Hitler's Alpine mountain retreat opens as hotel

15th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

15 July 2005, BERCHTESGADEN, GERMANY - A controversial new luxury hotel and spa formally opened Friday on the site of Adolf Hitler's retreat in the German Alps.

15 July 2005

BERCHTESGADEN, GERMANY - A controversial new luxury hotel and spa formally opened Friday on the site of Adolf Hitler's retreat in the German Alps.

The new hotel, the Intercontinental Resort Berchtesgaden, opened to guests last March 1. Friday's ceremonies were a formality on the Obersalzberg mountaintop.

"Obersalzberg is a place burdened by history," said Bavarian Finance Minister Kurt Faltlhauser in brief grand-opening remarks in Berchtesgaden.

He stressed that Bavaria has operated a museum adjacent to the site since 1999 to cope with tourists from all over the world who flock to the place.

"As oppressive as history has been, we cannot overlook the fact that Obersalzberg traditionally has always been a place of stunning natural splendour and health and recreation. It is in that tradition, that this new hotel opens."

Hitler's 'Eagles Nest' above the town of Berchtesgaden served as a part-time seat of government where he and other Nazi leaders often met to plan Germany's assault on Europe and the Holocaust. The U.S. military used the area as a resort after World War II, before handing it back to Germany in 1996.

The decision to build a hotel on the site angered many Jewish groups, whose concerns Bavarian officials have tried to address with a documentation centre opened in 1999 to detail the area's Nazi past.

Additionally, the state of Bavaria kept ownership of the land and set the condition that the hotel be designed for affluent tourists - precautions designed to help keep out neo-Nazis.

The new complex has 138 rooms along with swimming pools, a health spa and nearby ski areas.

Most of the Obersalzberg buildings were destroyed by Allied bombers in 1945. Bavarian officials blew up Hitler's guest house in 1952 out of fears it would become a neo-Nazi shrine.

U.S. military forces occupied Obersalzberg after the war. Used as a U.S. ski-and-golf resort until 1996, the site remains a popular tourist destination for American servicemen and war veterans and their families.

DPA

Subject: German news

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