No one was rightly in a concentration camp

On the late recognition of so-called "professional criminals" and "asocials" as a victim group of National Socialism

27 October 2023 by Klaus Meier 

All the versions of this article: [Deutsch] [English]


Event with Prof Dr Frank Nonnenmacher (Frankfurt a.M.) and Dr Julia Hörath (Hamburg)
on 22 November 2023 from 18:30 to 20:30 in the Passionskirche; Marheinekeplatz 1, 10961 Berlin
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The Berlin Centre for the Unemployed (BALZ) campaigns against discrimination against low-income and unemployed people. We encounter the resentment of so-called classism in everyday life, but also in debates about social policy projects, such as the recent basic child protection programme. Meeting people who need help with rejection and accusations of guilt is a moral problem of our time. There are historical continuities in this regard that go back to the darkest chapter of German history.

During the Third Reich, many homeless and unemployed people were discriminated against as "asocials" and "professional criminals", persecuted and deported to concentration camps. Around 80,000 people were affected by this and many did not survive the Nazi era. They included multiple offenders as well as people who had begged, simply refused a job or left their workplace without an excuse. Their rehabilitation in post-war Germany was rejected on the grounds that they had been "rightly" imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. Although a concentration camp victim from this group was heard as a witness in the Auschwitz trial in the early 1960s, the Nazi persecution of these people played no role in German remembrance policy. It was not until 2020 that they were recognised as the last group of victims by the German Bundestag. This was largely at the initiative of Frank Nonnenmacher, Dagmar Lieske and Julia Hörath.

On 22 November, Nonnenmacher and Hörath will present the historical background, the initiative and the founding of the victims’ association with two thematic impulses, as well as a critique of the inadequate implementation of the Bundestag resolution of January 2020 and then discuss it with the audience. With this event, the BALZ would like to support the initiative "Nobody was rightly in a concentration camp".

An event organised by the BALZ

Berliner Arbeitslosenzentrum evangelischer Kirchenkreise e. V. (BALZ)

Supported by the Foundation for Human Dignity and the World of Work (Stiftung Menschwürde und Arbeitswelt)

Stiftung Menschwürde und Arbeitswelt
Logo / illustration of the article: Arbeit macht Frei, Sachsenausen by virnuls 27.10.2023 Pixabay licence
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