I was thinking about my Junior/Senior High School Prom today which was held in the General Walker Hotel in Berchtesgaden, Germany. This hotel was nestled in the Bavarian Alps.
A bit of history:
“The General Walker Hotel was a hotel in the mountain retreat of Obersalzberg, Germany. The former Pension Moritz boarding house, boasting opulent accommodations and sweeping views of the Bavarian countryside and Alpine scenery, was opened in 1878 and renamed Platterhof in 1928. After the Nazi seizure of power, it became part of the extended containment area around Hitler‘s headquarters at the nearby Berghof residence, serving as a guest house and meeting facility of the SS guards. Following World War II, the damaged building was restored as a United States Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC), and again renamed after US Army General Walton Walker (1889–1950), killed in action in the Korean War. The complex was demolished in 2000.” (Wikipedia)
It was an overnight Prom with girls staying on one floor and boys on another. We started out with dinner, the crowning, some casual lingering, then the real party started at midnight until the wee hours of the morning. All kinds of debauchery was happening at the Prom.
Interestingly enough, the thing that most sticks in my mind to this day is the experience I had in the morning, after breakfast and just a couple of hours before our departure. The General Walker Hotel sat on top of a bunker system that during World War II connected several homes, including Hitler’s and a select few of his Nazi cronies, including Göring, Reich Minister of Armaments Albert Speer, and of course Bormann.
A few friends and I decided to take the bunker tour the hotel offered. I can’t quite describe the feeling that washed over me, but the closest I can get is, eerie. The bunkers still housed beds, wash basins, dressers, and so many other household items. It was dank and smelled of what I imagine evil to smell like. We walked a ways and came across a dilapidated stairwell that at one point led up to Hitler’s home. I touched the railing and realized that Hitler likely touched that same railing numerous times. It made my skin crawl. We also walked through the bunker until we arrived at the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle’s Nest) elevator shaft. The Eagles Nest was commissioned by Martin Bormann and presented to Hitler for his 50th birthday. Though he never lived there, he visited numerous times for meetings.
I can honestly say that the evil Hitler and his men carried on their person’s attached itself to the walls and floors, the tunnels they used to migrate back and forth and everything they left behind down there. I stood and gazed up at the remains of Adolf Hitler’s home and wondered how different our history would be if he had been killed early on. I also wonder who the next person will be to step into history with an equal level of evil coursing through his or her veins.