60th Anniversary of the Liberation
The City of Vaihingen/Enz used the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the camp to organize a meeting of survivors. Over 30 former inmates from Canada, France, Israel, the Netherlands, Poland and the USA accepted the invitation and visited together with relatives or friends the place which represents the worst period of their lives.
The visitors` program reflected the varied efforts of the City of Vaihingen and of the association Concentration Camp Memorial not to let this chapter of the German past sink into oblivion but to reappraise it.
Meeting with students
When some of the former inmates met students of both grammar schools on April 15th they described them their memories.
The most impressive fact was that the visitors don`t feel hatred towards the Germans of today, but emphatically warn to notice first signs of an upcoming Nazism.
At the official welcome on Saturday all the speakers called out not to forget the crimes committed in the concentrations camps but also to remember the dead and the cruel events in friendship.
Exhibition in the City Archives
Then the exhibition “Crime and Remembrance, pictures 1945 – 2001” was opened in the City Archives.
The exhibition drew the bow from pictures of gaunt KZ inmates facing death, to pictures of former meetings with survivors in Vaihingen.
The number of visitors was high when in the afternoon the memorial with the media installation was formally opened.
Finally the moving two hour commemoration ceremony on the Concentration Camp Cemetery on Sunday united remembrance, admonition and reconciliation as its main message.
Especially the attempt to snatch the dead away from the namelessness of numbers was felt as important. So each participant laid down a rose onto a grave and commemorated the dead person in silence.