Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

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Neuengamme memorial at the main entrance with suggested former prisoner barracks and roll call area
Photo of a graffito on the prison wall of the JVA Vierlande

The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial at the site of the former Neuengamme concentration camp in Hamburg commemorates the more than 100,000 victims of National Socialism who were imprisoned here between 1938 and 1945, 50,000 of whom died.


The memorial is located southeast of the center of Hamburg-Bergedorf, halfway towards Zollenspieker in Hamburg-Neuengamme. It can be reached via the A 25 motorway, exit Hamburg Curslack or from federal highway 5 via the Curslacker Heerweg. A map of the structure of the memorial is available.


It has existed since 2005 as an exhibition, meeting and study center, and since 2007 all areas of the former camp can be used for this purpose. From 1948 to 2006, the area and buildings were used by the city of Hamburg with two prisons for the execution of sentences . On the fringes, an international memorial was built in 1965 and an exhibition building in 1981. After the prisons were closed in 2003 and 2006, the concentration camp memorial was opened as an institution of the cultural authority of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg at the address Jean-Dolidier-Weg 75 in Neuengamme . By resolution of the Senate of August 2019, the concentration camp memorial will be converted into a foundation under public law. Three other memorials in various Hamburg districts are affiliated with it , at places where the camps used to be outposts

Oliver von Wrochem has been the head of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial since June 2019 . His predecessor was Detlef Garbe , who held this office for 30 years. First director of the concentration camp memorial was 1980-1988 Ludwig Eiber ..

Through other uses, deliberate cover-ups and partial demolition, the public pushed the Neuengamme concentration camp out of sight. Until the 1970s, as the historian Malte Thießen emphasizes in his study on the memorial of Neuengamme, all the city governments reacted “tendentially with rejection to any initiative for memorial work in Neuengamme.” The slow development of the memorial is a reflection of the late conflict with National Socialism , “the long way” to a concentration camp memorial, “therefore reflects political cycles and changes in the history of mentality in the Federal Republic”.

JVA Vierlande on the former concentration camp site, before the demolition in 2006

Neuengamme concentration camp was at the end of the war before the arrival of Allied troops of the British finally vacated between 30 April and 2 May 1945th For three years, the occupying forces used the site as an internment camp for suspected war criminals . On August 13, 1948, the site was returned to the city of Hamburg, which opened a prison here on September 6, 1948, later the Vierlande penal institution (JVA XII). Almost all the existing stone buildings were still used, such as the former prisoner blocks 1 to 4 and 21 to 24 as well as parts of the SS camp and the commandant's house, which served as apartments for prison employees. The wooden barracks between these two blocks were torn down and replaced in 1950 with a new building. The former roll call area was converted into a sports field.

International memorial

At the same time, on June 6, 1948, the Neuengamme e. V. (AGN), which committed itself to the memory of those persecuted by the Nazi regime and advocated the establishment of a memorial site. It is part of the international survivors' association Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme (AIN). After protests by the former French prisoners, who were also organized in the Amicale , and the burgeoning public discussion, the city of Hamburg tried to satisfy all parties by setting up a small memorial in October 1953. On the edge of the site, in the area of ​​the former camp nursery, a plate with the inscription For the victims 1939–1945 was attached, which was later replaced by a stone one. On April 3, 1954, on the initiative of the Hamburg Regional Association of the Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime - Bund der Antifaschisteninnen und Antifaschisten (VVN), former prisoners removed from the former prisoners at a ceremony next to the earth memorial of the former concentration camp, filled them in an urn and brought them with a small one Delegation to the liberation ceremony of the prisoners of the former Buchenwald concentration camp near Weimar. From 1958, the survivors' associations demanded that the Hamburg authorities set up a memorial on the site of the former concentration camp. On November 7, 1965, the memorial with a stele, the sculpture The Dying Prisoner by the French sculptor and Holocaust survivor Françoise Salmon and a memorial wall with national plaques was inaugurated in the back of the nursery . In place of the former nursery, fields were planted, the buildings on the northern edge of the site were removed, and single and multi-family houses were built in their place. In 1970, the city built another prison on the site, located between the former clay pits of the brickworks and the buildings for the official housing of the judiciary. The new institution was used as a juvenile prison until the mid-1980s , then as a closed institution in the adult penitentiary (JVA IX). The protests of the survivors' associations against this expansion were initially small, but with the founding of the Neuengamme Documentation Site Initiative in 1979, the demands to rededicate the former concentration camp into a documentation and memorial site took on realizable forms.

Document House

One began with the construction of a document center , which was designed by the architect Walter Bunsmann was built on the site of the camp nursery and was inaugurated on October 18, 1981. Since 2005, it will house the commemoration called. An international youth work camp put 1982 on a circuit around the grounds. In the mid-1980s, the city of Hamburg decided to demolish the brickworks, but this was prevented by growing public attention and increasing protests. In 1984 the remains of the concentration camp buildings were placed under monument protection.

On July 17, 1989 the Hamburg Senate decided to relocate the penal institutions to other parts of the city. Further resolutions followed to develop a concentration camp memorial. The first prison closed in 2003, and from August 2003 all post-war buildings on the site were demolished and redesigned. The second correctional facility, located on the site of the former clay pits, was relocated to Billwerder in February 2006 .

The new memorial was inaugurated on the 60th anniversary of the liberation from National Socialism in May 2005. There are 15 original buildings on the historic 55 hectare site. After the exhibition had moved from the House of Remembrance to the former Walther-Werke , a museum complex was created in the former prisoner block 21 to 24 after the prison was torn down. A study center was set up in the former prisoner block 1 to 4. The barrack camp, which was once between the two blocks, is clearly indicated, the debris from the demolished prison building was included in wire baskets as a marker for the location of the demolished concentration camp buildings. In the course of the redesign, the foundations of the roll call square were exposed; it is the only part of the memorial that has been reconstructed. There are circular routes and signs with explanations and historical photos throughout the site.

Exhibitions and facilities

The memorial is located on the 55-hectare historical site and includes, among other things, a main exhibition in a former prisoner block and a study center in another former prisoner block, several buildings, remains of buildings, foundations and reconstructions of former storage facilities, former production facilities, in particular the brickworks and the Walther -Works , a harbor basin and a branch canal to the Doven Elbe , various memorials and groups of monuments as well as a house of remembrance . The terrain, which is a good kilometer long and around 400 meters deep, is made accessible by a network of paths that can be walked on in various circular routes.

With the opening of the memorial on May 4, 2005 , the main exhibition Traces of Time: The Neuengamme Concentration Camp 1938-1945 and its aftermath was set up in the former prisoner block 21 to 24, a two-story brick building built in 1943/1944 . It is divided into ten subject areas and is supplemented by biography books and portraits of individual concentration camp inmates. In other buildings there are permanent exhibitions on the subjects of the Neuengamme concentration camp: the camp SS in the former SS garages, mobilization for the war economy: concentration camp forced labor in armaments production in the former Walther works and labor and extermination: concentration camp forced labor in brick production in the former clinker factory . Remnants of the wall were preserved from the post-war prison building, on which the open-air exhibition Prisons and Memorials: Documentation of a Contradiction is shown. The former inmate block 1 to 4 in the front area of ​​the site was set up as a study center. The memorial's archives and libraries as well as the administration are also located here.

Three commented circular routes between 1.5 and 4.5 kilometers lead past various former storage buildings, foundations that have been made visible again, objects that have been set up for viewing, as well as some memorials and memorial stones. Text panels, partly also models, explain the respective backgrounds. In addition to other, these are the foundations of the camp nursery, the clinker plant, the exposed Tongruben with a Lore , the branch channel for Dove Elbe and the associated harbor basin with a Transportschute , the commander's house, the SS main guard and the guard tower, the foundation of the former arrest bunker, a Commemorative plaque on the site of the crematorium that was demolished in 1947, a historic Reichsbahn wagon with reconstructed track system at the former camp station and the remains of the main entrance.

Photo documents

Photos of the Neuengamme concentration camp were mainly taken on behalf of the camp SS. The camp photographer Josef Schmitt gave about a hundred photographs to the British in 1945. The concentration camp inmate Heinz Masset rescued further photographs from the Neuengamme concentration camp. These pictures are in the archive of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.

Traveling exhibitions

Since 2001, the Neuengamme Working Group and the memorials' initiatives have been developing exhibitions that can be viewed annually on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of National Socialism in Hamburg City Hall and then at other locations. These included exhibitions on the following topics:

  • A concentration camp is evacuated. Prisoners between annihilation and liberation. The dissolution of the Neuengamme concentration camp and its satellite camps by the SS in spring 1945 ( death marches , white buses , Cap Arcona ), from 2002.
  • The drawing survives .... Images of prisoners in Neuengamme concentration camp. (Living conditions in the camp, will to survive, resistance, commissioned art) from 2007.
  • The Port of Hamburg under National Socialism. Economy, Forced Labor, and Resistance, in 2008
  • Freedom lives! Resistance and persecution in Hamburg 1933–1945, in 2009
  • In focus. Neuengamme concentration camp and the place after it. Photo documents of the concentration camp and the memorial. (48 boards with photos from the Neuengamme concentration camp), exhibition in the Hamburg town hall from January 21 to February 11, 2011.

Monuments in the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

Partly due to the gradual establishment of the memorial, many different monuments are spread across the area. They range from individual memorial plaques of the victims to park-like areas. The House of Remembrance , which was converted by the museum into a place of contemplation after the opening of the main site , occupies a central position . In the rear northern part, behind the International Memorial, there is a so-called memorial grove. Monuments to individual groups of victims and individual memorial stones have been laid here under trees that have grown tall over the years. In addition, there are independent monuments in many places of former satellite camps.

House of Remembrance with a memorial room

Lengths of fabric with names of the dead

The House of Remembrance is a memorial room in the northern area of ​​the concentration camp memorial. It was built in 1981 as the Neuengamme Document House to house the memorial exhibition and offices for the employees. In 1995, when a place was found for the exhibition in the former Walther works, the opportunity arose to set up a quiet memorial room, as had been wanted and demanded for a long time. The Düsseldorf artist Thomas Schütte fundamentally changed the building for this purpose. It was gutted down to its basic structure, raw concrete and multi-layered, glazed red for the walls now create a central space that shines differently depending on the incidence of light. Fire and blood are possible associations.

On the walls of the gallery hang raw panels of material with the names of around 23,000 victims sorted by date. Since many names have not yet been recorded by research, numerous empty rolls of fabric are still stored in an extra room under the motto “We think of the unknown”. In the center of the house are two models of the entire concentration camp: an overview created after 1945 and a modern architectural model of the state from 1995.

In an adjoining room are the original books of the deaths from the Neuengamme concentration camp, which are kept in desk showcases and can be viewed. From the desk showcases, the view goes through narrow windows of the surrounding lawn, where the ashes of the dead were scattered as fertilizer for the nursery during the concentration camp. Some cypress trees give the place the character of a cemetery.

International memorial

Françoise Salmon's
dying prisoner

The International Memorial is the central monument of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. As early as 1953, the first memorial column was erected on the site of the former camp nursery, under pressure from French concentration camp survivors under the president of the Amicale Internationale Neuengamme concentration camp, Jean Dolidier . Only remains of this memorial are left today. In 1965 the International Memorial was created in the back of the former camp nursery. It consists of a stele with the inscription: “Your suffering, your struggle and your death should not be in vain”, in front of which is the larger than life sculpture The Dying Prisoner by the French sculptor and Holocaust survivor Françoise Salmon (born 1920). It was donated by the Amicale Internationale de Neuengamme organization . The memorial complex is rounded off with a right-angled wall of honor on which the names of 67 satellite camps are named, as well as stone slabs with the names of the prisoners' countries of origin.

Memorial grove on the site of the former concentration camp nursery

To the north of the international memorial there is a wooded area on the site of the former concentration camp nursery, which is accessible via a circular path. There are memorial stones, sculptures and monuments, which are explained by information boards in several languages. They are reminiscent of groups of victims who were persecuted and of those who were deported, captured and murdered in reprisals.

"In memory of the deportees of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944"

Monument In memory of the deportees of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944

The memorial in memory of the deportees of the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 is also located in the memorial grove behind the International Memorial. It commemorates the Warsaw Uprising , after which the Wehrmacht put down tens of thousands of members of the Polish Home Army and deported them to German concentration camps. Around 6,000 of these deportees were deported to Neuengamme concentration camp and its satellite camps. The total number of Polish prisoners in Neuengamme concentration camp and the satellite camps was approximately 17,000 women, men and children, including many Jews. The death toll among Polish prisoners in Neuengamme concentration camp is estimated at 7,500. The first Polish prisoners came to Neuengamme concentration camp as early as 1940, and in 1941/1942 they temporarily formed the largest national group in the camp. The memorial was created at the suggestion of the Union of Poles in Germany and with the support of the Polish community Polonia in Hamburg in 1999 on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War . It was created by the sculptor Jan de Weryha-Wysoczański .

“Despair” memorial for the murdered residents of Meensel-Kiezegem

The Desperation Memorial by Belgian artist May Claerhout was erected on August 29, 1998 to commemorate the murdered residents of Meensel-Kiezegem and is located in the memorial grove behind the International Memorial. It commemorates the victims of the raids on Meensel-Kiezegem on August 1 and 11, 1944, carried out by the National Socialists and their collaborators. 61 inhabitants from the small village of Meensel-Kiezegem in Belgium were deported to the Neuengamme concentration camp, only eight of them returned home.

Memorial to the deported and murdered maquisards from Murat (Cantal)

Hamburg, Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial: Memorial grove, memorial for the deported and murdered maquisards from Murat (Cantal)

The basalt columns from Murat commemorate the maquisards from Murat (Cantal) who were deported and murdered to Neuengamme concentration camp and its satellite camps in July 1944 . A total of 75 of 103 men died in the concentration camp

Memorial stone for the Dutch victims from putti

The stone Het drama van Putten was erected in 1988 in memory of the more than 600 Dutch men aged 15 and over from Putten who were victims of a raid on Sunday, October 1, 1944 in Putten in the region on behalf of the German Wehrmacht commander Veluwe was carried out. The raid served as an act of revenge for the murder of the German General Rauter by the Putten department of the resistance. On Monday, December 2, 1944, the Putten citizens were brought to the Amersfoort camp and from there transferred to the Neuengamme concentration camp. Of the 600, only 49 returned; the rest perished in Neuengamme or other concentration camps.

Memorial to Jehovah's Witnesses in Neuengamme concentration camp

On April 23, 2006, a memorial for the prisoner group of Jehovah's Witnesses was inaugurated in the memorial grove in the presence of the Senator for Culture of the City of Hamburg. It commemorates the victims of Jehovah's Witnesses under National Socialism .

Memorial to the homosexual victims of National Socialism

Memorial stone for the homosexual victims

In May 1985, on the initiative of the Independent Homosexual Alternative Association, a memorial stone was inaugurated in memory of homosexual victims . In 1996 the facility was redesigned. During the National Socialist era, around 10,000 men were deported to concentration camps because of their homosexuality , and several hundred were in Neuengamme. The survivors remained discriminated against in post-war Germany.

Grave fields and monuments outside the former concentration camp site

The way of the deportees

In 2000, on the initiative of the Curslack-Neuengamme Central School, five memorial plaques were set up in significant places near the former Neuengamme concentration camp. For example, at the Curslack train station , which was the arrival station for prisoners transported by the Reichsbahn , the routes to the Neuengamme concentration camp are described, at the Dove Elbe at Neuengammer Hausdeich, near the Schleusenbrücke and at the Odemannbrücke, the subject of “destruction through work”: “In memory to the 1,600 prisoners who had to work here from 1940 to 1942 to make the Dove Elbe navigable and to dig the canal to the brickworks ”. The fifth board is located on the Marschbahndamm and describes: "In 1942, concentration camp prisoners had to build a branch track between the Neuengamme concentration camp site and the march railway, so that both prisoners could be transported smoothly and the goods produced there could be transported directly by rail." The school project was awarded the Bertini Prize in the same year .

Memorial to Russian concentration camp victims

Of the Soviet victims of the Neuengamme concentration camp, who died of starvation, a typhus epidemic and targeted murder by the SS between October 1941 and May 1942 and who had the status of prisoners of war, 651 found their final resting place in the Bergedorf cemetery in the Soviet war cemetery . In 2002 the Russian artist Grigori Yastrebenezki erected a larger than life sculpture as a memorial to the Russian concentration camp victims .

Memorial to Dutch concentration camp victims

On the Dutch war cemetery in Hamburg at the Ohlsdorf cemetery , a statue commemorates the dead concentration camp inmates from Neuengamme.

Memorial for the victims of the "Cap Arcona"

Graves and memorials for the victims of the bombing of Cap Arcona can be found in the places around the Bay of Lübeck.

Branch offices of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial

The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial has three other memorials in the Hamburg city area:


On November 23, 1986, the street that ran past the site was renamed Jean-Dolidier-Weg , after Jean-Aimé Dolidier (1906–1971), who was interned as a French resistance fighter in Neuengamme concentration camp and, after the war, co-founder and for many years president of the Amicale International de Neuengamme was. Fritz Bringmann (1918–2011), long-time chairman of the Neuengamme working group and general secretary of the Amicale , was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit, 1st class , in 2000 for his many years of work and the struggle to establish the Neuengamme memorial .

See also


  • Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (Ed.): Unbounded violence. Perpetrators under National Socialism (=  contributions to the history of National Socialist persecution in Northern Germany . No. 7 ). 1st edition. Edition Temmen, Bremen 2002, ISBN 3-86108-371-X .
  • Fritz Bringmann , Hartmut Roder : Neuengamme. Repressed - forgotten - mastered? The second story of the Neuengamme concentration camp 1945 to 1985. Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and Neuengamme Working Group for the FRG e. V., 2nd edition, 1995.
  • Detlef Garbe, Carmen Lange (Ed.): Inmates between annihilation and liberation. The dissolution of the Neuengamme concentration camp and its satellite camps by the SS in spring 1945. Bremen 2005.
  • Michael Grill, Sabine Homann-Engel: ... that wasn't a walk in summer. History of a survivors' association. Arbeitsgemeinschaft Neuengamme for the FRG e. V., Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-89458-265-4 .
  • Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (ed.), Detlef Garbe, Wolfgang Stiller (editor) The exhibitions. Bremen 2005.
  • Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (Ed.): Prisoners in Neuengamme Concentration Camp. Persecution experiences, prisoner solidarity and national ties. A conference of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial in cooperation with the Friends of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, the Amicale International Neuengamme Concentration Camp and the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg. 1st - 3rd September 1998. Hamburg 1999.
  • Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial (Ed.): CVs. Biographical interviews with survivors of the Neuengamme concentration camp. An archive finding aid. Hamburg 1994.
  • Peter Reichel: The city's memory. Hamburg in dealing with its National Socialist past. Dölling and Galitz, Hamburg 1997, ISBN 3-930802-51-1 .
  • Peter Reichel, Harald Schmid: From catastrophe to stumbling block. Hamburg and National Socialism after 1945 (= Hamburg Zeitspuren . No. 4). Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 3-937904-27-1 .

Web links

Commons : Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Commons : Neuengamme concentration camp  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Site plan of the memorial of the former Neuengamme concentration camp on Jean-Dolidier-Weg
  2. Neuengamme concentration camp memorial becomes a foundation. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , August 21, 2019, p. 14. Author abbreviation mha.
  3. New organizational structure in the memorial site at
  4. ^ Fritz Bringmann , Hartmut Roder: Neuengamme. Repressed - Forgotten - Done? The "second" story of the Neuengamme concentration camp 1945–1985. VSA-Verlag, Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-87975-416-0 .
  5. Malte Thießen: Branded into memory. Hamburg's commemoration of the aerial warfare and the end of the war 1943 to 2005. Dölling and Galitz Verlag, Munich / Hamburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-937904-55-9 , p. 12.
  6. Heinz Koch, Udo Wohlfeld: The German beech forest committee. The period from 1945 to 1958 (= series of the Geschichtswerkstatt Weimar-Apolda . Issue 7). History workshop Weimar, Weimar 2010, ISBN 3-935275-14-5 , p. 72.
  7. a b Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, timetable , accessed on August 4, 2016.
  8. Klaus Witzeling: From the photo album of the monster. In: Hamburger Abendblatt , November 16, 2010, special supplement Museumswelt Hamburg , p. 17.
  9. Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial: Traveling exhibitions available for hire ( Memento from February 2, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  10. Detlef Garbe, Kerstin Klingel: Guide to Places of Remembrance from 1933 to 1945. (PDF; 1.1 MB) updated second edition 2008
  11. Troubled times in Murat
  12. ^ Obituary for Fritz Bringmann, Arbeitsgemeinschaft Neuengamme e. V. ( Memento of May 5, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on November 26, 2011.

Coordinates: 53 ° 25 ′ 50 ″  N , 10 ° 14 ′ 1 ″  E