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Roth quotes those involved in the Stalag 326 case for discussion

District council rejects help
Roth quotes those involved in the Stalag 326 case for discussion

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The CDU, AfD and a local electoral alliance are denying financial resources to a memorial in North Rhine-Westphalia. This then announces the closure. Now Minister of State for Culture Roth intervenes, warns of a precedent and summons everyone involved to a discussion.

Minister of State for Culture Claudia Roth has intervened in the debate about the Stalag 326 memorial in North Rhine-Westphalia. “It would be a bitter setback for the culture of remembrance in our country and a dangerous precedent if the Gütersloh CDU, with the support of the AfD, stopped the financing of an important memorial and thereby risked its closure,” said the Green politician in Berlin. The district council in Gütersloh recently voted against the planned cost sharing.

The memorial in Holte-Stukenbrock Castle near Bielefeld has been commemorating German war crimes under National Socialism since 1996. Between 1941 and 1945 there was a prisoner of war camp there, where more than 300,000 people, mainly from the Soviet Union, were held, exploited through forced labor and starved. Many of them died.

Crucial point: 200,000 euros

According to a suggestion from then Federal President Joachim Gauck in 2015, a new concept for the memorial was developed by the board of the support association under the chairmanship of North Rhine-Westphalia's state parliament president André Kuper and the Westphalia-Lippe Regional Association.

As Roth announced, the federal government made 25 million euros available for the memorial work there, “trusting that the others involved will also make their contribution.” She announced that she would ask those responsible at the state and local level to have a clarifying discussion.

On Tuesday, the Gütersloh district announced that the CDU had withdrawn its proposal to support the Stalag support association with 200,000 euros annually at the current district council meeting. Participation in the operating costs was rejected by 36 votes to 33.

The board of the memorial's support association explained that, in addition to the CDU parliamentary group, the AfD and the Gütersloh Free and Independent voters had voted against it. His statement at the weekend made the matter known to a wider public. The support association had announced that the memorial would be closed until further notice. The district council's decision “deeply affected and shocked us,” said the board.

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