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Schleiden, Germany

Ordensburg Vogelsang

This former Nazi castle was built as a school to train what would have been the future of the Third Reich. 

Built in 1934, the squat, brutalist castle known as Ordensburg Vogelsang was to be a militaristic college meant to train the Nazi leaders of the future, but after the war, the building was simply an architectural hot potato covered in swastikas. 

The Ordensburg Vogelsang was just one of a trio of education centers built in the early 1930s at the behest of Adolf Hitler. Meant to indoctrinate the future leaders of the Nazi party, the schools took in young men in their mid-20’s who could provide proof of their pure lineage and physical perfection. Once accepted, the students adhered to a strict daily regimen that had a strong focus on both fitness and the study of racial purity. There were also pilot training programs that were conducted on private airstrips built on the grounds.

Hundreds of cadets passed through Ordensburg Vogelsang’s program,  but with Germany’s defeat at the end of World War II, the castle school no longer had a purpose. While some of the buildings in the school were destroyed in the war, the central castle remained intact and ready for reuse. Once the copious amounts of swastikas were removed from the walls and stonework that is.

For a time after the war, the site was used as a military training ground by the Belgian army, but has since been virtually abandoned. Now the castle is maintained as a historic site and is open to the public. Plans are underway to convert the site into a museum and art space.