St Nikolai Memorial

St Nikolai Memorial, Hamburg

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St Nikolai Memorial

St Nikolai Memorial
Temporarily closedClosed until further notice
St. Nikolai Memorial is Hamburg’s most important memorial dealing with the war and its dictatorship during 1933-1945. The original main church was destroyed in the air raids on Hamburg in 1943. In the church ruins a museum reminds us of the disastrous air war over Europe. It questions the impact of war in former as well as in present times and deals with aspects of the memories of the victims of World War II. A glass elevator takes visitors up the fifth highest church tower in the world. A viewing platform at 76 metres overlooks the harbour, the Alster lakes and Hamburg’s city centre. Historical photos of past destruction add up to the impressions. Our program offers discussions in current events, supports research on German history and promotes international peace movements/ peace and understanding of nations.
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The area
Neighborhood: Hamburg-Altstadt
How to get there
  • Rödingsmarkt • 4 min walk
  • Rathaus • 6 min walk
Best nearby
2,402 within 3 miles
251 within 3 miles
Popular mentions

956 reviews
Very good

Sydney, Australia652 contributions
Fantastic view over Hamburg - great historical info to learn inside!
Feb 2020
It was such a great experience climbing to the top of this tower, there were many places where you could read about the info around the war and this memorial - I recommend it totally!
Written January 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

1 contribution
Shameful Museum - Disgrace
Nov 2020 • Couples
The museum tries to portrait the Germans as the victims of WWII, as was mentioned by prior visitors (but the management keeps ignoring these critics). It’s just so shameful that this is the main WWII museum in Hamburg.

Specifically, there are four main problems with the permanent exhibition:

1. The purpose and the benefits of the attack on Hamburg: The bombing of Hamburg was an important step in slowing the Germans in 1943. As mentioned in Wikipedia (but completely ignored by the museum): “The industrial losses [of the attack of Hamburg] were severe: Hamburg never recovered to full production, only doing so in essential armaments industries (in which maximum effort was made).Figures given by German sources indicate that 183 large factories were destroyed out of 524 in the city and 4,118 smaller factories out of 9,068 were destroyed. Other losses included damage to or destruction of 580 industrial concerns and armaments works, 299 of which were important enough to be listed by name. Local transport systems were completely disrupted and did not return to normal for some time. Dwellings destroyed amounted to 214,350 out of 414,500.” The bombing was, thus, a beneficial and important step towards slowing the Germans. The museum just ignores these huge benefits. None of these facts is mentioned in the exhibits.

2. The role of the population of Hamburg in the Nazi machine: The museum does not mention how important Hamburg was for the Nazi machine, including the building of ammunition, that was used for the killing of millions of innocent civilians. The museum ignores the fact that most of the population in Hamburg supported the Nazis. Obviously, the museum doesn’t mention that about 50% of the population of Hamburg supported the Nazis in 1933 (in free elections).

3. Ignoring the Holocaust and the killing of 7,800 of Hamburg Jews: More than 7,800 Jews from Hamburg were murdered by the Germans, including by their fellow neighbors from Hamburg. The museum ignores the existence and the murder of these innocent people. Not to mention that the museum doesn’t mention the Holocaust. In contrast, every WWII museum in France and the Netherlands mentions the Jewish population in the relevant city that was murdered during the war.

4. Comparing the victims and the wrongdoers: The museum implies that the attack on Hamburg was just a retaliation for the German’s attack on Warsaw and London. This, the museum implies that the Nazi attack and the attacks of the Allies represent the same type of “evil.” This cannot be more far from the truth. The German’s offense on Warsaw was purely an evil act, a first step that led to the killing of millions. In contrast, the attack on Hamburg slowed the Germans and helped ending WWII, thus leading to the liberation of Europe from the Germans.

I hope the management will fix these issues ASAP.
Written November 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
Dear ariels1984, thank you very much for your message. We appreciate your attentive and critical view of the exhibition. We take note of your objections, but emphatically distance ourselves from some of the content. The St. Nikolai Memorial is a place of remembrance for the victims of war and tyranny of the years 1933-1945. The former main church was destroyed during the air raids on Hamburg in 1943. The memorial joins a broad landscape of memorials and museums in Hamburg, all of which contextualize World War II. Examples include the Neuengamme Memorial, the Hannoversche Bahnhof, and the Hamburg Stadthaus. All of these places critically deal with the historical events. The exhibition at the St. Nikolai Memorial focuses on Operation Gomorrah, since the church played a central role in the action. In addition, part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of the church itself. The events of the war are in no way taken out of context in the exhibition. The events are deliberately presented in multiple perspectives. The exhibition was scientifically accompanied and approved by an international advisory board. Feedback from our visitors as well as numerous historians regularly confirms that the exhibition in no way trivializes the crimes of the National Socialists or blurs the roles of victims and perpetrators. The St. Nikolai Memorial cooperates with many institutions that are explicitly dedicated to the Holocaust. Many of our events and special exhibitions bring the topic of the Holocaust to the forefront, such as the exhibition on forced labor. Commemorative events (e.g., the Day of Remembrance for Victims of National Socialism) also take place regularly on our grounds. We would also like to draw your attention to the accompanying volume to the exhibition "Gomorrha 1943. Hamburg's Destruction through Aerial Warfare". There you can read the exhibition concept in detail, as well as more in-depth articles by the scientists who sat on the exhibition's advisory board. If you send us your contact information, we will be happy to send you the volume. If you have any further comments, please feel free to contact us by e-mail so that we can discuss them directly.
Written January 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Slough, UK2,920 contributions
Church with History and View
Oct 2020 • Solo
Unfortunately I did not get the opportunity to visit the crypt and museum and my vertigo ruled out the trip upthe steeple. I did get to visit the ruins and read the information, for the British this is like our Coventry.
There is a particularly moving statue to the fallen from the nearby concentration camp.
Written October 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Martin R
Galten, Denmark192 contributions
Really a good place to enjoy spectacular view
Sep 2020
Take the elevator to the top, on what was the worlds highest building when it was build.
A ticket cost only 5 euros, and also gives entrance to museum in the basement.
Written October 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Hoevelaken, The Netherlands193 contributions
Impressive remainders of church
Sep 2020
This memorial was restored in its incomplete form after the fire in WW2. The way it was restored shows how the original form should have been, and all has been maintained very well. Impressive to walk around and get a feel for what has happened here
Written October 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Frank Geisler 🇨🇭
Zurich, Switzerland12,840 contributions
Impressive memorial
Sep 2020 • Family
We came for a while to see and feel this impressive memorial.

1943 about 34’000 people died and around 40’000 houses got destroyed during operation firestorm - including this church.

Is this a helpful review? Then please give me a "Thumbs up Thank FrankGeisler" by clicking the button below.
Written September 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Antonio C
Schaerbeek, Belgium52 contributions
THE place to visit
Aug 2020 • Couples
Wonderful destroyed cathedral. It’s nice to take the elevator and watch the view. Up there, you can read the history of the cathedral.
With the ticket, you have access to the museum against war (and the cathedral), under the church.
Museum is in English too, not too long, really well explained.

I reaaaaally liked this place
Written August 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

4 contributions
Definitely be there💜
Jul 2020 • Solo
My favorite place to be in Hamburg. 5€ entrance, there is a small museum downstairs then you get into the elevator where up high you can see Hamburg from top.
Written July 31, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Boblingen, Germany1,432 contributions
The horrors of war cannot be shown more clearly in everyday's life
Jun 2020
you may or may not like the memorial. Yes, it is a preserved ruin, from whose remains one can clearly see the horrors of the war days. So you see what war does every day. With the tower and the elevator, it's all a round trip. But for the view it is not worth going up. The interior of the ruin can be viewed free of charge.
Written July 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Fountain Inn, SC7 contributions
A Must in Hamburg
Sep 2019
We spent a couple of hours in the basement museum section and found it and the accompanying film interesting and poignant. The carillon and the elevator to the spire were pleasant experiences.
Written April 14, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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