The Political Process since 2004

The Political Process since 2004

In 2004, the researchers Dr. Linde Apel and Dr. Frank Bajohr, both of the Contemporary History Research Center, presented to the Office for Cultural Affairs the first comprehensive study of the topic: “The Deportations of Jews, Sinti and Roma from Hannoverscher Bahnhof in Hamburg from 1940 to 1945.”

The poignant results of this study uncovered a chapter of Hamburg’s urban history that has remained largely obscured, motivating the Senator for Culture, Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck, to erect an informational panel in February 2005 at Lohseplatz, the former forecourt of Hannoverscher Bahnhof. At the same time, she commissioned the Contemporary History Research Center to prepare an exhibition. This was shown at Hamburg’s Kunsthaus from 17 February to 26 April 2009. It informed the broader public about how, over sixty years ago, at least 7692 Hamburg residents were deported from the newly developed eastern HafenCity – for many of those fellow citizens, it was a transport to their deaths.

Due to reasons of infrastructure, a memorial center cannot be realized before 2017. Therefore, the Office for Cultural Affairs, HafenCity Hamburg, and the Mitte district administration furbished the Lohseplatz grounds in 2007 with garden landscaping, street furnishings, and informative panels, so that a dignified commemoration at this site is also possible during the interim period.

At a colloquium Prof. Dr. Karin von Welck, Senator for Culture, Sports and Media, convened in June 2007, the expectations of victims’ organizations and survivors regarding this memorial site were formulated and discussed. Experts in memorial site architecture presented examples of how to use landscape architecture in creating commemorative sites from all over Europe.

In the spring of 2008, during negotiations to form a coalition, the governing parties included the development of a memorial at the former Hannoverscher Bahnhof as part of their final agreement.

The Senator for Culture, Sports and Media convened a steering committee in January 2008. It prepared recommendations for this memorial, taking into account the requirements of the subject matter as well as the wider infrastructure.

The steering committee, under the leadership of Dr. Detlef Garbe (Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial) prepared recommendations for this memorial, taking into account the requirements of the subject matter as well as the wider infrastructure.The members of the steering committee included: Prof. Dr. Stefanie Endlich from Berlin’s University of the Arts, Constanze Petrow from Weimar’s Bauhaus University, Senior Construction Director of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg Prof. Jörn Walter, Dieter Polkowski (Department of Urban Development and the Environment), Jürgen Bruns-Berentelg (Chief Executive Officer of HafenCity Hamburg GmbH), Uwe Labinsky (HafenCity Hamburg GmbH), and Dr. Annette Busse (Department of Culture, Sports and Media).

These recommendations which involved a complete modification of the HafenCity master plan for Lohse Park and the construction of a documentation and exhibition center on this site, were publicly presented at a workshop discussion on 27 October 2008 and discussed with members of associations and the public. The recommendations were implemented by the responsible authorities, beginning in 2009. The master plan was completely revised.