Widukind or Karl der Große? Perspectives on Historical Culture and Memory in the Third Reich and Post-War West Germany

  • Peter Lambert
Part of the Mass Dictatorship in the 20th Century book series (MASSD)


In Verden an der Aller, a small town in Lower Saxony, there is a stone henge. Publicly accessible, but half-concealed among trees, it comprises nearly 4500 standing stones. They are variously arranged: in stone circles, in an ensemble typical of neolithic long barrows and above all in long, winding tree-lined avenues. These help form a roughly oblong enclosure, so large that one might drop several football pitches into it. A number of the smaller groupings of stones look ancient. Many of the individual stones themselves do, too. In more than a few cases, the latter appearances are not deceptive. Though several now have Christian crosses chiselled into them, there are dolmens and megaliths among them, taken from genuine prehistoric sties in a region once strikingly rich in such monuments. Some allegedly bear traces of prehistoric decoration (though — try as I might — I could find no such evidence myself). Some may even have originated on the site itself — vestiges of a ritual site predating the present one by millennia, and largely destroyed by it.


Ninth Century Nazi Regime German People German History Nazi Party 
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  1. 1.
    For rumours of pagan celebrations and neo-Nazi marriage ceremonies conducted there, see Patrick Agde, Der Sachsenhain bei Verden. Naturdenkmal für 4500 durch Karl den Großen getötete Sachsen (Pluwig: Mumin Verlag, 2001), p. 111.Google Scholar
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© Peter Lambert 2014

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  • Peter Lambert

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