Topf & Sons – Builders of the Auschwitz Ovens Place of Remembrance

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“In Auschwitz there weren’t devils and human beings; there were human beings and human beings,” the Polish former inmate of Auschwitz and Buchenwald Józef Szajna once said. The human beings who desired, established and operated the camp, and the human beings – ultimately more than a million – who were killed there.

In the crematoria for the genocide of the European Jews and Sinti and Roma gypsies, the engineers of J. A. Topf & Sons constructed the ventilation systems for the gas chambers and the ovens for the incineration of the corpses. In no other civilian setting were the practical questions revolving around the industrial annihilation of human life as strongly present as in this Erfurt company – in the form of orders, work, and technical challenges.

On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops.
On 27 January 2011, the Topf & Sons – Builders of the Auschwitz Ovens Place of Remembrance was opened on the former company grounds. Erfurt, the capital of the State of Thuringia, thus acknowledges its responsibility towards history and preserves a historical place of learning along with the unique potential offered by this site for reflection on ethical aspects of work and economic activity.

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Buildings with external land in the evening
©  Stadtverwaltung Erfurt
Web dialogue: Response of Darleen

01.02.2018 13:20

The student of ninth year of the Heinrich-Mann-Gymnasium Erfurt worked out an own opinion in her one-week internship in Topf & Sons Place of Remembrance and …

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Square with gravel and prison building
©  Stadtverwaltung Erfurt
Web dialogue: Response of Barbara, Lisa, Pamina and Roza

26.10.2017 18:00

At a one-week trinational encounter in Auschwitz in October 2017, Barbara and Roza from Poland, sixteen years old, and Pamina and Lisa from Germany, both seventeen, …

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Video Screenshot
©  Stadtverwaltung Erfurt
Web dialogue: Response of Natalie, Nastia, Kora and Sarah

26.10.2017 16:00

At a trinational encounter in October 2017, Natalie from Poland and Kora and Sarah from Germany, all sixteen years old, and the nineteen-year-old Nastia from Ukraine set …

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Video Screenshot
©  Stadtverwaltung Erfurt
Web dialogue: Response of Inga, Magda and Wiktoria

26.10.2017 15:02

During a one-week trinational encounter in October 2017, Inga, Magda and Wiktoria, three sixteen-year-old girls from Poland, acquainted themselves in depth with the …

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