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Hitler`s retreat a shrine

Last Updated: Monday, April 5, 2010 - 10:23

London: A chapel on a mountainside in Germany
has suddenly turned into a shrine for neo-Nazis after it came
to light that marbles and granite from the ruins of a luxury
house of Adolf Hitler were used to build it in 1997.

Now leather-jacketed "pilgrims" with shaved heads are
lighting candles, leaving notes praising Hitler and carving
swastikas -- the Nazi symbol -- on the walls of the chapel in
Wegmache of Bavaria province.

It was only recently that the provincial government
admitted that material from the wreckage of Hitler`s retreat,
-- the Berghof in Berchtesgaden -- was used in the
construction of the chapel, the Telegraph reported, citing a
German magazine.

"Many of the guests who attended the chapel`s dedication
are starting to wish it had never been built. It is difficult
to ascertain, of course, whether the building is fulfilling is
sacred function of protecting travellers. What is clear,
however, is that the chapel is causing nothing but trouble in
the secular world," Der Spiegel reported.

Using materials from the sites associated with Nazism is
a contradiction of post-war policy in Bavaria, according to
the report.

The Bavarian government had deployed security guards to
stop locals entering into the underground bunkers at the
Berghof discovered a decade ago.

"But the bricks and flagstones were taken away to a
stonemason`s yard and later used for the chapel," said the

Matthias Ferwagner, the chapel`s architect, said that his
design "explicitly addressed" the use of the materials from
Hitler`s old home.

"The idea was that the stones somehow needed to be
cleansed, blessed," Ferwagner said. He said he envisioned the
roadside chapel as a place where people with "evil intentions"
could stop "and purge their minds."

Hitler`s Berghof was bombed into ruins by Allied planes
towards the end of the World War II, when he was holed up in
his underground bunker in Berlin.

Now, there is a debate going on in Bavaria about whether
some of those ruins, including the house`s vast cellars and
air-raid shelters, should be opened up for tourists.

Meanwhile, some locals are calling for the chapel to be

But Ferwanger said: "You can hardly find a mason in the
region who isn`t storing columns and stone blocks from


First Published: Monday, April 5, 2010 - 10:23

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