Verbund der Gedenkstätten im ehemaligen KZ-Komplex Natzweiler (VGKN, Association of Former
Natzweiler Concentration Camp Complex Memorial Sites)
Coming into Force at the
Founding Meeting in
November 5, 2016
Table of Contents
1. Goals of the Association
2. Name, Seat, and Fiscal Year
3. Tasks of the Registered Association
4. Common Public Interest and Disinterestedness
5. Becoming a Member
6. Termination of Membership
7. Membership Fee
8. Institutions of the VGKN
9. General Assembly
10. Convening the General Assembly
11. Extraordinary General Assembly
12. Passing Resolutions at the General Assembly
13. Executive Committee
14. Legal Representation and Accountability
15. Responsibility of the Executive Committee
16. Election and Tenure of Office of the Executive Committee
17. Sessions and Resolutions of the Executive Committee
18. Internal Auditing
19. Taking Minutes
20. Dissolution of the VGKN
21. Assets Commitment at Dissolution
22. Legal Validity
Between 1942 and 1945, at least 55 satellite camps of Natzweiler Concentration Camp were erected. Almost all of them were sites of the SS as well as of the defense and armaments industry of the “Third Reich.” In these concentration camps and production sites, the inmates had to conduct forced labor under inhuman conditions, often until their death. After the evacuation of the main camp and its satellite camps west of the Rhine, “K.L. Natzweiler” continued to exist, at least in name, in the form of its satellite camps east of the Rhine until the end of the war. In the final stages of World War II, the worsened situation in the camps as well as evacuation and death marches claimed additional casualties among the inmates.
Especially since the late 1980s, citizens from communities near the former satellite camp locations or production sites have committed themselves to the establishment of memorial sites. Each of these sites has its own individual history. The peculiar characteristics and independence of these memorial sites should be treasured and preserved.
Still, the memorial sites who make up the Verbund der Gedenkstätten im ehemaligen KZ-Komplex Natzweiler (VGKN, Association of Former Natzweiler Concentration Camp Complex Memorial Sites) have many things in common.
– On a historical level, all memorial sites are dealing with a multinational prisoner society, resulting, from the start, in local remembrance having a transnational European dimension. The memorial associations are in close contact with camp survivors and their families, their organizations as well as other institutions in- and outside of Europe. The work of the memorial sites is conducted in a spirit of reconciliation and international understanding.
– All memorial sites see themselves as places of historical and political education for youths and adults; for this, they have developed sophisticated pedagogic programs. They are in contact with schools as well as other educational institutions, and they welcome diverse groups of visitors. They reach out to the public with commemoration services, talks, and offers to get involved oneself.
– Through their educational work, all memorial associations advocate humans rights, rule of law; they are against racism, antisemitism, antiziganism, and other forms of group-focused enmity.
More and more, the concentration camp memorial associations have come to the awareness that they are working on a common history. Historically, this is associated with the constant shifting of locations of both victims and perpetrators within the “Nazweiler” complex. Therefore, the site of the former main camp with its Centre européen du résistant déporté (CERD, European Center of Deported Resistance Members) in France has come more and more into focus. This is why there has been, for many years now, successful cooperation among the memorial associations themselves as well as increased cooperation with the CERD.
By founding an association, the cooperation of the memorial sites shall be better organized and made more effective.
§ 1 Goals of the Association
The goals of the VGKN are securing, intensifying, and continuing, on a permanent basis, what heretofore has only been an informal network and, moreover, managing joint projects and the transnational cooperation with partners especially in France but also in other countries in- and outside of Europe.
The registered association therefore pursues the purposes of fostering academic research, of international understanding, of learning and education, and of historic preservation. The VGKN is aware that:
– Academic, cultural, and pedagogic joint projects and tasks of the respective concentration camp memorial societies confederated in the VGKN often overburden the respective local means. They shall therefore be also organized on the level of the VGKN. At the same time, the independence of the respective memorial sites will be maintained.
– The current manifestations of right-wing radicalism, antisemitism, and racism call for a strengthened and permanent presence of the memorial societies’ public relations work, also in social media and on the internet.
– Because of the European significance of the memorial sites’ local work, it is necessary to make their network, as represented by the VGKN, visible to the public on regional, national, and especially European levels.
– Transnational cooperation of local memorial societies with the CERD and other partners is becoming increasingly more important. This necessitates a well-thought-through approach, intercultural competence, and multilingualism; in other words: professional work in cooperation with experts on the ground.
§ 2 Name, Seat, and Fiscal Year
1. The name of the registered association is “Verbund der Gedenkstätten im ehemaligen KZ-Komplex Natzweiler” (VGKN, Association of Former Natzweiler Concentration Camp Complex Memorial Sites). It is to be entered into the register of associations. After registration, the name is “Verbund der Gedenkstätten im ehemaligen KZ-Komplex Natzweiler e.V.“.
2. The seat of the registered association is Stuttgart.
3. The fiscal year of the registered association is the calendar year.
§ 3 Tasks of the Registered Association
1. Supporting maintenance and accessibility of the memorial sites.
2. Exchanging information and experience.
3. Organizing events and projects with shared joint responsibility.
4. Developing concepts for imparting history and the European significance of the historical sites and the network.
5. Transnationally-oriented public relations (multilingualism) aimed at a young European audience.
6. Increased display of the sites through a standardized and multilingual system of signposts.
7. Expanding international cooperation with partner organizations, especially with the CERD; development and supervision of joint transnational projects.
8. Cooperation in the field of historical research and its publication in a European perspective (building up lists and databases for survivors’ accounts, for publications, for names of victims and perpetrators, etc.).
§ 4 Common Public Interest and Commercial Disinterestedness
1. The registered association pursues exclusively and directly common public interests as defined by the section “Steuerbegünstigte Zwecke” (tax-privileged purposes) of the Federal German Abgabenordnung (fiscal code).
2. The registered association’s activities are commercially disinterested. It does not, first and foremost, pursue commercial interests of its own.
3. The financial means of the registered associations are only allowed to be used for purposes as stated in its statutes. No person shall benefit from spendings deviating from the purposes of the registered association nor through disproportionately high reimbursements. Members who terminate their membership have no claims on the registered association’s assets, for example refunds of paid membership fees.
4. In order to manage its tasks, the VKGN can, in addition to its voluntary work, contract out work, as long as the funding for such work is secured.
§ 5 Becoming a Member
1. Legal bodies (“juristische Personen” in German) and actual persons can become members of the VGKN if they are a memorial association connected to former Natzweiler Concentration Camp or if they run such a memorial association, and if they support the goals of these VGKN’s statutes. Such members have one vote, respectively, in the general assembly.
2. It is permissible to transfer a vote to a member who is authorized for representation.
3. Individual persons who want to notably support the goals of the registered association can become members. They do not have a vote in the general assembly.
4. The requirement for becoming a member is an application for membership admission, to be handed in text form to the executive committee. The executive committee decides upon the membership admission. If membership admission is not granted, a reason has to be put forward.
§ 6 Termination of Membership
1. Membership is terminated through resigning from the VGKN, deletion from the register of members, or exclusion from the VGKN.
2. If a member resigns from the VGKN, the member has to provide a written statement to the executive committee. Membership resignation can only be declared at the end of the calendar year; a period of notice of three months is to be kept.
3. By resolution of the executive committee, a member can be deleted from the register of members if, despite written monition, the member has not paid membership fees for at least two consecutive months. Deletion from the register of members can only be resolved if three months have passed since sending the written monition and if the monition included a warning of deleting the member from the register of members. The resolution of deleting the member from the register of members has to be conveyed to the respective member.
4. If a member grossly violates the interests of the VGKN, that member can be, by resolution of the executive committee, excluded from the VGKN. Before that resolution, the executive committee has to give the respective member the chance for providing a statement either in oral or written form.
5.The resolution of deletion according to passage 4. has to be substantiated in written form and conveyed to the respective member. The member has the right to appeal against the resolution in written form sent to the general assembly. The appeal has to made before the executive committee within one month from receiving the resolution of exclusion. After timely appeal, the executive committee has to convene a general assembly within one month; that general assembly will, after deliberation, make a decision about the exclusion; the decision has to be made with a simple majority. The respective member who made the appeal is not allowed to be present at the general assembly’s deliberation and the resolution about said appeal. The resolution of the general assembly has to be substantiated and conveyed to the respective member in written form.
§ 7 Membership Fees
1. Members have to pay an annual membership fee.
2. The amount and due date of the annual membership fee will be stipulated by the general assembly.
3. The executive committee can, if justified, exempt members from the membership fee or defer the membership fee.
§ 8 Institutions of the VGKN
Institutions of the VGKN are the general assembly an the executive committee.
§ 9 General Assembly
1. The general assembly is in charge of the following matters:
a) The general assembly determines the main thrusts of the VGKN’s activities;
b) It receives the annual report of the executive committee and the report of the internal auditor;
c) It discharges the executive committee from liability;
d) It elects and dismisses the executive committee’s members;
e) It elects the internal auditor;
f) It sets the amount of the annual membership fee;
g) It resolves changes in the statutes;
h) It resolves the appeals against a resolution of exclusion by the executive committee according to § 6, passage 5;
i) It resolves the dissolution of the VGKN as a registered association
2. Each member eligible to vote is entitled to let additional members who are not eligible to vote participate in the general assembly.
§ 10 Convening the General Assembly
1. A regular general assembly has to take place at least once a year.
2. The general assembly is convened by the executive committee at the latest three weeks before the date of the general assembly via written invitation and with a fixed order of business.
3. Each member is eligible to make a request with the executive committee for an addition to the order of business at the latest one week before the general assembly and in written form. The chairman/chairwoman of the general assembly has to announce the addition to the order of business at the beginning of the general assembly. Additions to the order of business made during the general assembly are resolved by the general assembly.
§ 11 Extraordinary General Assembly
1. The executive committee has to convene an extraordinary general assembly if the interests of the VGKN require so. An extraordinary general assembly has to be also convened if a third of the VGKN’s members submit a written request under specification of the reasons for and goals of such an extraordinary general assembly.
2. Should an extraordinary general assembly be convened according to passage 1, sentence 2, the goal of that extraordinary general assembly has to be stated in the order of business.
3. Concerning the deadline of convening an extraordinary general assembly, the order of business, and possible additions to the order of business, refer to §10, passage 2 and 3, respectively. If pressing urgency necessitates so, the deadline for convening an extraordinary general assembly can be reduced to three days.
§ 12 Passing Resolutions at the General Assembly
1. The general assembly is headed by the executive committee. The executive committee will appoint a chairman/chairwoman from among its ranks.
If there is no member of the executive committee present, the general assembly will appoint a chairman/chairwoman and a secretary.
2. If there is a vote, the general assembly will appoint an election supervisor from the ranks of the general assembly who, as a chairman/chairwoman, will head the debate and the election. S/he is not allowed to run for an office her-/himself.
3. The chairman/chairwoman proposes the type of vote to be taken. Concerning the election of the executive committee’s members, refer to the regulations set down in § 16, passages 1 to 4. In any other matter, a secret ballot can be taken if a third of the VGKN members present requests this.
4. The general assembly constitutes a quorum if at least two tenths of the VGKN’s members are present. When ascertaining the constitution of a quorum, refer to § 5, passages 2.
5. If the general assembly does not constitute a quorum, the executive committee has to immediately convene a new general assembly with the same order of business to take place within eight weeks. This general assembly does constitute a quorum regardless of the number of members present; this has to be indicated in the invitation. Concerning the deadline for convening, the order of business, and additions to the order of business, refer to § 10, passages 2 and 3. If extraordinary matters require so, refer to § 11, passage 3.
6. Resolutions are passed by the general assembly with a majority of valid votes. In order to change the statues, a two-thirds majority of valid votes is necessary.
7. Individuals are elected by more than half of the passed and valid votes. If no candidate receives more than half of the passed and valid votes, there will be a run-off ballot between the two candidates with the most votes. If both candidates receive the same number of votes, the run-off ballot will be repeated. If the second run-off ballot results in another tie of votes, the decision will be made by drawing lots.
8. During elections and votes in other matters, abstained votes count as validly passed votes.
§ 13 Executive Committee
1. The executive committee consists of: the chairman/chairwoman, the vice-chairman/vice-chairwoman, and the treasurer.
2. It is permissible that the majority of the executive committee’s members can elect special experts as executive committees member with voting power. Their office ends with the termination of a particular project.
§ 14 Legal Representation and Accountability
1. The chairman/chairwoman and the vice-chairman/vice-chairwoman represent the VGKN in- and outside of court. Each of them is authorized to represent the VGKN on their own.
2. For internal matters, the vice-chairman/chair-woman is authorized to represent the chairman/chairwoman.
3. The executive committee is obligated to make sure that every contract the VGKN enters contains the stipulation that VGKN members vouch only with the VGKN’s funds. Moreover, accountability applies according to the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) with the additional stipulation that the executive committee, should it act grossly negligent in the internal affairs of the VGKN, is exempt from accountability.
§ 15 Responsibility of the Executive Committee
1. The executive committee is responsible for all matters of the VGKN unless they are assigned to another part of the VGKN, according to the statutes.
2. The executive committee is especially responsible for:
a) Conducting day-to-day business of the VGKN;
b) Preparing and convening the general assembly;
c) Executing the resolutions of the general assembly;
d) Preparing annual reports;
e) Deciding about the termination of membership by deletion from the register of members as stipulated in § 6, passage 3;
f) Deciding about the termination of membership by exclusion from the VGKN as stipulated in § 6, passage 4;
g) Making decisions concerning membership fees as stipulated in § 7, passage 3.
2. The power of representation by the executive committee affecting third parties is limited to acts of legal significance of up to 2,500 (two-thousand-and-five-hundred) Euros; the general assembly has to approve sums of more than 2,500 (two-thousand-and-five-hundred) Euros.
§ 16 Election and Tenure of Office of the Executive Committee
1. The general assembly elects the executive committee for a term of two years. The executive committee is in office until a new executive committee is elected. Reelection is permissible.
2. Only VGKN members who are eligible to vote can be elected members of the executive committee. Termination of the VGKN membership also terminates the term of office of an executive committee member.
3. Both open and secret ballots are permissible. If one present VGKN member petitions for a secret ballot, there shall be a secret ballot.
4. If a member of the executive committee drops out before the end of the term of his/her office, the executive committee can appoint a successor for the rest of the term.
5. If two members of the executive committee resign or drop out before the end of their terms of office, a general assembly shall be convened in order to elect a new executive committee.
§ 17 Meetings and Resolutions of the Executive Committee
1. The executive committee passes resolutions in meetings which are convened and headed by the chairman/chairwoman or, should the chairman/chairwoman be absent, by the vice-chairman/vice-chairwoman.
2. Notification of an executive committee meeting should be made one week prior to the meeting.
3. The executive committee constitutes a quorum if at least two of its members are present. Resolutions are passed with a majority vote. For vote abstention, refer to § 12, passage 8.
§ 18 Internal Auditing
1. The general assembly elects two internal auditors for a term of two years. The internal auditors cannot be members of the executive committee. Reelection is permissible.
2. The internal auditors review the executive committee’s cash management at least once a year and present a report to the general assembly.
§ 19 Taking Minutes
1. The executive committee takes minutes of the executive committee’s meetings’ and the general assembly’s discussion results, petitions, and resolutions.
2. The minutes have to be signed by the note taker and the head of the assembly.
3. The statutes concerning taking minutes apply equally for cases stipulated in § 12, passage 1, sentence 3.
4. A member can petition to receive access to the minutes of the general assemblies. The members of the executive committee have access to all minutes at any time.
§ 20 Dissolution of the VGKN
1. The VGKN can be dissolved if a three-fourths majority of a properly convened general assembly properly decides so. Refer to § 12, passage 5.
2. Unless the general assembly decides otherwise, the chairman/chairwoman and the vice-chairman/vice-chairwoman are authorized to represent the VGKN’s liquidators. Refer to § 14, passage 2.
§ 21 Assets Commitment at Dissolution
Should the VGKN be dissolved or if the tax-privileged purposes of the VGKN cease to exist, the financial assets of the VGKN go to those memorial associations who are non-profit registered associations and who will use said financial assets directly and exclusively for non-profit or charitable purposes.
§ 22 Legal Validity
On November 5, 2016 Stuttgart, the following persons signed and therefore drew up these statutes:
Representing the Gedenkstättenverein KZ Bisingen e.V.: Dieter Grupp
Representing the Geschichtswerkstatt KZ-Gedenkstätte Echterdingen Bernhausen: Dr. Nikolaus Back
Representing the Initiative Gedenkstätte Eckerwald e.V.: Brigitta Marquart-Schad
Representing the KZ-Gedenkstätte Hailfingen-Tailfingen e.V.: Harald Roth
Representing the KZ-Gedenkstätte Vulkan Haslach: Sören Fuß
Representing the Initiative KZ-Gedenkstätte Hessental e.V.: Manfred Krey
Representing the Miklos-Klein-Stiftung, Gedenkstätte ehemaliges KZ Kochendorf: Detlef Ernst
Representing the Initiative KZ-Gedenkstätte Leonberg e.V.: Marei Drassdo
Representing the KZ-Gedenkstätte Neckarelz e.V.: Dorothee Roos
Representing the KZ-Gedenkstätte Sandhofen e.V.: Marco Brenneisen
Representing the Initiative KZ in Spaichingen: Dr. Albrecht Dapp
Representing the KZ-Gedenkstätte Vaihingen/Enz e.V.: Felix Köhler
[Please note: This translation of the originally German Statutes of the Association of Former Natzweiler Concentration Camp Complex Memorial Sites into English is not legally binding.]