Hitler's Architect

In Art Johnson's new novel, Deadly Impressions he performs his usual method of taking a real personage from history, in this case Roderich Fick, and blending them into his story.  In Paris after the war Roderich meets the freshly arrived art restorer Madeline Steinman and their affair furthers the mystery of the Missing Impressionist paintings. 

Roderich was a talented architect who Hitler commissioned to design the Fuehrer museum in Austria after he conquered the world.  The museum was to house all of the confiscated Nazi art work.  Rod visits his brother's family in Switzerland during the war.  He takes his 12 year old nephew for a walk in the forest and tells him that his father has an incurable disease and will die soon. He gives Zeke a mysterious envelope and instructs him not to open until after his father's death.  In the envelope is a key and instructions.

Roderich Fick (1887-1955) studied architecture in Munich Zürich and Dresden. After several years in Africa he returned in 1935 to become professor at the Munich Technical University. In 1936 he built the "Haus der deutschen Ärtzte" (House of the German Medical Ass.)

After a building near the Braunen Haus in Munich attracted the attention of Adolf Hitler to his surprise Hitler provided him with further commissions in Munich and also for buildings at the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden. Roderik Fick designed the Munich residence of Rudolf Hess in 1937, was involved in a number of projects for members of the Nazi leadership, these projects included the building of both Martin Bormann’s own villa in Berchtesgaden and Hitler’s first and original Teehaus on the nearby Mooslahnerkopf, Hitler was the adviser .

Fick constructed several buildings for Hitler's Obersalzberg complex and was appointed (in 1939) "Reichsbaurat für die Neugestaltung der Stadt Linz" (State Councillor for the Redesign of the City of Linz).

Fick was responsible for the buildings which flank the Nibelungen Bridge -- the only parts of Hitler's grand scheme for Linz that were actually completed.

None of Ficks projects were to be as spectacular and as technically testing as the Teehaus on the Kehlstein mountain.

Fick’s structure was essentially a massive granite square with the largest room, the main reception hall, being octagonal in shape with a large panoramic window. This and other specially-placed windows would provide both the Führer and his visitors with a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains as well as both the Scharitzkehl Valley and the Königssee lake.

After the war Fick was officially classified as “Mitläufer”, a person passively complicit in Nazi crimes. In 1946 his conduct in the nazi era was investigated. He was forced to pay a huge fine and support the rebuilding of Munich. In 1948 his case was re-investigated and it was concluded that he had never enriched himself. All he had to do was pay a much smaller fine and he was free to work again. In 1938 his wife Marie had died and in 1948 he married his former student Catharina Büscher, who was 28 years his junior. They worked together until he retired in 1954.

Sources: WW2Gravestone, Bayerische Geschichte

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