Nuremberg: Perspective on the legacy of nazi Germany and present day


Dr. Phina Rosenberg from the Israel Institute of Technology visits the Dodd Center on Thursday evening to provide perspective about the changes in Nuremberg since 1935. (Ruohan Li/The Daily Campus)

Presenting “Reshaping Haunted Nuremberg: From the City of Nazi Rallies to the Streets of Human Rights” at the Dodd Center Thursday evening was Dr. Phina Rosenberg from The Technion, also known as the Israel Institute of Technology.

Rosenberg led an hour long presentation about the City of Nuremberg, looking to provide perspective about the changes in Nuremberg since 1935, the legacy of nazi Germany and the present day city’s ways of confronting it’s history.

“There are three things Nuremberg is known for in history. The Nazi rise to power, the Nuremberg Nazi Rallies and the Nuremberg Trials,” said Rosenberg at the top of the lecture.  Throughout she examined Nazi iconography and architecture present in the city.

Providing an overview of some of these places, a four minute clip from the documentary “Triumph of Wills” was shown, which highlighted the propaganda laced within its reels of which were discussed at the lecture.

The documentary cinematography expressed a long drawn out sequence, in first person view, of flying through the clouds and above city shots of Nuremberg, which displayed huge Nazi banners and a parade in the streets.  These scenes seemed to illicit a certain kind of tone found in propaganda, displaying Hitler as a savior type or an emperor like those of Rome.

The similarities are certainly there as Rosenberg presented slides showing the architecture of places such as a zeppelin field with Roman styled columns.  In addition the Reichsparteitag Complex was spoken about, a place modelled after the Roman Coliseum, as the complex was made to hold more than 50,000 people for Nazi Rallies.

The focus of Rosenberg’s lecture sought to show where Nuremberg has come from in contrast to its past. One such video shown during the talk overlaid black and white clips to distinguish how changed those places are by inserting people sitting in the seats of the courthouse today, yet the footage was from 1945 during the Nuremberg trials.

In 2000 the city of Nuremberg received the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations award for Human Rights Education.

“The grounds have an impact because they are deteriorating,” Rosenberg said in defense of keeping the structures as a means to contend with the past.

Unanimously, in 2004, the Nuremberg municipality developed guidelines on how to deal with their history. Development of these guidelines began in 2001 when the city decided that the outright destruction of the architecture would have not allowed for future generations to come to terms with its history, wherein these sites stand now to reflect upon.

“The lecture was a good interpretation of how learning for the past and growing for the future. It was a good discussion about whether we should put miles between us and our past or take them with us in the future,” said Connor Bell, a third semester mechanical engineering major.

Matthew Gilbert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at He tweets @wickedlouddude.

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