The citizens´ association “Landsberg in the 20 th century” was found on November 9, 1983. On the same day the first commemoration ceremony for the 14.500 Jewish concentration camp internees that were killed in one of the 11 camps which formed the concentration camp commando unit Kaufering took place at the concentration camp cemetery of the former concentration camp Kaufering I in the city of Landsberg. Eight citizens had teamed up to preserve the memory of the genocide of the Jews that had taken place on their doorstep.
Amongst the founder members there were a Hungarian-Jewish survivor of Auschwitz and a victim of political prosecution in the Third Reich.
The foundation of the citizens´ association goes back to a suggestion of the then prime minister of Bavaria , Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Strauß. He took the view that the preservation and the listing on a historic register of the last underground bunkers of the former concentration camp “Kaufering VII“ could be conducted the best by the citizens themselves. For him that meant working against totalitarianism and racism.
Since its foundation, the citizens´ association has been fighting for the preservation of the remains of the former concentration camp “Kaufering VII”, and with the support of the then prime minister of Bavaria, Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Strauß, it has achieved that the concentration camp’s under ground bunkers became listed on a historic register. In 1985 the association bought part of the area of the former concentration camp and one year later started to built the „European Holocaust Memorial“. This memorial should enable an everlasting remembrance of the Holocaust in dignity. Finally the „European Holocaust Memorial“ with its underground bunker was handed over in the year 2009 to the
European Holocaust Memorial Foundation. This new Association was founded by 6 members out of the Citizens´Association "Landsberg im 20. Jahrhundert" in order to focus on the maintenance and the conservation of the European Holocaust Memorial areal. The citizens´ association was at the beginning appointed by the foundation to be the executive management of the European Holocaust Memorial. Since 2013 the European Holocaust Memorial Foundation is on its own responsible for the Holocaust Memorial areal and the Citizens´Association has focused on the historical research, consulting the new generated Holocoust Foundation and the commemoration ceremonies (Link).
Since 1983, the citizens´ association preserved the last traces of the concentration camp unit that consisted of 11 concentration camp commando units in the city and in the rural district of Landsberg. Furthermore it collected materials, documents, data, sources and reports of contemporary witnesses on the following research topics:
- Anti-Jewish tradition in Landsberg in the 19th century
- Hitler’s incarceration in Landsberg in 1923/1924
- Landsberg “city of the youth“ – “city of Hitler “ – place of pilgrimage for Nazis from 1935 to 1945
- The concentration camp commando units Kaufering/Landsberg: 1944/1945
- War Crime Prison Nr. 1 in Landsberg: 1945 - 1955
- Displaced Persons Camp Landsberg : 1945 -1951
- Occupation and democratic recommencement since 1945
- History of repression and reappraising; the past of the 20th century with which people are still trying to come to terms with
Parts of these research results are published in the city’s magazines on contemporary history called “Themenhefte Landsberger Zeitgeschichte”. These magazines do not only have the task to convey knowledge about history to younger generations, but they should also reach further contemporary witnesses and should encourage them to record their life story, to produce “Oral History”.
Over the years we actively or in an advisory capacity supported numerous films, TV productions and radio reports in Germany and abroad. Some of them also reported on the work of the citizens´ association itself.
Furthermore the citizens´ association has always promoted the fostering of democratic awareness and opposed totalitarianism, racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism. This is realized through numerous events, exhibitions and commemoration ceremonies.
Twelve years after Pope John Paul the Second’s beatification of the Jesuit father Rupert Mayer, we also achieved his secular rehabilitation through the Bavarian judiciary .
We offer tours at the European Holocaust Memorial and to the archeological remains of the 11 concentration camps of Landsberg/Kaufering.
We have helped and still try to help concentration camp survivors, their children and grandchildren to find missing family members.
We promote national and international encounters of young people. We give lectures and organize tours for pupils and students.
This work automatically includes hostilities, exclusions, intrigues and threats. Power structures are not always transparent in the small city of Landsberg , a fact that adds to the feelings mentioned above .
In the near future we will publish the most important and most impressive documents and experiences on this topic under the link „dealing with history“ (in German).