late to the party

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This post is about a 25km walk from Bodenwerder to Hameln. I pass by the Bückeberg, site of the Reich Harvest Thanksgiving Festival.

It was my plan to walk the last bit of the way home to Bad Nenndorf via the Deister, a range of forested hills. This was important to me for two reasons: 1) I wanted to arrive home alone and undisturbed. 2) I had spent a lot of time walking through the Deister in my days.

different ways home

There were two ways from Bodenwerder to the Deister Gate near Springe: either east via Salzhemmendorf and Coppenbrügge, or west via Hameln.

“The western way is more interesting,” Mr. Hahn had told me, “you will pass the Bückeberg, the place where Hitler held his Reich Harvest Thanksgiving Festival.” He had a few books on the subject.

the Weser bike path

So I decided to follow the Weser on its way northwest to Hameln. Sometimes there was a bike lane and sometimes there wasn’t. Sometimes I was in the forest and sometimes in the fields. It took a long time somehow, and when it started getting dark, I had only gotten as far as the Grohnde nuclear power plant.

It reminded me of the Zwentendorf nuclear power plant I had passed on my way through Austria. Zwentendorf had never gone into service, and Grohnde had been shut down as well. Somehow the German-speaking world had said no to nuclear power, which seemed absurd in terms of energy-security but reasonable when it came to storing the waste that those nuclear power plants produced.

the dark hill

When I arrived on top of the Bückeberg it was already dark. There didn’t seem to be much to see to begin with, but now, in the darkness, it seemed as though I had arrived late to the party. Or rather: I had arrived when the party was already over.

I looked at the information panels and at the large, flat field that the nazis had used for one of their main propaganda events of the 1930s: the Reich Harvest Thanksgiving Festivals, a sort of popular antipode to the Nürnberg Reich Party Congresses.

It was a bit hard to believe that hundreds of thousands of people had come here every year from 1933 until 1937. Nazi-hippies, if you will. Now there was only black silence and, in the weak light of my head torch, the artificial ridge on which Hitler used to walk up and down to take his propagandistic “bath in the crowds”.


the walk from Bodenwerder to Hameln:

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