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Preparatory Research for Exhibition and Memory Concept

Marc Bartuschka, representative of the committee for culture at the Jena town council and the rural district authorities of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, paid a one-week visit to Bad Arolsen researching the archival holdings of the International Tracing Service (ITS). The historian looked through the documents to prepare a memory concept for the Jena town authorities and revise the permanent exhibition at the memorial of “Laura”, a former concentration camp commando. “The ITS is a site central to and valuable for my research“, so Bartuschka.

In September 1943, Concentration Camp Laura, a subsidiary and labour commando of Buchenwald, was opened. At “Oertelsbruch”, the Nazis (ab)used the power to perform of more than 2,500 prisoners of various nationalities firstly to build an armaments plant specifically designed for testing the engines of “Raketenwaffe V2” (missile V2) and secondly to work in that testing factory later on. “The current exhibition on the sub camp is based on previous research and support given by former prisoners”, knows the 32-year-old. “What we intend to do now is profit by transport and evacuation lists and by reports on changes in the prisoners’ strength to bring up to date proof of the camp’s history.”

The committee for culture at the town council has entrusted Marc Bartuschka with working out a memory concept aimed to reappraise the Jena history of National Socialism. “Attending to this project, I have had a closer look at the documents focussing on Jena’s stance on National Socialism at the time.” These documents include records on inmates of concentration camps, lists showing the names of forced labourers and compilations on Displaced Persons. “Visually making prominent the former camp sites in town and placing memory plaques would be an option. The shacks where e.g. Jews were accommodated before their deportation would be ‘display cases’ suited to impart information related to individual fates.”