Tag Archives: Waldbau

Inauguration / Einweihung der NamensTropfen-Installation von Imke Rust

Ceremony on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the liberation of Ravensbrück concentration camp and its subcamps on 29/30 April 2022 at the “Waldbau” concentration camp memorial site (Neubrandenburg)

Veranstaltungen anlässlich des 77. Jahrestags der Befreiung des KZ Ravensbrück und seiner Außenlager am 29./30. April 2022 im KZ-Gedenkort „Waldbau“ (Neubrandenburg)

Inauguration of the Name Drops installation by Imke Rust – Ceremony with Minister Dr. Till Backhaus and Vice-President of the State Parliament of MV Elke Annette Schmidt and representatives from the state, district and municipalities


Einweihung der NamensTropfen-Installation von Imke Rust – Festakt mit Minister Dr. Till Backhaus und der Vizepräsidentin des Landtages MV Elke Annette Schmidt und Vertreter:innen aus Land, Landkreis und Kommunen
NamensTropfen Installation by Imke Rust, Waldbau Gedenkort, Neubrandenburg

Deutscher Text: Bitte HIER klicken. (Dr. Martin Müller-Butz, zeitlupe (RAA MV e.V.)

77 years after the liberation of the Ravensbrück concentration camp by the Red Army, the victims were commemorated in a memorial ceremony. This took place at the concentration camp field office in Nemerower Holz near Neubrandenburg. In prominent company, a work of art by the artist Imke Rust was inaugurated at the memorial site in honour of the victims.

Gedenkveranstaltung im Nemerower Holz Beitrag von neueins (2:17Min)

“Waldbau” Concentration Camp Memorial – a place of shared remembrance

30 April 2022 marked the 77th anniversary of the liberation of the Ravensbrück concentration camp by the Red Army. In Neubrandenburg, the National Socialists had set up two more places, the concentration camp in Ihlenfelder Straße in 1943 and the “Waldbau” concentration camp in 1944, where tens of thousands of men and women from all over Europe had to perform forced labour under the most adverse conditions. Both places were subcamps of the Ravensbrück main camp – and at the same time closely linked to the armaments industry in National Socialist Neubrandenburg. Using machines transported from Warsaw to “Waldbau”, the women produced parts for thousands of V1 rockets, pistols, bombing devices etc. for the war of extermination in Eastern Europe. In the last days before the end of the war, both camps were emptied and the already exhausted concentration camp prisoners were systematically maltreated and shot on so-called “death marches”.

On the occasion of the anniversary, the mayor of Neubrandenburg Silvio Witt and the managing director of RAA M-V Christian Utpatel invited to a ceremonial act of remembrance in Waldbau on 29 April, which was attended by Franc But, ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia and representatives of the embassies of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With their presence, the diplomatic representatives underlined the significance of the site as a place of remembrance that unites nations and occupies a justified and important place in the European context of remembrance of the Second World War. Other guests such as the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Till Backhaus, the head of the Mecklenburg Lake District Thomas Müller and the director of the State Centre for Political Education MV Jochen Schmidt inaugurated the installation of name drops by the artist Imke Rust.

Agra- und Forstminister Dr. Till Backhaus bei der Einweihung der Installation

Naming the names of the imprisoned women – making regional remembrance possible

The installation on the grounds of the former camp makes visible the names of 500 women so far who were systematically exploited as concentration camp prisoners in the camps of Neubrandenburg and in some cases had to do forced labour for the armaments industry based here until their death. Over the past two years, young people and interested adults from Neubrandenburg and the surrounding area engraved the names of some of the 1,500 women on the drop-shaped plexiglass plates, either from home or in joint workshops. Researchers Nadja Grintzewitsch (Managing Director of the Dr. Hildegard Hansche Foundation), Dr. Harry Schultz and Tino Kammerer, under the direction of Eleonore Wolf (City Archives NB) and Dr. Constanze Jaiser, researched the names and compiled them in a database. The installation shows the extent of the crimes committed by the National Socialists in Neubrandenburg and underlines their impact on the lives of women. With the name drops, the German-Namibian artist has enabled an individual and intergenerational remembrance of the women and has already created a multitude of occasions for a joint activating remembrance and a regional search for traces.

Text from Dr. Martin Müller-Butz, 4. Mai 2022, zeitlupe (RAA MV e.V.) Translated by Deepl – free version

Find more information about this memorial installation HERE.

Following some more impressions of the day

Images by Imke Rust ©, 2 images by Stadt Neubrandenburg/Demmin © as indicated

Frauen Silhouetten – Gedenkort Waldbaulager KZ, Neubrandenburg

Public artwork by Imke Rust (commissioned)

Three of eight female silhouettes at the Waldbaulager Gedenkort

(Deutsch weiter unten)

Last year I have been commissioned by the RAA Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to create a public artwork to commemorate the plight of women who have been incarcerated in the Waldbau KZ satellite camp, close to Neubrandenburg.

This secret, underground camp has been established by the Nazi regime in 1943 to support production for the armaments industry. About 2000 female prisoners were stationed here and used as forced labour. The living conditions have been described as inhumane and horrible, and many women have died.

When I researched the history of this place, one small detail grabbed my attention: several combs or pieces of combs were found hidden here.  Ex-prisoners who described the conditions, shared, that they were not allowed to have combs in these camps. Being found with a comb could be punished with death. The women secretly made their own combs out of leftovers from the production materials and these were shared amongst them. Unfortunately the self-made combs were not helpful against the fleas – the big problem in the unhealthy living conditions. One lady was able to smuggle in a fine comb and one had to pay half a ration of bread for the use of this comb.

This story of the combs made me aware that the women, despite all their suffering, still had the will to try and create ways to make their lives a little better. Through my art I wanted to restore some of their dignity and also commemorate their strength. It was also important that visitors could relate to these women as fellow human beings on a very personal level.

Therefore my eight life-sized female figures, which have been installed in small groups at different places in the forest, seem to dissolve on one side into the shape of a broken comb.

The women stand proud and strong, while at the same time they fade into the background and are only clearly visible from a certain angle. Making us aware that history can be forgotten quickly, if we make no effort to remember.

A short documentary video by Steffen Holzkamp (2:17min, German with English subtitles)

Visitors at the first public event – I love how the “historic women” stand silently amongst the guests:

Some more impressions:

Deutsch:

Zur Installation der Frauen-Silhouetten am Gedenkort Waldbau

Die wenigen Fundstücke, die direkt auf die Frauen deuten, bestehen aus Resten von Kämmen. Durch die Kämme, die eingeschmuggelt oder vor Ort heimlich aus Produktionsmaterial hergestellt und versteckt werden mussten, haben die Frauen sich ein klein wenig ihrer Würde zurückerobert.

Mit dem Kunstwerk möchte ich den Frauen symbolisch die Achtung zukommen lassen,die sie damals nicht bekamen. Mein Wunsch ist es ihnen ein positives Andenken zu setzen, an dem man aber auch das durchgemachte Leid erkennt.

Angelehnt an die Fundstücke der oft zerbrochenen Kämme, die sich heute im Regionalmuseum befinden, stellen meine abstrakten Frauensilhouetteneine Verbindung zwischen Frauenkörper und Kamm her.

Diese etwa lebensgroßen, abstrakten Silhouetten erinnern an einfach erkennbare, weibliche (Ur)Figuren. Sie sind wie ein Kamm flach gehalten. Die Auflösung der Figur in die Zähne der Kämme deutet auf die Vergänglichkeit, das Leid und auch unsere verblichene Erinnerung an diese Frauen und ihr Schicksal hin.

Als erste Installation die am Waldbau Gedenkort errichtet wird sollen die Silhouetten neugierig machen und auch schon auf die Geschichte des Ortes hindeuten.

Weitere Information zu dem Ort finden sie HIER.