Friday, January 28, 2011

Visit to a Gestapo Prison

We've been to some pretty museums -- l'Orangerie in Paris, the Academy in Florence, the British Museum in London. This was not one of them. Instead, it was ugly and sad, but necessary. 
 At the El-De Haus in Cologne, the above prison cell would hold up to 30 prisoners at a time. Only intended for two or three at a time, their holdings swelled as the Nazi's power and reign grew. On the walls of the cell, you can still see the etchings of prisoners -- messages cataloging who was there and the atrocities committed against them.

The El-De Haus in Cologne is a former gestapo prison that's been converted into a museum to document both what had gone on in that actual building and the actual progression of Nazism in the city of Cologne.
While the two floors in the basement are preserved as the prison, the floors above ground have been converted into space that tells the story of how Nazi Socialism took hold in this area of the Rhineland.

After World War II, this house was used for other civic purposes -- but mainly as an office for pensioners to come and collect their checks. 
This is the El-De Haus. Strangely inconspicuous.

Can you imagine if you had been imprisoned and tortured here, and then years later had to come collect your pension check in the exact same spot? This allegedly happened.

It was not until the 80's that the truth of what went on in this building was revealed and and opened to the public.
Now it houses important pieces of history, such as the above propaganda put forth during World War II.

 Below is one photograph that caught my attention:
 The sign atop of the destroyed bakery quotes Hitler as stating, "Give me five years and you will not recognize Germany again."

Sadly, I'm sure so many saw this as very true.

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