Georg Salzmann

Dec. 4, 1985 in Tübingen, Germany

Georg Salzmann studied architecture and art history from 1910 to 1914, among others, at the Technical University of Munich, where Theodor Fischer became his most influential academic teacher.

During his studies, Salzmann gained experience in urban planning during the expansion of the Franconian small town of Wemding and in Rottweil, Württemberg, at the City Planning Office in Köthen, and at the City Expansion Office in Königsberg, East Prussia.

After the war ended in 1920, he was awarded a Ph.D. in engineering by the Technical University of Braunschweig. He briefly worked in the university construction office in Halle, passed the examination for "government building inspector" in 1921 as proof of qualification for higher administrative service in Berlin, and in 1921, he obtained a position "for life" as a building and chamber councilor at the Stolberg/Harz administration of the princely Stolberg estate. In addition to setting up living spaces for the prince, he was also responsible for maintaining the princely domains and roads. In 1925, Salzmann won a significant 3rd prize in an internationally advertised competition for the redesign of the "Unter den Linden" avenue in Berlin. In 1926, despite a lucrative "permanent position at the prince's court," Salzmann successfully applied for the newly available position of city building director in Freiberg, Saxony, Germany.

No other architect and urban planner has shaped the face of modern Freiberg as much as he did. He created architecturally appealing examples of modern construction in a city whose late medieval and early modern preserved old town challenges both careful preservation and the courage for contemporary renewal, mainly in the suburban areas. Typical of his architectural concept, influenced by modernism, is the "skyscraper" he designed. Salzmann's main work during this time is the city and district hospital in Freiberg, designed and built by him from 1928 to 1930. It is a downright classic example of a Saxon "Bauhaus" clinic, which became a model institution attracting hospital directors and architects from near and far.

It is not recorded what intellectual views and convictions Salzmann held in those final years of the Weimar Republic and where he saw his political home. Nevertheless, the advance of the National Socialists could not have thrown him off course. The adoption of Nazi ideas and convictions by Georg Salzmann occurred swiftly, quietly, and comprehensively, especially at a rapid pace. Georg Salzmann immediately became a member of the NSDAP on "Labor Day," May 1, 1933, in this stronghold of National Socialism.

For Salzmann and others in this stronghold of National Socialism, it was not only about advancing their careers in the wake of the new rulers. Freiberg's mayor Hartenstein and Salzmann hastened to create visible signs of National Socialist urban and landscape design in the city.

Salzmann had finally and completely placed himself in the service of National Socialist housing and settlement policy. He emphasized that his project should consciously contrast with the construction measures of previous years. Indeed, Salzmann's closed "Aryan" settlement project in Freiberg stood out due to the almost "literal" translation of ethnic-national socialist symbolism from comparable settlement projects not only in Saxony but presumably throughout Germany.

Since 1940, he was the National Socialist city building director in Gnesen, later in Bielitz, and demonstrated, implemented, and advanced his antisemitic and anti-Polish basic agreement with the ethnic-racist delusion of National Socialism in his practical, professional actions. Architects like Georg Salzmann served a contemptuous, murderous system.

It is more than plausible to assume that Georg Salzmann was directly witness to the brutalities and inhumanities of the "Germanization of the East," witnessing expulsions and resettlements without being directly involved in their cruel details. Salzmann remained silent about this throughout his life.

Salzmann was part of the long line of experts, especially architects, urban planners, and master builders, who, not least from autumn 1939, eagerly, but above all expectantly, followed the call for the "Germanization of the East," looking forward to new professional opportunities and responsibilities. They worked creatively and responsibly. They were not "abused seducers," mere "followers," or even "victims of Nazi indoctrination." Even though, the years between 1933 and 1945 remain limited to meaningless year and location references in almost all publications that honor his life and especially his artistic works.

Professionally, Salzmann could pick up where he left off after the war. In May 1950, he became the local urban planner for Upper Swabia at the Tübingen Regional Council. He passed away at the advanced age of 94 in Tübingen.