The Abitur is a diploma from a German secondary school which qualifies people for admission to a university. This building in Braunschweig now houses two schools, the Kolleg and the Abendgymnasium, both of which are for young adults who have somehow missed out on the Abitur the first time around and want to have another go at it through the “zweiter Bildungsweg”, literally “second educational way”.
These reliefs over the entrance doors to the right and left wings of the building both look like typical examples of the sort of ‘heroic’ artworks that were favored by the Nazis while they were in power.
In 2007, when I first posted these photos on the now-defunct website VirtualTourist, I wrote: “The building itself looks to me like an example of Nazi architecture from the 1930s, though I haven’t found any information on when it was built or by whom.”
Several months later I received a message from another VirtualTourist member, Kathrin_E, a German art historian who was born in Braunschweig. She wrote: “You’re raising a question I’d like to answer: about the Braunschweig Kolleg aka Müllerschule. You’re perfectly right: that building is as Nazi as can be. It was opened as “Akademie für Jugendführung” (academy of youth leadership) in 1939 to train HJ and BDM functionaries.” (HJ was the “Hitler Youth” for boys and BDM was the girls’ version.)
She also sent me a link to a fascinating and well-designed website called Vernetztes Gedächtnis (Networked Memory) about “the topography of the National Socialist tyranny in Braunschweig”, which I can highly recommend to anyone who reads German and is interested in how a German city is trying to come to grips with this part of its history.
From this website, I learned that in August 1939, after several years of planning and construction, the “Academy for Youth Leadership” in Braunschweig started its training operations with a first course for 100 Hitler Youth leaders. “Due to the beginning of the war in September 1939, however, it was never used in the intended sense for the comprehensive training of youth leaders — almost all the participants of the first course were drafted for military service, so the training program had to be stopped a few weeks after opening.”
Since the demise of VirtualTourist, Katrin_E has been posting on the website Travellerspoint. See, for example, her blog on the Alemannic Fastnacht, a regional version of the Carnival that takes place in southwestern Germany and northern Switzerland.
My photos in this post are from 2007. I revised the text in 2018.