The Bernburg Euthanasia Institution was at the center of the National Socialist euthanasia program Aktion T4, a systematic mass murder of people who were considered physically, mentally or emotionally handicapped. Between November 1940 and August 1941, around ten thousand people were killed at the facility.

Last Friday, a delegation from Odense (Denmark) traveled to Bernburg (Germany) with the goal of creating a 3D model of the memorial, which is located in a building within a psychiatric hospital. Our team consisted of two master’s students in data science Camilla Vang Østergaard and Mark Volder, MEMORISE exhibition designer and 3D modeling expert Chris Hall, and MEMORISE project coordinator Stefan Jänicke. Camilla and Mark are collaborating on a master’s project to create a virtual tour of the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre, and Chris and Stefan supervise the project to achieve MEMORISE’s goals and ensure that a solution is developed that will be a valuable addition to the memorial.

A short get-together late Friday afternoon with Dr. Ute Hoffmann, director of the memorial, and Judith Gebauer, pedagogical assistant and the person responsible at the memorial for the MEMORISE project, defined the goals for the weekend. In addition to recording the memorial with LiDAR technology, we reviewed and discussed dozens of historical documents, including testimonies, technical drawings, historical photographs, and Nazi “poison cabinet” literature that embodied the ideology that led to euthanasia. We also discussed current educational concepts and the possibilities of supporting them with virtual tools. In order not to be biased in the creation of the 3D model, we decided to conclude our stay with a tour guided by Judith.

The MEMORISE team would like to thank Ute and Judith for their active support throughout the weekend. Both are very committed to our collaboration and MEMORISE is looking forward to further meetings and joint developments in the future. Below you will find some impressions of our March Weekend in Bernburg.

Author: Stefan Jänicke

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