Friday, November 18, 2011


November is Month of Honor, and for my family November is when we kick off the Holiday Season; and the holidays never go by without memories of our time in Germany. The Germans invented Christmas - they call it Weihnachten - and the best place to enjoy Weihnachten in all of Germany is Rothenburg ob der Tauber. This post was sent in by StürmBringener Frank K. and I've been waiting until now to find the right time to post. Enjoy - S.L.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a town in the district of Ansbach, in the Bavarian region of Germany. The name means “Red fortress above the Tauber” as it is situated along the Tauber River. It is a town that remains in a time gone by, dating back to the year 1170. This town is known for its protective wall that still surrounds it to this day, built in the 13th Century.

The town has endured many different crises including the 1631 siege during the Thirty Year’s War, the Black Death that killed many citizens and the interest of the Nazi Hierarchy. The “Kraft durch Freude”, or “Strength Through Joy” Nazi organization made many trips to this town to epitomize the quintessential German “home town”. In 1938 the town expelled all of its Jewish citizens.

Of particular note is the recognized historical importance of this town by the Allies, thus not using artillery to take Rothernburg. The local German Commander is said to have given up the town to the Allies to spare its destruction.

I visited this medieval town during my business trip to Katterbach earlier this year supporting the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. I had been here many years ago when I was stationed in Hanau back in the 90s. I was in awe during my initial visit back then and the town still has the same affect on me many years later.

Rothenburg ob der Tauber has many places to visit and see, including the famous town hall, Christmas museum, monastery, and my favorites – the St. James church and the famous Criminal Museum with its many exhibits of weapons and instruments of torture. Oh, and don’t forget about the wall itself!

Every year this time rolls around reminds me of the year my team got stuck in Germany coming out of Bosnia - no planes to get us back to Stateside - cooped up in the Crack House at Panzer Kaserne and Christmas was closing in fast. One day we got ahold of a couple of rental cars and blasted off to Rothenburg. We explored the amazing Weihnachtsmarkt, drank heated glühwein like generations of G.I.'s before us, and stumbled across the snowy cobblestones.

It was really cold and like knuckleheads all we'd thrown on when we'd left Stuttgart that morning were our fuzzy black "smoking jackets" - no good for keeping out the freezing wind. Around midnight the cold was really getting to us. Dai-Oui and I grabbed another round of Glühwein and ducked into a niche to escape the icy blast. All around us were Christmas lights and choirs singing as we slurped our hot spiced wine.

"This really sucks,
Dai-Oui," I said.

Dai-Oui replied. "This really sucks."

"Merry F*cking Christmas,
Dai-Oui," I said.

"Merry F*cking Christmas, Linnane."


Let the Season Begin! Freitag Vogel ist HIER



  1. I lived in Kraut Land for three years in the late 60's when my Uncle Sam gave me green clothes and sent me on a trip. I visited Rothenburg several times including attending an event where the re-enactment of saving the town from an invading army commanded by Tilly.

    It seems that a bet was made that if the mayor could chug a giant stein of beer all at once the town would be spared. The mayor took the bet and one.

    Rothenburg is special place and the Germans really know how to celebrate Christmas and make it special. My experience during my three years was an appreciation of the people and culture and wondering how the hell they were led into the darkness by promises of a wonderful
    future with the Nazis.

    Thanks for the memories.

  2. I loved visiting there every Christmas when we were stationed in Wuerzburg. It was like a fairytale.