On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the International Memorial and the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial the Senate organized a reception at the City Hall.
On November 7, 1965 the International Memorial for the victims of the Neuengamme concentration camp was inaugurated by Prof. Dr. Herbert Weichmann, First Mayor of Hamburg, in the presence of thousands of attendants, many of whom were concentration camp survivors who arrived for the ceremony from abroad as well as the victims' friends and relatives. This pivotal event is often perceived as the foundation date of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and as such presented in public and the media.
The prison, however, which was erected in 1948 on the site of the former concentration camp, was still standing. Moreover, in 1970 another prison was built where the clay pit used to be. It was only due to the relentless effort of the concentration camp survivors from Germany and abroad and all the citizens committed to the cause, that the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg eventually had the prison torn down thus enabling the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, a place of remembrance and learning, to be established in 2005 on the site of the former concentration camp.
In the meantime, the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, as a place of historical significance, has taken the central role in the culture of remembrance of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. It is not only a site of individual mourning and collective memory but also a place of learning and research especially in the field of history and politics, which is visited by 100.000 people every year.
On November 6, 2015 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the inauguration of the Memorial, a reception was organized in the emperor's hall of the City Hall by the Senate in the memory of this event. Among others, the reception was attended by Janusz Kahl, the Vicepresident of the Amicale Internationale and a former prisoner of the Neuengamme concentration camp, a former First Mayor of Hamburg, Dr. Henning Voscherau as well as numerous friends of the Memorial. Janusz Kahl, Second Mayor Katharina Fegebank and the Director of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial Dr. Detlef Garbe addressed the audience. Dr. Detlef Garbe talked about the inauguration ceremony in 1965 and presented historical footage of the event.
During a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Martin Doerry (from Der Spiegel) the participants Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bauche (The Hamburg Museum (1966 – 1992)), Gert Hinnerk Behlmer (Senior Official at the Senate Chancellery and the Ministry of Culture (1994 – 2004)), Dr. Henning Voscherau, (First Mayor (1988 – 1997)), Dr. Martine Letterie, (the Vicepresident of the Amicale Internationale of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial form Geldern, The Netherlands) and Gesa Trojan, the author of “Das Lager im Dorf lassen: Das KZ Neuengamme in der lokalen Erinnerung“ looked back at the past 50 years of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial in its different stages of development, shared some personal memories and provided some insight into the challenges awaiting the Memorial in the future.