05/03/2021 Report

Report about the commemorative events of the 76th anniversary of the liberation

We marked the 76th anniversary of the end of the war and the liberation of the Neuengamme concentration camp's prisoners with various digital and analogue events.

From 2 to 4 May 2021, we commemorated the anniversary of the liberation with various events at the Neuengamme concentration camp memorial.

On 2 May 2021, an online eyewitness talk was held with Marian Hawling and other family members in Australia. Marian Hawling survived several imprisonments in various concentration camps as well as the bombing of the concentration camp ship Cap Arcona in Bay of Lübeck. In conversation with Ulrike Jensen, Marian Hawling talked about his memories, but also about the difficulty of sharing these memories of imprisonment with others and how he was able to make the decision to talk about the past despite everything. In addition, Australian volunteer Justin Warland also read Marian and his wife Elizabeth's memories. The recording of the conversation will be made available online by our cooperation partner, the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, in due course.

Also on 2 May, the event "Digital Placarding" took place at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial at the The Space to Remember, Connect and Support and digitally at the same time. Posters individually designed by family members in the context of the The Space to Remember, Connect and Support were put up on site by helpers of the memorial, while relatives from different countries reported online about the stories of their families. The many individual stories make the Space to Remember an active place of remembrance. This event was also recorded and will be made available on our Vimeo channel soon.

On the morning of 3 May, the memorial event in Neustadt took place to commemorate the 7,000 victims of the ship disaster in the Bay of Lübeck. Due to Coronavirus-related restrictions, the commemoration had to take place without an audience on site in this case as well. The live stream can be viewed on the website of the Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme: Commemoration Neustadt on May 3, 2021 - Amicale Internationale Neuengamme. Two additional videos of the commemoration - in English and German - with contributions by Marian Hawling and relatives of other former prisoners have been put online on the Amicale's website: Commemoration Neustadt May 3, 2021 – Amicale Internationale Neuengamme

At 5 pm, the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial and the Amicale Internationale KZ Neuengamme commemorated the anniversary of the liberation with speeches, musical contributions and a wreath-laying ceremony at the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. Unfortunately, the originally planned large international commemoration had to be cancelled again this year. Instead, the commemoration took place in a smaller setting and without an audience. The many empty chairs were in stark contrast to the pictures from earlier years. The event was broadcast live in German by NDR on the internet. The recording of this event is now available in German and English on our website: https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de/livestream/ The texts of the speeches (German, French, English) can be also found there.

The Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial also commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp's prisoners with a special multimedia report. As we are unfortunately unable to gather together with many guests from abroad for a commemoration ceremony this year due to corona, we asked ourselves how we could nevertheless make commemoration together possible. We asked survivors and relatives for their personal mementos: objects that symbolise their memories or are connected to them. Each memento sent to us is unique and represents a personal story. They show which memories are connected with people or places, with incidents or encounters - and often also with objects: Objects carry memories. The website is available in German, English and French.

On 4 May, Dita Kraus and Livia Fränkel talked about their childhood, the persecution by the National Socialists, their imprisonment in concentration camps and their life after surviving until today in two further online witness talks. Many school classes, but also individual interested people, took the opportunity to listen to Dita Kraus and Livia Fränkel and ask questions.

A selection of press reports on the anniversary can be viewed here:

NDR Gedenkveranstaltung Neuengamme (Recording of the Livestream)
NDR Gedenken an die Befreiung des KZ Neuengamme
Hamburg Journal Gedenken an die Befreiung des KZ Neuengamme
RTL Nord Gedenken an die Befreiung (from 13:50)
MOPO KZ Überlebende erinnert sich
LN Online Cap-Arcona-Gedenken (paywall)
Bergedorfer Zeitung: Gedenken vor leeren Stühlen (paywall)