The Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes is a Hamburg-based independent foundation under public law with legal capacity.
The Foundation is the body responsible for
1. the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial,
2. the Bullenhuser Damm Memorial,
3. the Plattenhaus Poppenbüttel Memorial,
4. the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camps and Prisons Memorial 1933–1945,
5. the denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof Documentation Centre.
Together with the memorials and learning centres under its responsibility, which consist of contemporary history museums with a particular humanitarian and educational policy remit, the Foundation contributes to preserving, conveying and broadening knowledge about the National Socialist era, in particular the history of persecution and resistance on the territory of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The Foundation also aims to provide information on the impact and repercussions of National Socialist crimes and reflect critically on the way in which society has addressed these historical events, right through to the present day.
The Foundation carries out all manner of museum-related, educational and scientific duties. It upholds the memory of the victims of National Socialism, in particular those of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp, by preserving its buildings and structural evidence, historical documents and prisoner recollections and by organising exhibitions, research projects, events and publications. Against the backdrop of an in-depth examination of National Socialist crimes, the Foundation’s work focuses on the way in which the culture of remembrance has changed, on linking historical and current issues, the universal importance of human rights, Europe-based and international education work, developing democratic thinking and action, and the tolerance of and interaction with different cultures.
Hamburg Memorial Sites Act, § 2 Purpose of the Foundation; for the full text visit: Legislation on the ‘Foundation of Hamburg Memorials and Learning Centres Commemorating the Victims of Nazi Crimes’ (Hamburg Memorial Sites Act – HmbGedenkStG)
The Foundation is structured around the following bodies:
- Foundation Council,
- Expert Commission,
- Foundation Advisory Committee.
The Foundation Council is comprised of eleven members, who discharge their duties on an honorary basis. The term of office is four years. Three members of the Foundation Council are delegated by the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, with one member each delegated by the supreme federal authority responsible for culture and by the Federal Foreign Office, as well as one member each by the Expert Commission, the Foundation Advisory Committee and the Staff Council. The other three members of the Foundation Council are appointed in accordance with the Foundation Statutes.
The Foundation appoints one Director to direct the Foundation’s activities, exercise his role as superior for the Foundation’s staff, co-ordinate its areas of work, and assume responsibility for the content of the programme and projects run by the Foundation
The Expert Commission offers expert advice on the Foundation’s work with regard to both content and concept, in particular with regard to its exhibition, research and education projects. It advises the Foundation in matters relating to conceptual formulation and programme profile, research and didactics, and looks for ways of obtaining further funding, in particular through third-party funding.
Foundation Advisory Committee
The Foundation Advisory Committee promotes exchanges between the Foundation and the general public. It accompanies the development of the Foundation and of the Memorials and Learning Centres in particular, discusses their tasks and areas of activity, and provides suggestions for future work. The Foundation Advisory Committee consists of social organisations, in particular the Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme as representative of the associations of former concentration camp prisoners, their surviving dependants and relatives, other victims’ associations, and groups particularly devoted to issues of importance to the Foundation and the Memorials.
The Foundation offers a reminder of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis; it studies and mediates the history and impact of these crimes, and preserves the memory of those persecuted under the Nazi regime.
The Foundation is the body responsible for memorials and learning centres in Hamburg. At its centre is the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial as an international place of remembrance. It also incorporates the Bullenhuser Damm Memorial, the Fuhlsbüttel and Plattenhaus Poppenbüttel Concentration Camps and Prisons, and the denk.mal Hannoverscher Bahnhof documentation centre, which is soon to be built. The Foundation also works on projects that focus on urban remembrance culture.
What we do
The Foundation preserves, broadens and conveys knowledge about the National Socialist era. It provides places for dignified commemoration and active remembrance at sites where National Socialist crimes were once perpetrated. Its main task is to document and convey the persecution and the resistance of women and men from Hamburg, Germany and Europe as well as the deportation and forced labour in Hamburg and northern Germany. It also provides information on the impact and repercussions of National Socialist crimes and reflects critically on the way in which society has addressed these historical events, right through to the present day. It promotes empathy with the persecuted, their relatives and descendants and offers a platform for their concerns to be heard.
The Foundation encourages the long-term study of the history of the Neuengamme concentration camp in particular and its satellite camps. As part of an international dialogue it assumes all manner of museum-related, educational and scientific tasks. It does so by preserving buildings and structural evidence, historical documents, recollections and accounts, and through publications, exhibitions and events. In its exchanges and co-operation with educational institutes and research facilities as well as initiatives and associations, particularly those of Nazi persecutees and their descendants, the Foundation strives to have an influence on society.
Both internally and externally, the Foundation nurtures a communicative approach characterised by respect, esteem and mutual consideration.
The in-depth exploration of the crimes perpetrated by the Nazi regime provides the mainstay for a critical understanding and awareness of history and for developing democratic thinking and action. The fact of linking historical and current issues also strengthens our awareness of the importance of fundamental freedoms and human rights. The Foundation actively opposes racism, antisemitism, antiziganism, and any form of misanthropy and contempt for democracy. As the body sponsoring contemporary history museums and learning centres the Foundation has a politico-historical educational mandate. In this regard it co-operates with schools, youth associations and adult education institutions in particular. The Foundation advocates dialogue at the international level, the strengthening of socio-political responsibility, the promotion of social interaction, and diversity in all its forms.
Hamburg, 1 January 2020
This preliminary Mission Statement was drawn up jointly by the Foundation’s staff on the occasion of its establishment.