Simon Schubert: Thingstätte on a Plane, 2015, 70 x 100 cm, paper

Interview with Simon Schubert

What got you interested in the Thingstätten Project?

I was interested in the aspect of architecture and its historic dimension, particularly the way architecture was used by the National Socialists to create space for communal identity und pseudo-religious community. This conscious attempt to create a link to Roman and other older cultures aimed specifically at creating an effect of the sublime.

Why did you choose to participate?

“Never forget”. You always have to investigate the Nazis and their actions, and it is interesting to see how their ideology and the visible signs of their power still inform the present, often unperceived.

I am aesthetically interested in these structures, as they lift up from the plane like a folding and are close to the architectural basis of my artistic technique of using folded paper to create three dimensional space. Space and Architecture, to me, is something that is folding up from a flat surface. The third dimension is created through folding the second dimension. After doing research on the “Typology” of the Thingstätte, I concentrated on the typical, recurring architectural elements.

Can you tell us something about your experiences with this project?

It was fascinating and alarming to see the number and location of Thingstätte that are still around and how they are presently used. Most visitors will be unaware of the Nazi past of popular open air theaters like the “Waldbühne” in Berlin or the “Karl May Festival” in Bad Segeberg. I enjoyed the research at the Archive of the “Theater Studies Collection” of Cologne University, as well as  other Archives.

Simon Schubert: Thingstätte in a City, 2015, 70 x 100 cm, paper

3d Model Thingstätte on a plane with renderings

3d model Thingstätte on a slope with renderings

Project by Daniel Hinz, Archaeology, History and 3d Artist

Architecture and Typology of the Thingstätten

Recurring elements can be found in the architecture of the Thingstätten. Their task was to make the idea of the “German national community” tangible through architecture. The amphitheater itself was often combined with a war memorial and a parade ground. The parade ground was used for political rallies or formation before entering into the venue.

The space of the stage and of the audience were intended to flow smoothly into one another. There was no separation by a curtain or hidden exits and entrances of the performers. In contrast to the ancient greek or contemporary urban theater, the audience and performance spaces were connected by ramps and stairs.

The stage was divided into three levels. The front stage created the connection to the performance space and offered enough room for the numerous extras of the chorus play. Behind it rose the center stage. The top level was partly attached to the outside of the entire circle or oval and was reminiscent of the church sanctuary; in other plans it was included in the overall circle, but retained its “consecrated” character.

The architecture was integrated into the surrounding landscape and topography. Plans were developed for the “Thingstätte on a slope” or the “Thingstätte on a plane” of which typical elements were used repeatedly.

Art Project about Thingstätten Architecture by Simon Schubert

There were no added backdrops. The architecture itself was the stage, with its defiant natural stone it did not look modern. Rather, it conveyed an instant historicity. The appropriation and propagandistic alienation of history in the Nazi state was made clear by appropriating the term “Thingstätte” (actually a historical meeting place).

Katharina Bosse

Stedingsehre / Ganderkesee – Thingstätten project © Philipp Robien
Stedingsehre / Ganderkesee – Thingstätten project © Philipp Robien
Stedingsehre / Ganderkesee – Thingstätten project © Philipp Robien
Stedingsehre / Ganderkesee – Thingstätten project © Philipp Robien
Stedingsehre / Ganderkesee – Thingstätten project © Philipp Robien

Philipp Robien born 1988 in Cologne, Germany, where he lives today. Philipp Robien received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. He was a mem- ber of the Bad Segeberg and Stedingsehre team.

Website Philipp Robien

Events at the open-air stage Bergen auf Rügen still take place there today – Former Nati theater
Bergen auf Rügen – Thingstätten project © Hendrik Lüders
Walk to the side of the Landtagsplatz in Hösseringen – Cultural history under National Socialism
Landtagsplatz Hösseringen – Thingstätten project © Hendrik Lüders
Walk to the side of the Landtagsplatz in Hösseringen – Cultural history under National Socialism
Landtagsplatz Hösseringen – Thingstätten project © Hendrik Lüders
Skate ramps sprayed with graffiti at the former NS open-air stage
Thingplatz Rostock – Thingstätten project © Hendrik Lüders
Park with climbing frame – history of the Thing movement
Thingplatz Rostock – Thingstätten project © Hendrik Lüders

Hendrik Lüders born in Lüneburg, Germany, lives in Hamburg. Hendrik Lüders received his BA in Photography from Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. He worked with Daniel Mirer on the northern route, providing color photography, video camera and interpretation skills on Thingstätten like Bergen, Hösseringen and Stedingsehre. He also pho- tographed the performance by Doug Fitch in Herchen.

Website Hendrik Lüders

Bückeberg – site of the historic Reichserntedankfest under National Socialism. Interview with the historian Bernhard Gelderblom 2014

„Der Weg durchs Volk“ – the way through the people. That was the most important ritual of this event. To bring Hitler and the people together. He stopped and the people touched him and they loved him, and so on. 

The Thingstätte was not fully completed. You can see a big wall here, 8 m high and 8 m wide. In this wall they planned to build the toilets. For the people it was like a pilgrimage. Some of them went three days by foot to this place to see him. People cried a lot. The big stand was for about 5000 people. Hitler could look down and there was this big military spectacle. It lasted about half an hour. 

We have several of these stones here on the still visible path that was named ‘Führer’s way‘. 

We are standing now on the lower ground of the hill. From here to the top it´s about 600m. You can see the middle way – the ‘Führer´s Way‘ – because only Hitler was allowed to take this path. The people came from the sides, west and east. Originally the path ended 50m from here. You can see the huge area for about one million people to stand here, waiting for Hitler and crying when he finally came. 

Even though the open-air stage was built in the sense of a Thing site, it was never called that. On the one hand, because the Nazi regime had already distanced itself from the Thing movement, on the other hand, the one in Berlin was planned as one of three elements of the Berlin “Reichssportfeld” next to the Olympic Stadium and the Maifeld within the framework of the 1936 Summer Olympics. One did not want to provoke any international problems, especially with this prestigious project.[1]

Construction begin/Inauguration 

1934/ Aug 2nd 1936

Architect : Werner March, Berlin

Historical Description/Present Day

 Dietrich-Eckart-Bühne[2] / Waldbühne[3]

Historical Use

02.08.1936 zur Einweihungsfeier„Frankenburger Würfelspiel“ by E.W. Möller
August 1936 at the Olympic Summer Games (2 performances) Dance Play with moving choir : „Olympische Jugend“ by Carl Diem
August 1936 at the Olympic Summer Games (multiple performances) „Herakles“ by G. F. Händel, directed by Hans Niedecken- Gebhard
August 1936 at the Olympic Summer GamesMoving choir: „Vom Tauwind und der neuen Freude“
Aug 15. – 19.1937 for the 700th Centenary of Berlin (2 performances)„Herakles“ by G. F. Händel
Aug 15. – 19.1937 for the 700th Centenary of Berlin„Orpheus und Eurydike“ by C. W. Gluck

Current Use

Numerous Events: Concerts, Stage shows, Film shows, Live broadcasts of Football league games etc.

Useful information

The final dimensions of the amplification system exceeded those of the Heidelberg Thingstätte by far. According to the local source it was possible to connect over 60 microphones, which transmitted the sound to 10 loudspeakers. There was also the possibility of broadcasting via the radio network. In the same way it could be linked to the loudspeaker system of the nearby May Day Parade Ground and the Olympic Stadium, making it possible to reach a potential audience of 500.000 people simultaneously.[5]

chzeitig erreichen konnte.[5]

[1] Stommer, Rainer, Die inszenierte Volksgemeinschaft, Jonas- Verlag Marburg, 1985, p. 207, insb. p. 134 ff.

[2] Stommer, 1985, p. 207

[3]  Link „contemporary use“

[4] Stommer, 1985, p. 142 and p. 207

[5] Stommer, 1985, p. 135

Bergen on Rügen / Mecklenburg- Western Pomerania

On the Rugard, which is a hill on the island of Rügen, in an axis with a historical castle rampart and a monument inaugurated in 1937, there was a Thingplatz. This was one of the first in the entire territory of the Reich and was also among the 66 of the construction program. The name “Celebration Place of the HJ” was given to this place because of the regular use of the Hitler Youth. Today the place is used for events of all kinds.[1]

Start of construction / Inauguration
1934 / May 25th 1935

Ernst Zinsser, Berlin

Designation historical / contemporary
Thingplatz / Rugard stage / celebration place of the HJ. (since 1938)

Historical use

1935 “Death and the Empire” by Hans Rehberg (performed by the Pommersche Spielgemeinschaft)
“Feast by the sea” by Veit Rosskopf
Since 1935 Solstice celebrations of the Hitler Youth[2]

Use contemporary
Open air festivals, cinema performances, concerts, other eventsühne-Rügen/


Originally planned for mid-September 1934, the completion and inauguration of the Thingplatz in Bergen auf Rügen did not take place until 1935. The simply designed site consists of a playground and fireplace in the shape of a circle surrounded by a semicircle with seats. The “Hans Mallon Memorial”, where the body of a murdered Hitlerjunge was to be buried, was added to the Thingplatz between June 30, 1935 and June 21, 1937 by the Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge.[3]
Today the square is used as a venue for concerts, celebrations and dances.[4]

[1] Stommer, Rainer, Die inszenierte Volksgemeinschaft, Jonas- Verlag Marburg, 1985, S. 206 f.

[2] Stommer, 1985, ebd.

[3] Stommer, 1985, ebd.

[4] MANET Marketing GmbH, Webpräsenz: [aufgerufen am 17.03.2020].

Bad Windsheim / Bavaria

Although solstice celebrations had already taken place at this site near the Windsheim “wine tower” during the construction work, and the Thingplatz is mentioned several times in the local town chronicle, no further work was done on it since the death of the initiator in 1937. An official inauguration never took place and on the today’s area also nothing more points to the former building project.

Start of construction / Inauguration
May 1934 / –


Stadtarchiv Bad Windsheim

Designation historical / contemporary
Thing site on the wine tower hill / –

Historical use
Solstice celebrations 1933- 1938, except 1937

Use contemporary
Since 1977, the Wine Tower Open Air Festival has been held annually on the plateau.

Worth knowing:
In 1936, 16 oaks were planted in memory of the equal number of martyrs of the Hitler putsch.
After the war, one was felled to change the Nazi mythologically charged number (Denkmalpflege Bayern).

More information:

Bad Schmiedeberg / Saxony-Anhalt

As a “facility of smallest version” with only 2100 seats, this Thingplatz was not intended for large celebrations, rather for visitors of the health resort and the surrounding area. However, one did not want to do without a parade ground in front, where up to 7000 people could stand. The design of the facility corresponded to the slope characteristic of Moshamer’s designs and was one of the Thing sites of the first construction program. After the war, around 1953, there were efforts to redo this former Thing site to use it as an open-air stage. However, these plans were not realized. Except for the corner of the former privy belonging to the Thingstätte, the site is completely overgrown.[1][2]

Start of construction / Inauguration
21.03.1934 / 16.09.1934

Ludwig Moshamer, Berlin

Designation historical / contemporary
Düben Heath

Use historical
On September 16, 1934, the dedication play “Deutsche Feier” by Rudolf Kempf was performed. Further performances are not known.[3][4]

Use contemporary
Part of the property is now privately owned and used as a dog kennel.
Except for a few parts of the former structure, nothing can be seen as decades of wild growth have covered everything.[5]

With a construction time of just half a year and total costs of approx. 10,000 RM, the Bad Schmiedeberg Thingstätte was one of the fastest to be completed on schedule and also one of the cheapest in the Reich.

Since the village needed fuel at the end of the Second World War for the accommodation of the many refugees from the Eastern territories, the wooden elements of the benches were soon dismantled. Only the structural elements made of stone and concrete remained.

According to the town chronicler Felix Saul, it must be assumed that the town archives were “cleaned up” for the years 1933 – 1945, since hardly any material and not a single photo of the nevertheless so pompous inauguration ceremony can be found. There is also nothing in the district archives.

In the 1950s, the Thingplatz was still used as an outdoor playground for the local school.[6]

[1] Stommer, Rainer, Die inszenierte Volksgemeinschaft, Jonas- Verlag Marburg, 1985, p. 217

[2] Bosse, Katharina, Thingstätten, Kerber- Verlag, Bielefeld, 2020, p. 112-117

[3] Stommer, 1985, ibid.

[4] Bosse, 2020, ibid.

[5] ibid.

[6] ibid.

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