The Bonn Memorial Center features a permanent exhibition showing how political opponents, the Jewish population, Sinti as well as other inhabitants of Bonn and the region were no longer allowed to belong to German society after the National Socialists seized power.
Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 12 to 6 pm
Political opponents initially resisted, Jewish families fled to neighbouring countries or left Europe altogether. For those who stayed behind, the situation became increasingly dangerous.
The exhibition also remembers the patients of medical institutions in Bonn, many of whom were systematically killed (euthanasia crimes 1939-1945). It also illustrates the living conditions of almost 10,000 forced laborers and prisoners of war who were displaced to Bonn.
The non-profit association for the Bonn Memorial Center was founded in 1984, and an initial temporary exhibition was established in Bad Godesberg. Since 1996, a permanent exhibition has been located in Franziskanerstraße 9 and updated regularly. The Memorial Center became a municipal institution in 2021; the former institutional association has been transformed into a support association.
Close to midnight on 9 November 1938, an order was issued to burn down all synagogues in the German Reich. The synagogues of Bonn were set on fire and destroyed on 10 November. The installation in the foyer shows fragments of the 1879 synagogue, which once stood on the banks of the Rhine. The displayed remnants were uncovered and excavated during construction works in 1987.
Room 1: Introduction
… and suddenly you no longer belonged
The wall-sized photograph of the Friedensplatz in Bonn during the 1930s shows an apparently ideal and safe world. In truth, however, many citizens like those depicted were excluded from political and social life after the seizure of power by the National Socialists. Photographs from sites of terror in Bonn and situations of persecution illustrate the mounting threat faced by political opponents, Jews and other people considered undesirable by the National Socialists.
Railroad tracks on the ceiling symbolise the path to concentration and death camps, and a map documents the persecution, flight and deportation of people from Bonn.
Room 2: Documentation
Bonn at the beginning of the National Socialist dictatorship
Resistance and political persecution – systematic terror
Forced sterilisation and murders of patients
Persecution and deportation of Jewish inhabitants from Bonn
Exclusion, deprivation of rights and deportation of Sinti and Roma
Forced labour – work assignments in Bonn
Stigmatisation and persecution – social outsiders, deserters, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses ...
Helpers – bravery and moral courage
The Christian Churches – between cooperation and opposition
Bonn University – between science and ideology
Room 3: Memorial Room
The black wooden frames commemorate the Bonn inhabitants who were murdered by the National Socialists or died as a consequence of the NS regime of terror.
A gravestone wall with 79 names in Cyrillic writing remembers people of Soviet and Polish descent who lost their lives due to forced labour or as prisoners of war in Bonn and the region. Their graves are situated at the Bonn North Cemetery.
The Memorial Center offers guided tours through the exhibition and in the city of Bonn as well as group workshops, lectures and special exhibitions.
The Documentation Center on the ground floor features a reference library and an archive, both of which can be accessed on request.
The library has literature on the local history of Bonn and general academic literature regarding the National Socialist era. In addition, a limited number of workspaces are available. In the archive, a wide range of archival documents related to the persecuted inhabitants of Bonn is preserved. This includes items such as personal letters, historical and private photographs as well as interviews with contemporary witnesses.
Admission to the exhibition is free
Guided tours, walks and workshops for groups of students and adults can also be arranged outside of regular opening hours. All educational offers are free.
You can support our work with a donation to the support association Förderverein Gedenkstätte und NS-Dokumentationszentrum e.V.