Adolf Hitler famously made Nürnberg the locale for his massive Nazi rallies, and he commissioned his architect, Albert Speer, to design a congress hall and assembly grounds in the grandiose, neoclassical style the Führer favored. The war prevented either from being completed, and the unfinished congress hall now houses modern, bunkerlike, concrete and brick galleries filled with photographic displays that document the rise and fall of Nazi Germany. Displays (texts are in German but translated in English-language audiotapes) chronicle Hitler’s rise to power, celebrated during the Nürnberg rallies when hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers gathered on the adjacent Zeppelinwiese (Zeppelin Field) to listen to Hitler rant at more than 100,000 spectators enthralled by his violent denunciations. Mixed in are coverage of the Nürnberg laws, which stripped non-Aryans of their rights, and the ensuing Holocaust. The focus is on the role of propaganda in elevating Hitler to a mythic character but begs the question of how a civilized nation let itself descend to such horror. At least the center raises the issues, and it’s encouraging to see the exhibits so well attended by young people for whom the war is just another part of the distant past.
- Frommer's Staff