Wooden sculpture on Johannisstraße 14 Wooden sculpture on Johannisstraße 14

The tour begins at the wooden sculpture in Jena's city centre, which was installed and created by the Junge Gemeinde Stadtmitte (City Centre Young Community), together with the wood sculptor Thomas Kretzschmar in 2018 as a place of remembrance for the victims of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU). Since then, the Junge Gemeinde has regularly organised public commemorative events on Johannisstraße to mark the anniversaries of the NSU victims' deaths. The sculpture itself is symbolic for the historical process of unravelling the NSU network in Jena and has been supported over many years by local voluntary groups and individuals.

In 2012, the year after the NSU revealed itself, the Young Community produced a video documentary  ("Sie kamen von hier") for the Round Table for Democracy, in which people affected by right-wing violence were given the chance to speak. The documentary also raises the question whether the local police and youth welfare office were responsible for the emergence of the NSU.

The local group Dismantle the NSU Network Jena has been calling for a comprehensive investigation into the NSU structures for several years and is itself involved in the investigation. Amongst other things, the group offers a historical-political district tour in Winzerla and successfully campaigned for the square next to the Damaschkeweg bus stop in Winzerla to be renamed Enver-Şimşek Square, after the first victim.

Ten years after the NSU was unmasked, the city of Jena is now addressing the issue of how to deal with this part of its history. In 2021, it coordinated a programme of events through JenaKultur that were intended as a prelude and not a conclusion. It remains to be seen how the public re-examination of the past continues in the coming years.

A place of remembrance: a wooden sculpture installed by the Young Congregation on Johannisstraße