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Hamburg Urged to Preserve Former Concentration Camp As a Warning and Memorial to Future Generations

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More than 10,000 persons, including leading West German political figures and academicians. Nazi victims and groups and individuals from Israel, the United States and other countries are urging the City State of Hamburg to preserve the former concentration camp at Neuengamme as a memorial and warning to future generations.

An appeal, bearing the signatures, among others, of some 400 former inmates of Neuengamme which was used by the Nazis for slave labor, was presented to Hamburg Mayor Klaus Von Dohnanyi. The appeal notes that from 1938-1945, 106,000 persons were held at Neuengamme of whom 55,000 perished, mainly because of inhumane living and working conditions.

At present, most of the remaining buildings at the camp serve as a prison. Hamburg cultural groups have called for the preservation of the other buildings not in use as a monument. But the local authorities decreed that they are not worthy of preservation.

The former brick factory where thousands of deportees died is to be torn down and other buildings are expected to be incorporated into the prison complex over the next few years.

Signatories to the appeal include such prominent Germans as Hans-Jochen Vogel, Justice Minister in the previous Social Democratic-led government; Horst Ehmke; several Bundestag members; scientists, authors and theologians and Nazi victims from France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Israel.

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