Berghof - Hitler's house on the Obersalzberg


Berghof - Hitler's house


Berghof after it was bombed on April 25, 1945



Picture Window at Berghof


Picture window in the Berghof ruins

On April 25, 1945, the British bombed the Nazi homes on the Obersalzberg, including Hitler's home called the Berghof. The bombed-out ruins of Hitler's former residence were completely razed to the ground by the Bavarian government in 1952 at the request of the U.S. Army.

The Berchtesgaden area was occupied by American troops shortly before the war ended on May 8, 1945. The Obersalzberg was turned into a recreational area for the American troops that occupied Germany after the war. After 50 years of American occupation, the Obersalzberg was given back to Germany in 1995.

To this day, many Americans are confused by the names Berghof and Eagle's Nest, which are two separate places. The Berghof was located on a plateau called the Obersalzberg which is on the route to the top of the Kehlstein, the mountain where Hitler's tea house, called the Eagle's Nest, was built in 1938. To add to the confusion, Hitler had another tea house, called Mooslahnerkopf, which was a short walk from the Berghof. The German name for the Eagle's Nest is Kehlsteinhaus, which means house on Kehlstein mountain.

There are many photographs of Hitler, Eva Braun and various Nazi officials that were taken on the terrace at Berghof, but have been mistakenly identified as photos taken at the Eagles's Nest.

In the photo below, the terrace at the Eagle's Nest, covered with blue umbrellas, is shown on the left; it was added after 1960. On the right is a small building where one can buy books and souvenirs of the Eagle's Nest. From the terrace, there is a view of the Königssee on the German side. On the other side of the Eagle's Nest, there is a view of Salzburg in Austria.

Terrace at the Eagle's Nest was added after 1960

In 1938, a train station was built at the small town of Berchtesgaden to handle the hordes of Hitlerpilger (Hitler pilgrims) who flocked to the Obersalzberg to see Hitler's home, called the Berghof. Today, tourists arrive at this same train station in Berchtesgaden on their way to see Hitler's former Tea House, called the Eagle's Nest by Americans. The drive from the town of Berchtesgaden to the Obersalzberg plateau at 3,300 feet is one of the most scenic routes in Germany.

Hitler's admirers used to gather at the Berghof just like the Elvis fans who stood outside Graceland, hoping to get a glimpse of their idol. The German people literally worshiped the ground that Hitler walked on. After Hitler made an occasional appearance to greet his fans, they would gather up the sand upon which Hitler had stood. Hitler was known as "the people's Chancellor" because he was a common man, and he did what the German people wanted. Before World War II started, Hitler was more loved than any other leader in world history; his approval rating was 98%. As the man who was responsible for the deaths of 60 million people, including 6 million Jews, Hitler has now become the most hated man in the world.

The road from Munich to Berchtesgaden is the "old Nazi party road," the first Autobahn built by Hitler to connect Berlin, Nürnberg and Munich with Salzberg and Linz in Austria. Tour buses from Munich bring visitors to the Obersalzberg where they get on another bus that takes them up to the Kehlsteinhaus aka the Eagle's Nest.

The spot where Hitler's Berghof once stood is now covered by trees and souvenir hunters have picked the area clean. When I visited in 1997, there was a sign that warned visitors that this spot was off limits and even photographs of the wooded area where the Berghof once stood were forbidden. When I visited again in 2007, I was surprised that the tour guide pointed out the former location of the Berghof, which is within sight of the InterContinental hotel on the Obersalzberg.

In 1942, a honeycomb of bunkers was built into the mountainside at the Obersalzberg for air raid shelters. One of the largest surviving bunkers is under the documentation center and it is open to visitors. The saga of Hitler, the Obersalzberg and Berchtesgaden is told at the documentation center, called Dokumentation Obersalzberg, which opened in 1999. Dokumentation Obersalzberg tells how Hitler first visited the Obersalzberg in 1923 and was inspired by views of the Untersberg, the mountain where the spirit of Karl der Grosse (Charlemagne) is said to slumber. Karl der Grosse was the King of the Franks who was crowned as the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas day in the year 800. This was the first time that the German people were united under one ruler, although the Holy Roman Empire included other ethnic groups.

Hitler's great accomplishment was that he united the German ethnic group into one empire under one leader for the first time: "ein Folk, ein Reich, ein Führer." This was achieved by annexing Austria and the Sudetenland in 1938. The famous conference in which the Sudetenland was given to Germany in October 1938 was held at the Berghof. Ethnic Germans in the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were relocated to the part of Poland that was annexed into the Greater German Reich in 1939. Finally, with the conquest of France in 1940, the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine were added to the Greater German Reich.

Hotel on the Obersalzberg

Exterior of Eagle's Nest

Access Tunnel to Elevator

Elevator to the Eagle's Nest

Interior of Eagle's Nest

Fireplace at Eagle's Nest

View from the Eagle's Nest

Sun Terrace at Eagle's Nest

Mooslahnerkopf - Hitler's first tea house

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