Nazis have been making headlines an awful lot recently. An 89-year-old Philadelphia man, who was a prison guard at Auschwitz was taken into police custody and will likely be extradited to Germany. In addition, a Nazi sympathizer ran out onto the pitch during the Germany-Ghana game. He took his shirt off to reveal a pro-Nazi message scrawled across his abdomen, and there was also the case of Mike Huckabee, who compared the fight against same sex marriage to the fight against Nazi Germany.
One story, involving Nazis, which did not get enough attention in the U.S., is the tale of a Nazi vacation home (probably haunted) which went up for sale in a town about 25 miles north of Berlin. The city has been searching for a buyer since the reunification of Germany almost 25 years ago, but its most recent efforts to sell the place are spurred on by the loss of thousands of dollars every year to upkeep the site.
The home, called the Waldhof am Bogensee, belonged to Hitler’s minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels. Goebbels rose through the ranks of the Nazi party, coming to power in 1933 after Hitler was appointed chancellor. Hitler moved to install Goebbels as Propaganda Minister within six weeks of becoming Chancellor. Toward the end of the war, Goebbels and his wife famously poisoned their children before taking their own lives as Allied Forces closed in on Hitler’s bunker (definitely haunted).
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Despite remaining committed to Führer to the bitter end, the same cannot be said of Goebbels in marriage. The Nazi, who lived to be 48, had several affairs at the villa, and he used the remote location of it to his advantage in order to stay out of the public eye.
The house itself was a “gift” to Goebbels from the people of Berlin, and the villa sits upon a man-made lake created by the Goebbels estate. Of his impressions of the home, Goebbels identified Waldhof am Bogensee as, “a place of idyllic solitude.”
The 70-room home features its own bunker and windows that drop down into stone floors by the flick of a switch. It is also thought to be the only villa once belonging to a member of Hitler’s inner circle to still be standing.
Listed for sale in 2008, the asking price for the home was around $3 million, but it was later taken off the market when the home started to attract attention from Neo-Nazi groups interested in purchasing it.
Someone made a walk-through video of the villa, which sits on 510 acres, and posted it on YouTube.
The city does not have an asking price on the Waldhof am Bogensee now. Officials, however, have made it known that they are taking bids and may be more interested in finding the right buyer, rather than getting the right price. They optimistically hope someone will refurbish the property, turning it into a hotel or spa.
Their ambitions for the property may be that it ditch its Nazi past altogether. Officials make no promises that the structures on the property must remain standing or that a new buyer would be required to provide a link to the villa’s historical past.
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The home was completed in 1939, and its last real use was a police station, which ceased operation in 1999. Waldhof am Bogensee was also the last permanent home of the Goebbels family before they moved into Hitler’s bunker during the final days of the war.
Joel Mazmanian is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He is also a second-year graduate student at the VCU Brandcenter. Follow him on Twitter @joelmazmanian.