Commemoration and Remembrance

The first commemorations took place at the former execution site immediately after the war. The architect Helmut Heide won a competition to plan a memorial tendered by the Berlin municipal authorities in 1946. Due to the city’s division and the Berlin blockade in 1948/49, his design was never built.

In 1951, the West Berlin authorities decided to build a memorial in Plötzensee, commissioning the architect Bruno Grimmek. The foundation stone was laid on September 9, 1951, and the memorial was inaugurated on September 14, 1952. Since then, Plötzensee has been a place of remembrance and silent commemoration, dedicated to all victims of the National Socialist dictatorship.

Since 1954, West Berlin’s annual ceremony in memory of the resistance against National Socialism has been held on July 19 or 20. It is attended by relatives of the victims of the failed coup of July 20, 1944, and by representatives of the federal government. The commemorations are now hosted by the federal government and the Memorial Foundation for July 20, 1944.

Further events regularly commemorate various other victim groups, such as the members of the Red Orchestra, or are held on the National Day of Mourning by the German War Graves Commission.

In the 1960s, the Plötzensee Memorial Center opened a small documentation on the German victims of the National Socialist dictatorship in a room adjoining the former execution site. This exhibition was fundamentally revised for the first time in 1999/2000, and has since commemorated all victims of the unjust Nazi justice system murdered here, from many nations. The Plötzensee Memorial Center is now a European site of commemoration.