NS-Documentation Centre Krefeld

The Villa Merländer as an exhibition space

At the beginning of the 1990s, the city of Krefeld decided to establish a NS documentation centre in the rooms of the Villa Merländer. Since then, the institution and the Villa Merländer e.V. have been dedicated to the elucidation and presentation of the National Socialist persecution in the silk city. Since its opening in 1991, numerous biographies of victims of National Socialism in Krefeld have been documented through conversations with contemporary witnesses and research work. The results of this work can be found today in the building on Friedrich-Ebert-Straße. German-Jewish history can be traced here. The exhibition "Krefeld under National Socialism" is permanently located here. The former living room of the villa is used as an event room. Readings, lectures, film screenings and small concerts take place here.
The NS-Documentation Centre is also a scientific research institution with its own archive. It is therefore also a contact point for families who wish to research their own family history: By inspecting various documents and eyewitness accounts, we can help to trace family histories.

The Villa Merländer as an exhibition by Heinrich Campendonk

The art of Heinrich Campendonk was also considered "degenerate" in National Socialism. Campendonk, who was born in Krefeld, created two large murals for Richard Merländer's villa a few years earlier. While Richard Merländer was still living in the villa, he had them covered with wallpaper - well before 1933. During the renovation of the villa, the murals reappeared and can now be viewed in an exhibition. 

The Villa Merländer as an educational centre

As a NS-documentation site, we are committed against forgetting, both with guided tours and with various events on our premises and in the entire Krefeld city area. On our sub-page on the subject of educational work at the Villa Merländer you can find out more about events and possibilities in cooperation with the Villa Merländer. 

The chronicle of the NS-Documentation Centre

Villa Merländer in numbers

1989 Presentation of the Chief City Director on the decision to establish a documentation centre "Krefeld during the time of the NS dictatorship".

24 November 1991 - Opening by the then Lord Mayor Willi Wahl.

1991 to 1994 - Years of development: two permanent employees are hired; office, library, collection, seminar rooms, event hall and exhibition rooms are prepared; interns and scientists support the team; own and changing exhibitions are created.

1992 - Foundation of the Förderverein Villa Merländer e.V.

1994 / 1995 - A national debate overshadows the work: the new council majority decides to cut the documentation work. Auxiliary staff are made redundant, the job key is reduced to 1 1/2 staff members, and the staff move to the city archive. The Villa Merländer is retained as an exhibition space.

1995 - The research and educational work on National Socialism in Krefeld is continued. In 1995 the exhibition "Krefeld 45" opens as the first in-house exhibition of the NS-Dokumentationsstelle and deals with the topic of the end of the war.

1997 - Anna Tervoort from Krefeld and friend of Villa Merländer is honoured by the State of Israel as a "Righteous among the Nations".

1998 - On Holocaust Memorial Day, Michel Friedman, member of the Central Council of Jews, visits Krefeld and opens the exhibition "Auschwitz - Pictures of a Winter Journey" by Ingrid Schupetta at Villa Merländer.

04.1998 - Mayor Pützhofen presents Heinrich Campendonk's wall paintings, uncovered by restorer Horst Hahn, to the public. There is a large number of visitors.

1999 - The work of the NS-Documentation Centre of the City of Krefeld is continued and from the following year supported by a board of trustees. Here 21 well-known people from Krefeld participate. However, in the meantime the range of exhibitions and publications has to be limited, as the loss of the educational staff cannot be compensated. Please see the following contributions as excerpts of our work after 1999:

2001 - Symposium in honour of Aurel Billstein

2003 - Ceremonial act and event programme in cooperation with many other cultural providers to commemorate the inauguration of the synagogue on 17 June 1953 under the motto "150 years of the Petersstraße synagogue".

2008 - Exhibition "Pogrom in Krefeld - after 70 years".

2018 - After many formative years, Dr. Ingrid Schupetta takes her well-deserved retirement as director of the Villa Merländer. Her successor will be historian Sandra Franz. 

At a glance

On the subpages you will find further information

We look forward to getting to know you!

Do you have questions about Villa Merländer, offers or dates? Do not hesitate to contact us, we will get back to you as soon as possible! 

Villa Merländer e.V.

Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse 42
47799 Krefeld

Opening hours:

Wednesday 9 am to 1 pm (last admission 12 pm) Every fourth Sunday of the month According to agreement