Transcript video Northeim – Interview about the history and contemporary use of the Nazi built open air theater

Interview with Günther Spannaus, Bookseller in Northeim, 2014 about the history of the “Waldbühne” as a “Weihestätte” built by the Nazis in 1936.

My name is Günther Spannaus, I am a native of Northeim, born in 1927, and I experienced the construction period and the meetings on the open-air stage here, as a child. I grew up and went to school here.

What role did the Thing movement play in the construction of the stage?

Open-air stages were supposed to host large mass spectacles. Such stages were built outside either in a stone setting, a large quarry, or in a forest with nature around it, because of the Germanic Myths. This was all ideologically based. The whole National Socialism was founded on a pseudo-religious idea.

In 1936, there were no toilet carts yet, so they dug a long pit in a small valley behind the Thingstätte and built a very long wooden box with holes over it to make very primitive little toilet compartments out of spruce trunks nailed together. I still remember I was only 9 years old at the time, that we always went here for coffee on Sunday mornings. Then my father and an acquaintance would laugh themselves silly and say “now imagine how they all squat next to each other”.

The big trees that are still standing here are the original trees. These ceremonial plays that were performed here, you have to read through them, they are boring. They are always chanted in chorus, and that only worked through the masses. You can do that once, but for a second or third time, you couldn’t get the people to come here.

Such large events were popular at that time, for example, the Reichsparteitag and so on. So this was just a small party congress.

To collect all organizations and everything that preceded them within a very short time and to unite them, whether they wanted or not,  under the big Nazi blanket was critical to gain control. In this course, also the Thing movement arose.

Here is a poster of the NSKOV Congress.

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