These Holocaust memorials, museums, and former concentration camps in Germany are dedicated to never forget the Holocaust and its millions of victims. All of the listed memorial sites offer tours, exhibitions, documentary films, or original camp buildings to educate visitors about the history and horrors of the Holocaust in Germany.
The architect Peter Eisenmann designed Berlin's
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is laid out on a 4.7-acre site between Brandenburg Gate and Potsdamer Platz. The centerpiece of the sculpture is the “Field of Stelae”, covered with more than 2,500 geometrically arranged concrete pillars. You can enter and walk through the unevenly sloping field from all four sides. The strong columns, all slightly different in size, evoke a disorienting, wave-like feeling that you can only experience when you make your way through this gray forest of concrete. The adjacent underground museum holds the names of all known Jewish Holocaust victims.
The concentration camp of Dachau, 10 miles northwest of Munich
, was one of the first concentration camps in Nazi Germany and would serve as a model for all subsequent camps in the Third Reich. Dachau visitors of the memorial site follow the "path of the prisoner", walking the same way prisoners were forced to after their arrival in the camp. You will see the original prisoner baths, barracks, courtyards, and the crematorium, as well as an extensive exhibition and various memorials.
The Jewish Museum Berlin is not only a holocaust museum – its historic exhibition chronicles "Two Millennia of German Jewish History" and documents Jewish life in Germany from Roman Times to present day. But the striking architecture of Daniel Libeskind’s building makes palpable the feelings of those who were exiled and lost: The shape of the museum is reminiscent of a shattered Star of David, irregularly shaped windows are cut into the steel-clad facade, bizarre angles, and ‘voids’ stretch the full height of the building. The Holocaust Tower and the art installation “Fallen Leaves” are just another moving and unique experience.
About 30 minutes north of Berlin
lies the memorial site Sachsenhausen, a former concentration camp in Oranienburg. The camp was erected in 1936, and until 1945, more than 200,000 people were imprisoned here by the Nazis. Sachsenhausen was in many ways one of the most important concentration camps in the Third Reich: It was the first camp established under Heinrich Himmler as Chief of the German Police and its architectural lay-out was used as a model for almost all concentration camps in Nazi Germany. After the camp was liberated on April 22, 1945 by Soviet and Polish troops, the Soviets used the site and its structures as an interment camp for political prisoners from fall of 1945 to 1950.
More than 250,000 people from 50 nations were imprisoned in the former camp Buchenwald, close to the city of Weimar
; the memorial site houses various exhibitions and you can also see the former grounds of the camp, the gatehouse and detention cells, watchtowers, the crematorium, the disinfection centre, the railway station, SS quarters, the quarry and graveyards. There are signposted walks throughout the extensive site, including the routes taken by the former patrols.
Along with the death camp in Auschwitz, Bergen Belsen in Lower Saxony became an international symbol for the horrors of the Holocaust. Anne Frank
was imprisoned in this camp and died of Typhus in March of 1945. Today, the grounds of the former concentration camp are a cemetery with various sculptures commemorating the ones who suffered and died at Bergen Belsen. There is also a newly opened Documentation Center, which houses all documents, photographs, and films exploring the history of the camp.
The concentration camp Flossenbürg, built in 1938, is located in the Upper Palatinate region in Bavaria. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
, an influential German pastor and theologist, was imprisoned here and died only 23 days before Flossenbürg was liberated in April 1945. The Memorial offers a guided tour in English, which includes parts of the historic exhibition "Flossenbürg Concentration Camp, 1938-1945".
The Neuengamme concentration Camp, which was housed in a former brick factory in the outskirts of Hamburg, was the largest camp in the North of Germany, comprising of 80 satellite camps between 1938 and 1945. In May 2005, on the 60th anniversary of the camp’s liberation, a redesigned memorial site was opened, including several exhibitions that document the history of the site and remember the suffering of over 100,000 people imprisoned here. Fifteen historic concentration camp buildings on the site are preserved.
For a complete listing of all European Holocaust Memorials, visit the Information Portal to European Sites of Remembrance