Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Ravensbrück

Permanent Exhibitions

The Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp - History and Memory

On 21 April 2013, the new permanent exhibition on the history of the Ravensbrück concentration camp was opened at the Ravensbrück Memorial in the presence of survivors, representatives of survivor associations and groups of supporters, public figures, and many other interested individuals. This exhibition, which is displayed across two storeys of the renovated former SS headquarters building, is the first to provide a more comprehensive insight into the history of the Ravensbrück camp complex, comprising the women’s concentration camp, the men’s camp, the Uckermark ‘juvenile protective custody camp’, the Siemens camp, and the many satellite camps. A digital model of the camp depicts the development of the camp complex. The exhibition includes media points with accounts from 54 survivors as well as 152 biographies of former prisoners. In addition to the 13 main introductory texts, there are 35 thematic texts, 160 texts on individual topics, 80 folders, 17 video points, and 22 audio points to provide a more in-depth look at the history of the site. Around 1,000 photos and documents and roughly 500 objects are also on display, some of them for the first time.

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The ‘Führerhaus’: Everyday Life and Crimes of Ravensbrück SS Officers

The SS referred to the four villas for SS officers and their families immediately adjacent to the prisoner compound as ‘Führerhäuser’. Since 2010, an exhibition focusing on these SS leaders has been displayed in the former house of the camp commandant. These officers jointly determined what life was like for the more than 140,000 women, men, and children in the camp. They were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of prisoners who succumbed to the conditions of their imprisonment or to deliberate murder campaigns. The exhibition explores the actions and motives of these perpetrators as well as their environment and everyday lives. Traces of the lives of the SS officers are still visible in the building, which was erected in 1939. The building was renovated according to the standards for preserving historical monuments, so exhibition visitors can individually explore the various phases of its use during and after the war.

Ravensbrück: The Cell Building - currently closed due to renovation

The exhibition that opened in 2006 covers the history of the cell building in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. This two-storey building was built in 1939 as the camp prison, and its original features have been largely preserved. With its block of 78 cells, an open ceiling, and an atrium surrounded by a gallery, it resembles a conventional prison building. The north wing of the building held an administrative block. Until April 1945, prisoners from the Ravensbrück women’s and men’s camps and the Uckermark ‘juvenile protective custody camp’ served detention sentences here, and corporal punishment was also meted out to prisoners from the women’s camp. From February 1944 the building was additionally used to detain ‘remand prisoners’ arrested by a special commission of the Gestapo at the Reich Security Main Office, who imprisoned members of various resistance groups here, including Elisabeth von Thadden; Johanna Solf; the Catholic trade unionist Nikolaus Gross, who was beatified in 2001; Nina Schenk Countess von Stauffenberg, wife of the leader of the Hitler assassination plot; and Helmuth James Count von Moltke. The family members of German opponents of the regime were also detained here under the ‘family accountability’ principle, and other prisoners were detained here prior to their execution. In August 1943, the SS carried out forced operations here on five Polish women who had refused to undergo surgery in the context of medical experiments. The building was additionally used to hold SS members who were incarcerated as a disciplinary measure or who were on remand. After the end of the war, the cell building – like the rest of the camp – was initially used by the Soviet army. In 1959, the first camp museum of the Ravensbrück National Memorial was set up in this building, as were the first national memorial rooms. Since it was redesigned in the mid-1980s, the upper floor of the cell building has held national memorial rooms, while the lower floor has housed memorial rooms for individual prisoner groups as well as several reconstructed detention cells. On 15 March 2017, the cell building closed for an extended period. The building’s envelope and severely water-damaged lower floor are currently being renovated, and the historical features of the building are being restored. The building is also being made wheelchair-accessible.

Exhibition catalogue >>

Former house for female guards
Former house for female guards

In the Auxiliary of the SS: Female Guards at the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp - currently closed due to reconception

From October 2004 to 2015, an exhibition entitled ‘In the Auxiliary of the SS: Female Guards at the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp’ was displayed in one of the eight former houses for female guards. This exhibition is part of a longer-term exhibition concept in the context of the Memorial’s target plan. It was the first exhibition at the Ravensbrück Memorial to address the growing public interest – particularly among younger generations – in the topic of the concentration camp guards and their crimes. The exhibition looked at the position of female SS guards in the hierarchy of the SS at the concentration camp, their recruitment and training, their duties, their individual scope of action, their careers, and their crimes. The topics included post-war legal proceedings in the four occupation zones as well as in West and East Germany, the integration of the former female guards in the post-war societies of West and East Germany, their reception history, and how the families of former female SS guards confronted or suppressed their past.

The exhibition had to be dismantled for technical reasons. The 13-year-old exhibition is now being completely overhauled in light of new research findings. The new exhibition is due to open at the end of 2018. Until then, visitors can tour the empty ‘female guards’ house’.

Exhibition catalogue >>

Slave Labour at the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp: Textile Production for the SS

Slave Labour at the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp: Textile Production for the SS

The exhibition entitled ‘Slave Labour at the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp: Textile Production for the SS’, which is on display in a textile production building in the former industrial estate of the Ravensbrück concentration camp, presents the latest research findings on slave labour for the SS-owned company ‘Gesellschaft für Textil- und Lederverwertung mbH’ (Texled).

Place of Names - currently closed due to renovation

Former gate guardhouse, now the Place of Names
Former gate guardhouse, now the Place of Names
Place of Names with memorial book for the dead
Place of Names with memorial book for the dead

The Place of Names was established in 2005 in a former SS guardhouse next to the camp gate. It holds a memorial book listing the names of around 13,000 women, men and children who died or were murdered in the Ravensbrück concentration camp. The memorial book is now presented in the newly renovated building of water supply opposite the former guardhouse. The SS guardhouse is currently under reconstruction and will be reopened in spring 2019.