In memory of Maria Gniatczyk
Maria Gniatczyk during her speech on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 26 April 2015 (Photo: Jesco Denzel)
Saturday, 25 March 2017, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We are what we remember...”
Workshop with Daniel Seifert on the topic of commemoration and memory
In this one-day workshop, participants will look at the forms and functions of memory and commemoration. During a tour through the grounds of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, the history of various locations within the camp will be explained, along with the approach to the structural remains in the camp and the origins and design of the graves and monuments. Witness interviews will be used as the basis for exploring how the survivors of Bergen-Belsen remember their time in the camp and which messages they associate with it.
Using Bergen-Belsen as a specific starting point and an expression of German memory culture, the participants will also look at examples of memory culture in other countries.
Please register by 22 March 2017 either by phoning +49 (0) 5051 – 47 59-0 or sending an email to email@example.com
Participation is free of charge and no special prior knowledge is required. The number of participants is limited.
Location: Bergen-Belsen Memorial
Meeting place: Educational Centre
Sunday, 9 April 2017, 2:30 p.m.
“One of the local women baked a good cake and shared it with the prisoners too”
Actors living near Nazi forcible detention camps as exemplified by Bergen-Belsen before and after 1945
Presentation by Dr Bianca Roitsch (Berlin)
In the dissertation she submitted in 2016, Bianca Roitsch investigated the rural environment around the Bergen-Belsen, Esterwegen, and Moringen camps during the Nazi era and in the post-war period until 1960. Her comparative analysis focuses on economic relations, the importance of physical violence, conflict potential, and habituation effects, as well as the pursuit of personal interests.
Location:Bergen-Belsen Memorial, Film Room
Saturday, 15 April 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Lights on the tracks
Memorial service organised by the Bergen-Belsen Working Group and Bergen Protestant church congregation
Location: Wagon on the loading platform
Sunday, 23 April 2017
Commemorative events for the 72nd anniversary of the liberation
Organised by the State of Lower Saxony, the State Association of Jewish Communities in Lower Saxony, and the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation
Wreath-laying at the Bergen-Belsen POW cemetery
With a speech by Edelgard Bulmahn, Vice President of the Bundestag, German Federal Minister (ret.)
Ceremony with wreath-laying at the obelisk, followed by ceremonies at the Jewish monument and the high cross
With opening words and speeches by Professor Monika Grütters, Member of the Bundestag, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media,
Frauke Heiligenstadt, Member of the Landtag, Lower Saxony Minister of Culture and Chairwoman of the Board of the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation, and
Anastasia Gulei, survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Chairwoman of the Association of Ukrainian Survivors of Bergen-Belsen (Kiev)
Sunday, 23 April 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Opening of the exhibition
“Red triangle: Political prisoners in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp”
Political prisoners accounted for around half of all prisoners in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. They included German communists, social democrats, and civil opponents of the Nazis. Most of the political prisoners came from European countries occupied by Germany – primarily Poland, the Soviet Union, France, and Belgium – and many of them died. After the war, the survivors campaigned for a peaceful, free, and united Europe without nationalism, racism, or antisemitism. But their legacy is in danger of being forgotten.
Using numerous documents and photos as well as exemplary biographies, students from Leibniz Universität Hannover worked with the Bergen-Belsen Memorial to develop an exhibition which provides an overview of this large and yet sometimes overlooked group of prisoners. The exhibition will be on display until 20 August 2017.
Location: Bergen-Belsen Memorial, Forum
Ceremony of the Bergen-Belsen Working Group
With a speech by Dr Peter Hamburg, survivor of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Location: Wagon on the loading platform
4th Bergen-Belsen International Summer School „Memory in the Digital age: Comparative Memory Studies” 31 July – 6 August 2017
The fourth Bergen-Belsen International Summer School, which will take place at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial from the 31st of July until the 6th of August 2017, will deal with memory and remembrance in a comparative perspective. We aim to gather international Master and PhD students from different disciplines, but with a particular interest in topics in Holocaust-, Genocide- and Memory Studies.
Call for Appplications (PDF)
The dead of Bergen-Belsen. Number and burial places of the victims of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Interim report (PDF)
In memory of Maria Gniatczyk
The employees of the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation are mourning the passing of Maria Gniatczyk, who supported our work for many years. We have a great deal to thank her for, and we will honour her memory.
During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, Maria Gniatczyk and her mother were arrested and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. One month later the SS transferred both of them to Bergen-Belsen. They were liberated there by the British in April 1945, but they initially remained in Germany as displaced persons. Her mother died in Lüneburg at the end of 1945 from the effects of her imprisonment. Afterwards, Maria Gniatczyk returned to Poland. In 1970 she organised the first trip to Bergen-Belsen for Polish survivors.
From 1990, Maria Gniatczyk was the chairwoman of the Polish association of former political prisoners of Bergen-Belsen. In this role and on the Advisory Board of the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation, she was a valuable friend and advisor to the employees of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial. She appeared often at the Memorial as a speaker and witness, most recently on the 70th anniversary of the liberation.
Maria Gniatczyk passed away on Friday, 13 January 2017, at the age of 89 in Warsaw.
70 days violence, murder, liberation. The end of the war in Lower Saxony
The blog is coordinated by the Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation. From February 27th to May 8th 2015, the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, events are described in 70 days, which took place exactly 70 years before.
Project Insights in the Bergen- Belsen Memorial
In the upcoming eight weeks we, the volunteers of the memorial Bergen-Belsen, will use this blog for a project. Referring to the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camp we will give an insight into the work of the memorial Bergen-Belsen.