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April 29, 2022
Nuremberg, Germany: “The Most German of German Cities”

Today’s port, Nuremberg, is the second-largest city in Bavaria (and the 14th-largest in Germany). It was also the second-most bombed Germany city after Cologne. Following World War II, Nuremberg was painstakingly rebuilt using the original stones from each building. Builders opted to preserve a Medieval planning approach, so no building is taller than the cathedral.

Nuremberg after World War II (note the cathedral spires)(stock photo)

Nuremberg today

Russell and Cameron joined the included excursion, “Nuremberg Through History.” Nuremberg’s Pegnitz River (a “sorry excuse for a river,” according to the locals) is not big enough to carry a cruise ship, so guests entered the city via motorcoach. The majority of the time was spent in Old Town, walking from the high Kaiserburg (Imperial Castle) down the hill to the Frauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church) in the market square.

The Kaiserburg Imperial Castle. Note the top half of the tower was reconstructed post-war, using bricks instead of stones.

Albrecht Dürer Platz, named for the famed engraver and Nuremberg native

The Hauptmarkt (Market Square)

The centerpiece of the Market Square is the Frauenkirche (Our Lady’s Church)

At noon every day, the glockenspiel features a show of animated figurines as the clock chimes

Russell and Cameron also had some free time to explore the market square, where they experienced two of Nuremberg’s specialties: year-round Christmas stores and lebkuchen (a gingerbread-like Christmas cookie).

Inside a year-round Christmas store

Lebkuchen is a local gingerbread variant made with cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, ginger, cardamom, allspice, coriander and nutmeg

We purchased a few tins of cookies, but we’re not sure if they’ll make it home 😊

Nuremberg is unavoidably linked to the Nazi party and the Third Reich. Hitler chose the city as the base for his Nazi propaganda spectacles for three reasons:

  1. The city is centrally located not only in Germany, but in Europe
  2. The town mayor was extremely friendly and sympathetic with the Nazis
  3. Nuremberg had a widespread railway system, making it easy to bring people into the city

The included excursion passed through several Nazi locations and landmarks, but guests did not stop or walkaround.

To better experience WWII history, Gail joined the “Nuremberg World War II Tour” optional excursion, which explored three locations in depth.

First was the Zeppelin Field. This is where the Nazi Party staged its annual propaganda rallies, which attracted more than one million attendees. Guests learned how every aspect of these rallies was carefully choreographed to associate the Third Reich with power, community and security. The Nazis were not particularly religious, but they used staging and symbols that would generate an almost religious fervor among attendees.

Outside Zeppelin Field

Inside Zeppelin Field

The guide showed a historical photo of a Nazi propaganda rally

Second was the Conference Center. Hitler wanted to model the Third Reich after the empires of antiquity, and he envisioned a structure twice as large as the Roman Colosseum. The building was never completed because the resources were diverted to the war effort instead.

Hitler’s unfinished Conference Center was modeled after the Roman Colosseum

Gail found it ironic that the Conference Center is currently the site of a carnival

Third was the Palace of Justice, site of the post-war Nuremberg trials. The city was chosen because it had one of the only courthouses not destroyed by Allied bombing. In addition, it was fitting to stage the end of the Nazi party at the same location where it began.

The Nuremberg trials were significant in highlighting “crimes against humanity” for the first time. Previously, leaders were never held accountable for atrocities committed during a war. Nuremberg served as the template for today’s International Court in the Hague.

The Palace of Justice

Courtroom 600 was where the Nuremberg trials were held

Gail found her excursion extremely moving and emotional. One of her fellow guests had an incredible story to share: his father had been one of the US military guards during the Nuremberg Trials. This guest was given permission to stand (behind the barriers) in the exact spot where his father had stood during the trials.

We were all back aboard the longship in time for a late lunch. Guests have an optional shuttle back into town for more shopping, but we’re going to stay aboard ship as we continue to sail through the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal system.

After the war, the Germans wanted to repurpose Nazi locations in ways that would completely demean them. The power station for Zeppelin Field is now a Burger King.

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