January 18, 2018

Rostock – Devastation to Rebuilding

Originally founded in the 11th century, Rostock has seen many ups and downs in its history but none more traumatic than WWII.

While in Rostock I had a wonderful guide named Klaus (he actually reminded me of Bela Karoli).  As we toured the Neuer Markt and main shopping street, Klaus told me that during World War II Rostock sustained severe damage from Allied bombing.  In fact, most of the area we were standing had been destroyed by bombings.

While this impacted me at the time, it wasn’t until I came across this photo of Rostock from 1945 that the devastation really sunk in.  It was hard to believe the beautiful square had once looked like this!

The Neuer Markt is the heart of Rostock and seems to be a very well preserved Baroque square.  One side is bounded by these beautiful gabled houses.

While on the other is the Rathaus or Town Hall which has been standing here since the 13th century. Originally built in the Brick Gothic style found in the region, during the 18th century it was remodeled in this lovely Baroque style.

Leading from Neuer Markt is Kröpeliner Straße the main shopping street.

But all this beauty ceased to exist when horror struck in 1942 and 1944.  The proximity of 2 aircraft manufacturing companies made Rostock a prime Allied target.  (An interesting side note, one of these is the Heinkel plant which is where the world’s first jet engine airplane was produced.)

After the bombings, only 6 of the original gabled houses survived.

Today the city center has been rebuilt in the original style and maintains its historical character.

The devastation of this war has been felt in Rostock for years. A little paint and plaster helped repair the devastated buildings but it wasn’t until 1989, when Reunification took place, that the last reminders of WWII were finally erased.


These photo’s are part of Travel Photo Thursday.
For more great pictures, check out Budget Travelers Sandbox.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

Many thanks to Historic Highlights of Germany for organizing this trip and to the wonderful people at the Rostock Tourist Bureau!  To learn more about Germany off the Beaten Path, please visit the Historic Highlights of Germany

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  1. I quite like looking through an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for allowing me to comment!
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  2. What a stuff of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable experience about unpredicted feelings.
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  3. Rostock, the name suggests strength and power. The destruction must have been mind boggling, glad to see how wonderfully it’s been restored.
    Thanks for sharing this informative post, Debbie. I love your photos!
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  4. Jackie Smith says:

    What an interesting post and fabulous photos. Really nice job on this one.
    Jackie Smith recently posted..And the “Celebrity (cruise) Guest Chef” is. . .

  5. As a teacher of American History, I really enjoyed this post. It’s hard for us in America to understand the depth of the devastation of both wars across Europe.

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      It really is! I find it even harder to comprehend being from California. We are so removed from any war site, Revolutionary or Civil War, that its hard for us to really understand. I think visiting war sites helps make it a little more real for those of us that haven’t been through anything like it!

  6. I love all that architecture and those colorful gabled houses and town hall. It’s nice to see how everything was restored and that picture is a poignant reminder of war’s devastation. The human spirit and rising above the ashes is a powerful story. Wonderful post!

  7. Great post. I’m always amazed by places like Rostock, where just looking around you would have no idea of the devastation that occurred. It’s just amazing to wander around in cities that had been just destroyed by war, but where those visual scars have been erased. And, as someone who is always looking for “authenticity” – it always reminds me that determining what is authentic, what is real vs what is fake, is a complicated matter. I haven’t been to Rostock, but will be interested to visit there some day. It looks so beautiful.
    cindy@thetravelgal recently posted..Photo Thursday: Dubrovnik Memories

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I also find it very interesting to wander past buildings that have bullet holes from past wars still in them! Rostock is very beautiful and I can highly recommend it. I’d love to go back and spend more time.

  8. Great that they were able to keep the historical look with the re-building effort.
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  9. Nancie says:

    Reminds me a lot of Prague. Great photos.
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  10. Very pretty!
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  11. Lisa says:

    Such horrible devastation but it’s nice to see that it has been rebuilt as it was prior to the war – it’s incredible the effort that people will go to in order to ensure that things are set right. The buildings remind me of those we saw in Gdansk, Poland which I understand were also destroyed during WWII and later reconstructed in a historically accurate way. We can only hope that someday mankind will realize that this wholesale destruction of neighbourhoods, cities and countries serves no purpose at all.
    Lisa recently posted..Titanic Sites in Eastern Canada

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      It was truly an horrific time. I can’t imagine living through the war and then in a communist country. WWII is an interesting history to learn about!

  12. Leigh says:

    Your photo from before the war is very telling – and although it looks like a beautiful spot once again I can’t get over the devastation that war brings on so many. I’m reading a book right now on how the Canadians treated the Canadian citizens of Japanese heritage during the 2nd world war and I’m horrified…and embarrassed for decisions made. I think this post hits home even more because of my reading. These photos are always a wake-up call to avoid repeating history.
    Leigh recently posted..Time Travel: Winter to Summer in Three Hours

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      We have a similar history with our citizens of Japanese heritage and it was pretty horrifying. I’m glad I am not faced with those kinds of decisions. But I feel its important to talk about so we can avoid it again.

  13. I like that they rebuilt the city center according to the historical style and preserved the heritage of the city. My parents were kids in Manila, the Philippines during World War II. My mom used to play among the bombed houses, using the sections of standing walls as a balance beam.
    Michele @ Malaysian Meanders recently posted..ESCAPE: Penang’s New Eco-Adventure Park

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I agree, its really nice to see an historical city. I bet your parents have some amazing stories about that time! My best friend in high school parents had fled Poland (they were Jewish) and thought they were safer in Belgium. They never would talk about their experiences in WWII but still had their id tattoos on their wrists. It was all very sad.

  14. So reminds me of Wroclaw in Poland, formerly known as Breslau in Germany. Our ability to get up again and put our lives back together is amazing, isn’t it?
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  15. Denise says:

    I never know what is old and what is new. Germany has some amazing reconstruction stories.
    Denise recently posted..Christchurch, New Zealand: Not for the disaster, but for the rebirth

  16. Budget Jan says:

    Good to see everything is back to normal again. Wars are dreadful things. I know we still have wars going on today, but I do hope there are (at least) no world wars again.
    Budget Jan recently posted..The Beach Scene at Essaouira


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