Located in the former military training area in Eifel National Park in North Rhine-Westphalia, this National Socialist estate is known as Ordensburg Vogelsang and is where the future leaders of the Nazi Party were educated.
It was used by the Nazis between 1936 and 1939. Situated on 50,000 square meters of land, this is one of the largest architectural remnants of National Socialism.
During a speech at Bernau near Berlin in 1933, Adolf Hitler himself demanded that new schools be built for the children of the leaders of NSDAP (National Socialist German Labor Party). This responsibility fell to Reichsorganisationsleiter (Reich Organizational Leader) Robert Ley.
Ley commenced the construction and operation of four educational camps: Ordensburg Sonthofen, Allgäu; Ordensburg Krössinsee, Pomerania; Ordensburg Vogelsang, Eifel; and plans for another center in Ordensburg Marienburg, in West Prussia.
All of the architectural endeavors at the site were sponsored by employers’ associations and the expropriating trade unions. Hitler appointed Cologne-based architect Clemens Klotz to plan the site. Robert Ley planned for a huge library called the House of Knowledge to be built on a piece of land measuring 100 meters by 300 meters.
There was also a plan for a hotel with 2000 beds called Kraft Durch Freude, which would have been the biggest hotel in Europe.
Everything went according to the initial plans of Klotz and Ley, but the project was put on hold at the start of the Second World War. During the war, the Castle of Vogelsang was handed over for the use of the German army.
In 1944, a military fitness camp for 15 and 16-year-old members of the Hitler Youth was opened inside the complex. As a result, Allied air raids destroyed much of the complex including the east wing and the gymnasium.
After World War II, many of buildings were reconstructed by the Belgian military authorities. The foundation walls that were constructed for the Haus des Wissens (The House of Knowledge) were repurposed and used for the Van Dooren barracks block, and the auditorium became a cinema.
Since 1 January 2006, the former Ordensburg has been open to civilians. The Van Dooren barracks will be demolished, as accommodation at the site is no longer needed.
Some $60 million was spent renovating the complex and educating the people of today about the danger of fascism.