Just not enough time to do it all!

Trip Start Dec 09, 2012
Trip End Dec 20, 2012

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Where I stayed
Amacerto River Boat
What I did
Zeppelin Field

Flag of Germany  , Bavaria,
Friday, December 14, 2012

This morning we took a WWII tour of Nuremberg and I found it interesting.   Our guide Tom is a banker most of the time but does tours on the side, he was very well educated about the history of Nuremberg and Hitler's Third Reich.  Basically Nuremberg along with four other cities were used extensively as propaganda machines during Hitler’s early years.  From 1933 until 1938 rallies were held once a year for eight days in Nuremberg where each day had a different theme, such as Hitler Youth day, or the SS day etc.  These rallies were not a place where like minded citizens shared opinions instead it was a place where the speakers proclaimed their opinions and expected the crowds to "fall in line".  I have often wondered how an entire country could seemingly follow a madman down a terrible road, however after Germany and its citizens were held 100% responsible for WWI, the worldwide depression in the late 20’s and early 30’s, and 6m disgruntled WWI soldiers returning home Germany was ripe for “something” and that “something” was Hitler.  Hitler gave responsibility for Germany’s terrible circumstances to the Jew’s and began organizing the German youth to believe in his ideas.  The youth population was given someone to believe in and Hitler was able to convince them his “solution” was the best one out there.  Now as a side note, I never really gave “why the Jew’s” a lot of thought but today someone asked that question and the guide basically said the Jew’s for over a thousand years were disliked by many the other cultures.  This was due to a couple of reasons, 1) originally only Jewish business men could loan money to people and 2) in order to become a crafts or trades man one had to join a guild and in order to join a guild a person had to swear on a Bible and since the Jew’s didn’t believe in the Bible they made up most of the crafts and trades guilds.  So when the rest of the population didn’t have money to pay their debts or weren’t able to compete with the guilds they would remove the Jew’s by killing them or burning them out, so the dislike of Jew’s was not a new idea Hitler came up with but one he took to the extreme. 

Anyhow, Hitler was a master at running a propaganda machine.  He held these rallies and over 90% of the German population believed what he was selling.  Most German families even today have someone in their family who was a member of the Nazi party.  They believed in Hitler and he told them what job they had to do so when soldiers who were away from home and their support systems, were told to gather up the Jew’s they looked at it as “just doing their job” and most didn’t have the courage  to step out of line.  It is difficult for me to understand how an entire country could fall for such craziness but as I said Hitler worked the propaganda machine to the nth degree.  When WWII started in 1939 Hitler did not have a need for the rallies anymore because he was in power and the “youth” he had started training five, six, seven years earlier just kept right on following what he was selling.

Nuremberg was heavily bombed during WWII and most of the city was damaged.   I have a couple of pictures where the buildings have patch marks from shrapnel damage during the bombings, after WWII Nuremberg again came into the picture because of the Nuremberg Trials.  First a little bit of background, when WWII ended the United States first thought Germany should be broken into four separate countries but the American people didn’t think the entire German population should be punished so that idea was discarded.  Second, after the four separate country idea didn’t work out the idea to try “war criminals” was brought up by the United States, the Soviet Union thought it was a great idea to show the world the criminals and then take them out and shoot them, the French and British, however, had to be convinced.  Nuremberg was picked to hold the trials simply because it was in the US occupied zone of Germany and the courthouse with an attached prison that were undamaged after the war.   The Nuremberg Trials were open to the world press and were judged in an open courtroom using testimony from survivors, the criminals themselves, and propaganda news reels put out by the Third Reich among other things.  When the trials concluded there were twelve death sentences and numerous long term prison sentences handed out, but more importantly the standards or Nuremberg Principals were set for the rest of the war criminal trials (27 in total) that came to pass over the next several years.  In fact, those same principals are still used at The Hauge today, however, the treaty upholding those principals, was never signed by the United States.  Ironic that the US doesn’t belong when they played such an instrumental part in creating the standards, strange.

A couple of other things I learned about WWII, the United States when bombing Germany bombed based on strategic locations while the British conducted moral bombings such as on schools, residential areas and so forth.  The British did this because 1) that’s what Germany did to them and 2) they thought it would destroy the moral of the German people; however that didn’t work instead it just made the German people fight harder.  After WWII the German people/government destroyed what was left of the Third Reich because if it can’t be seen it can be forgotten.  Now seventy years later many in Germany regret this decision to destroy all remains of the Third Reich so there is a renewed push to save what it left.  School children are taught about WWII and the atrocities that were committed, in fact most students visit one or more of the museums that display WWII history including Holocaust information as a part of their schooling.  Germany no longer wants to forget WWII and Hitler but rather educate the people so it never happens again but this attitude has raised some controversy.  Zeppelin Field where Hitler held some famous rallies would need 70m in Euro’s just to maintain the current structure and is that really the best use of Euro’s?  One ironic twist to Nuremberg’s WWII history is the building that housed the SS (those most hateful in handling Jews and “other” races) in Nuremberg is now the building which handles immigration, how Hitler would hate that.  One last thing that I found disturbing, Hitler actually encouraged German women to have lots of children.  If a family had four children the mother received a bronze star, five or six a silver star, and eight or more the gold star or the “mother” star.  These moms were admired for their “sacrifice” to their country.  After WWII the birth rate fell dramatically in Germany and even today it is very low with couples having only one child.  The concern is with immigrants coming to Germany their children are outnumbering German children so what does that mean for Germany’s future?

Ok enough about Hitler and WWII.  Here is some useless information I’ve learned and just have to pass on to everyone.  Most of the buildings in Nuremberg are made out of sandstone because it is found locally.  The subways in Nuremberg do not have drivers they are run on automatic.  The port in Nuremberg is actually a canal which was started in 1922 and finished in 1962. It is located in a commercial/industrial area so the sightseeing was not very spectacular, however, as it happens our river boat was docked almost directly across from a grain terminal and Ron saw them unloading grain from a barge into the silos.  Funny!  I already said Nuremberg is in Bavaria and this region has an unemployment rate of 3.2% basically the lowest in Europe.  Siemens is the largest employer in the area employing about 38,000 workers.  Addias and Puma have their world headquarters here, Play Mobile toys are still made in the factory near Nuremberg.  The store, Aldi, was started by two brothers in Nuremberg, and as our guide told us these two brothers are 4th or 5th on Forbes richest people list and they made their fortune by offering no customer service and no selection at their stores.  In fact, in Nuremberg it is said they lock the last customer in at Aldi’s every night and that customer is responsible for cleaning the store up.  Nuremberg is known for having the first train in the region and is also known for if production of toys.  In fact each winter they have a very large toy convention in Nuremberg.  The population in Germany is about 82m people and in the Bavarian region it is about 12.4m people.  Nuremberg has the largest train yard in Germany so it is an important area as far as manufacturing and shipping.  Germany imports most of its oil from Russia and uses nuclear power, however, after Japan’s earthquake and its nuclear power issues Germany plans on closing their plants. 

Now some details about where or what or how we are cruising.  We embarked at the port in Nuremberg which is actually on a canal as I already said.  The canal is about is approximately 110 miles long and it runs from Bamberg on the Mein River to Kelheim on the Danube River.  The canal permits traffic to flow from the North Sea all the way to the Black Sea creating a 2,200 mile waterway.   It takes between 20 and 30 days to traverse the entire waterway while going around only takes 6 to 8 days but cargo can be carried cheaper on the river than by trains.  In addition the locks and dam’s along the waterway contribute hydro power to the neighboring areas, it is safe and ecological, and finally it provides recreation/tourism, such as river boat cruising.  It provides the inland cities with crucial supplies and now tourists.  Nuremberg is in the middle of the canal.  In order to make the canal work a lock system had to be developed.  Between Bamberg and Kelheim there are sixteen locks, the first six are south of the Continental Divide raising/lowering the river boats nearly 200 feet while the other ten are north of the Continental Divide and raise or lower river boats nearly 520 feet.  So just imagine the Soo Locks times sixteen.  A couple of other interesting tidbits about the canal include, the locks are approximately 13m (38-40 feet) wide so river boats can only be about 40 feet wide allowing for about eight inches on each side when passing through a lock.  It takes about twenty minutes to pass through a lock and requires on average 10.5m gallons of water to either raise or lower the boat.  During the day the lock system produces electricity while at night the water reservoirs alongside the locks are pumped full again and 60% of the water used is recycled from previous days.  The canal itself is about 140 feet wide and on average 14 feet deep.  In two places along the canal a main road actually goes under the canal, WOW!  It cost 28 BILLION Euro’s to build and boats pay either by the passenger capacity or by the cargo load each time they travel along it.  The first idea for a canal was thought of by Charlemagne in 793 and at that time they managed to dig a canal, however the rains washed it away. Then in 1837 King Ludwig I began a second canal which was completed nine years later and that canal remained in use until after WWII but it was too small to compete with the railways.  The current canal was a joint project between Bavaria and Germany and was started in 1922 then stopped during WWII and the years after the war.  It was started again and a portion was finished in 1962 but was again stopped in the early 70’s because of the high cost of oil and protests against the idea.  The canal, all 110 miles of it, wasn’t totally completed until  1992, 1200 years after Charlemagne had the first idea to build it.  By the way our river boat is 420feet long and each lock is approximately 635 feet long.  One final note, there is a bicycle path next to the canal all 110 miles.

Ok well I am certain all of this very important information I have passed along has put everyone to sleep so I’ll end it here.  Tomorrow we’ll be in Regensport for the day and then onto Passau and Salzburg on Sunday so for now,

Luv to all,

Ron and Ann
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