Battle To Save Kurhaus Hanslbauer Hotel


At the break of dawn on June 30, 1934, Adolf Hitler and a convoy of powerful black limousines drove through the sleepy Bavarian spa town of Bad Wiessee.

By nightfall the fledgling Reich of Adolf Hitler and the NSDAP would be stabilised , thanks to the beginning of a nationwide purge of Ernst Röhm and those loyal to him.

And it all started here, at the Kurhaus Hanslbauer hotel on the shores of Lake Tegern, where the Hitler arrived promptly at 6am for the crackdown now known as the Night of the Long Knives.

Now, Mr Lederer, who had to sell the hotel in 2006 but still lives in the building, is petitioning to save the hotel.
During World War II, the hotel was a sanctuary for evacuated German city children as Allied bomber fleets pounded their cities and towns and later morphed into a hospital for injured Luftwaffe personnel.

After the defeat in 1945 it was used as a rest camp for the Americans and British before being returned to the Lederer family in 1951.

Room seven was virtually forgotten about in the good times. ‘We had many Jewish guests,’ said Josef. ‘The room where Röhm was arrested was never a selling point.

‘But I heard many stories about it from my father, and if anyone asked, I was happy to tell them about it.

‘The room as it is now is pretty much as it was then, except it didn’t have a bathroom. Hitler came in the same front door, walked up the same steps and looked out at the same view as his captive.’


Mr Lederer, who is battling skin cancer, was forced to sell the business in 2006.

He tried to convince the new owners, a pharmaceutical company with major property interests, to invest the estimated £1.2 million he thought would restore the Lederer to its former glory, but they did not bite on the salvation plan.

The hotel remained open until 2013 when it was re-sold on to a property company which, like the original buyer, has no interest in renovation. It shut the place down for good.

Its plan is to totally destroy the building and instead build a new a new modern hotel on the site.

Which means that Josef, who lives with a housekeeper in a room beneath the attic, will finally have to vacate the only home he has ever known.

He has written to Bavaria’s Monument Protection Office demanding preservation status, but it has been refused due to the extensive renovations carried out over the years.

But he fights on. New letters to the monuments office, to politicians, to historians – and even to ornithologists.

Bats, it appears, are the latest – and perhaps the last- chance to preserve the Röhm room and the building in which it stands. The bulldozers which were due to move in in October have already been stopped due to a nesting colony of dwarf bats in the roof.

‘It means a reprieve but not a pardon,’ said Mr Lederer.

‘Nothing will probably happen this side of Christmas. But in the long run….? Who knows. I just wish my country had more respect for the past.”

Published in: on October 20, 2017 at 8:20 am  Leave a Comment