05/07/2019 Commemorative ceremony

Overview of the Commemorative Events to Mark the 74th Anniversary of the Liberation

Nine survivors attended the commemorative events on the occasion of the 74th anniversary of the end of the war at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial: Nataliya Radchenko from Belarus, Nahum Rotenberg from Israel, Kseniya Olchova from Russia, Livia Fränkel and Elisabeth Kischinowski Masur from Sweden, Yevgeniy Malychin, Anton Rudnev and Karl Paiuk from Ukraine and Margot Heuman from the United States. Delegations and survivors’ associations from Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany also attended the events. Moreover, we were pleased to welcome numerous relatives of former prisoners of the Neuengamme concentration camp.

The events started on April 30 with the well-attended panel discussion “Double Heritage” at the Körber Foundation. The historian Ekaterina Makhotina and the children of former prisoners Nicole Duijkers and Jörg Watzinger talked to Oliver von Wrochen (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial) about how persecution, collaboration and perpetration are dealt with in the society and in the family in different European countries as well as how they affect the families of victims of persecution. (Video: https://www.koerber-stiftung.de/mediathek/das-doppelte-erbe-1760)

On the evening of May 1, Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme organized a visit to Dessauer Ufer, a former satellite camp of Neuengamme, where guests could get information on the history of the place and current developments. On the same evening, young relatives of former prisoners established “Young AIN”, the youth committee of AIN whose aim is to bring together the generations of grandchildren and great-grandchildren in an attempt to continue the tradition of the European culture of remembrance. Swenja Granzow-Rauwald (Working group Neuengamme) was appointed president and Tom Devos (NCPGR Meensel Kiezegem ‘44) vice president of the committee. 

On May 1-2, the Forum “Future of Remembrance” took place for the fifth time with predominantly international participants. The topic this year was the role of the children and grandchildren of victims of Nazi persecution in European and international cultures of remembrance. Participants discussed the consequences of persecution on children and grandchildren of political prisoners, Jews, Sinti and Roma, victims of the euthanasia program as well as former prisoners categorized as “anti-socials.” Participants from the Netherlands, France and Germany presented projects aimed at getting children and grandchildren involved in the educational work with the focus on dialogue. There were workshops dealing with the psychological and social consequences persecution has had on the lives of children and grandchildren, which offered the possibility to discus the role participants’ own biographies might play in the culture of remembrance in the future. Another topic that came up was the burden of the past in the successor states of former Yugoslavia and in Spain and how it is being dealt with in the society and within families.

The second day ended with a public event organized in cooperation with the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.  Livia Fränkel and Elisabeth Kischinowski Masur, both survivors of Auschwitz and Neuengamme satellite camps and their daughters talked to Ulrike Jensen (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial) about the way the survivors shared the stories of their experiences with their families and the consequences they have had on their families. Earlier that day, school classes and other visitors had the chance to talk to the concentration camp survivors Margot Heuman, Nataliya Radchenko and Karl Paiuk at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.

May 3 was marked by commemorative ceremonies. In the morning, we remembered the victims of the air raids at the Cap Arcona Memorial. Martine Letterie (Vice President of AIN) and Mirko Spieckermann (Mayor of Neustadt) addressed the audience. Yevgeniy Malychin from Ukraine who survived the sinking of Cap Arcona came to Germany with his grandson Alexander Levin. In his speech, he expressed the hope that “equality and brotherhood would become a normality in young people’s lives.” Nicole Duijkers, whose grandfather died on Cap Arcona, gave a personal speech about her family history. All speakers emphasized the importance of human rights, democracy and the lawful state. The ceremony ended with students of Küstengymnasium Neustadt reading excerpts from survivors’ biographies.

Students also took part in the international ceremony in Neuengamme later that day. Twelfth grade students of Ida Ehre School made a film with a daughter (Yvonne Cossu-Alba), a granddaughter (Martine Letterie) and a great-granddaughter (Franciska Henning) of former prisoners, entitled “Memories – What remains?” After Detlef Garbe’s opening speech, in which he remembered survivors who died in the past year, Senator Brosda (Ministry for Culture and Media) addressed the audience. He called for dialogue and debate as ways to confront populists in a democratic way. “We are unfortunately witnessing far too often [...] that language is being turned into a weapon yet again and that defamation leads to marginalization.” All democrats have to stand up resolutely against such tendencies. Helle Vibeke Sörensen (President of Danish Landforeningen af KZ-Fanger fra Neuengamme and daughter of a former prisoner of Neuengamme) talked about her memories and how important it is to remember. Karl Paiuk, a Neuengamme survivor from Ukraine, said in his speech: “I am asking you to make sure the misery my fellow prisoners and I suffered never happens again” before he donated a painting to the Memorial. The painting was inspired by the story of his life and painted by a student who had given it to Paiuk as a present. The New Choir Hamburg accompanied the event as well as the wreath-laying ceremony at the former bunker.




Speeches (PDF)


Programm und Reden (deutsch)

Program and speeches (english)

Programme de la cérémonie commémorative et discours (français)

Программа памятных мероприятий (русский)

Program uroczystości (polski) 


Reden (deutsch)

Speeches (english)

Discours (français)

Toespraak (nederlands)

Программа памятных мероприятий (русский)

Program uroczystości (polski) 

Short article in the Hamburg Journal https://www.ndr.de/fernsehen/sendungen/hamburg_journal/Hamburg-Journal,hamj80758.html (from 4:50)