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Relics of the Reich is the story of what happened to the buildings the Nazis left behind. The ‘Thousand Year Reich’ may have come crashing down after only a decade but much of the physical legacy – the abandoned buildings, airfields, military installations and other sites of great significance during the Nazi era – remained after 1945. At the end of the War, some of these sites were obliterated by the victorious Allies but many survived as an embarrassing reminder of a shameful period in German history.
For almost fifty years, many were left crumbling and ignored with post-war and divided Germany unsure what to do with the sites – often fearful that they might become shrines for neo-Nazis. However, with the passage of time and particularly since the reunification of Germany in the early 1990s, Germans have come to terms with these iconic sites and many are now regarded as part of the country’s heritage, albeit an uncomfortable part. In Relics of the Reich, we visit many of the buildings and structures built or adapted by the Nazis and look at what has happened since 1945, to try to discover what it tells us about Germany’s attitude to its Nazi past now.
Colin Philpott has a long-standing interest in recent German history and in abandoned buildings and venues. His book Relics of the Reich will be published by Pen and Sword in Autumn 2015. His first book, A Place in History, looking at the impact on places where news stories happened in twentieth-century Britain, was published in 2012. His drama The Last Match - about the last day of peace before World War Two, was first performed in 2014. He is a former Director of the National Media Museum and was a BBC programme-maker and journalist for 25 years. Alongside his writing, he now works as a non-executive director, a producer on creative and media projects and as a radio and event presenter.
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This event is part of the Curiouser and Curiouser: Art, Architecture and Design festival theme. Also in this theme: