Transcript video Kamenz – Interview history and contemporary use as Hutbergbühne

Interview with Thomas Binder, Archive of the city of Kamenz, 2015 about the history of the “Hutbergbühne” as a “Thingstätte” built by the Nazis in 1935.

My name is Thomas Binder, I have been the city archivist here in Kamenz since 2006. Up here on the Hutberg a memorial was planned for the fallen of the 1st World War, which was the primary goal in 1933. When the idea of the Thingplätze came up in the summer, from the Reichskulturkammer, Kamenz also applied to create such a place. Thus, both projects ran in parallel. The groundbreaking ceremony took place in the spring of 1934 and construction work began. The construction trades were carried out by Kamenz companies, which were supported by the Reich Labor Service. The Reich Labor Service was housed nearby and was to receive a smaller memorial.

In the spring of 1935, the Thingplatz and memorial, which is for the most part no longer visible today, were to be opened to the public at this site. There were the usual plays already prepared for Thingstätten that were performed here, but there were also special plays that dealt directly with Kamenz. For example, the forest festival was a topic in connection with the legendary gathering of the Hussites. These once lived in the Kamenz forest. According to legend, the Germanic children appeased the Slavic invading armies with their white robes and their flower wreaths. At that time, Kamenz was seen as the invasion point into the Wendei, into the Slavic language area. Therefore, the place was predestined for such a performance.

Mainly there were big mass performances. In the city archives of Kamenz, there are pictures that testify to this. Large numbers of staff were necessary to prepare these games. One can say, sometimes there were more people standing on the stage than spectators sitting there. 

It was certainly a phenomenon of the time. Many cities had applied for it. This Thingstätte was the first in Saxony. On the one hand, one could argue that there was already construction work on the Hutberg with the war memorial. The peculiarity that the site was located on a mountain and thus looked far out into the country, seemed ideal.

If you see postcards, photos, or film footage of the time, the forestation here was not yet so strong.

It was also about the ‘Aryan’ descent of the German people and especially in connection with the Sorbs, this place was predestined to be the first place in Saxony to inaugurate a Thingstätte. 

There are five pillars for each year of the First World War. 1914 to 1918. On these pillars were only the respective years, crowned by a small metal pyramid. At the foot of each column was a fire bowl, which was lit at night and thus illuminated the columns.

Immediately after 1945, the open-air stage found its place in the cultural life of the town, especially for performances of musical events. After 1989, many domestic musical groups were joined by some from abroad. The open-air stage was used for cultural events without any political considerations.  

Interview with Thomas Binder, Kamenz city archivist, 2015, at the Hutbergbühne.

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