Third Reich Sites
The Congress Hall (Kongresshalle) is the biggest preserved national socialist monumental building and is landmarked. It was planned by the Nuremberg architects Ludwig and Franz Ruff as a congress centre for the NSDAP with a self-supporting roof and should have provided 50,000 seats, and was located on the shore of and in the pond Dutzendteich and marked the entrance of the rally grounds.
The building reached a height of 39 m (129 ft) (a height of 70 m was planned) and a diameter of 250 m (843 ft). The building is mostly built out of clinker with a facade of granite panels.
The design (especially the outer facade, among other features) is inspired by the Colosseum in Rome. The foundation stone was laid in 1935, but the building remained unfinished and without a roof. Since 2001, the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelände (Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds), with the permanent exhibition Faszination und Gewalt (Fascination and Terror), has been located in the northern wing.
The Zeppelin Field is located east of the Great Road. It consists of a large grandstand (Zeppelinhaupttribüne) with a width of 360 meters (400 yards) and a smaller stand. It was one of Albert Speer’s first works for the Nazi party and was based upon the Pergamon Altar.
The grandstand is famous as the building that had the swastika blown from atop it in 1945, after Germany’s fall in World War II. The name “Zeppelinfeld” or “Zeppelinwiese” refers to the fact that in August 1909 Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin landed with one of his airships (LZ6) in this location.
Leipzig and Luxembourg were briefly considered as the location for the trial. The Soviet Union had wanted the trials to take place in Berlin, as the capital city of the ‘fascist conspirators’, but Nuremberg was chosen as the site for two reasons, with the first one having been the decisive factor:
The Palace of Justice was spacious and largely undamaged (one of the few buildings that had remained largely intact through extensive Allied bombing of Germany), and a large prison was also part of the complex.
Nuremberg was considered the ceremonial birthplace of the Nazi Party, hosted annual propaganda rallies and was the city of the Nuremberg Laws. It was thus considered a fitting place to mark its symbolic demise.