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15 October 2014
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Germany 1939

by Ron_Thomas

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Contributed by 
Ron_Thomas
People in story: 
Ron Thomas
Location of story: 
Berchtesgarden
Background to story: 
Army
Article ID: 
A3095705
Contributed on: 
06 October 2004

I went on holiday to Germany, in July 1939. Staying at Berchtesgarden. My bedroom window in the hotel overlooked Hitler's house, the Berghof. One day at breakfast, I was approached by three SS officers, members of the Liebstandart, which were Hitler's personal bodyguards. These were billeted in the village, as Hitler was at the Berghof. They wanted to know who I was and what I was doing in Germany, and we became quite friendly. They asked me if I enjoyed the German countryside. I replied that I was rather fond of it, so they offered to show me more of it. Which they did. They asked me if I would like to see the Berghof, and of course I said yes. They took me into the grounds, and I found, coming towards me was Hitler , Gobbels, Ciano, Ribbentrop! So I had a close up view of Hitler, something I will never forget.

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Message 1 - Berchtesgarden

Posted on: 06 October 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

I am completely baffled by this story.
Hitler's chalet, the Berghof, was on the Obersalzberg high above the town of Berchtesgarden. It was an elaborate mountain retreat constructed on the site of the original Haus Wackenfeld. The central chalet, the Berghof, was in the midst of a compound containing a barracks for 20,000 troops. The entire area was protected by five concentric rings of fortifications. Access to the Berghof was by a road carved into the rock leading to a long underground tunnel drilled into the rock then by a 370 foot elevator to a cabin, the Eagle's Nest, perched at the top. There were no hotels for Germans, let alone foreign tourists, in the area, nor any building overlooking the Berghof.

This is what Albert Speer says of Obersalzberg: "[Bormann] forcibly bought up centuries-old farms and had the buildings torn down. The same was done to the numerous votive chapels, despite the objections of parishes. He also confiscated state forrests until the private area reached from the top of the mountain, which was some sixty-four hundred feet high, to the valley at an altitude of two thousand feet, and embraced an area of 2.7 square miles. The fence around the inner area was almost two miles long, around the outer area nine miles long." Source: "Inside the Third Reich" (Phoenix paperback 1995, page134). This entire project, including the outer perimiter defences, was completed by 1938.

Galeazzo Ciano, the Italian Foreign Secretary mentioned in the story, went to Berlin on 30 July 1939 where he met Ribbentrop and Hitler; he was back in Rome on 2 October. See "Ciano's Diary" for details of his movements in July 1939.

Peter

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