Explanatory Notes on the Concentration Camp Moringen and details on the work carried out at the Memorial
Moringen is a little town with approx. 4700 inhabitants in southern Lower Saxony. It lies about 100km to the south of Hannover and about 20km to the north-west of Göttingen. Between 1933 and 1945 there were three concentration camps, right in the middle of the town: 1933 Male Concentration Camp, 1933-1938 Female Concentration Camp and 1940-1945 Youth Concentration Camp.
Male Concentration Camp 1933
In April 1933 one of the first Concentration Camps of the NS State was put into use. Internees were men who were either political opponents or antifascists, and a few women, members of the labour movement i.e. Communist Party or Social Democrats. They all came from the then known Province of Hannover. The internees were subjected to the terror and atrocities of the SS. The camp was closed in November 1933 and the male internees were either released under police supervision or sent to other concentration camps.
Female Concentration Camp 1933 - 1938
In October 1933 the concentration camp for women was first used. The approx. 1350 women from all over Germany included not only members of the labour movement but also racial and religious pursued (Jehovah Witnesses) prostitutes and returning emigrants. Increasingly protected custody was imposed for "defamation of the State". The camp was closed in March 1938 and the women were transferred to the Female Concentration Camp at Lichtenburg near Torgau. Later many of them were taken to the concentration camp Ravensbrück.
Youth Concentration Camp 1940 - 1945
In June 1940 the Youth camp was opened and was called "Camp for Protective Youth Custody". The internees were aged between 12 and 22 years, and came not only from the German Reich but also from countries occupied by German troops. Young men because of social, racial or political views or beliefs were subjected to SS terror under inhumane conditions. Many died due to the terrible conditions, some were compulsory sterilised as a result of genetic or criminal biological reports and others were deported to other concentration camps. From 1941 the Youth Camp was used by the SS for their pseudo medical experiments. So called criminal biologists - under Dr. Dr. Ritter - tried to prove their theory, that crime and anti social behaviour were genetic. On the basis of the knowledge acquired at Moringen the National Socialist regime assumed it could judge whether or not people had a right to life. The for the prevention of genetically defective offspring legalised the forced sterilisation and extermination of whole races in Germany and occupied countries. The test persons were the young internees.
The Background to the Memorial
Concentration Camp Torhaus Moringen In the 80's the citizens from Moringen and the surrounding area began research on the three concentration camps at Moringen. This had been suppressed and not hitorically accepted that these camps had existed. The critical look at the facts started a painful but at the same time exciting process. In 1989 the organisation Lagergemeinschaft and Gedenkstätte KZ Moringen e.V. (Camp Community and Memorial: Concnetration Camp Moringen) was founded and they are also the sponsors of the 1993 founded Memorial Concentration Camp Torhaus Moringen. The exhibition would not have been possible in its present scope without the support of the townsfolk of Moringen. There is one person in charge of the memorial and on two days a week he is assisted by a teacher who has been given special permission to teach at the memorial. Besides the full time employees there are a number of people helping at the Memorial in a honorary capacity. Over and above this there has been in the last few years a number of research/exhibition projects and from the employment office the memorial has been used for job creation purposes. As the memorial can also be used as a touring exhibition it has been seen by 320,000 visitors in Germany and Austria.
The Memorial Moringen is a place of historical-political education. The men, women and children who visit the memorial should receive an accurate and detailed account of what has happened in the very place where it happened. As 80% of the visitors are children or young adults their guides are usually teachers. They have at their disposal a well-filled library and an archive with documentation on the three concentration camps. Great emphasis is given to furthering the contact with former inertnees, and once a year a get together is arranged.
If you are interested in visiting the memorial please contact us in good time so that a programme can be arranged.