Viel Glück und viel Segen
auf all Deinen Wegen,
Gesundheit und Fohsinn
Seien auch mit dabei!
Best wishes and many blessings
On all your paths,
Good health and cheerfulness
Be with you too!
Today’s poem for #NaPoWriMo is not my work. It is a traditional German birthday song in both Germany and English since my post today is about Hitler’s 50th Birthday present.
Known in English speaking countries as the Eagle’s Nest, the Kehlsteinhaus is a chalet-style structure erected on a subpeak of the Hoher Göll. It was built as an extension of the Obersalzberg complex erected in the mountains above Berchtesgaden. The Kehlsteinhaus was intended as a 50th birthday present for Adolf Hitler to serve as a retreat, and a place for him to entertain visiting dignitaries.
Although the site is on the same mountain as the Berghof, Hitler rarely visited the property. It has been suggested he only visited the Kehlsteinhaus around 10 times, usually for no more than 30 minutes. He received departing French ambassador André François-Poncet there on October 18, 1938.
A significant event held at the Kehlsteinhaus was the wedding reception that followed the marriage of Eva Braun’s sister Gretl to Hermann Fegelein on June 3, 1944. The event was filmed and amongst others Martin Bormann can be seen there.
The Kehlsteinhaus was to be the aiming point of a Royal Air Force bombing raid by a force of 359 Avro Lancasters and 16 de Havilland Mosquitoes of No. 1, No. 5, and No. 8 Group RAF, including 617 Sqn, on April 25, 1945. The small house proved an elusive target and the Berghof area was targeted instead and severely damaged. Several anti-aircraft positions, the base plate of one of which is still discernible, were present about 100 m (330 ft) further up the ridge behind the Kehlsteinhaus. The Berghof was Adolf Hitler’s home in the Obersalzberg of the Bavarian Alps near Berchtesgaden, Bavaria, Germany. Other than the Wolfsschanze in East Prussia, Hitler spent more time at the Berghof than anywhere else during World War II. It was also one of the most widely known of his headquarters, which were located throughout Europe.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of U.S forces in Europe and later President of the United States, wrote that the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division was the first to take the town of Berchtesgaden. General Maxwell D. Taylor, former Commanding General of the 101st Airborne Division, stated the same. Elements of the 3rd Infantry maintain being first at the Kehlsteinhaus as well. Photographs and newsreel footage show 3rd Infantry soldiers relaxing on the Eagle’s Nest patio, “drinking Hitler’s wine”, affirming that they were present at the house on the 10 May 1945.
Other groups claiming to be first there include Easy Company of the 2nd Battalion 506th Regiment, US 101st Airborne Division. Elements of the French 2nd Armored Division, Laurent Touyeras, Georges Buis and Paul Répiton-Préneuf, were present on the night of May 4 to 5, took several photographs before leaving on May 10 at the request of US command.
The Kehlsteinhaus was subsequently used by the Allies as a military command post until 1960, when it was handed back to the State of Bavaria. Following this, an information centre was built on the foot of the hill to remind the public of Hitler and his regime. The Kehlsteinhaus itself does not mention much about its past.