An NSU documentation center is being built in Chemnitz as a pilot project. The federal government is also planning such a center, but probably not in Saxony.

Aerial view of Chemnitz.

A documentation center of the Saxon NSU will be built here: aerial photo of Chemnitz Photo: Pond5/imago

SEDAN taz | Video installations will soon be installed in the rooms of the former EinsEnergie headquarters in the center of Chemnitz, as a pilot project for a Saxon documentation center at the NSU. The videos show, for example, the “Tenth Victim” demonstrations, with which relatives took to the streets in Kassel and Dortmund in 2006, after the murder of nine people of immigrant origin. At the time the perpetrators were unknown and the families demanded that a far-right motive be investigated; His protest fell silent. Until 2011, it became known that the murders were carried out by the right-wing terrorist NSU.

The NSU temporary documentation center on terrorism will be presented in Chemnitz on Tuesday. Gamze Kubaşık, daughter of Mehmet Kubaşık, shot dead in Dortmund in 2006, Saxon Justice Minister Katja Meier (Greens) and Juliane Seifert (SPD), State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, will be present. The completion ceremony is scheduled for June. The project will be part of the Chemnitz “Culture Capital 2025” program.

Exhibits at the NSU Documentation Center aim to focus on those affected and critically examine the NSU terror. An “assembly” should also be central, a meeting space for those affected by right-wing violence and for self-organization or youth work projects. An archive for research is also being planned.

Saxony's Justice Minister Katja Meier told Taz she was “glad to have found in Chemnitz an appropriate venue” that will address racism and right-wing extremism in a “critical and thoughtful way.” “We have a responsibility to address the NSU complex and prevent future racist crimes.”

A federal center will be built by 2027

The idea of ​​an NSU documentation center came about years ago. Thuringia, where the NSU core trio went into hiding in 1998, opened an NSU memorial site and archive in 2017. Saxony decided on an NSU documentation center in 2019 and submitted a feasibility study in 2023 that recommended a dual location in Chemnitz and Zwickau, where the trio lived underground for years. In 2021, the federal traffic light also included the idea in its coalition agreement. The question now is: Can the projects be merged?

In late February, the federal government presented its own feasibility study for an NSU documentation center, prepared by the Federal Agency for Civic Education. This should be ready by 2027 and the exhibition should be completed by 2030. A permanent exhibition is also proposed there, focusing on those affected and the failure of the security authorities. A file should also contain it. It is recommended in the future to create a public foundation as a sponsor and a staff of 45 people. In the current budget, 500,000 euros have been allocated to the project, for example for preparatory studies. In 2027 the costs should be 15 million euros.

The federal government has not yet decided on the location, a spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of the Interior told taz on Monday. The feasibility study also leaves one location open. However, he stresses that what is crucial is a “political signaling effect”, the existing structures in place, the potential for visitors and security for migrants. The call: “When choosing the location, the concerns of those affected must be taken into account.”

Chemnitz and Zwickau as “perpetrator cities”

In fact, several relatives of the victims had spoken out against Saxony: Chemnitz and Zwickau were “cities of the perpetrators”, difficult to access and they did not feel safe there. Some relatives advocated for Berlin as the main location, as well as for a decentralized concept that could also include memorial sites at crime scenes, or the Chemnitz pilot project.

The federal government's feasibility study also followed this and recommended a “decentralized network structure” in addition to a central NSU documentation center. The Federal Ministry of the Interior stated that “projects such as the pilot project in Chemnitz could fundamentally be integrated” into such a structure. “A decision on the location is expected to be made later this year.”

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