European Heritage Label

Posted on by

The former Natzweiler concentration camp and twelve former satellite camps in Baden-Württemberg were awarded the European Heritage Label

Press release of the State of Baden-Württemberg “Former Natzweiler Concentration Camp receives European Heritage Label”, of 11th December 2017 (german language)

The former concentration camp Natzweiler and its subcamps have been awarded the European Heritage Label. The application was prepared under French leadership and with the participation of Baden-Württemberg and submitted in spring 2017. It was selected by an independent international jury to receive the European Heritage Label. The Label was officially awarded by the European Commission in March 2018 during a ceremony in Bulgaria.

“The award of the German-French mediation work at the sites of the former concentration camp is an important signal of the immense importance of memorial work for international understanding and the strengthening of common values in Europe. The focus of our cross-border work is to raise awareness, especially among young people, of our difficult National Socialist legacy and the subsequent process of European unification,” commented Minister of Economics Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut on the award. “My special thanks go to the many volunteers at the sites of the former Baden-Württemberg subcamps. The Label is a recognition of their decades of service.”

On the Baden-Württemberg side, in addition to the Ministry of Economics, the application process involved the Association of Memorials in the former concentration camp complex Natzweiler, the State Centre for Political Education and the State Office for Monument Preservation, which was mainly supported by volunteers; on the French side, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Defence and the European Centre on Resistance and Deportation at the main camp site Natzweiler-Struthof were involved. Spurred on by the European Heritage Label, the Network of Remembrance will continue to expand its cooperation.

The Natzweiler concentration camp complex with the former Natzweiler-Struthof main camp in Alsace and over 60 subcamps on the right and left of the Rhine documents one of the darkest chapters in the history of Europe. Around 52,000 people from over 30 European countries were imprisoned there during the Second World War. The historical sites on today’s German and French national territory are therefore places of remembrance and mediation of extraordinary European value.

The European Heritage Label is awarded to sites that have an important European symbolic value and highlight the common history of Europe, the construction of the European Union (EU) and the European values and human rights that form the foundation of European integration. Since 2007, 29 European sites have been awarded the label. In the current application process, 25 sites have applied for the label.