The town of Holzhausen, Germany is the current home of the German Bratwurst Museum, which is a well-appointed and much-loved homage to the sausages that the region is known for. The museum welcomes around 50,000 visitors every year, and it recently made the decision to move to a new location in a new town so it can better accommodate all of those meat lovers.
The museum’s next home will be somewhere in Mühlhausen, although the actual address is currently a big question mark. Although a developer already had a property in mind, that was before local residents started questioning the appropriateness of building a sausage museum on the former site of a Nazi prison camp.
According to DW, developer and air conditioning company owner Jan Kratochwil bought the proposed site from the German government in 2008. He had reached an agreement with the Freunde der Thüringer Bratwurst (Friends of the Thurungian Sausage) who run the museum, and had planned to invest several million euros to develop the new spot, which would also include a “sausage theater” and hotel accommodations.
But Jewish activists have opposed Kratochwil’s proposal, because it’s on the site of the ‘Martha II’ camp where the Nazis held prisoners before moving them to the Buchenwald concentration camp. “A place where barracks stood isn’t suitable for frying bratwurst,” Reinhard Schramm, the chairman of the Jewish Community of Thuringia, said.
Mühlhausen’s marketing department has questioned, well, history, and has suggested that the site is still perfectly OK for a sausage theater. “Our city archive checked everything very carefully," Christian Fröhlich said. "There was no annex of Buchenwald here. The inmates might have stayed there overnight, but did not work there."
But three local legislators have released a joint statement asking for the museum to be placed somewhere that isn’t connected AT ALL to Nazis. “It is and remains all our responsibility to use these sites to commemorate and actively confront the destruction of Jewish life in Germany and the new forms of anti-Semitism today," the statement reads.
The Friends of the Thuringian Sausage have backed away as well. “Based on the facts that have come to light, we will investigate the historical background in the coming days, and, involving everyone responsible and taking into account public opinion, will carry out a completely new assessment," Uwe Keith, the chairman of the Friends, wrote on the museum’s website. “Our association is an internationally-networked organization for whom the principles of human rights and international understanding are of the highest concern.”
The mayor of Mühlhausen has reportedly reached out to the Buchenwald Memorial Foundation for guidance, and it seems like some city officials are willing to consider putting the sausage museum elsewhere. Yes, please go with that option. That’s the only option, right?