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Pergamon

Pergamon Alter

Dr. Albert Speer, Hitler's chief architect, presents his model of the German Pavilion, designed for the World's Fair in Paris in 1937 [Mary Evans / Sueddeutsche Zeitung Photo].
Adolf Hitler discussing plans for a new administration building for the provincial government in Weimar, Germany. Second from the left is Hitler's architect Albert Speer, who designed the Zeppelintribune. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Filming the reconstructed altar inside the Pergamon Museum.
Albert Speer designed the Zeppelintribune – a venue for Nazi rallies – based on the architecture of the Pergamon Altar, now on display in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin.
Museum patrons gathered on steps of the ancient Greek ruin, the Pergamon Altar. Nazi architect Albert Speer was inspired by the altar to create the great stage used in the rallies at Nuremberg.
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Why did Hitler’s architect copy it?

And what was its true meaning and purpose?

Berlin’s Museum Island is for those who love the past. But the past can be a dangerous thing in the hands of those who use it in the cause of evil.      

And that is especially true of an ancient artifact that was unearthed in 1865 by a German archeologist in the ruins of an ancient Greek city called Pergamon.

It is known as the Pergamon Altar.   The altar was moved to Berlin into a building constructed especially for it.  It fills a hall  six stories high with the area of a football field.

Today, to climb its stairs and look down at people far below gives one a feeling of power.

In about 1930, a Nazi climbed the stairs, looked down, and got the same feeling.

His name was Albert Speer.  He was in charge of architecture in the Third Reich.

Without knowing the original meaning and purpose of the altar, he adapted it into a new Nazi monument that would aid Hitler’s rise to absolute power.

What was this Nazi monument?  And what was the Pergammon Altar’s true meaning and purpose?

All is revealed in Museum Secrets: Inside the Berlin Islands Museums.

Further Questions

After World War Two, Albert Speer painted himself as a “Good Nazi.”  His personal propaganda campaign was just as effective as his earlier efforts in the service of the Third Reich.  During the Nuremburg War Trials he got off with a comparatively light sentence.  If you want to know more about Speers, you might like to watch this BBC documentary:  The Good Nazi?

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