The irritations that the new Central Building might cause are definitely intended. The building is an architectural intervention into the university campus as much as into the cultural memory of the Lüneburg region. The Leuphana campus formerly was a barracks, which had been constructed through 1935 and 1936 in the course of the general military build-up. The transformation from military site to university was performed in the early 1990s; it places a historical responsibility both on Leuphana University and the City of Lüneburg to deal with German history. Both the city of Lüneburg and the Scharnhorst barracks were closely linked to National Socialism. Hitler and Himmler were no strangers to the Lüneburg region.Hitler`s celebrated speech at the MTV sports ground on 20 July 1932 was only one of many in Lower Saxony. And Himmler poisoned himself on 23 May 1945 in Lüneburg, Uelzener Straße 31a, opposite the officers` casino of the Scharnhorst barracks after interrogation. The Allied Forces had seized him close by. However, the historical significance of the involvement of this barracks in Nazi war crimes is particularly evident because of its connection with the ID (Infantry Division) 110.The architectural heritage of Leuphana University thus does not only signify uniformity, hierarchy, and obedience but also annihilation. Therefore it was important for the new Central Building to not transform, conceal, or replace the barracks architecture, but to emphasize its repellent austerity and lack of character. The higher the level of contrast and irritation is, the more critical engagement with architectural heritage and, generally, German history. 

The latest research results documenting the role of the Lüneburg barracks in the Third Reich are documented in the exhibition series “Hinterbühne“ at the Leuphana Kunstraum


Recent historical research concludes that the decisive Nazi aspect of Lüneburg was not only its transformation into a Gau capital – as the centre of the Gau of eastern Hannover – but also its militarisation. The present-day campus of Leuphana University on Scharnhorststraße was one of three new barracks erected in Lüneburg in the 1930. All armed services branches were present in the city: While the artillery was located in the pre-existing Lüner Kaserne, the cavalry in the Schlieffen Kaserne, and the air force at the airbase (present-day Theodor Körner Kaserne), infantry units were positioned in the Scharnhorst Kaserne. The latter were also occasionally deployed as airborne troops, for example in the attack on the Netherlands in May 1940.

Understanding the military history of Lüneburg against the backdrop of the Wehrmacht armed forces is made more difficult by the fact that there were numerous military units, which also frequently changed their names. The division, which was established before the war as part of the Bremen 22. Infantry Division, and which moved into Scharnhorst barracks in October 1936, was initially “Infantry Regiment 47“, but later known as “Grenadier Regiment 47“ and as “Kampfgruppe Böse“.  

“Kampfgeschwader 267 (Battle Wing 267)” which had been stationed partly as Group I in Lübeck-Blankensee and Group II at the new air base in Lüneburg in October 1937, operated under the name of “Kampfgeschwader 26“ (Bomber Wing 26) from mid September 1939 and also became known as the “Löwengeschwader“ (Lion Wing). It had emerged from the air force unit “Legion Connor“, which had been established in violation of international law for a mission in the Spanish Civil War and which will be remembered not least for bombing Guernica on 26 April 1937. Research at the Leuphana Kunstraum revealed, that Group II not only participated in the military campaign in Poland from the beginning, but also in the bombing of the polish city of Lodz on 3 and 4 September 1939. Lodz is Daniel Libeskind’s birthplace and was his father’s residence. 

An evaluation of the digital archive of Lüneburg’s `Landeszeitung für die Lüneburger Heide` and its predecessor `Lüneburger Post` from 1945-2016 has shown, that since the end of World War II the keyword “Ozarichi“ (“Osaritschi“ or “Ozarici“, resp.) appears very rarely. Beyond advertisements only once in 1945 as a reference by the Allies in the `Lüneburger Post` which was under their control (yet without mentioning the SS and Wehrmacht divisions involved); twice in critical reader’s letters on the monument to the ID 110 at the Gralwall/Springintgut in Lüneburg; and once as a short article which does not include a personal statement, but only the position of the VVN-BdA (Association of Persecutes of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists).  

Consequently, compared to for instance Karlsruhe, whose Infantry Division 35, which had been likewise involved in war crimes in Ozarichi, there has been hardly any public discussion about the issue in Lüneburg.

A view of Scharnhorst Barracks from 1935 – 1945