A bunk bed as silent witness

From our collection

from 20 October 2023

In 2017 a rare discovery was made in the municipality of Wedemark in Lower Saxony. In the attic of a former factory, several pieces of historic wooden furniture were recovered, that had been used to house forced labourers. They had to work in the plant around 1943.

Among this wooden furniture were also two bunk beds - with a special feature: the beds are equipt with enamelled name plates, which raise many questions about the fate of the unknown forced labourers. In 2020, the municipality donated one of the two bunk beds to the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre.

What can this object tell us? With the presentation we would like to show various research approaches and shed light on the conditions under which forced labourers had to live.

Deadly forced labour in Karya

German Occupation and the Holocaust in Greece

18 August 2024 - 2025

How can a joint confrontation in Germany and Greece with the little-known history of Nazi forced labour in occupied Greece be promoted? Innovative and participatory forms of teaching history and bi-national encounter projects strengthen mutual understanding and thus European values.

Based on previously unpublished photos of the forced labour of Jewish men on the railway line in Karya, a multi-perspective touring exhibition is being developed. With the involvement of students from Germany and Greece, the Conflict Landscapes Working Group of the University of Osnabrück is geoarchaeologically investigating the site for mass graves and traces of forced labour and developing a high-quality and visually appealing 3-D model that makes the crime scene tangible. In a participatory approach, the results of eyewitness encounters and workshops with descendants of survivors are incorporated into the German-Greek project.

The exhibition is funded by the Foundation EVZ.