Gardelegen Memorial Site
A large paved area, suitable for a gathering of people, is located in front of the memorial wall at the Gardelegen Memorial Site. There were no other visitors at the Memorial Site on two successive days in May 2002 when these photos were taken. The Memorial Site is located approximately 5 kilometers from the town of Gardelegen and there is no public transportation to the site.
The bronze sculpture by Jochen Sendler, shown in the photo above, was unveiled in 1971. It depicts a starved prisoner, with his ribs showing, who is standing defiantly with one hand open, which you can see on the right, but his other hand is closed into a fist. In the background, you can see the low wall which outlines the original walls of the barn. The surrounding trees are filled with birds, and one of them has made a white stain on the face of the statue.
The sign on the remaining wall says, in German, that you are standing in front of the remaining part of a grain storage barn, in which on 13 April 1945, 1016 International resistance fighters against Fascism were burned to death a few hours before freedom came. The sign admonishes visitors not to forget the dead who died in the struggle against Facism.
In 1946, on the first anniversary of the massacre at Gardelegen, a natural stone with an inscription in gold letters was erected at the rear of the military cemetery in honor of several Jews who were among the 1016 prisoners murdered on April 13, 1945 when the Nazis at Gardelegen set fire to a barn filled with 1050 prisoners when they tried to escape. This was the first memorial to any of the victims of the Gardelegen massacre. It was not until four years later that work began on a memorial for all the victims.