Buchenwald sausage museum dropped after backlash

Those planning a museum, hotel, and theater at the former concentration camp said they were unaware of the site’s history.

By World Israel News Staff 

Plans to build a sausage museum at the site of the former Nazi Buchenwald concentration camp have apparently been nixed after causing outrage over “a lack of historical awareness.”

A group called Friends of the Thuringer Bratwurst had released plans to relocate the Bratwurst Museum from its current location in Holzhausen to Muehlhausen, where a theater and a hotel were also in the works, according to a JNS report by Jackson Richman published Friday.

Muehlhausen was the site of a couple of subcamps of Buchenwald where prisoners at these particular locations would manufacture aircraft parts.

Rikola-Gunnar Luettgenau of the Buchenwald memorial foundation said the plan showed a “lack of sensitivity” and a “lack of historical awareness,” according to JNS.

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

‘A shameful assault on memory’

The backlash over the earlier announcement had been widespread.

Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper told JNS: “This is a shameful assault on memory. Apparently, some in Germany remember too well how to forget their responsibilities to history.”

“This is in the poorest taste imaginable. In Washington, there is an old adage that politics is like making sausage – it’s ugly,” Sarah Stern, founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), told JNS. “However, there can be nothing uglier than taking hallowed ground that is dripping with Jewish blood and turning it into a museum of sausage-making.

“If they need to make a museum there, it should be of the atrocities that had occurred on that very soil,” she continued. “Without a memory of that, there are no lessons for civilization, and all of those Jewish souls would have perished in vain.”

National Council of Young Israel President Farley Weiss joined the opposition and told JNS that “we oppose the building of this sausage museum. The only museums that should be built at concentration camps should deal with what happened at those camps. This proposed museum is inappropriate, and the project should be relocated.”

Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of StandWithUs and a daughter of Holocaust survivors, told JNS: “This move of a sausage museum to Buchenwald is an unthinkable, cruel action by people who lack sensitivity and respect for the pain and suffering and collective memory of the Jewish people. As studies show a disturbing lack of understanding about the Holocaust, it is crucial that sites such as Buchenwald be preserved, and used to educate and inspire future generations to say no to evil.”

‘A complete re-evaluation’

Amid the outcry, the local mayor held discussions with the region’s Jewish community in addition to the memorial foundation, JNS said.

German public broadcaster MDR reported that Friends of the Thuringer Bratwurst was unaware of the location’s past and said it was open to commemorate the history, according to JNS.

Keith is quoted by the DPA news agency as saying that the group will launch a “complete re-evaluation.”

Out of the almost quarter of a million prisoners, approximately 56,000 people were killed at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945.

This is not the first time an attempt was made to turn a Nazi concentration camp into a site not reflective of its past, JNS noted, pointing to the example of Carmelite nuns taking over a building at Auschwitz in Poland in 1984 that stored the Zyklon B gas the Nazis used to kill Jews. Pope John Paul II, following pressure, ordered the nuns to leave.