our humble door in Colorado Springs, Colorado and left hours later with my mother's wonderful Sunday dinner in his stomach and a down-payment check in his pocket. I was not a great student but the acquisition of this resource did improve my performance in those grey, pre-Camelot days when Hoppalong Cassidy, the Cisco Kid, and Wyatt Earp competed with Annette Funicello and Penny for my attention, John Cameron Swazy gave daily reports on General and President Eisenhower, "I Led Three Lives" showed how rotten the Reds were, "The Big Picture" showed General Patton steamrolling the Wehrmacht, "Victory At Sea" showed Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima to the strains of Richard Rodgers stunning score, and patriot heros such as my father were still showing visitors their bemedaled "Ike" jackets.
In fact, my father had participated in the battle for Nurnberg where millions of doomed Nazis lined up in the 30s to hear "Der Chef" scream in terms that even Wagner would have thought too romantic. And here I was at last walking in the footsteps of the Meistersingers, trying to cross the four-lane road to the old city by dodging hundreds of speeding autos and motorcycles! I was very impressed by the reconstruction of the city and somewhat uncomfortable at the thought of the bombing which killed thousands of civilians--especially when the people at the Hotel Marienbad and the various restaurants, shops and passersby were so damned nice to us. I really don't know what I expected in this regard--hostility, resentment, phiosophical acceptance I do know that Nurnberg was a chillingly facinating place to ponder history. An overpowering karma! We had coffee with a very nice elderly lady at a Konditori near the wunderbar Christkindlesmarkt. Her only complaint was about the increasing number of "creeps" showing up in her city. And, it did appear that Nurnberg was the most "German" city we went to (our hotel room had its own frig stocked with cold beer--consumed on the honor system) and the safest "feeling" (our only uncomfortable time came in the Bahnhof as we tried to help, by answering questions from, two very drunken Auslanders who seemed to become abusive in their responses to our inability to communicate in whatever language they were speaking).
It was a cold, windy day but the sky was clear, blue and sunny as we left the bus at the Volkspark. Beverly had been there before and was sure she could find the site we were looking for. The driver said just walk straight ahead. It took some imagination to see the remains of the huge stadium used for mass Nazi rallies in the 30s. The only recognizable structure was the marble war memorial and plaza. We then crossed the street to the congresshall. Its roofless, unfinished interior currently used to garage garbage trucks and other municipal vehicles. Very interesting but not our main target. Then, a middle-aged man on his 10-speed bike stopped and said "you want to see Heetlahr!" and pointed in a certain direction. We said "Danke" and began walking. The sight from the Congresshall was for me probably the most ethereal sight in all Europa: The bone-white glimmer of the Zeppelin Field gallery emerging from and reflecting across the dark blue water of the Große Dutzendteich. It was October and the colorful, changing leaves against the light blue sky provided an eerily appropriate frame as we walked around the lake to the site. The scene lost some of its mystique up close: this gleaming monument from which Hitler addressed his followers is now isolated from its field by roads bearing fast moving traffic; tennis players now use its monumental walls as backdrops, and its teutonic interior houses a hollocaust museum.