‘Patrol‘ in Southern Germany and Austria – 2000
|Georg Högel and his book||the Löwenbräukeller||BMW Museum and HQ|
This was out first time back to this beautiful part of Germany and Austria in ten years. There were veterans with us the entire tour, and others who met us at various places along the way. All were happy to sign autographs, pose for photos and tell their wartime memories. There were about a dozen veterans with us for the Welcome Dinner at the beautiful, old Löwenbräukeller, including our friend Georg Högel, radioman under Lemp on U-30 and U-110.
In München, we visited the BMW Museum, the Olympic grounds (thanks to our friend Theo Freundoerfer), the open air Farmer’s Market, and naturally the old and historic buildings there. There was plenty of “Oompah” music and great food at the Market.
|This is the very spot where Hitler
stood; so did our group.
|Inside the Party Congress Hall – off limits
to ALL; but not Sharkhunters
|Room 600 in the Palace of Justice|
To Nürnberg, where we had a guided tour of this historic city and of course, to the Stadium, Parade Ground and Zeppeleinfeld where the Party Congress was held nearly 70 years ago. Our dinner was in a restaurant that opened some 73 years BEFORE Columbus set out to discover the New World. One of the high points of our time here was the visit to the ‘Palace of Justice’ where the Nürnberg Trials were held, and we were IN Room 600 which is normally not open to the public – but then, Sharkhunters are welcome almost anywhere. More veterans joined us for dinners along the way.
In the little town of Dinkelsbühl, we had lunch in the parson’s wine cellar from the 15th century. Then it was time for our special treat – as we approached the castle, a young man in the uniform worn during the ‘Thirty Years War’ appeared in a window and played a trumpet salute to us. Then a young lady appeared, also in the costume of the time, with a pitcher of the local wine. According to the old tradition, such a wine maiden was sent out to greet the invading army and to let them know that they took no sides in the war and wanted no battles there. Then she drank the wine – and all watched to see if she would fall over dead. When they were sure there was no poison, all drank of the wine and the city was saved. The young lady who greeted our ‘army‘ was beautiful and the wine was excellent.
Then our deluxe motorcoach headed south, through the magnificent Tyrolean Alps to Klagenfurt, county seat of Kärnten Province. In the town square is a large stone dragon and according to legend, it was a real, live dragon centuries ago and it roamed all over Austria. It could only eat virgins so when it came to Klagenfurt, the poor dragon just starved to death and turned to stone – so says local legend. There were more wonderful dinners with many veterans of all branches of the Wehrmacht.
|Dr. Haider (l) and Harry Cooper atop Ulrich’s Mountain for the ceremony||The huge stone cross and the
ruined cathedral – breathtaking!
|Two veterans with us;U-boat Skipper Oblt. Hess (l) and tank cdr.Ernst Barkmann (r).Both Knights Cross holders and both Sharkhunters Members.|
Then came the highlight of the entire tour – the Ulrichsbergfest! The Festival on Ulrich’s Mountain. Atop the highest mountain in the area, thousands gathered to remember and pay tribute to all who fell in the war, no matter what uniform he or she wore. It is a very solemn and moving event with the Austrian Army Band, rifle salutes etc., and we were Guests of Honor of the political leader of Austria, Dr. Jörg Haider. We met many more veterans there as well and again, all were happy to talk with us, sign autographs and have their photos taken with our group.
Back to München for Oktoberfest! We had a fantastic time here – music, food, dancing, food, souvenirs, more food and of course – beer! Each of the Munich-based breweries have a huge pavilion that serves food and naturally, only their brand of beer, and they all have ‘Oompah‘ bands each trying to outdo the other. Our ‘Farewell Dinner’ was in one such ‘keller’ with a dozen or more veterans, great food, music and dancing – and beer. It was a great evening, but it signaled the end of our wonderful two weeks in Southern Germany and Austria. You can join us for our ‘Patrol in South Germany & Austria – 2003’ and have these same wonderful memories. Click here to go to the main TOURS page and check out the details.