Conference “Redevelopment – Reconstruction – Redesign: Dealing with Historical Buildings in Memorial Sites”

From June 1 to 3 2012 the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site staged a conference in cooperation with the City of Dachau authority entitled “Redevelopment – Reconstruction – Redesign: Dealing with Historical Buildings in Memorial Sites”

Under the title of “Redevelopment – Reconstruction – Redesign: Dealing with Historical Buildings in Memorial Sites” a conference was staged by the Dachau Memorial Site between June 1 and 3 where, based on discussions between experts and Dachau citizens, various ideas were developed for the future layout and use of the land of the former “herb garden”.

Beginning in 1938 Dachau concentration camp prisoners were forced to build a large maintenance building and prepare agricultural plots to the east of the preventive custody camp. Known as the “herb garden”, this area was a key component in the SS enterprise “Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Ernährung und Verpflegung” (DVA) and integral to the autarchy policy of the Nazis. The assigned work detail, coined the “plantation”, became notorious: hundreds of prisoners lost their lives here between 1940 and 1942. Today the grounds are largely built over. The central ensemble of buildings, listed for preservation, has survived almost unaltered. If they remain unused however, then they are threatened with dereliction. Presentations given by scholars and directors from other memorial sites showed that this is no isolated case. They emphasized the historical significance of the ensemble. The ideas discussed centered on the documentary and memorial use of the grounds with an exhibition depicting the history of the site and seminar rooms for the Memorial Site’s educational work. The outside areas could still be used by the municipal nursery. The experts rejected the idea of realizing an intercultural garden on the grounds, stating that such a location with its history of terror was extremely unsuited for such a project.