Freed prisoners in front of the SS headquarters, May 1945
Freed prisoners in front of the SS headquarters, May 1945

In the Flossenbürg concentration camp and its subcamps were 100,000 people imprisoned, out of which 30.000 did not survive. What remains for those, who survived the darkness of the concentration camp?

The first important thing for the freed prisoners was the basic needs for survival. Orphans searched for relatives. They had to deal with the tremendous loss that now came to consciousness, a result of the persecution and imprisonment they had to endure.

Many survivors remained in the country of the perpetrator during this transition period. Between salvation and their new lives they found support in the DP camps along with fellow sufferers. Finally, they returned to their old homes or started a new life. However, the persecution they endured and the experiences of the concentration camp accompanied them on.

Support and compensations had to be fought for. Social recognition was given only to selected groups of survivors. The reference to the Flossenbürg memorial was held only by a few associations of former prisoners in memory, for example by the French “Association de Flossenbürg”. Many groups have actively fought for their rehabilitation and recognition and are continuing to do so, for example the hunger strike held by Sinti and Roma groups in Dachau memorial.

The 50th anniversary of the liberation in 1995 was a turning point for former prisoners of Flossenbürg. Official commemorations, an international youth meeting and witness talks with students are taking place regularly since then. The survivors, as witnesses, are essential to the work of the memorial, which is developing a historic place of learning on the former camp grounds.

Along with the development of the memorial, the former prisoners develop individually. Some document the events they experienced here, others express their experiences in artistic ways and share it with others who shared the same faith. In many families, the following generations will continue to be involved in these forms of remembrance.

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