The Bullenhuser Damm Memorial
At the Neuengamme concentration camp, the SS doctor Dr. Kurt Heißmeyer carried out Tuberculosis experiments on prisoners. In addition, he had twenty Jewish children between the ages of 5 and 12 brought from the Auschwitz concentration camp to Neuengamme in November 1944. In order to conceal the crime, they were hanged by SS men in the cellar of the former school on Bullenhuser Damm during the night of April 20-21, 1945, along with at least 24 other Soviet prisoners whose names are still unknown.
The "Memorial Bullenhuser Damm and Rose Garden for the Children of Bullenhuser Damm" commemorates the victims of this crime. The memorial was opened in 1980 on private initiative by the association "Children from Bullenhuser Damm". In 1999, it was taken over by the city and affiliated with the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial. The permanent exhibition (German, English), which was reopened in 2011, provides information about the site as a school and as a subcamp of Neuengamme Concentration Camp, about the medical experiments, the victims, the murders, the perpetrators and how the crime was dealt with after 1945. Roses can be planted in the rose garden behind the schoolyard in memory of those murdered. Since 1985, a bronze sculpture by Anatoli Mossitschuk has commemorated the Soviet prisoners there.
The documents to be found here are mostly taken from the exhibition at Bullenhuser Damm, which was reopened in 2011.
The Satellite Camp Bullenhuser Damm
The Rothenburgsort district of Hamburg was largely destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of July 1943. In the last year of the war, a satellite camp of the Neuengamme concentration camp was set up in a former school on Bullenhuser Damm. 1,000 concentration camp prisoners were to work there for the SS company Deutsche Erd- und Steinwerke. The first prisoners came from Poland and the Soviet Union. They were used to clean up the destroyed area and to prepare bricks.
In November 1944, 20 children between the ages of five and twelve were brought from Auschwitz concentration camp to Neuengamme concentration camp for medical experiments. In order to cover the traces of these cruel acts, the children were murdered on April 20, 1945 in the cellar of a former school building on Bullenhuser Damm.
The Children's Carers
The French prisoner doctors Prof. Gabriel Florence and Dr. René Quenouille and the Dutch prisoner nurses Dirk Deutekom and Anton Hölzel, imprisoned as resistance fighters at Neuengamme concentration camp, had been assigned to care for the children in sick bay IVa. As witnesses to the medical experiments, they were also murdered at Bullenhuser Damm on April 20, 1945.
Doctors used the opportunities provided by National Socialist tyranny to carry out medical experiments on disenfranchised people. Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler promoted such experiments in the concentration camps. From June 1944, the doctor Dr Kurt Heißmeyer was able to experiment on prisoners at Neuengamme concentration camp. Heißmeyer wanted to find a treatment method for the bacterial infectious disease tuberculosis, which was widespread at the time.
The Crime and the Perpetrators
Since the SS was aware of the explosive nature of the medical experiments on the children, they wanted to eliminate victims and witnesses by killing the children and their caretakers. This was to be done secretly. Therefore, the evacuated subcamp Bullenhuser Damm was chosen to carry out the murder. There, the SS hanged the children as well as their caretakers and other adult Soviet prisoners.
History after 1945
Many years passed after the Second World War before the murders of the children, their carers and the Soviet prisoners were noticed by a larger public. The course of events was reconstructed in the Curiohaus trials in 1946 and the perpetrators who had been arrested up to that point were sentenced to death, but there was no public commemoration of the victims. It was not until 1979 that a more intensive public debate about the crime on Bullenhuser Damm began.
The complete permanent exhibition "Time Traces" and the other side exhibitions on the grounds of the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial are also available digitally in the memorial's media library. Unfortunately, the media library is only available in German.media library
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