No NSU Memorial Site in Saxony? How Chemnitz and Zwickau are Responding

by | Mar 7, 2024 | German Daily Digest | 0 comments

NSU Memorial Site in Saxony Not Feasible, Reactions from Chemnitz and Zwickau

A recent “feasibility study” conducted by the Federal Agency for Civic Education has revealed that Saxony is not suitable as a memorial site for the victims of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) terrorist group. This assessment is also shared by the relatives of the victims.

This finding has stirred up new controversy surrounding the burdensome legacy of the NSU. In the city halls of Zwickau and Chemnitz, reactions to the study have varied, leading to some misunderstanding.

Concerns Regarding Saxony as a Memorial Site

The “feasibility study” conducted by the Federal Agency for Civic Education indicates that visitors would not feel safe at a memorial site in Saxony. Prof. Barbara John, an ombudswoman for the victims’ relatives, shares this view. The former residential cities of the NSU trio – Mundlos, Böhnhardt, and Zschäpe – namely Chemnitz and Zwickau, are considered unsuitable as perpetrator cities. The Chemnitz city hall comments, “This study highlights the importance of connecting the commemoration of the victims with focus on those in Chemnitz who aided the NSU perpetrators in going into hiding.” The Zwickau city administration, on the other hand, responds to the study with considerably more discontent, as they were not involved in the study, which they view as regrettable. The city also raises the question of whether commemoration through educational programs should be utilized. Barbara John also supports this opinion, stating, “Even if the cities do not receive memorial sites, efforts can be made, for example, through curricula, to combat hatred and racism.”

Zwickau’s Struggle with Commemorating the NSU Victims

Zwickau has been grappling for years with the proper approach to commemorating the NSU victims. Former Mayor Pia Findeiß (68, SPD) is pictured here during a memorial event.

In 2019, another act of desecration occurred at a memorial site in Zwickau. An oak tree dedicated to one of the NSU victims was cut down.

Prof. Barbara John (86, CDU) can understand the concerns of the victims’ relatives about a memorial site in Saxony.

Chemnitz is planning an interim documentation center for 2025.

Disclaimer: The image used in this article depicts the mural at the NSU memorial site in Chemnitz.

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