Former Viktoria Barracks
The remains of a barracks complex from the German imperial era can be found in Altona-Nord at the corner of Bodenstedtstrasse and Zeiseweg. The complex was built between 1878 and 1883 and was colloquially called the ‘Viktoria-Kaserne’, or Victoria Barracks, named after one of the streets that bordered the site at the time. There were three buildings at the barracks for ordinary soldiers, their officers and the military administration of a Prussian infantry regiment. The barracks also had utility buildings, including a detention facility, the officers’ mess, vehicle sheds and a laundry. After the November Revolution of 1918, the building complex was taken over by the police, and it served as the headquarters of the Altona-Wandsbek police department from 1923 to 1937. During the National Socialist period, political opponents of the Nazis were held in the police prison, and the main building was the central office of the Gestapo for Schleswig-Holstein for a year and a half. In October 1938, the former riding and drill hall (which still exists today) was used as an assembly point for the deportation of Polish Jews (also see: Memorial stone for the remembrance of deported Polish Jews). After 1945, the grounds were used by the police, the social welfare authorities and the university. Since 2013, the remaining building has been used by the members of a cooperative known as ‘fux eG’ as a space for art, creativity, production, education and neighbourhood development.
Outdoor panels (entrance at Bodenstedtstrasse 16)
Since 10 September 2011, the Working Group for Researching National Socialism in Schleswig-Holstein (AKENS) has maintained a continually expanding permanent exhibition in the publicly accessible grounds outdoors. The exhibition covers the history of the city (quarter) during the German Empire, the Weimar Republic and the National Socialist period. More than 30 panels with photos, diagrams and quotes from contemporaries explain the various ways in which the barracks complex has been used in the context of the history of Altona, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg.
‘denkXmal’ stairwell exhibition
In September 2020, an exhibition opened in the central stairwell of the building’s east wing. The exhibition was developed by a working group within the ‘fux eG’ cooperative with the aim of critically reappraising the history of the barracks using artistic means. Artists, craftspeople, text specialists and educators designed murals around various themes which emphasize contrasts: a) communities of coercion and communities of solidarity; b) emancipatory and authoritarian educational content; c) emergence and repression; d) paternalistic aid and emancipatory support. The murals are accompanied by short explanatory texts as well as quotes from eyewitnesses and a chronology. The stairwell exhibition encourages independent exploration and reflection, and its figurative composition represents an alternative, associative way of conveying history.
Find out more:
Frank Omland, ‘Die Viktoria-Kaserne in (Hamburg-)Altona 1878–2016’, in: Zeitschrift der Gesellschaft für Schleswig-Holsteinische Geschichte, vol. 141, Husum 2016, pp. 287–306. Download