The Reichstag building is the building of the German Parliament, then the Reichstag and now the Bundestag. After the seizure of power by the NSDAP of Adolf Hitler the Reichstag remained formally in existence. When Adolf Hitler became both Reich Chancellor and Reich President the Reichstag only had a symbolic meaning under the dictatorial regime.
The members of the German Parliament met in the Reichstag building until the Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933. After the Reichstag fire the meetings were held in the Kroll Oper. During the National Socialist regime the parliament met for the last time in 1942, under the presidency of Hermann Goering.
During the Second World War the Reichstag building was bombed several times. A factory of the AEG, a field hospital and a gynecological institute were established in its ruins. Several hundred babies were born here.
During the Battle of Berlin in 1945 the Reichstag building was one of the major goals of the Red Army. More due to its symbolic than to its strategic value. The Reichstag Building was defended by the 11. SS Freiwilligen-Panzergrenadier-Division "Nordland" and elements of the 33. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS "Charlemagne".
On April 28, 1945, fighting erupted around the Reichstag building when the Russian 150th, 171st and 207th Infantry Divisions of the 79th Infantry Corps (3rd Shock Army - 1st Belarusian Front) launched an assault. On April 30, 1945 the banner of the 150th Infantry Division was hoisted over the Reichstag building. However, the fighting inside the building lasted until May 1, 1945.
After the war the Reichstag building was rebuilt and since 1991 it is once again the building of the German Parliament. The roof terrace and dome of the Reichstag building can be visited by members of the public. Online registration in advance is required.
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- Text: Kaj Metz & STIWOT
- Photos: Kaj Metz (1), Barry van Veen (2) & Rob Korteland (3,4,5)