During our last visit to Germany (Stuttgart, Baden Württemberg, Southern Germany) we learnt that also this city, as all major German cities, has an artificial hill made of debris removed from the bombed buildings.
Around Stuttgart lies a range of heights which give the city its beautiful look of an inhabited hollow surrounded by a crown of green hills.
One of those hills was chosen as the final resting place of Stuttgart’s postwar debris. The place’s name is Birkenkopf, and with its additional 120 ft of height due to piled rubble, has become the highest point in Stuttgart. Dirt has been added to allow tree growth.
The total amount of ruins piled on Birkenkopf is 15 million cubic meter.
War memory, postwar rebirth
Birkenkopf has a very important historical and cultural meaning.
Over 500,000 German civilians lost their lives during WWII bombings. Entire cities were razed. Stuttgart itself was half destroyed. That explains the need for a place where to move all the ruins.
But German debris hills also mean rebirth. No other country showed such a quick recovery as Germany after WWII, which turned a destroyed country into the third world economy in the span of two decades.
Debris mountains are there to remember the Germans–and the world–of war misery and of the past of Europe.
More in depth
By following this link you will find an article on a visit to Birkenkopf, with additional pictures.
Other rubble hills in Germany
The most famous debris hill is probably Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) in Berlin, which twice as high and contains five times the amount of rubble than its Stuttgart’s counterpart. Here’s a report of a day visit to the site by the culture map.