Living behind barbed wire

This website invites you to explore the history of Camp Tambach, the first asylum centre in Thuringia. By way of both interpreting sources and reading the interpretations of other people, it encourages you to reflect on how history-writing gets shaped by individual perspectives.


Fotos: Jadwiga Henkel, 12.04.2022


A high metal fence surrounds a few buildings in the middle of the Thuringian Forest. “Neues Haus” is the name of this place near Tambach-Dietharz according to a signpost. These houses were the first asylum centre of Thuringia. Between 1991 and 2003, about 500 refugees from 35 countries used to live there under difficult conditions. This past is invisible to bypassing hikers in the forest. So far, no commemorative plaque was put up, and there is no chronicle that documents this history. Yet, traces on the buildings allude to their erstwhile use as a refugee camp. Moreover, protest letters written by the inhabitants of the camp have been archived by the Thuringian refugee council in Erfurt. And there are newspaper articles as well as records of the responsible authorities. How, then, can the story of the asylum camp be told with the help of these sources?



Does it make a difference who writes this history?

What would previous inhabitants emphasise?

What would be important to the people living close by?

And what would be important to you?