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Kreismuseum Wewelsburg

Burgwall 19
D-33142 Büren-Wewelsburg
Tel.: 0049-(0) 2955/ 7622-0
Fax: 0049-(0) 2955/ 7622-22
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History of Wewelsburg Castle

Early period

No date


A fort with three entrenchments

1123-1124

 The castle of Count Friedrich v. Arnsberg is destroyed by peasants after his death

Medieval Castle

1301

 Count Otto v. Waldeck transfers the rights to the Bishopric of Paderborn; the noblemen of Büren (Waldeck’s vassals) are enfeoffed with half the castle

1303

 Sir Friedrich v. Brenken (Paderborn vassal) is enfeoffed with half of the castle

1359

 The castle is pleged to the noblemen of Büren, Sir Friedrich v. Brenken is made a vassal of the noblemen of Büren

1384

 The shares of the noblemen of Büren are repurchased by the Bishopric. The castle and half of the demesne of Wewelsburg are pledged to Friedrich von Brenken

1385

 Sale of the other half of the demesne to the Bishopric

1513

 Once again, the castle and the demesne were pledged to the noblemen of Büren; a quarter is immediately pledged in turn to von Brenken

Secondary Residence of the Prince Bishop

1588/1589

 The Bishopric of Paderborn redeems the pledge

1603-1609

 The building is converted into a regular triangular structure with three corner towers

1622-1637

 Repeatedly taken during the Thirty Years War

1646

 Stormed by Swedish troops; the entire castle is raised to the ground

1650-1660

 Restoration work. Further conversion and repair work is done during the following years

A Prussian Demesne

1802

 In the wake of secularisation, the castle is transferred to the ownership of the Prussian state

1815

 The north tower is destroyed after being struck by lightning

´till 1821

 The steward’s apartment in the southeast corner

1832-1934

 The rectory in the steward’s former apartment

during 19th C.

 Further conversion work is carried out – without a conservation concept

Youth hostel, Cultural Centre and ‘Heimatmuseum’ of the Rural District of Büren

1924/1925

 Purchase and development of Wewelsburg castle by the district of Büren: hikers’ hostel, a hall for events and a ‘Heimatmuseum’ (museum of the regional history)

Ideological megalomania of the SS and concentration camp terror

1933

 „Reichsführer SS“ Heinrich Himmler first visit to Wewelsburg castle; order, to lend it and first intentions of alterations

1934

 Leasing contract between the district of Büren and the SS

1935

 Prohibition of any kind of public visit of Wewelsburg castle; official title „SS-Schule Haus Wewelsburg“ (SS-school house Wewelsburg)

1937

 Opening of the „Dorfgemeinschaftshaus“ (village community house); completion of the SS-guardhouse on the castle´s forecourt

1939

 Installation of the first concentration camp in the Alme Valley near the castle

1940

 Construction of a new and bigger concentration camp, ca. 600m away from the castle in Niederhagen

1941

 Meeting of high ranking SS-leaders with Heinrich Himmler on the eve of war against Soviet Union

1941

 Wewelsburg concentration camp becomes independent main camp (on the same administrational level as camps as Sachsenhausen, Dachau and Buchenwald)

1943

 Stop of construction works at Wewelsburg castle and reduction of the concentration camp except of 42 inmates; use of the former concentration camp ground as a camp for "ethnic germans" (german minorities from european countries which were intended to be settled in Germany) and as a camp of paramilitary training for members of the "Hitler Youth"

1945

 SS-troops intend to blow up Wewelsburg castle, fire destroys huge parts of the building; liberation of the 42 remaining concentration camp inmates by american troops

The period after 1945

1948/1949

 Wewelsburg Castle is reconstructed

1950

 The youth hostel and the ‘Heimatmuseum’ move back into the castle

1973-1975


Reconstruction of the north tower

1975

 Transferred to the ownership of the District of Paderborn (within the scope of the territorial reorganisation of local government)

1982

 Opening of a contemporary history exhibition called "Wewelsburg 1933-1945: Cult and Terror Centre of the SS" in the former SS-guardhouse on the forecourt of the castle

1996

 Opening of the Historical Museum of the Prince Bishopric of Paderborn in the East and South Wing of the castle

2009

 Jubilee year: 400 years Wewelsburg

2010

 Opening of the newly designed and extended contemporary history section as Wewelsburg 1933-1945 Memorial Museum with the exhibition "Ideology and Terror of the SS" in the former SS-guardhouse on the forecourt of the castle

 
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