The route through the "Dokumentation"

The starting point of the route through the “Dokumentation” is a prologue that illustrates the central thought underlying the exhibition. It involves pictorial material — diverse in type and source — that has been arranged to achieve a certain effect — one of two such staged arrangements in the exhibition, which otherwise is rigidly documentary. The route leads from the prologue up the stairs to the gallery. Here the history of Obersalzberg is told, with the focus on the years 1933 to 1945.

The stairway leading down to the ground floor in a sense takes the visitor from the illusory “perfect” world of Obersalzberg down to the reality of the Third Reich. The sections "The Fuehrer" and "The National Socialist Volksgemeinschaft" (National Community) illuminate the central political ideologies of the Third Reich, the doctrine of political leadership (“Fuehrerprinzip") and the ideology of the "Volksgemeinschaft" ("National Community"). At the same time the attractive sides of the "Volksgemeinschaft" are illustrated, which in combination with other factors were the foundations of the regime's seductive power; this should make it comprehensible why the great majority of Germans succumbed to the dictatorship and supported the regime. The route leads the visitor out of a world perceived by so many at that time - and even into the first few years of the war - as perfect, into the quite different world of the persecuted minorities. The origin, development, structures and methods of the National Socialist apparatus of surveillance and persecution are presented in turn and these themes are then followed by the section "'Racial Politics', Persecution of the Jews, Genocide".

From here the visitor descends into the underground: The "other Germany", which in the literal sense of the word did indeed exist in the underground, is dealt with here: "Resistance and Emigration". This is followed by a sequence on "Hitler's Foreign Policy", which was from the outset focused on preparation for war. Further civil and military aspects of World War II are documented accordingly. The route ends in the interior of the mountain in a section of the extensive bunker system that has been made accessible to the visitor. It is difficult not to be affected by the immediate and stark contrast between, on the one hand, this labyrinth of stairs, underground galleries and caverns that nowadays effuses an inhospitable atmosphere of darkness, of cold wetness and, on the other hand, the “perfect” illusory world of Obersalzberg, a world of falsifying propaganda. 30 meters below ground the visitor comes to two air-conditioned media rooms, a film room and a listening room that augment the sections "'Racial Policies', Persecution of the Jews and Genocide" and "World War II" with sound recordings and films. The visitor can leave the “Dokumentation” by the exit in the glass pavilion in front of the entrance to the bunker. At this point there is information on what happened at Obersalzberg after 1945.