The Gauforum in Weimar exemplifies the monumental traditionalism of National Socialist architecture. As a centre of power, it served propaganda and administrative purposes for the Nazi elite. Construction of the gigantic facility, which was designed by Hermann Giesler, began in 1936. Hitler himself was involved in the planning, as was Thuringia’s Gauleiter [District Leader] Fritz Sauckel, who, as the “General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment”, was the Nazi regime’s official who was responsible for the deportation and death of European labourers.
This complex of roughly 40,000 square metres was not only the seat of the party and the government, but also a demonstrative expression of racist and populist ideology and National Socialist ideas of work, achievement and community. It was seen as a prototype for other Gauforums that were to be built throughout Germany, but they were never realised. The Weimar Gauforum itself remained unfinished. Five large-scale buildings were originally planned, but partially realised were three imposing administrative buildings, a bell tower, a large assembly hall – which, as the “Halle der Volksgemeinschaft” (Hall of the People’s Community), was conceived to accommodate as many as 20,000 people – and a parade ground in the middle of the complex.
The creation of the Gauforum went hand in hand with drastic urban restructuring measures intended to transform Weimar into a “Gau capital”. Large parts of the northern city centre and portions of the old town were demolished. Thus to this day, the consequences of the National Socialist architecture of intimidation are still discernible in the Weimar cityscape.
After the war, the Soviet military administration occupied the site. Subsequently, the former Gauforum was used for various purposes. Today it is the headquarters of the Thuringian State Office of Administration. In 1999, parts of the complex were used as an exhibition venue for Weimar’s year as European Capital of Culture. Since 2005, the former assembly hall has been home to a shopping centre. Beginning in the fall of 2019, a new exhibition will provide information on the history of the Gauforum, and 2020 will see the opening of a permanent exhibition on Nazi forced labour. As a central component of the emerging cultural precinct dedicated to Weimar modernism, the Gauforum will become a place of remembrance and critical reflection. [KM/DK]
Contact and opening hours
AddressEhemaliges Gauforum im Landesverwaltungsamt