In early May, while holidaying in Munich, I visited the Munich Documentation Centre for the History of National Socialism there.
Munch is where the National Socialist movement in Germany began soon after the First World War. The city subsequently became the centre where Hitler executed Nazism to its fullest. It now hosts a permanent exhibition about the history of National Socialism.
The Exhibition first opened in 2015. The building is characteristic of exposed white concrete, both inside and outside. Quite a compelling place to visit.
The exhibits are mainly of photos and art prints, plus plenty of commentary in German and English. There was humongous amount of reading —– fascinating and all-consuming. I spent over three hours there, the last hour aided by a portable stool that I did not know available from the front desk until my legs gave up hurting.
The biggest shock I learned was that there was actually resistance to the Nazi Party between 1925 to 1933 —– resistance “from many segments of society and political groups. Most prominent were several individuals who clearly recognized the deadly threat the National Socialists posed for personal liberty and the rule of law”.
So, what happened to this resistance? I did not have enough time to read enough to find out there. My guess is that it was simplify no match to the mad onslaught of extreme ideology at the time. Plus the fact that Hitler himself and his party were well financed.
One of the issues documented in the exhibition is “Dealing with the Nazi Era after 1945”. I did not get to read much about it. I can imagine it would have been a long and conflicting process at all levels. The scale of terror against the persecuted would have amounted to a lawless state — something not completely strange to me. In fact, anyone, or those who know someone who lived through the 1950s-70s in China, would have no trouble imagining it. This kind of terror affects every individual regardless of which side of the persecution they are on. It terrifies the persecuted to no bounds and is terrifying to those witnessing it inflicted on others.
This Exhibition came to be as a result of people in Munich wishing to turn the historical site of the Nazi perpetration into an educational device. They succeed really well.
I will be back there again one day to finish the education.