Germany Wants to House People in Old Nazi Camp
'Tasteless' Schwerte plan condemned
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2015 3:13 AM CST
The sun sets behind the cloudy sky and the crematory at the Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, Germany.   (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

(Newser) – A rise in the number of people seeking asylum in Germany has led to huge anti-immigration rallies—and left one local authority so short of accommodations that it says it has to house asylum seekers in a former outpost of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Authorities in Schwerte in western Germany have been sharply criticized over the plan to turn a building at an old Nazi-era railway repair yard into accommodations for 21 people, the Telegraph reports. Some 700 Polish slave laborers were forced to work at the site; authorities say the building in question didn't house slaves, but was a barracks for their SS guards.

More than 50,000 people died at the main Buchenwald camp, many of them worked to death, and refugee groups describe the Schwerte plan as tasteless. The director of the Documentation Center for Nazi Forced Labor describes the site as a "place of exploitation, oppression, and unbounded violence," although the local authority stresses that it has had several other uses since the war, most recently as a kindergarten, the BBC reports. (At another Nazi camp, an archaeological dig last year uncovered gas chambers—and a wedding ring.)