View across Anne-Frank-Platz to the Documentation Centre, 2007. Photo by Klemens Ortmeyer. Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation)
The Bergen-Belsen Memorial encompasses the entire grounds of the former Bergen-Belsen POW and concentration camp. Numerous monuments between the mass graves commemorate the tens of thousands of people who suffered and died here. Only the foundations of the buildings from the former camp still remain. The redesign concept for the Bergen-Belsen Memorial calls for exterior landscaping as well. Careful landscape modifications will reveal the camp’s historical topography, preserve the remaining structural elements and make it easier for visitors to find their way around the site.
Visitors reach the Memorial by crossing a central square which lies outside the grounds of the former camp. A path leads to the long, two-storey Documentation Centre that houses the new permanent exhibition on the history of Bergen-Belsen. Buildings on the other side of the square are used for administration, education, special exhibitions and events.
The Memorial is surrounded by other sites with a direct connection to the historical events that took place here: Tens of thousands of POWs and concentration camp prisoners arrived at a military loading platform north of the village of Belsen, and countless transports to other camps left from there as well. Nearly 20,000 prisoners who died in the Bergen-Belsen POW camp and hospital are buried in the Hörsten cemetery, and sites commemorating the Bergen-Belsen DP camp can be found in the grounds of the former Wehrmacht barracks nearby.