Munich was only mean to be a whistle stop, an afterthought because we couldn’t get a connecting flight from Nuremberg, which had been my first choice for a Bavarian stop after Salzburg. I was happy to come to Munich, however, because we found a great walking tour of Third Reich sites in the city, and I looked forward to the beer. Of course, instead of ending up in a beer hall drinking steins and feasting on pork knuckle, we found a really nice Vietnamese restaurant … funny things happen when you travel.

I don’t think I was fully prepared for the devastation of the historic centre of Munich. There seemed to me to have been almost no effort to restore the old city, as was done in Warsaw, Berlin and Vienna. Maybe it was because the Americans occupied Bavaria! What is left is about half of the Rathaus, some facades, of all things the Gestapo HQ which is now a police station, and the Cathedral. The layout is much the same, but there is no sense of the medieval city remaining.

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The hotel was adequate, the transport excellent, and the tour as a hoot. Keith, the Aberdeen Scott, proved to be a mine of information and a wicked sense of humour that left the Americans in our small group grappling. The silence of the streets when it comes to the 80th anniversary of the Nazi seizure of power is telling: Berlin, which never gave the Nazis a majority either on the city administration, nor in the Brandenburg Diet, is commemorating the death and persecution of socialists, union leaders, Jews and intellectuals with street displays and a telling exhibition at the Topography of Terror site. Munich, birthplace of the Party and cradle of Hitler’s crazed politics, has nary a mention. The memorial to the Kristelnacht violence — which Keith was quick to point out is an apologist’s term, preferring the more German Reichs pogrom — is a small plaque on the site of the former largest department store in Munich, Jewish owned and, confiscated under the Race Laws. The remains of the synagogue are not labelled. The old Jewish quarter is not marked on the map.

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On the other hand, nor are the sacred sites of the Nazis. The Beerhall Putsch is not commemorated in any way, except for the gold line down the alley that dissidents used to avoid giving the Nazi salute when passing the memorial. On the other hand, the shape of the swastika can be made out, in spite of the overpainting, on the stylised Bavarian flags on the roof of the Beerhaus. An interesting town,…

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