Gauforum Weimar

Gauforum Weimar
Von Martin Kraft - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43725273;
Gauforum Weimar

  • year of construction / construction time 1936 — 1945
  • architect Hermann Giesler

  • year of construction / construction time 2003 — 2007

building typology

Also known as: now: District of Weimar Modernism

The former Gauforum in Weimar exemplifies the monumental traditionalism of National Socialist architecture. As a center of power, it served propaganda and administrative functions for the Nazi elite. This gigantic (relative to its surroundings) facility, on which construction began in 1937, was designed by Hermann Giesler. Hitler was himself involved in the planning, as was Thuringia’s Gauleiter, Fritz Sauckel, who as “general plenipotentiary for labor deployment” was responsible for, among things, the deportation and death of European forced laborers.

This complex of around 40,000 square meters was not just designed to be the seat of the part and the government; it was pointedly intended to give architectural form to racist ideology and National Socialist ideas of work, achievement, and community. It was considered the prototype of other planned Gauforums in more than forty cities in Germany, though they were never built. The Gauforum in Weimar remained unfinished. Originally, five large buildings were planned; three administrative and stately buildings were partially completed: for the Reichsstatthalter (Reich Governor) and the Gauleiter, for the Deutsche Arbeitsfront, and National Socialist organizations; a bell tower, a large Halle der Volksgemeinschaft (Hall for the People’s Community) with seating for 20,000 (of which only the shell was completed), and a central parade grounds on what was then Adolf-Hitler-Platz.

The building of the Gauforum went hand in hand with drastic urban-planning changes to Weimar to make it a “gau capital.” Large sections of the northern part of the city center and also parts of the old town were demolished; the former Asbachgrund was filled in. Even today, the consequences of the National Socialist architecture of intimidation can be read from the cityscape of Weimar.

After the war, the Soviet military administration occupied the site. From then on, the former Gauforum was used primarily by different educational facilites. Since 1990, it has been the headquarters of the Office of State Administration of Thuringia. In 1999, parts of the grounds were used as an exhibition site for Weimar’s year as a European Cultural Capital. Since 2005, a shopping center has been housed in the former assembly hall. Beginning in the fall of 2019, a new exhibition will provide information on the history of the Gauforum. In 2020, the Gedenkstätte Buchenwald will open a permanent exhibition on Nazi forced labor there. As a central component of the incipient District of Weimar Modernism, the former Gauforum will become a place of memory and critical reflection. [KM/HY]

Map

Contact and opening hours

Address

Ehemaliges Gauforum im Landesverwaltungsamt
Jorge-Semprún-Platz -
99423 Weimar

Opening hours

Das Gauforum Weimar - Ein Erbe des Dritten Reiches
Dauerausstellung der Bauhaus-Universität Weimar im Turmhaus des Thüringer Landesverwaltungsamtes Weimar geöffnet Mo-Fr, 8-17 Uhr

conveying formula

Bauhaus-Museum Weimar

Located at the founding place of the Weimar State Bauhaus, the museum will evoke the early Weimar phase of the most important school of art and design of the 20th century. The exhibition is centered around the oldest collection of Bauhaus objects worldwide and combines the history of the Bauhaus with questions of current and future ways of living together.

Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism

Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.

Gauforum Weimar: tower, south side
Von Andrzej Otrębski - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=72711754
Gauforum Weimar: tower, south side
Gauforum Weimar: west side
Von Michael Sander - Selbst fotografiert, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14234215
Gauforum Weimar: west side