Concentration Camp in Salzgitter
In 1942, the SS and the Reichswerke Hermann Göring founded the Concentration Camp Druette. Under an elevated road, which was on the premises of the firm and which was used for transportation, more than 3000 prisoners from France, the Netherlands, Poland, the Soviet Union and other countries were put up. They had to produce shells and bombs at the munition factories. In 1944, the following camps were founded: Concentration Camp Watenstedt/Leinde and Concentration Camp Salzgitter-Bad.
The Memorial Place KZ Drütte
Up until the 1980s the history of the Concentration Camps in the Salzgitter region was neglected. Not until 1982, in connection with the 40th anniversary of the foundation of the city of Salzgitter, a public discussion about this topic began.
In 1983, a group of citizens founded the Working Group Stadtgeschichte (“History of the City“) as a registered association. Supported by the works council of the steel mill and many other interested people, the association committed itself to the foundation of a memorial place on the terrain of the plant. On 11 April 1985 the works council organized the first memorial service at the historical place, which has been repeated annually since then on the former Appellplatz.
In 1992, the company made one of the four former accommodation spaces, where the concentration camp prisoners had lived, available for the memorial place. On 11 April 1994, the memorial and documentation place KZ Drütte was opened. The Working Group Stadtgeschichte took charge of the planning and maintenance.
The Permanent Exhibit
This is where the visitor is confronted directly with history, this is where a lively analysis is possible. Here, the topics National Socialism, history of the origins of Salzgitter, post-war history but also the question about the culture of remembering can be approached from different perspectives: factual texts, pictures and documents introduce the topic, testimonies by former prisoners are a central part of the exhibit. They give the prisoners their names and faces back and make human beings out of an anonymous crowd.
Seminar rooms and the technological equipment make an in-depth study possible, an extensive archive and a library make the exhibition complete.
A Place for Encounters
People from many European countries with different cultural, religious and national backgrounds were imprisoned in the concentration camp. Their biographies can be studied and grasped here in order to understand, to learn and to communicate.
Even decades after the War, to be in contact with former concentration camp prisoners and those sentenced to hard labour, but also with their relatives and friends, is a central part of our work. Today, the memorial place is an important place to remember, to get in touch with others and to do research. There are regular events at the memorial place: exhibits, readings, theater and music create many ideas how to approach the topic from both historical and topical perspectives.
Because of the special location of the memorial place in a working industrial area, it can usually only be visited after an appointment has been made and only accompanied by one of our staff. The second Saturday per month, between 3 pm and 5 pm, the memorial place is open for visitors without an appointment.
According to prior agreement: guided tours for individual persons/groups, project work with school classes
Directions: Leave A 39 toward Salzgitter-Watenstedt (industrial area) and, when you are on the Industriestraße Mitte toward Watenstedt, follow signs saying “Salzgitter AG, Tor I“ (Eisenhüttenstraße).