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Resort Politics

"Berchtesgaden: It's not just a peak, it's a treat..." The InterContinental chain is promoting its new luxury resort in Bavaria as "an oasis of well-being," but the undoubtedly beautiful setting for the 138-room hotel comes with a heavy historical burden: the idyllic town was one of Adolf Hitler's favorite vacation spots. The Nazi leader began frequenting the area in the 1920's, and after becoming chancellor in 1933, turned what had been a modest rural house into a fortified gathering place for his closest associates among the Third Reich elite. More recently, the town has become something of a pilgrimage site for German right-wing extremists. Just before the resort opened this March, the Simon Wiesenthal Center issued a statement objecting that "Berchtesgaden holds a rather more sinister significance than a 'treat'—it was the seat of evil, where Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Joseph Goebbels, and the Nazi leadership took most of the decisions that cost the world 70 million lives." For its part, InterContinental says it's aware that the hotel is built on sensitive ground, and that it has taken care to develop the property with "integrity and transparency."

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