zum Zustand des Dokumentationszentrums Reichsparteitagsgelände in Nürnberg

Ein Kommentar von Jan Tomasz Gross und Zofia Waślicka

Would anyone dare suggest bulldozing the Pyramid of Cheops because the expense of keeping its stonework from crumbling was too high? After all, it is but testimony to a ruler’s hubris, as he ordered himself entombed without regard to the cost in deaths and the blood and tears of thousands of slaves.


The Parteitagsgelände in Nuremberg is another such testimony to infinite hubris and human folly. It was here that men (it was an exclusively masculine undertaking, I regret to say) put up an enormous playground where they could dress up, march, sing, shout, light fires, and wave flags to their hearts’ content.


Only these aren’t innocent games when taken up by grown-ups. Violence always lurks beneath the façade of pomp and celebration. What we witnessed at the Zeppelin Field and its environs—and still can, thanks to the cinematic genius of Leni Riefenstahl and her Triumph of the Will—morphed into the greatest bloodbath in the history of the world.


The breeding grounds of Nazism must be preserved in perpetuity. It’s not enough to commemorate the victims; we have to think about the perpetrators and the anonymous crowd of their supporters. It is a true intellectual and moral challenge—and of course part of the German identity. Actually, it is a shame that the upkeep of the Zeppelin Field has been so neglected till now, and that dozens of columns from the top of the main tribune have been removed and crammed into its vast interior. The Field should be restored to pristine condition and ought to serve as a privileged site for the public commemoration of Nazism’s perversions.


And then perhaps one day an inspired artist will make full use of the Zeppelin Field’s renovated interior spaces, which contain—few know of this, though it makes perfect sense—hundreds of toilets. Underneath the monumental façade of columns and stone, the hallowed ground of Nazism is but an enormous shithouse.


Jan Tomasz Gross and Zofia Waślicka

Jan Tomasz Gross ist Professor für Geschichte an der Princeton University und Kollaborateur der 7. Berlin Biennale



Ein Gespräch zwischen Hans-Christian Täubrich, Leiter des Dokumentationszentrums Reichsparteitagsgelände, und Jan Tomasz Gross und Zofia Waślicka finden Sie HIER.


Jan Tomasz Gross im Dokumentationszentrums Reichsparteitagsgelände in Nürnberg. Foto: Zofia Waślicka

10. Berlin Biennale