Remagen

Last updated
Remagen
Apollinariskirche Remagen nachts.jpg
Apollinariskirche
DEU Remagen COA.svg
Coat of arms
Location of Remagen within Ahrweiler district
RemagenGrafschaftBad Neuenahr-AhrweilerSinzigBad BreisigBrohl-LützingGönnersdorfWaldorfBurgbrohlWassenachGleesNiederzissenWehrGalenbergOberzissenBrenkKönigsfeldSchalkenbachDedenbachNiederdürenbachOberdürenbachWeibernKempenichHohenleimbachSpessartHeckenbachKesselingKalenbornBergKirchsahrLindRechDernauMayschoßAltenahrAhrbrückHönningenKaltenbornAdenauHerschbroichMeuspathLeimbachDümpelfeldNürburgMüllenbachQuiddelbachHümmelOhlenhardWershofenArembergWiesemscheidKottenbornWimbachHonerathBaulerSenscheidPomsterDankerathTrierscheidBarweilerReifferscheidSierscheidHarscheidDorselHoffeldWirftRodderMüschEichenbachAntweilerFuchshofenWinnerathInsulSchuldNorth Rhine-WestphaliaNeuwied (district)VulkaneifelMayen-KoblenzRemagen
Remagen
Germany adm location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Remagen
Rhineland-Palatinate location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Remagen
Coordinates: 50°34′43″N7°13′50″E / 50.57861°N 7.23056°E / 50.57861; 7.23056 Coordinates: 50°34′43″N7°13′50″E / 50.57861°N 7.23056°E / 50.57861; 7.23056
Country Germany
State Rhineland-Palatinate
District Ahrweiler
Subdivisions5
Government
   Mayor Herbert Georgi (CDU)
Area
  Total33.16 km2 (12.80 sq mi)
Elevation
60 m (200 ft)
Population
 (2018-12-31) [1]
  Total17,032
  Density510/km2 (1,300/sq mi)
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Postal codes
53424
Dialling codes 02642, 02228
Vehicle registration AW
Website www.remagen.de

Remagen is a town in Germany in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, in the district of Ahrweiler. It is about a one-hour drive from Cologne, just south of Bonn, the former West German capital. It is situated on the left (western) bank of the river Rhine. There is a ferry across the Rhine from Remagen every 10–15 minutes in the summer. Remagen has many notable and well-maintained buildings, churches, castles and monuments. It also has a sizeable pedestrian zone with plenty of shops.

Contents

Overlooking the west bank of the Rhine just north of the city centre is the Apollinariskirche. It has an observation deck that is only open to parishioners on Sundays. Pedestrians reach the church via a dirt trail that passes a series of roadside monuments representing each of the fourteen Stations of the Cross. The church grounds contain an outdoor crypt and an abbey. Further down the river is one of the many castles along the Rhine, perched even higher than the Apollinariskirche.

History

The Roman Empire built a border fort at Rigomagus (or Ricomagus), west of the Rhine. This was about 12 miles north of the site of the first bridge ever built across the Rhine (at Neuwied). This bridge fought the river current by being built on timbers which were driven into the bed at a slant. Caesar's troops spent nearly three weeks on the east side of the river, then crossed back over, destroying the bridge to prevent its use by German raiders. A second bridge was likewise destroyed by the builders once they were through with it.

The fort was one of a series built by Drusus, commander of the Roman army along the Rhine. Other Roman construction survived the centuries, including a gateway and Remagen became a tourist destination, popular with history buffs. Remagen appears on the 4th century Peutinger Map.

Local legend says that a ship carrying various relics from Milan to Cologne was stopped in the river in 1164, unable to move despite the strong current, until it mysteriously edged in toward the shore. The remains of Saint Apollinaris were put ashore, and the ship was then able to sail onward. These remains were interred in a chapel which had been part of the Roman fort, which became the basis for a church which bore his name, and was rebuilt several times over the years.

Bridge at Remagen

The Ludendorff Bridge was originally built during World War I as a means of moving troops and logistics west over the Rhine to reinforce the Western Front. The bridge was designed by Karl Wiener, an architect from Mannheim. It was 325 metres (1,066 ft) long, had a clearance of 14.8 metres (49 ft) above the normal water level of the Rhine, and its highest point measured 29.25 metres (96.0 ft). The bridge was designed to be defended by troops with towers on each bank with machine gun slits in the towers. The bridge carried two railway tracks and a pedestrian walkway. During World War II, one track was planked over to allow vehicular traffic.

Capture of the bridge

During Operation Lumberjack, on 7 March 1945, troops of the U.S. Army's 9th Armored Division reached the Ludendorff Bridge during the closing weeks of World War II and were very surprised to see that the railroad bridge was still standing. It was the last of 22 road and railroad bridges over the Rhine still standing after German defenders failed to demolish it. U.S. forces were able to capture the bridge. The unexpected availability of the first major crossing of the Rhine, Germany's last major natural barrier and line of defense, caused Allied high commander Dwight Eisenhower to alter his plans to end the war and possibly shortened the war in Europe. [2] [3]

The ability to quickly establish a bridgehead on the eastern side of the Rhine and to get forces into Germany allowed the U.S. forces to envelop the German industrial area of the Ruhr more quickly than planned. [4] The Allies were able to get six divisions across the bridge before it collapsed on 17 March 1945, ten days after it was captured. The collapse killed 18 U.S. Army Engineers. [5] [ citation needed ] According to another source, a total of 28 U.S. engineers were killed and 93 were injured. [6] However, a pontoon bridge had been built across the river by then. The main bridge was out of use for repairs at the time of its collapse.[ citation needed ]

A large number of books and articles in newspapers and magazines on the battle for the bridge have been published. The best-known work on the battle is 1957's The Bridge at Remagen by the American author Ken Hechler. [7] In 1968 David L. Wolper produced an American motion picture, The Bridge at Remagen . The film depicts historical events, but is fictional in all other aspects. [8]

Memorial

Remagen commemorative plaque. Remagen Trip Winter 2005 (14).JPG
Remagen commemorative plaque.

Hans Peter Kürten, at that time Mayor of Remagen, had long considered the idea of constructing a memorial. The negotiations with the German Federal Railways alone lasted seven years before the city could finally acquire the former railway property. Announcements sent to government officials concerning the intended preservation of the bridge towers and the construction of a Memorial to Peace stirred no interest.

In the summer of 1976, it was necessary to remove the still intact bridge support pilings in the river. The mayor had the stones deposited on the Remagen river bank, with the idea in mind of selling small pieces of the bridge stones enclosed in synthetic resin and containing a certificate of authenticity.

On 7 March 1978, he went public with his idea and achieved such an unexpected degree of success, that he had realised more than 100,000 DM (around 50,000 EUR) in sales profits.

There has not been another bridge built across the Rhine here, mainly due to opposition from the people of Remagen (and surrounding areas), contending that a bridge located at this point along the Rhine would spoil the view.

Prisoner enclosures

A U.S. soldier keeping guard over German soldiers, war-prisoners in Remagen Remagen enclosure.jpg
A U.S. soldier keeping guard over German soldiers, war-prisoners in Remagen

In 1945, the U.S. built one of the many enclosures on the west bank of the Rhinethe so-called Rheinwiesenlager close to Remagen. The camps were used by the Allies to house captured German soldiers. Several thousand prisoners are estimated to have died in the various camps, including 1,212 who are now buried in the Bad Bodendorf Cemetery. [9]

Sights

Apollinariskirche

The Apollinaris Church was built 1839-1842 on the site of the medieval Church of St. Martin. The frescos on the inside of the neo-Gothic church were painted by members of the artists group called the "Nazarenes". Three cycles show the life of Jesus, the life of Mary, and the history of Saint Apollinaris, legendary Bishop of Ravenna. In the crypt is a silver bust of the saint, which is raised from the sarcophagus every year at the pilgrimage time at the end of July. From the statue of Saint Francis of Assisi on top of the church, there is a lovely view of Remagen and the romantic Lower Rhine Valley.

Peace Museum "Remagen Bridge"

Bridge towers Remagen 002.jpg
Bridge towers

The museum is housed in the towers of the famous bridge built between 1916 and 1918. It opened in 1980 and tells the story of the bridge and the US prisoner of war camp known as the Golden Mile, on the eponymous plain.

Arp Museum housed in the Bahnhof Rolandseck

The historic railway station at Rolandseck about 5 km north of Remagen, now houses a museum devoted to the work of Hans Arp. The 19th century railway station - itself a classic example of early German railway architecture - was transformed into a cultural venue for all the arts in the 19th century. Johannes Brahms, Clara Schumann and Franz Liszt gave concerts there. George Bernard Shaw staged his plays there. The young poet Guillaume Apollinaire even fell in love there. Neglected, the building was listed for demolition after World War II, but in 1964 the Bonn art dealer Johannes Wasmuth brought it back to life. Musicians such as Martha Argerich, Stefan Askenase, and Yehudi Menuhin, artists such as Hans Arp, Oskar Kokoschka and Günther Uecker, and performers such as Marcel Marceau have all appeared there. [10]

Infrastructure

Remagen station is on the Left Rhine line and the Ahr Valley Railway. It is served by InterCity, Regional-Express (the Rhein-Express , at hourly intervals) and Regionalbahn services ( MittelrheinBahn , at hourly intervals) operating between Cologne and Koblenz. It is also served by Rhein-Ahr-Bahn services on the Ahr Valley Railway to Ahrbrück at hourly intervals.

Personalities

Notes and references

  1. "Bevölkerungsstand 2018 - Gemeindeebene". Statistisches Landesamt Rheinland-Pfalz (in German). 2019.
  2. Thompson, John (February 2, 1947). "Remagen Bridge Won; War's Last Battle Begins". Chicago Tribune (2). p. 6. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  3. "Remagen Bridge Shortened War". The Lewiston Daily Sun. December 17, 1945: 2. Retrieved 15 December 2014.Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. Shirer, William L. (1950–1983). The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. U.S.: Ballatine. p. 1429.CS1 maint: date format (link)
  5. MacDonald, Charles B., "Chapter XIV The Rhine Crossings in the North", The Last Offensive, US Army in World War II: European Theater of Operations, p. 294
  6. MacDonald, Charles B., "Chapter XI A Rhine Bridge at Remagen", The Last Offensive, US Army in World War II: European Theater of Operations, p. 230
  7. Hechler, Ken (2009-03-25). The Bridge at Remagen: A Story of World War II (First ed.). Presidio Press. p. 217. ISBN   978-0891418603.
  8. Johnson, Niel A. (November 29, 1985). "Oral History Interview with Ken Hechler". Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved 29 November 2014.
  9. Alan Heath - Friedhof an Bad Bodendorf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy8TFyn8wxw
  10. Official Web site

Related Research Articles

Ahrweiler is a district in the north of Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by the districts of Euskirchen, Rhein-Sieg and the city of Bonn in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the districts of Neuwied, Mayen-Koblenz and Vulkaneifel.

9th Armored Division (United States) 1942-1945 United States Army formation

The 9th Armored Division was an armored division of the United States Army during World War II. In honor of their World War II service, the 9th was officially nicknamed the "Phantom Division."

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler is a renowned spa town in the German Bundesland of Rhineland-Palatinate that serves as the capital of the Ahrweiler district. The A61 motorway connects the town with cities like Cologne and Mainz. Formed by the merging of the towns of Bad Neuenahr and Ahrweiler in 1969, Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler consists of 11 such districts.

<i>The Bridge at Remagen</i> 1969 American film by John Guillermin

The Bridge at Remagen is a 1969 DeLuxe Color war film starring George Segal, Ben Gazzara and Robert Vaughn in Panavision. The film, which was directed by John Guillermin, was shot on location in Czechoslovakia. It is based on the nonfiction book The Bridge at Remagen: The Amazing Story of March 7, 1945 by writer and U. S. Representative Ken Hechler. The screenplay was adapted by Richard Yates and William Roberts.

Ruhr Pocket Battle on the Western Front in 1945

The Ruhr Pocket was a battle of encirclement that took place in April 1945, on the Western Front near the end of World War II, in the Ruhr Area of Germany. Some 317,000 German troops were taken prisoner along with 24 generals. The Americans suffered 10,000 casualties including 2,000 killed or missing.

Ken Hechler American politician

Kenneth William Hechler was an American politician. A member of the Democratic Party, he represented West Virginia's 4th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1959 to 1977 and was West Virginia Secretary of State from 1985 to 2001.

Ludendorff Bridge former bridge across the Rhine in Germany

The Ludendorff Bridge was in early March 1945 a critical remaining bridge across the river Rhine in Germany when it was captured during the Battle of Remagen by United States Army forces during the closing weeks of World War II. Built in World War I to help deliver reinforcements and supplies to the German troops on the Western Front, it connected Remagen on the west bank and the village of Erpel on the eastern side between two hills flanking the river.

Sinzig Place in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany

Sinzig is a town in the district of Ahrweiler, in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is situated on the river Rhine, about 5 km south-east of Remagen and 25 km south-east of Bonn, and it has approximately 20,000 inhabitants (2004).

Operation Lumberjack conflict

Operation Lumberjack was a military operation with the goal of capturing the west bank of the Rhine River and seizing key German cities, near the end of World War II. The First United States Army launched the operation in March 1945 to capture strategic cities in Nazi Germany and to give the Allies a foothold along the Rhine.

Hohenzollern Bridge bridge in Cologne, Germany

The Hohenzollern Bridge is a bridge crossing the river Rhine in the German city of Cologne. It crosses the Rhine at kilometre 688.5. Originally, the bridge was both a railway and road bridge. However, after its destruction in 1945 and its subsequent reconstruction, it was only accessible to rail and pedestrian traffic.

West Rhine Railway German railway

The West Rhine railway is a famously picturesque, double-track electrified railway line running for 185 km from Cologne via Bonn, Koblenz, and Bingen to Mainz. It is situated close to the western (left) bank of the river Rhine and mostly aligned to allow 160 km/h operation between Cologne and Koblenz and between Bingen and Mainz. Line speed between Koblenz and Bingen is restricted by the meandering nature of the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

East Rhine Railway railway line in Germany

The East Rhine Railway is a major, double-track, electrified railway line, running along the right bank of the Rhine from Cologne to Wiesbaden. The 179-kilometer (111.2 mi)-long line forms two Deutsche Bahn routes. Route 465 extends from Cologne to Koblenz, via Troisdorf, Bonn-Beuel, Unkel, and Neuwied. From Koblenz, Route 466 extends to Wiesbaden, via Rüdesheim am Rhein. Together with the Taunus railway, the line is used by Stadt-Express line SE-10 of the Rhine-Main Transport Association, which runs from Frankfurt to Koblenz and Neuwied.

Battle of Remagen World War II US Army crossing the Rhine.

The Battle of Remagen during the Allied invasion of Germany resulted in the unexpected capture of the Ludendorff Bridge over the Rhine. After capturing the Siegfried Line, the 9th Armored Division of the U.S. First Army had advanced unexpectedly quickly towards the Rhine. They were very surprised to see one of the last bridges across the Rhine still standing. The Germans had wired the bridge with about 2,800 kilograms (6,200 lb) of demolition charges. When they tried to blow it up, only a portion of the explosives detonated. U.S. forces captured the bridge and rapidly expanded their first bridgehead across the Rhine, two weeks before Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery's meticulously planned Operation Plunder. The GIs' actions prevented the Germans from regrouping east of the Rhine and consolidating their positions.

Duisburg-Hochfeld Railway Bridge

The Duisburg–Hochfeld railway bridge spans the Rhine in the German city of Duisburg on the Duisburg-Ruhrort–Mönchengladbach line. The first bridge was built by the Rhenish Railway Company and put into operation at the end of 1873. It was replaced by a new bridge in 1927, which was badly damaged during the Second World War, but rebuilt and is still serves rail traffic between the Ruhr region and Aachen.

Neuwied–Koblenz railway railway line

The Koblenz–Neuwied railway is a two-track, electrified main line railway in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It connects the Neuwied station on the Right (east) Rhine line to the major railway junction at Koblenz Hauptbahnhof and to the Left (west) Rhine and Moselle lines.

Karl H. Timmermann U.S. Army Officer

Karl Heinrich Timmermann was the first American officer to cross the Rhine River in Germany during World War II after directing the assault across the bridge, helping remove explosive charges, and surviving the German Army demolition attempt to destroy the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen on March 7, 1945.

Ahr Valley Railway German railway line

The Ahr Valley Railway, Remagen–Ahrbrück, is currently a 29 km-long, partly single-track and non-electrified branch line, which runs through the Ahr valley from Remagen via Ahrweiler and Dernau to Ahrbrück in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. It is served by Regionalbahn services on line RB 30.

Strategic Railway Embankment Uncompleted German railway

The Strategic Railway Embankment is a railway line between the Ruhr and the south-western border of Germany, which was never finished. This name is derived from the section of this line that runs over a railway embankment between Neuss and Rommerskirchen, which was built as part of the northern section of the line.

Ahr Valley valley

The Ahr valley is named after the Ahr, a left tributary of the Rhine in Germany. It begins at the Ahr spring (Ahrquelle) in Blankenheim in the county of Euskirchen and runs generally eastwards. At its southernmost point it enters the county of Ahrweiler, and hence the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. Running through the collective municipality of Adenau the valley bends northeast at its confluence with the Adenauer Bach and reaches the collective municipality of Altenahr, from where it resumes its characteristic west to east course, albeit interrupted by meanders. Here begins the section that is known as the Ahr valley (Ahrtal) in a touristic sense. Here it is characterized by vineyards on the south-facing slopes and a picturesque rocky landscape, carved out by the river creating a 300 metre deep gorge in the Ahr Hills. In the next stage the Ahr reaches the area of the county town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, before finally discharging into the Rhine south of Remagen in the borough of Sinzig.