Travel Germany. Munich: National Socialism Documentation Centre

Everybody loves Munich because it is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest places in the world. People love the town for its beer gardens, for its beer, for its food, for its friendly people, for its lovely weather, for the English Garden and for the Oktoberfest.

Travel Germany. The Best Museum in Munich: National Socialism Documentation Centre

And here we have one more fantastic reason to visit Munich. Did you know that the rise of the National Socialists began in Munich? 

Munich - The capital of the movement

It was easy for Hitler to find affluent people who cheerfully introduced him to bourgeois circles. Munich was christened the “Capital of the Movement” by Hitler and it was here that Goebbels called for the nation-wide pogrom against the Jewish population.

Do yourself a favour and leave your attitude at home. Most people say this can't happen again, or if so, never in their country. Visit this place and you will soon find out the truth.

This is not a theme park where you can play fancy dress with original crisp steel helmets and Nazi costumes, and this is not a place where you can pet the descendants of Hitler's German shepherd. There are not even action films explaining things. This is a place where you are given the opportunity to understand how things really are. Learn from history to understand the present. Listen to what the museum has to tell you.

Themes "Exclusion and Persecution" - "Why Munich?" - "What has this got to do with me?”

The exhibition is housed in a cubic building designed by Berlin architects Georg Scheel Wetzel. The building is all washed concrete, and so very white. The energetic design is the perfect stage and background. The building is strong enough to minimize possible injuries to visitors souls. It is like a silent and supportive friend, who is there before you fall. It is trendy, sleek, and modern. Standing in the exhibition rooms, I see authentic sites and relics of the Nazi era through the large windows, and the contrast to history couldn’t be larger. There are photographs, documents, texts and media stations. I slowly start to inspect the motives of the Nazis and their followers.

While I walk around I discover many parallels in the way people behave after World War 1 and today. Nationality again is of the highest value. Whereas in those days the Nazis told their people that bolshevism is the murderer, these days the term has been swapped with Muslims or refugees. I look at documents that state there is “only one party that can do something against the red flood” and I can’t believe that parties these days use the exact same language “there is only one party that can do something against Muslims/refugees.”

The guardian of the homeland

One document states that “the party is the guardian of the homeland” and when I think of all the talk there is about how “Islam destroys our values” I get hot and cold with fear, how can people be so blind? Before people were aggressively anti-Semitic, today they are aggressively anti-Muslim/refugees. We all have seen these “Rapefugees” photos popping up everywhere.

While Hitler became bigger and bigger, people had this unconcerned acceptance of exclusion of minorities and tolerance of everyday racism. There is a photo where people sit relaxed in a café, being aware that Jews get murdered and deported. Today we all have heard people say things like “I’m not racist but Muslims/refugees should not live in our country” that are just as everyday racist.

“Girls do not listen to the call of the Jews. He just gives you a well-deserved kick” goes in line with “girls don’t interbreed with Muslims, they just want to become stronger and our nation won’t be pure anymore.”

The Nazis stated “We call on the peoples of the earth to join forces starting against the danger of Bolshevism, if they do not want to be drawn into the vortex of a terrible and unpredictable fate” and today again people everywhere dream of joined forces against the danger of Muslims/refugees.

Undermining the authority of politicians and the press

In the program of the Social Nationalist party from 1920 (they were called Labourer Party still) they demand “a legal fight against deliberate political lies” and “abolition of unearned income” and that “the state should nourish their own people, if not possible, they have to deport all other nations.”

We all have read these exact demands by (as they state, clever) parties, or we even heard them on the streets or while riding the tram. It is so easy to see how it worked; the Nazis undermined the authority of politicians. The well-educated people of the Nazi movement transported a feeling of security or even accuracy. The Nazis repeated over and over that the press spreads lies to create a general feeling of mistrust.

Bottom Line - National Socialism Documentation Centre

Developing of enemy images, calling the press and politicians liars, the amazing experience of belonging to a nation … Can you see the parallels too? It can happen everywhere, there are always people who willingly follow leaders only so that they don’t have to think things through. Watch closely, it is so important to understand history before you start following others mindlessly like a lemming. You are better than this. Don’t fall into the platitude trap. This is the perfect opportunity. Next time you are in Munich this place should be one of the first places you visit. You can drink a beer or two after your visit to have an informed discussion. Travelling is amazing. Look at the world with open eyes. Be fearless.

Info National Socialism Documentation Centre

Languages The exhibition is in German and English.
Where and Hours Brienner Strasse 34, 80333 Munich. Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. If a bank holiday is on a Monday, the museum is open.
Tickets Up to the age of 18 as well as school pupils and students in groups the entrance is free. Adults: EUR 5 / EUR 2.50 concession. Annual ticket: EUR 20. Group ticket: Group tours for a maximum of 15 persons: EUR 90, please contact: bildung.nsdoku (at) in advance.
Time frame Travel slow. Allow yourself four to five hours. Visit the website.

Can you recommend a place where we can learn from history to create a better future? Can’t wait to hear from you.

From Berlin with love