Thuringia gets an NSU memorial: A pillar sculpture is intended to commemorate the right-wing extremist series of terror. Commemorations are also planned elsewhere.
BERLIN taz | There are steel arches that are supposed to rise up on Erfurt’s Beethovenplatz, right next to the Thuringian state parliament. At the top, the metal plates are supposed to Names of the ten NSU murder victims standing – which would also be cast as shadows on the ground in the sunlight. A symbol for the shadows that the series of murders still casts on the families of the victims – and on society as a whole.
On Thursday, Thuringia’s Secretary of State for Culture, Tina Beer, presented the draft of the memorial with which Thuringia would commemorate the Series of terror by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) should be remembered. The core trio Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt had become radicalized in Jena and disappeared there in 1998 – under the eyes of investigators and constitutional protection officers. The ten murders were committed in other federal states and remained unsolved for years.
Beer explained that the memorial was “the least we can do for the survivors and victims of the NSU”. The fact that the murderers were long sought after in the vicinity of the victims “shames us to this day”. The memorial is “a constant reminder to continue our fight against right-wing extremism”. Information boards are to provide information about the terror series and, above all, about the murder victims.
The memorial was decided in 2017
Thuringia had an NSU memorial site erected already decided in 2017, after a state parliament investigative committee into the terror series had recommended this. In May of this year, a competition was announced, which the Stuttgart artist duo Dagmar Korintenberg and Wolf Kipper won. The bereaved were over Barbara John, the federal government’s ombudswoman for the NSU victim families. 200,000 euros are available for the memorial, and it is to be erected by 2024.
The Thuringian Greens MP Madeleine Henfling praises the draft for the memorial as “really impressive”. The Left Katharina König-Preuss also explained: “Just the idea of walking under the steel girders, through and with the names of the murdered, gave me goosebumps.” The design exceeds her personal expectations.
Memorial sites also in other cities
The NSU terror is also being remembered in other countries. In addition to commemorative plaques to the murder victims at most crime scenes, there are already in Zwickau an NSU memorial with ten treescommemorating those who died. An NSU documentation center is also to be built in the city.
A memorial is also to be created in Cologne, where the NSU in the Keupstraße with a bomb attack more than 20 people seriously injured. The city announced in the spring that the construction could take “a few more years”. However, the required plot of land is now finally available. Mayor Henriette Reker (independent) called the planned monument “an important sign of solidarity with the victims of right-wing terror”.
The traffic light federal government also wants to set up a virtual archive on right-wing terrorism. Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth (Greens) recently stated that “initial promising planning with the federal states had taken place”. Also in Thuringia an NSU archive is being planned. The state government recently suggested cooperation with the planned federal archive.