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Das Lager im Dorf lassen. Das KZ Neuengamme in der lokalen Erinnerung

Book by Gesa Trojan. Hamburg / München: Dölling und Galitz, 2014.

Gesa Trojan, Technische Universität Berlin,

Located in the midst of the north German village of Neuengamme lies the site of a former National Socialist concentration camp. Set up by the SS in 1938, the perpetrators left the camp by the end of WW2. During the post-war decade the site changed into a penal facility and finally into a memorial. Simultaneously Neuengamme was the site of political conflicts concerning its historical heritage of this place and how to deal with it. Additionally Neuenagmme was and is the home of the local villagers, who lived and live with and around the former concentration camp.

Within this context I examined the local village residents’ perception of the former National Socialist concentration camp of Neuengamme. Within the tension field of cultural memory theory and the correlations of memory and space I focused on the following questions: How do the villagers remember the former camp in the village today? Do they consciously remember at all? And if so, how are memories shared and passed on from one generation to the next? Which role does the relationship between supra-regional policy of remembrance and local memory play on-site?

By employing the methodological instrument of Oral History, I conducted 17 biographical interviews with local residents of different ages. In consideration of Maurice Halbwachs’s fundamental theoretical concepts of memory and its social conditions I scrutinized the entanglement of memory related policies and the local memories of the Neuengamme concentration camp. Rather than providing definite answers, the aim of this project is to reveal disruptions, dissonances and conflicts between the different memory frameworks and put these up for discussion.

Dugverlag HH