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Location address: Deutschland, Heidelberg
Number of texts: 1
The Heidelberg Thingstätte is an open-air theatre on the Heiligenberg in Heidelberg which was built during the Third Reich for performances and events as part of the Thingspiel movement. It is now used primarily for unofficial Walpurgis Night celebrations. It is a protected cultural monument.
The Heiligenberg theatre is one of the official Thingstätten or Thingplätze built in the first part of the Nazi era as part of the Thingspiel movement. It is in the form of an egg-shaped amphitheatre and has a capacity of approximately 8,000 seats or 15,000 standees. The architect was Hermann Alker. The original design was to seat 10,300 people with room for an additional 20,000 standees and include a dance ring behind the stage; work began in late April 1934 and was to have been completed in July, but paused and resumed on the reduced plan, and the facility was completed in June 1935 and dedicated on the 22nd of that month. Approximately 20,000 people attended, and in his address to them Joseph Goebbels spoke of the ‘holy mountain’ that was the site and characterised the Thingstätten as “the Lagtagen [State diets or parliaments] of our time”; he described the theatre as “National Socialism in stone” and compared the construction of Thingstätten to that of the autobahns. The opening festivities concluded with a summer solstice celebration during which Franz Philipp’s cantata Heiliges Vaterland was performed. Originally, the theatre was to have been the venue for the première of Richard Euringer’s German Passion 1933 during the Reichsfestspiele theatre festival in Heidelberg in 1934; since the theatre was not ready, the performance instead took place in the courtyard of Heidelberg Castle.