Between 1941 and 1944, some 6,000 Jewish men, women and children from across the Düsseldorf administrative district were required to report to the municipal abattoir for deportation on a total of seven transports. After they had been registered, they were subjected to body searches and their property was looted. They were then forced to spend the night in the cattle market hall, utterly unaware of what was in store for them. Next morning they were deported from nearby Derendorf freight terminal to ghettos in occupied Eastern Europe: Łódź, Minsk, Riga, Izbica and Theresienstadt (now known as Terezín). The ghettos were often but intermediate stops en route to concentration camps and extermination camps. Few of the deportees survived the Holocaust.
The abattoir remained operational until 2002 after which the site became blighted. A small memorial plaque in Rather Strasse dating from 1986 was the only reminder of the atrocities committed here during the Nazi era. Alter Schlachthof – Memorial Site
For the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences, the move to the new Derendorf campus on the site of the former abattoir brings with it responsibilities. The cattle market hall and the horse abattoir – the sole reminders of what occurred here – acquired conservation status in 1999. Today, the former cattle market hall accommodates the Campus IT department and the University library. The access area to the cattle market hall, from where cattle were driven down a slope into the market hall basement, is now home to the Alter Schlachthof – Memorial Site.
Tasks and goals
The brief was to create an historically appropriate memorial to the Jews of the Düsseldorf administrative district, in particular those deported from the abattoir. Individual and family biographies have been and continue to be pieced together and the crimes committed against them documented. Other issues addressed include reaching out to the few remaining Holocaust survivors and consideration of the aftermath of Nazi rule on present-day German society. After all, some of the paradigms and demonisations underlying the Nazi war crimes still resonate today: racism, xenophobia and other forms of social exclusion.
Permanent exhibition – special exhibitions
An information console at the main entrance to the library explains the historical context and highlights the aftermath of Nazi rule. A wire mesh construction provides pedestrian access to the two slopes down which the cattle were driven into the basement. Two galleries are dedicated to those whose lives became connected with the abattoir, in particular those who were deported from here and subsequently murdered. Also featured are the victims of persecution who managed to flee the country, and those who assisted them. And finally, perpetrators and profiteers. The use of picture frames enables biographies to be rotated and creates an arena within which to explore other topics. In the University library stands the only historical exhibit (apart from the building itself): a stone feeder trough symbolising the barbarity of Nazism. Digital archive – media station
The core of the permanent exhibition is the digital archive, developed and produced by students from the University’s Faculty of Media Studies. Here, biographical information about the victims of persecution is collected. The digital archive is constantly expanded. The goal is an archive whose information resources are such that the face and story of every individual can be matched. The digital archive also holds documentary and photographic collections of selected topics, for example all donated deportation lists and eye-witness reports. The information panels at the entrance to the library are reproduced in expanded form. Recorded interviews with survivors can be heard in the media station located in the basement. Education
An historical-political education package complements both the permanent exhibition and the digital archive. It caters particularly for the University’s students but is equally suitable for students at school and in vocational training, multipliers and interested members of the public. The package comprises conducted tours, information presentations, workshops, readings and lectures about the history and significance of the historical site and about those people from the region who were deported to ghettos and extermination camps. The part played by perpetrators, profiteers and silent onlookers is also scrutinized. Seminars and workshops deal with current issues of concern including racism, antisemitism, right-wing extremism, social exclusion, and the treatment of minorities.
The establishment of this Memorial Centre would have been unthinkable without the generous financial support of public and private sponsors to whom we express our heartfelt gratitude. Address
Erinnerungsort Alter Schlachthof
40476 Düsseldorf Opening hours
Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 22:00,
Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 to 22:00.
Closed on public holidays.
Free admission. Contact
Dr. Joachim Schröder
Tel.: +49 211 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dipl. Soz. Päd. Adelheid Schmitz
Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences
Tel.: +49 211 email@example.com