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Lohsepark © HafenCity Hamburg GmbH//

Documentation centre in Lohsepark takes shape

A central memorial will be erected in HafenCity to commemorate deportations

An integral part of the “Monument HannoverscherBahnhof” is an information and documentation centre with an exhibition that recalls the fate of the deportees i.e. Jews, Sinti, and Roma between 1940 and 1945. Now the architects’ competition has decided on the new building.

Hanover Station: taking the tracks to death

Where the Hanover Station once stood, at least 7,692 Jews, Sinti and Roma were deported to Nazi ghettos and extermination camps in the 1940s. Today, none of it is visible: bombs destroyed large parts of the main building and the last ruins of the station entrance archway were blown up in 1955. During the planning phase for the park, however, remnants of the platform from where a total 20 deportation transports departed between 1940 and 1945, were identified.

Hamburg to keep memories alive

This is one of three elements that will create a fitting place of remembrance for the victims: the now listed relics of the historic station platform and its surroundings, connect with Lohsepark to the east; a topographical reference in the form of a seam tracing the route of the old rail tracks and a documentation centre.

New premises for the latter, for which HafenCity Hamburg GmbH has concluded the architectural competition launched in summer 2015, will be on the edge of the park at the corner of Steinschanze/Am Lohsepark (BF 68/69). The ground floor of the new building will house offices and provide space for a permanent exhibition describing the fate of people deported from north Germany and Hamburg, based on the temporary exhibition, “Sent to their Deaths”, parts of which have been displayed in an InfoPavilion erected on the site of Hanover Railroad Station in September 2013.

Demanding architectural contest

The architectural competition placed tough demands and expectations on contestants. They were tasked with drafting a design for a timeless, powerful building that fulfills a dual role: to create an attractive permanent exhibition and event area on the ground floor that stands out from the building’s surrounding attractions, and to design an office building with a facade that blends in perfectly with the exhibition space.

The planning process for the memorial in the park and the documentation centre was overseen by political representatives of Hamburg and the Hamburg Ministry of Culture, the Jewish community, the Roma and Cinti Union, the Land Association of Sinti and the Auschwitz Committee, the Hamburg Museum of History, the Institute for History of the German Jews, the Regional Centre for Political Education and the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial.

Winning design by southern German team

The winning design submitted by Wandel Lorch Architects (Frankfurt / Saarbrücken) convinced the jury “with a quiet and unpretentious office building that picked up the seriousness of the ground floor exhibition area and documentation centre, although differing in colour and design from the overall cubic building”. The jury appreciates the “simplicity and clarity of the draft, which reflects the apparent dual function of the house, without interpreting it excessively.” Its distinctive ground floor design allows for communication between the two building entities and vice versa.

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