Having seen a few World War II documentaries, an image of „The Führer“ with his Nazi commanders at a little house on the top of a mountain, it’s probably familiar to many. It’s known as Kehlsteinhaus or the Eagle’s Nest in Obersalzburg, Germany. The grandiose view of rocky mountains fosters a sensation of eternal power and immortality. That’s my thought as I made it to the Eagle’s Nest – once a teahouse offered as present to Adolf Hitler for his 50th birthday, today a historical landmark/restaurant open to the public for visit.
On the way to reaching the former Hitler’s summer residence – Kehlsteinhaus, we considered visiting firstly the Dokumentation in Obersalzberg, about 1,000 meters below Kehlsteinhaus. It is now a historic site offering visitors from all around the world the opportunity to learn and reflect on the history of National Socialism (Nazism). After getting out the inhabitants and closing down the former health resort, the Nazis converted the village in Hitler’s off limit area. Settling in the Alps was a strategic move, as they established here their second seat of power alongside Berlin. The last weeks of the WWII, these settlement was bombed almost entirely by the Allied Forces. Interesting is the fact that the Eagle’s Nest or Kehlsteinhaus remained from the bombing unscathed.
The region of Berchtesgaden where the little Alpine village of Obersalzberg is located, is known as the gate to the Alps. It has always attracted tourists and nature lovers. At Obersalzberg, the Nazis would not only take the most important political decisions about the war and Holocaust, but also broadcast their propaganda, which utilized effectively the mountain landscapes to portray Hitler as a man of vision, a friend of children and nature who remained close to simple people. Ironically, Hitler did not visit the Eagle’s Nest many times, as reported to be both claustrophobic and have fear from heights.
The view from the top of Kehlsteinhaus is indeed spectacular. The eagles are floating through the clouds just few meters above my head. So is the panorama view of Königssee and Berchtesgaden valleys together with some rays of sunshine, which minutes later were overshadowed by heavy fog and snow. Sometimes it snows even in May.