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Nuremberg takes heat over ex-Nazi sites

A proposal to temporarily relocate Nuremburg’s opera house to two former Nazi-linked sites in the city, including the party’s infamous rally grounds, has come under fire over its potential risks to historical education.

In an open letter on Friday, the Staatstheater Nurnberg management claimed that there are no viable alternatives to either the rally grounds or the never-finished Nazi Congress Hall in the city. They expressed confidence about being able to provide the location’s historical context in a contemporary way.

A temporary venue for performances is required since the opera house is in need of major repair works expected to take several years, according to German media.

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Over the weekend, however, the ‘History for All’ association criticized the planned move due to the apparent risks to lessons on Nazi ideology and propaganda being compromised. The historical society warned in an open letter on Sunday that showing visitors the original facades of Nazi structures could highlight “fascist megalomania.”

The Nuremberg city council is expected to make a decision about the venue next month. An unnamed cultural expert working for the city told the dpa news agency that the move could not be deferred since the opera’s operating licence is set to expire in 2025. The outlet noted that the licence would not be renewed until renovation works had been completed.

According to the Staatstheater Nurnberg, the 38-meter-high remains of the Congress Hall and its huge courtyard would make for an ideal temporary venue. The building was originally designed to be 80 meters tall with the capacity to host 50,000 people. But construction came to a standstill when World War II began.

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