It is an impressive memorial against deportation and elimination: ‘Die Rampe‘ (the ramp) by German artist Eva Renée Nele Bode (known as E. R. Nele; her father was the founder of the documenta). It was inaugurated in 1985 on the former grounds of the Henschelwerk factory at Kassel, Germany – producing locomotives, lorries and busses, but also tanks, airplanes and missiles. The company used around 6.000 forced labour workers for their purposes. When the artist was a child she could watch the transport of forced labour workers within freight cars; creating this work was also a way to cope with her traumatic childhood memories.
With the memorial the deportation of Jewish citizens and forced labour at the city during Nazi times are remembered. It consists of a goods wagon which is left by bodyless figures that are falling down. In the end only their gowns remain. It is one of these scarce memorials that really touches you emotionally. Seeing such an old goods wagon always reminds me on the Memorial of the Deported at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem and the wagon located in Auschwitz II (Birkenau) at Oświęcim, Poland.
Only few days after the inauguration of the memorial an assault on the artwork happened and it was set on fire. It needed seven years until it was restored. In 2011 the memorial was removed and stored because of extension works of the university of Kassel. Since 2017 it has a new location not far away from the old one – you can find it in the Moritzstraße, between a lecture hall and a learning center.
Moritzstraße / Universitätsplatz