Memorials of the NS Era in Essen

Are there monuments, memorials, inscriptions or plaques in Essen which remind us of the NS era in our town? In what way may they help us to learn about the victims of Nazism? – Students in Year 10 who volunteered to prepare a very special guided tour for our Erasmus guests in Essen in February 2019 may start their research now. Some sources are given below, but you will certainly find more material online or in the town library.

Presentations will be filmed after the autumn holidays.

Research Tasks

Group 1: Stumbling Stones 

a) Give details about the Stumbling Stones project. When was it initiated? Who is involved? What is the idea?

b) What can you say about the project from a European point of view?

c) Choose a particularly interesting biography of a person whose fate is commemorated by these brass “paving stones”.


Stumbling Stones in Essen and Gelsenkirchen


Group 2: The Persecution of Homosexuals in Essen during the NS regime

a) How did the Nazis persecute gay men and lesbian women?

b) Why is there a memorial plaque outside the Panoptikum (Eldorado)?


Die Verfolgung Homosexueller im Nationalsozialismus 

“Der Schrei der Steine”, Nov. 1999

Group 3: The Nazi Book Burning in Essen 

a) Summarise the main facts about the Nazi Book Burnings in Germany.

b) Give examples of books that were banned.

c) In what way was the book burning in Essen different?


Nazi Book Burnings

Die Bücherverbrennung in Essen 

Group 4: The Old Synagogue 

a) What is the history of the Old Synagogue?

b) What is its function today?


History of the Old Synagogue in Essen 

Welcome to the Old Synagogue

Group 5: Forced Labour in Essen during WWII

a) What role did forced labour play in Essen during WWII?

b) What can you learn from the sources in the town archive about propaganda and people’s behaviour towards forced labourers?

c) What is the history of the The Forced Labourers’ Memorial of Graf Beust Colliery?


Town Archive

Kriegsgräberstätte für sowjetische Zwangsarbeiter der Zeche Graf Beust

Group 6: The Buchenwald Subcamp in Essen

a) Find out about the history of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp from 1937 to 1945.

b) What happened at “Schwarze Poth 13”?

c) What can you find out about the concept and design of the City Wound Memorial?


Buchenwald Memorial 1937 – 1945

KZ-Aussenlager ‘Schwarze Poth 13’

WAZ-Artikel vom 23.11.2014


Group 7: Deportations from Essen Main Station 

a) How did the Nazis organize the deportation of the Jews in Germany and in other European countries?

b) What happened to the Jewish community in Essen?

c) Can you find out about the personal fate of Jews who were deported from Essen Main Station?


Jüdische Gemeinden 

Transports to Extinction. Deportation Database

This group work is part of the Erasmus Plus project Post-factEUal. Transforming Europe from the 1930s to the Present, coordinated by Goetheschule Essen.

Contact: K. Heup

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