The Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds opened on November 4, 2001, with a number of dignitaries in attendance, among them then-German President Johannes Rau. UNESCO included the institution in its International Year for the Culture of Peace. In 2002 the Documentation Center was awarded the "Silver Otter" from the British Guild of Travel Writers as the best overseas tourism project.
The key to the Documentation Center's success is its overall concept as a centralized location for exploring and explaining the phenomenology of the Nazi regime. Special exhibitions and accompanying events highlight topics that complement the permanent exhibition. The Study Forum on the Documentation Center’s roof offers educational facilities for a broad audience – a place to explore further questions and problems with support from specialists in the field.
Facts and figures
Attendance at the Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds in Nuremberg has now grown to more than 250,000 visitors a year. Following the initial boom in the center’s first year of operation (230,000 visitors in 2002), the figure settled around a still-high 170,000 (2003). The Center had been planned on a basis of a hundred thousand visitors a year. But attendance has risen steadily since then, and total visitors reached three million by October 2016, fifteen years after the building opened.
About fifty percent of the visitors are from other countries. The largest contingent is English speakers, who come to Nuremberg mainly via boat tours on the Danube – most of them from the USA, followed by British, Australian and Canadian tourists. Visitors from other European countries, especially France, Spain and Italy, have also shown a strong interest. But in fact, people from every corner of the world come to Nuremberg: the guest statistics show visitors from as far away as the Fiji Islands, as well as Arab and Asian countries.
Teaching specialists at the Study Forum and on the grounds have provided 17,000 courses for more than 400,000 visitors since the institution opened. More than 7,000 groups have visited the grounds alone. The team at the Documentation Center has organized more than twenty major events during the institution’s short history, including conferences of international specialists and meetings of the European ministers of education, UNESCO and the German Museums Association.
The Documentation Center has hosted more than twentyfive exhibitions. Since 2004, it has had its own exhibition hall. Highlights, in terms of both content and design, have certainly included the Center's own "The Burden of Images: Franconia under National Socialism" in 2008, "Tracks: The Logistics of Racial Madness" in 2010, and "Disenfranchisement, Degradation, Theft: Aryanization in Nuremberg and Fürth" in 2012. "Summer of '14: The Terror of Modernism Is Born" – a new multimedia installation with panoramic projections – shed a whole new light on the subject. An exported hit was the Center's own "Tempted, Misled, Slaughtered: The Short Life of Hitler Youth Paul B.," foreign-language versions of which toured museums in the USA and France. In 2009, the Center's "Racial Madness" was the first German exhibition to appear at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial.
Board of Trustees
A Board of Trustees composed of nationally prominent figures provides support for the Documentation Center (status as of January 2017):
- Richard Bartsch, President of the Middle Franconia District Assembly
- Günter Gloser, State Minister (ret.)
- Prof. Monika Grütters, State Minister of Culture and the Media
- Elisabeth Hann von Weyhern, Regional Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria
- Charlotte Knobloch, Jewish Religious Community of Munich/ Upper Bavaria
- Dr. Ulrich Maly, Mayor of the City of Nuremberg
- Prof. Dr. Ludwig Schick, Archbishop of Bamberg
- Dr. Oscar Schneider, Federal Minister (ret.) (Spokesman of the Board)
- Bruno Schnell, Publisher and Editor, Nürnberger Nachrichten/ Nürnberger Zeitung
- Horst Seehofer, Governor of Bavaria
- Dr. Markus Söder, Bavarian State Minister of Finance, Regional Development and Regional Identity