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Kitzingen, Germany

Kitzingen is a German city located in Bavaria about 10 miles southeast of Würzburg. Surrounded by vineyards, its Bavaria's largest wine producer. A legend claims that Kitzingen was founded in the 8th century when the Countess of Schwanberg lost her jeweled scarf while standing on the ramparts of her castle high above the Main River Valley. She promised to build a cloister on the spot the scarf was found. When brought to her by a shepherd named Kitz she kept her promise and a cloister was built which she named Kitzingen. In later years Kitzingen passed from being a free independent city to being under the authority of Würzburg bishops to a Swedish occupation during the Thirty Years War. In 1814 Kitzingen passed, along with the rest of the area, to the Kingdom of Bavaria.

One of the major landmarks of Kitzingen is the Falterturm (crooked tower) built in the 13th century with its lopsided top. Town legend claims that the tower was built during a drought so the builders used wine instead of water to mix their mortar and this caused the top of the tower to lean. (Others attest that the tower leans because the wine was used on the builders themselves!) Another bizarre legend surrounding the Falterturm is that the golden ball at the top of the spire holds the heart of Vlad Dracula and that the lean of the tower points to his tomb in a nearby cemetery.

During World War II, Kitzingen was the site of an airfield used by the Luftwaffe, northeast of the town. Built in 1917 it operated as a flight training school for the German military in World War I. It was closed down after the armistice and the land was returned to the farmers. In 1933 the land was used again for an airfield, but because of the Treaty of Versailles, it operated under the guise of a flight training school for civilian airline pilots. In the years leading up to World War II the field was used to train military Ju 87 Stuka, Ju 88 and Do 17 crews. In 1943 night fighter training began at the field, with radar-equipped Me 110s, Do 215 and Do 217s in support of the Defense of the Reich campaign. Kitzingen became an operational airfield for Me 262 jet in March 1945 as the Allied lines drew nearer. The field was abandoned about April 11, and the runway and hangars were blown up. The field was later used by the US Army Air Forces.

(Webmaster's Note: It's suspected, but not proven that this series of photographs depicting destroyed trains and Luftwaffe aircraft were taken near Kitzingen. The suspicion is based on the roll of film these photos were found on. The photos show the company leaving Würzburg in convoy, followed by a photo of St. Otto's church in Bamberg which suggests an easterly path. Later in the roll the Altenburg Castle was photographed in the distance from the south which suggests that the convoy looped around and was following the motorway back west. The train and plane wrecks are later on this same roll, and if one followed the motorway west from where the Altenburg Castle picture was taken, it leads straight to the area northeast of Kitzingen where the airfield was.)