Saturday, 12 January 2019

daytrip: ohrdruf

H and I took a drive over the snowy Rennsteig (previously here and here) to visit Oberhof, the winter sports resort village but due to a ski biathlon happening this weekend, most the facilities weren’t accessible to the public and it was pretty crowded so we went on to explore the nearby small town of Ohrdruf—which turned out to be an astoundingly busy place. As an adolescent Johann Sebastian Bach resided there with his older brother Joh- Christoph who exposed him to organ music. From 1913 until 1916, bisque Kewpie dolls were made there and one can find moulds embedded in older façades—apparently but I failed to locate any—we’ll be back I’m sure.
Things get a bit bleak with the wars—a POW encampment on the edge of the city during World War I is converted into a concentration camp for World War II, though significantly, it was the first to be liberated by Allied forces and helped inform the wider world about the horrors carried out.
Shortly before that take-over, the original Wagon of Compiègne—the train carriage where the first and second Armistices were signed—was transported there from Berlin for safekeeping but was destroyed in an air raid. After the war, the site of the military training area was razed and command and control was assumed by the Soviet army until 1991, with their headquarters in the pictured baroque Schloß Ehrenstein. Afterwards, we went on to take a look at the nearby ruined Cistercian cloister complex Georgenthal. This structure with the impressive rosette window is from the twelfth century and originally was used as an infirmary before being transformed into a granary—presently used as a lapidarium, a place to exhibit monuments and architectural artefacts from the former abbey.