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"Means of survival - testimony - work of art - pictorial memory"

In the former disinfection of the concentration camp, the permanent art exhibition with about 200 exhibits - paintings, drawings, graphics, photographs, sculptures, installations and collages - is located on about 400 square metres.

The flat building of the former disinfection, today with glass walls on the right side and place of art exhibition.

Exhibition structure

The exhibition features works created in the concentration camp by those interned as well as pieces created retrospectively by survivors. These are complemented by works of contemporary artists who investigate the possibilities of coming to terms with the National Socialist crimes.

  • The exhibition is divided into five sections:
  • Art from Concentration Camps
  • After Liberation
  • Reminiscences (Józef Szajna)
  • Contemporary attempts
  • Art in public space
The picture shows a view into one of the exhibition rooms of the art exhibition, On the left side of the wall there are several smaller drawings in picture frames on the wall. On the right in the center of the room are three relief paintings cut from the original wall.

Concentration camp art

The first room of the exhibition shows works (landscapes, still lifes) created in Buchenwald's subcamps. Spatially juxtaposed against them are drawings and sketches created by prisoners in the main camp on the Ettersberg, arranged thematically: "The place", "Everyday life", "Portrait", "Landscape".

Many drawings by Paul Goyard are exhibited. Sheltered through the allocation to particular labor detachments, Paul Goyard was able to draw his perceptions of everyday life in the camp on scrap paper. These sketches were used as reference material for the creation of a diorama, that he made in Paris after liberation with the help of a friend and former Buchenwald inmate, José Fosty.

View of the installation Remineszenzen by Josef Szajna in the art exhibition of the Buchenwald Memorial. Arid, abstract wooden frames fill the space, vaguely reminiscent of people. In the background, larger-than-life portraits, a large list, and shoes on the floor.


The large spatial installation "Reminiscences" created by the Polish theater director Józef Szajna is a core work in the exhibition. It is dedicated to the memory of the professors of the Krakow Academy of Arts who were deported to Auschwitz and murdered. The work, which was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1970, is one of the most significant artistic confrontations with the Nazi rupture of civilization.

View into the glazed area of the art exhibition where sculptures are placed.

Art in the public space

Sculptures and monument designs are displayed in the now enclosed wing of the former disinfection chambers: Works in stone and bronze from the 1950s made for memorials in Bad Salzungen, Ravensbrück, and Buchenwald; studies by Erich Wurzer, Will Lammert, Theo Balden, and Fritz Cremer; and (unrealized) designs for the Buchenwald memorial from the 1980s.

A free brochure with the biographies of the artists in the exhibition is available to visitors.

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