Lost places, lost memories? The legacy of Nazi terror along the Swabian Alb
The project aims to research and communicate the materiality of the terror of the Nazi era using examples in the regional environment of the University of Tübingen. It is intended as a think tank that brings together university and non-university research institutions/activities and memorial initiatives to develop future innovative perspectives. The aim is not only to raise awareness among citizens but also to counteract totalitarian and inhuman tendencies in modern-day society.
In 1944/45, ten shale oil factories have been constructed southwest of Tübingen to counteract a precarious fuel shortage. This so-called “Unternehmen Wüste” brought terror and death to 12,000 concentration camp inmates from all over Europe – and devastated the whole landscape as well.
However, the project failed and turned into a humanitarian, ecological and economic disaster. The few material remains left at the sites are crucial to tie those events to the collective memory, but they are threatened to disappear. Since the 1980s, private individuals and initiatives have been working voluntarily to promote commemorative culture and reconciliation. Due to the ever-decreasing number of contemporary witnesses, the study of the material evidence and archaeological remains is gaining new importance for memory and education. Only in recent years the University of Tübingen and the State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg have dedicated themselves to researching, preserving and communicating this material heritage.
The CIVIS Open Lab should help to sustainably link the previous initiatives, to evaluate new research and outreach activities at the interface of university and society and to strengthen the integration into the pan-European memorial discourse. Finally, the material legacy of Nazi terror on the university's doorstep, which - unlike prominent memorials of Nazi terror such as Dachau or Buchenwald - are shockingly absent from the collective memory, must be made more visible and established as learning and teaching environments or open labs. Two major activities serve this goal: 1. The development of new outreach concepts: The factory “Wüste 4” near Erzingen, one of the "lost places" of Nazi terror, will serve as an exemplary case of study for an innovative and inclusive outreach activity. 2. The Development of scientifically based outreach content: by using the case of study of factory “Wüste 4”, selected aspects of the materiality of terror are to be researched through an interdisciplinary approach.
Applicants: Tübingen University Medieval and Post-Medieval Archaeology, Competence Center Archaeometry Baden-Wuerttemberg
Partners: Landesamt für Denkmalpflege Baden-Württemberg, Arbeitskreis „Wüste“ Balingen, Verein Gedenkstätten KZ Bisingen e.V., Initiative Gedenkstätte Eckerwald e.V.
Academics: Dr. Lukas Werther, Dr. Christoph Berthold, Dr. Silvia Amicone and Dr. Christian Bollacher
Students: Open to BA and MA students of the University of Tübingen and other CIVIS universities
Interested in joining the project?
Project contact: PD Dr. Lukas Werther - firstname.lastname@example.org