Photo essay on former WWII concentration camp KZ Neuengamme in the southeast of Hamburg, Germany.
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With around 55 hectares, KZ Neuengamme was one of the largest Nazi concentration camps in northern Germany.
Iris Groschek, director of education at former concentration camp Neuengamme
Although one of the largest concentration camp memorials, Neuengamme is one of the lesser-known because it has only been open in its current form since 2005.
Of the roughly 2,000 guided tours that take place at Neuengamme every year, a large portion are school groups.
Appell Square then and now: a drawing by a former inmate contrasts with the square today. Since the camp was never “liberated,” there are no photos documenting what happened there during the Nazi reign.
Groschek points to a train car, reconstructed after those used to transport prisoners to concentration camps, and explains how new inmates were treated when they arrived.
Hundreds of people would be crammed into the overcrowded train cars without food, water, or access to sanitation.
Groschek tells the story of Fritz, a young man who survived his time at the concentration camp and lived until 2011.
Students at German public schools are required to learn about the National Socialist era and the crimes of the Holocaust, usually in 9th or 10th grade (ages 15-17).
A student peruses excerpts from a diary of a former prisoner at one of the exhibits at Neuengamme.
Remnants of the Nazi-era and GDR-era spying, Germany are highly concerned about protecting their privacy today. The teachers would not give me permission to photograph the students so I tried to keep them anonymous in my photo.
Instead of a cemetery, Neuengamme has the Haus des Gedankens, roughly translated to House of Contemplation, which has the names of all 429,000 deceased prisoners documented in long lists on the walls.