After outcry, German sausage museum nixes plans to move to former Nazi camp

Association behind museum says it had not been aware of Muehlhausen site’s history: ‘We definitely won’t build there’

The Bratwurst Museum at its current location in Holzhausen  (Facebook photo)
The Bratwurst Museum at its current location in Holzhausen (Facebook photo)

A German sausage museum apparently won’t move to the site of a former Nazi camp for slave laborers after news of the plan triggered strong criticism.

The German Bratwurst Museum was slated to move from Holzhausen to an area on the outskirts of the eastern town of Muehlhausen that was once a satellite site for the larger Buchenwald concentration camp.

That drew criticism from Jewish leaders and others.

Uwe Keith, the head of the association that operates the museum, was quoted late Friday as telling Bild newspaper that “we definitely won’t build there.”

People mourn on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald, January 26, 2018. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

He told news agency dpa the group had discovered the site’s history only Wednesday and will launch a “complete re-evaluation.” It had been offered the site by a private investor who bought it from the German government in 2008.

About 700 Jewish women from Eastern Europe were imprisoned at the camp, codenamed Martha II, during the Nazi era and forced to work at a local arms factory.

The prisoners had been sent from the Auschwitz death camp to work in a weapons factory nearby, and warned that they would be returned to the death camp when they could no longer work.

Reinhard Schramm, head of the Jewish community in Thuringia state, told dpa as news of the plan broke that “A location on the area of a former barracks for Jewish slave laborers isn’t acceptable.”

Regional lawmaker Katharina Koenig-Preuss of the Left party said the location should instead be used to commemorate its history and current instances of anti-Semitism.

“I think the museum is good and funny and relevant, but please not at that site,” dpa quoted her as saying.

Bratwurst Museum at Holzhausen (Courtesy)

The Buchenwald concentration camp was established in 1937. More than 56,000 of the 280,000 inmates at Buchenwald and dozens of satellite camps were murdered by the Nazis or died as a result of hunger, illness or medical experiments before it was liberated by the US Army in April 1945.

Thousands of Jews were among the dead, but also Roma and political opponents of the Nazis, gays and Soviet prisoners of war.

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