Hitler's retreat a shrine



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.

Hitler`s retreat a shrine "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 report.

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 demolished.

But Ferwanger said: "You can hardly find a mason in the region who isn't storing columns and stone blocks from Obersalzberg."

PTI