Basis of remembrance

Nurnberg – henrike claussen will take over from the 1. September the management of the museum memorium nurnberger prozesse. The 40-year-old historian is no stranger to the french metropolis. Since the opening in autumn 2010, she has been in charge of the exhibition in the palace of justice in the further strabe as curator of the house. In the interview, the first director of the museum talks about her ideas for the future and why the period after 1945 is particularly interesting for her.

With which measures do you want to make the nurnberg trials even more vivid for the visitors??
Henrike claussen: one important element is and remains the jury courtroom as the historical site of the nurnberg trials. In the future, I hope to be able to expand the permanent exhibition and, for example, to integrate the historical judges’ deliberation room into the tour. Another goal is the creation of special exhibition areas in order to be able to expand the range of topics in the future.

Since the trials from 1945 to 1949, the jury room 600 has been slightly modified and, for example, the furniture has been replaced. Do you want to return the hall to its former state with its old inventory??
The hall is still used for court proceedings, but in the coming years it should be fully open to the public. That will happen in 2018 at the earliest, when the judiciary leaves the east wing of the palace of justice and moves into the planned new building. The development of a sustainable concept for the permanent use of the museum will be one of the central tasks for the near future. So I can’t say anything yet about how the hall will look in the future. However, in its present state, I see the jury courtroom as a historical place that reflects not only the nuremberg trials. Apart from that, we only know of two pieces of furniture that have survived the renovation of the hall in 1961 until today. These are the two display panels that we are also showing centrally in the exhibition. But one should never say never. Maybe the old mobiliar is still waiting for its discovery in some memory.

Can nurnberg afford a museum of such national and international importance??
Yes. But the federal government and the state of bavaria have made a substantial one-time contribution to the creation of the memorial, each covering half of the construction costs totaling around four million euros. The city of nurnberg subsequently financed the exhibition and has borne the running costs since its opening in november 2010. The creation of our own management position shows that our work is "getting through" and that the memorium is an important museum for the city of nurnberg.

What makes the nurnberg trials so important from your point of view??
The nurnberg trials symbolize the end of the "third reich. You have made a decisive contribution to the fact that the nazi regime is today unreservedly recognized as an unjust state – an important basis for our culture of remembrance to this day. At the same time, a new national criminal law was developed here that continues to have an impact today and shapes the way we deal with war crimes and systemic human rights violations today.

Which thematic priorities do you want to set?
The nurnberg trials, including the subsequent proceedings, will always remain the central basis; after all, we are at the historic site. But I can also imagine exhibitions on contemporary topics, which would then also deal with human rights issues. This could be done well in cooperation with the newly founded international academy of nurnberg principles.
How many visitors do you want to be able to bury at the end of 2020??
Difficult to say, because the number of visitors will depend on many factors. I’m thinking more pragmatically at the moment: I’d be happy if we broke the 90,000 mark this year. We are already well above the number of visitors of the previous year. The visitor reaction in 2020 will hopefully be the same as it is today: high praise for the clear and comprehensible presentation of a very complex topic. And, of course, a critical remark now and then, which we will continue to take up – after all, nobody is perfect! Looking forward to steadily growing visitor numbers by 2020.