14„Friedenseiche“ Pub in Salza

Hauptstraße 76
(Hauptstraße 6)

Friedenseiche pub with flags and signs
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The Friedenseiche pub after the "Battle of Salza", July 1932 (Privatsammlung Steffen Iffland)
Demonstration in front of the "Friedenseiche" pub
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Demonstration in front of the "Friedenseiche" pub in Salza, around 1930 (Stadtarchiv Nordhausen)

The working-class village of Salza near Nordhausen was a stronghold of the labour parties SPD and KPD until 1933. As a meeting place for Communists and Social Democrats in Salza, the "Friedenseiche" pub became the target of a violent attack by Nordhausen National Socialists in 1932.

In the last Reichstag election on 5 March 1933, the SPD and KPD together received almost three quarters of the votes cast in the then independent municipality of Salza. Due to the trade union tradition of tobacco workers and several workers' singing and sports clubs, political and social life in Salza was strongly influenced by the SPD and KPD. The "Friedenseiche" pub was the meeting place for Communists and Social Democrats in Salza, which became the target of the National Socialists in the early 1930s.

An important part of the NSDAP's fight against the Weimar Republic were public rallies with massive use of violence against political opponents. On 10 July 1932, 250 National Socialists from Nordhausen, including SA members, marched through Salza under the leadership of the later mayor Heinz Sting. Riots broke out in front of the "Friedenseiche". The Nazis tore down SPD and KPD election posters and smashed the windows of the pub. Armed with sticks and stones, they attacked the visitors to the pub and, as the local SPD newspaper wrote the following day, engaged in a "brawl the likes of which Salza has never seen before". Due to the strong resistance from the Social Democrats and Communists, they were eventually forced to retreat.

The so-called "Battle of Salza" became part of the collective memory of the inhabitants. The event is an example not only of the growing pressure exerted by the National Socialists on political opponents in the months before the takeover, but also of the possibility of active resistance. Even after 1933, it was possible to maintain a niche for members of the opposition with the "Friedenseiche" as a meeting centre in Salza thanks to the diverse club life, such as the "Turnervereinigung" gymnastics club or the people's choir.