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

construction

  • 1936 — 1945
  • Hermann Giesler

renovation

  • 2003 — 2007

building typology

administration/government

now: District of Weimar Modernism

The Gauforum in Weimar exemplifies the monumental traditionalism of National Socialist architecture. As a centre of power, it served propaganda and administrative purposes for the Nazi elite. Construction of the gigantic facility, which was designed by Hermann Giesler, began in 1936. Hitler himself was involved in the planning, as was Thuringia’s Gauleiter [District Leader] Fritz Sauckel, who, as the “General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment”, was the Nazi regime’s official who was responsible for the deportation and death of European labourers.

This complex of roughly 40,000 square metres was not only the seat of the party and the government, but also a demonstrative expression of racist and populist ideology and National Socialist ideas of work, achievement and community. It was seen as a prototype for other Gauforums that were to be built throughout Germany, but they were never realised. The Weimar Gauforum itself remained unfinished. Five large-scale buildings were originally planned, but partially realised were three imposing administrative buildings, a bell tower, a large assembly hall – which, as the “Halle der Volksgemeinschaft” (Hall of the People’s Community), was conceived to accommodate as many as 20,000 people – and a parade ground in the middle of the complex.

The creation of the Gauforum went hand in hand with drastic urban restructuring measures intended to transform Weimar into a “Gau capital”. Large parts of the northern city centre and portions of the old town were demolished. Thus to this day, the consequences of the National Socialist architecture of intimidation are still discernible in the Weimar cityscape.

After the war, the Soviet military administration occupied the site. Subsequently, the former Gauforum was used for various purposes. Today it is the headquarters of the Thuringian State Office of Administration. In 1999, parts of the complex were used as an exhibition venue for Weimar’s year as European Capital of Culture. Since 2005, the former assembly hall has been home to a shopping centre. Beginning in the fall of 2019, a new exhibition will provide information on the history of the Gauforum, and 2020 will see the opening of a permanent exhibition on Nazi forced labour. As a central component of the emerging cultural precinct dedicated to Weimar modernism, the Gauforum will become a place of remembrance and critical reflection. [KM/DK]

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

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