This public swimming pool in Kaiserslautern is called the Waschmühle, locals abbreviate it to Wesch. It’s name comes from a mill that was built here at the end of the 19th century, which utilized the power of the creek’s water to run a laundry mill. At the change of the century, the newly established swimming club of Kaiserslautern had the idea to build a public pool at this location. Sponsors helped to realize the idea. Construction began in 1906; it officially opened in 1908. The pool originally got its fresh water from Eselsbach creek. Next to the big basin, a drawn-out wing of wooden changing cabins was built in art nouveau style. The pool was divided into a men’s section in the west and a ladies’ section in the east. The pool is the oldest of its kind in Germany. It’s not heated. Today, it gets its water from deep wells - water temp is 18-20 Celsius, on hot days, it can reach 24 degrees. Swimmers can jump from a 10-meter diving platform or slide down the water slides. There’s a baby pool for toddlers, a playhouse, swings, ping pong tables, 2 beach volleyball fields, and a soccer field. There also is a kiosk for food and drink. Admission is €2 for adults, and €1 for students, service members, and children 6-15. It’s the biggest one-basin outdoor swimming pool in Europe. 

Kaiserslautern is a city in Rheinland-Pfalz, Southwestern Germany, at the edge of the Pfälzer Wald. Its historic center dates back to the 9th century. It’s located only 460 km from Paris, 120 km from Frankfurt, and 160 km from Luxembourg and is home to about 100,000 people. Additionally, 50,000 NATO military personnel inhabit the city and Landkreis, and contribute approx. US$1 billion annually to the local economy. These are mainly Americans, who form the largest U.S. population center outside the territory of the United States, they often call the city K-Town. Prehistoric settlement in the area has been traced to at least 800 BC. Some 2,500-year-old Celtic tombs were uncovered at Miesau, a town just west of Kaiserslautern.

Reichsführer-SS Henrich Himmler inspects recruits into newly formed Hitlerjugend Division at Kaiserslautern Barracks in May 1943. The new division was formed around a nucleus of experienced officers and NCOs from the Leibstandarte Division, such as Fritz Witt, Kurt Meyer, Max Wünsche and Wilhelm Mohnke. It would be up to these men to mould the Hitlerjugend into a potent combat unit. They knew how to soldier the Waffen-SS way: aggressively, taking risks to achieve victory.