Denk.Statt Dr. Johann Gruber

“Denk.statt” means place for thinking and is the name of an artistic project that was made possible by people of the roman-catholic Parish of St. Georgen/Gusen, the Communities of Luftenberg an der Donau and St. Georgen an der Gusen, and the Gusen Memorial Committee.

As a result of an international artists competition, German artist Renate Herter from Berlin, Germany was selected in 2013 to carry out her project “Passage gegen das Vergessen” (passageway against oblivion).

A mirror board gives the direction to the KZ Gusen II "Bergkristall" underground plant not far from the Parish church

A mirror board gives the direction to the KZ Gusen II “Bergkristall” underground plant not far from the Parish church

“Passageway against Oblivion” is a smooth artistic intervention in the most prominent place of the local population of the three communities of Luftenberg, St. Gerorgen/Gusen, and Langenstein. It is the place in front of the local parish church of the three communities where the different concentration camps and work commands of the former KZ Gusen I & II complex were scattered.

Renate Herter chose an intervention in several steps that had a time spacing of two to three months in 2013

  • Step 1: Clearing of the place in front of the Parish church from unnecessary stuff like flower pots
  • Step 2: Dedication of the adjacent Parish Center to “Johann Gruber” (an inmate of KZ Gusen I, that was killed in Holy Friday 1944 by the camp commander after helping so many other inmates)
  • Step 3: Temporary wrapping of the regional war memorial of the First and Second World War
  • Step 4: Painting of words of commemoration on the pavement of the place in front of the Parish church
  • Step 5: Installation of a mirror board that points to the location of the former KZ Gusen I & II concentration camps in the landscape

With this five steps, Renate Herter integrated a non-dominant but clearly present reminder to the victims of the concentration camps of Gusen to this most important meeting point of the local population. This should clearly remind the local population that the former concentration camps are a clear part of the history of this region and that the memory of the victims these concentration camps should be part of the awareness of each indivudal in the region.