Entrance to the Documentation Centre, 2007. Photo by Klemens Ortmeyer. Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation)
The Documentation Centre
The Documentation Centre at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial opened in October 2007. This building holds all of the documents, photographs, film footage and objects associated with the history of the site that have already been collected by the Memorial, and all future acquisitions will be stored here as well. These resources are available to researchers and educators. Some of the material is displayed in the permanent exhibition that covers the history of the POW camps on Lüneburg Heath, the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and the DP camp.
The nearly 200-metre-long building lies outside the grounds of the former camp, but it protrudes a few metres into them, hovering over the former perimeter without touching the earth. The ground floor of the two-storey concrete building is bisected by a Stony Path that leads visitors from the forecourt of the Memorial to the cemetery and the site of the camp.
An information desk, bookshop and cafeteria are also located on the ground floor in the entrance hall at the front of the building. The Memorial’s archive and library can be found on the first floor. The permanent exhibition on the history of Bergen-Belsen covers two floors and around 1,500 square metres of space at the back of the building. The exhibition halls are sparsely designed, and the floor rises slightly towards the grounds of the former camp. A large panoramic window at the end of the building provides the only glimpse of the outside and makes the historical site itself a part of the exhibition.