By Lillee Allee
The Wewelsburg Castle was built from two existing structures in the 17th century. It had already had an interesting history prior to that. Two witch trials took place in the Wewelsburg in 1631 (a former inquisition room was found in the basement next to the east tower).
During the Seven Years’ War (1756–1763), the basement rooms were probably used as a military prison.
The castle is located in the village of Wewelsburg, which is a district of the town of Büren, Westphalia, in the Landkreis of Paderborn in the northeast of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. T By 1933, the castle had been very neglected with some exterior issues to its triangular and serious degradation of the interior. However, to one man he saw great promise with its hilltop locale.
Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the Schutzstaffel (Protection Squadron; SS), and a leading member of the Nazi Party (NSDAP) of Nazi Germany, saw potential in this building as a training center for his SS troops. The occult enthusiast engaged in a century lease for the property. He added occult, mythology and folklore to the training of his staff and this property was to be focused on pagan rituals to increase the soldiers’ focus on world domination. It is said that one cistern was used to baptize and another became a crypt. While the structure remained in Nazi hands for 12 years, Himmler’s dreams were never fully realized. He had hoped to fortify the castle and create a giant moat for privacy and protection. In 1941, he hoped to re-create the castle as “the center of the world.”
While Himmler set up concentration camps for Hitler that led to the death of 6 million Jews and others not wanted in Nazi society, Himmler also created his own camp that held criminals, war prisoners and Roma people. These people were treated as slaves to do the work in fixing up the castle to his specifications. This concentration camp, called Niederhagen, held 4,000 people. More than half of these individuals died or were killed.
Hitler became nervous late in the war and gave command of the Army Group Upper Rhine and the Army Group Vistula, but Himmler failed to reach his goals. He was replaced. Realizing that the war was lost, he attempted to open peace talks with the western Allies without Hitler’s knowledge shortly before the war ended. Hearing of this, Hitler dismissed him from all his posts in April 1945 and ordered his arrest. Himmler attempted to go into hiding, but was caught and identified. While in British custody, he committed suicide on May 23, 1945. Many of the secrets of Wewelsburg castle died with him.
As the tide changed in the war, and Himmler realized the end was near. Himmler immediately ordered that a fire was set in the castle and much of the exterior was irreparably damaged. His alleged interest in the Grail myths gained weight after an interesting discovery. Once they gained entry, a round table and12 chairs were found by Allied Forces.
The castle was left in the same condition as it was in 1933. By 1950, it was transformed into a museum and a youth hostel. The castle today houses the Historical Museum of the Prince Bishopric of Paderborn and the Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum.
Heinrich Himmler. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinrich_Himmler
Wewelsburg. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wewelsburg
Wewelsburg Castle. Retrieved October 10, 2015 from http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/infamous-castle-of-wewelsburg
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