The Villa Merländer Association

Because history needs a voice

Since 10 March 1992, the Villa Merländer Association has been supporting the NS Documentation Centre of the City of Krefeld. The basic aim of the association is the promotion of activities to remind people of the NS times in Krefeld and the Lower Rhine region. The association achieves this not only by supporting the NS-Documentation Centre Krefeld, but also by preserving the monument at Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 42, including the murals of the artist Heinrich Campendonk, which belong to the house and were considered "degenerate" during the NS era. The Villa Merländer Association also participates in the promotion of scientific research and reappraisal of the Nazi era in the Lower Rhine region as well as in the promotion of critical education and training on the history of the Nazi era.

The Villa Merländer Association can now look back on a history of almost 30 years. More than 300 members commit themselves with their membership against forgetting in the silk city.

The history of the Association of Friends of the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Krefeld

The beginning of the association

After long debates about the where and how of a memorial site to commemorate the victims of the Nazi dictatorship and the resistance against it, the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Krefeld, at that time still NS-Documentation and Meeting Centre, was opened on 24 November 1991 at Friedrich-Ebert-Straße 42.

Decisive for the choice of location was the double history of the house: on the one hand it contained the only murals of the artist Heinrich Campendonk, who was ostracized by the Nazis, and on the other hand it was once the home of the Jew Richard Merländer, who was murdered by the Nazis. Although there was fundamental agreement between all parties on the necessity of establishing a municipal memorial, the institution was not uncontroversial in this form. For this reason, even before the official opening, there were considerations in the political arena to form a support group which was to support the work in the Villa Merländer with advice and action.

The history of the Association of Friends of the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Krefeld

The club today

From small beginnings, an association was formed over the years, whose number of members is now stable at around 300. In 1996, the association came under pressure when the offices and library of the documentation centre had to move to the town archive due to a majority decision of the town council. This meant that local unity in research and, above all, in the care of visitors to the Friedrich-Ebert-Straße was no longer guaranteed. Since then, the Support Association has been working to restore this unity and to provide the NS-Dokumentationsstelle der Stadt Krefeld with sufficient basic personnel and financial resources.

Over the years, the association has repeatedly provided funds that could not be raised from the city budget - for additional supporting staff, technical equipment, individual projects and the colourful mix of the event programme. At present, the association is trying to create a cultural programme that also presents lesser-known works of expressionist art. The Campendonk pictures from 1925 are thus to be put into the context of their time of origin. The voluntary commitment of the association members also enables additional opening hours at the Villa Merländer and the participation of the NS-Documentation Centre in events such as the International Museum Day, the Cultural Market and the Memorial Day, where many helping hands are needed.

Download our statutes here.

Our tasks

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At a glance

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We look forward to getting to know you!

Do you have an enquiry to the association, would you like to find out about our offers or are you interested in becoming a member of the Villa Merländer Association? We are looking forward to your non-binding contact

Villa Merländer e.V.

Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 42
47799 Krefeld