Research Reveals Village’s Secret of World War II

Research Reveals Village’s Secret of World War II

Village of Kronenburg, Eifel, Germany – Five minutes from where I lived in the 1970s

I started this blog three years ago in May 2012, to promote my late husband Charles Novacek’s memoir Border Crossings: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance.  

Charles believed most people, especially Americans (including me) know little about World War II and Czechoslovakia. For example, before the war it was a beautiful and thriving country, one of the most industrialized in the world. Their companies such as Bata (shoes) and Skoda (heavy industry and cars) flourished and exported to the entire world, and the country was rich in natural resources such as coal.

Because I have had so much to learn about Czechoslovakia, I continue to do research for blog topics and to prepare for presentations on the book. I am thrilled more documents have been digitized and released by the Czech and Slovak governments and have located additional information on the Czech Resistance, arrest records on Charles, and doctoral theses that include his sister Vlasta Jakubova and “uncle” Josef Robotka.

Recently, I was preparing for a presentation detailing Hitler’s closing of art schools in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia on November 17, 1940. I was shocked by information I found about a place I used to live in Germany in the 1970s. It relates to something I wrote in my second blog post on May 20, 2012 about that location:

“When I lived in Germany during my late twenties, I finally learned more about the war by asking questions about things I saw. There was an old bunker on the edge of my Eifel village of Baasem and remains of tiger (dragon’s) teeth at the German/Belgian border. We lived near the site of the Battle of the Bulge with a German family five minutes from the 400-year-old, medieval village of Kronenburg where it was said Nazi party leader Hermann Goring visited.”

Source: Frank Möller

What I didn’t know was that not only did Göring visit the idyllic village of Kronenburg where I loved to hike, but from 1938-1944, the village was the location of the Hermann Göring Master School of Painting.

Göring was the First World War combat pilot and “Ace” who served as the last commander of von Richtofen’s “Flying Circus” and rose to become Hitler’s Reichsmarschall; the “Second Man” of the Third Reich. In July 1941, Göring issued a memo to Reinhard Heydrich ordering him to organize the practical details of a solution to the “Jewish Question.” He is also known for his looting of artwork and cultural material from Jewish collections, libraries, and museums throughout Europe.

Many Nazi leaders including Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Albert Speer  were guests of Göring’s in Kronenburg. In the Deutschlandfunk of May 9, 2014, Frank Möller states, “the swastika flag flew from the church tower [in Kronenburg] and Göring invested in the village where he had large paintings and tapestries created for the New Reich Chancellery in Berlin and his private home of Carinhall.”

© Carschten / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

Today Kronenburg is called “a refuge for artists and those seeking relaxation with a sense of history and nature.” How ironic that Kronenburg’s history shows that while the Nazis closed the art schools in Czechoslovakia in 1940 that their own school of painting was thriving in Germany’s Eifel.

I am curious to know what information future research will uncover!

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