|old postcard showing the jetty and the temple|
old postcard dating from 1929 showing
Nagel in his Paradise
|unless stated otherwise the pictures are licensed |
to be used under Wikimedia Commons
The 1930s and later
The political developments in Germany in the 1930s did not leave Nagel untouched. In the propagation of his vision of human existence, political questions were not avoided. On the contrary, already in 1924 Nagel had founded a political party, the Deutsch-kristliche mittelstands-Volksspartei (German-Christian Middle-Class People's-Party), which took part in the elections of the German parliament, incidentally with little result.
In the parliamentary elections in 1933, the year in which Hitler took power, the majority of the inhabitants of Arendsee voted for his party, the NSDAP.
From the moment Hitler came to power, Nagel was critical of his politics, especially with regard to the persecution of Jews. In 1938, Nagels books were banned. In 1940 Paradise Garden was closed for the public and in the night of 15 to 16 July 1942, members of a youth association related to the NSDAP destroyed the interior of the Temple and the Harmonium building.
From 1938 until 1941 Nagel was married for the third time. This marriage ended in lawsuits by both parties. In 1943 Nagel was locked up in the Dachau concentration camp, from which he after some time was released because of an intervention by a lieutenant from Arendsee who informed his superior general that Nagel's sons were fighting at the front during the war. The general agreed that such a man should not be in a concentration camp and got Nagel out of it.
After the war, Nagel was recognized as an anti-fascist, but subsequently he spoke out publicly against the partition of Germany, with Arendsee becoming part of the Soviet-Russian zone of occupation.
When he invited the inhabitants of Arendsee to attend the coronation of a German king, a ceremony that he himself had arranged by way of protest, the Soviet-Russian authorities were not amused. As a result, in September 1950 at the age of 76 by order of these authorities he was forcibly included in a psychiatric institution.
His request to spend the last of his old age in his accommodation in the Paradise Garden was not honored and he died, mentally broken and lonely, in the institution on February 15, 1952. His son arranged that his body was transported to Arendsee, where he was buried in the local cemetery
Nagel's heirs waived their rights to the site. For some time the city took care of the site and today (2021) the site is managed by the gustaf nagel förderferein ef, which was founded in 1999. It now is kind of a public park and can be visited freely.
In 1999 it was 125 years ago that Nagel was born. The German Vegetarian Association organized a memorial meeting where a number of speakers discussed the importance of Nagel in the light of current insights (see the article by Margarete Hille in the documentation)