Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial - Exhibitions
On 4 May 2005, the 60th anniversary of the liberation, the redesigned Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial opened to the public. This was made possible by a Hamburg Senate resolution from 1989 which called for the prison that had been established in the former camp in 1948 to be moved. However, it was not until 2003 that the post-war buildings were finally torn down and the grounds and remaining original buildings could be converted for use as an exhibition.
The Memorial since 2005
There are 15 original buildings from the former concentration camp in the 55-hectare grounds. Four of the five permanent exhibitions, which cover a total of more than 3,000 square metres, are displayed in buildings dating from the time of the concentration camp. The main exhibition, ‘Traces of History: Neuengamme Concentration Camp 1938–1945 and Its Post-War History’, is located in one of the former prisoner barracks built in 1943/44. The building was designed to house 1,200 prisoners, but in the last year of the war it held up to 3,000 people. The building had four separately accessible prisoner blocks and was divided into two large dormitories, a washroom and a latrine. This structure was largely preserved or restored for the exhibition.
The main exhibition is divided into ten thematic areas and includes more than 2,500 original artefacts, 120 biographies of individual concentration camp prisoners, and another 85 individual profiles in the ‘Post-War’ section. There are also 29 video stations with a total of 264 film clips, 15 audio stations, nine computer presentations and interactive information terminals, and 291 thematic folders.
A research exhibition entitled ‘Posted to Neuengamme Concentration Camp: The Camp SS’ includes court records, documents and biographies which provide extensive information about the history of the perpetrators. The exhibition is located in the former SS garages. An Open Archive near the research exhibition gives visitors the opportunity to engage in more in-depth study with the help of computers, media stations, information folders and books.
Two supplementary exhibitions cover the working conditions at the camp. The exhibition entitled ‘Labour and Annihilation: Concentration Camp Prisoners as Slave Labourers in Brick Production’ is located in the former brickworks, while the former workshops of the Walther armaments factory house the exhibition ‘Mobilisation for the War-Time Economy: Concentration Camp Prisoners as Slave Labourers in Armaments Production’.
When the two prisons were torn down in 2003 and 2006/07, part of each building was left standing to document the insensitive post-war use of the site. There is an open-air exhibition on part of a cement wall and watchtower from one of the former prisons (JVA IX, 1970–2006). This exhibition, ‘Prison and Memorial: Documentation of a Contradiction’, explains the history and circumstances behind the establishment of the two prisons, describes the efforts made by former prisoners’ associations and other civic groups to create a memorial on the site, and documents the contradictions and problems that were associated with this.
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4pm,
Saturday and Sunday 12pm to 5pm
(between April to October 12pm to 7pm).
The grounds are always accessible.
Booable at Museumsdienst Hamburg. Mail: info(a)museumsdienst-hamburg.de and Phone: 040-428 131 0