BAMF - Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge - Southern Barracks

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Southern Barracks

The history of the building

Today, the former Southern Barracks in Frankenstrasse are home to the headquarters of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, an authority with a humanitarian task.

Since it was first built, the building has been used by various different occupants.

Nuremberg and the Nazi Party Rally Grounds

Following the designation of Nuremberg as the "town of the Nazi party congresses", the decision was made in 1933 to build new barracks to accommodate the SS forces for their stay during the Nazi party congresses.

However, the barracks did not ever serve this purpose; they were used more as a facility for the Waffen-SS, which designed mainly communications equipment on the site.

In May 1941, 58 prisoners from the Dachau concentration camp were transferred to the SS accommodation. This meant that, for a time, the barracks became a sub-camp of the concentration camp. In June 1943, the barracks were allocated to the Flossenbürg concentration camp.

Between 40 and 300 prisoners were initially put to work finishing building the facilities. Later, they also worked on clearing bomb damage throughout Nuremberg.

Use by the US army

On 18 April 1945, the SS barracks were captured by the 45th US Infantry Division and immediately given a new name. The Merrell Barracks – named after the American soldier, Joseph F. Merrell, who died in action that very day in the market garden area (Knoblauchsland) of Nuremberg – then served during 1945 as a camp for forced labourers who had been liberated. Temporarily, 8,650 people were accommodated in the barracks. Supplies for them were provided on an emergency basis with the support of the American military administration.

After completely clearing the barracks in 1948, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment of the US military used the barracks until 1992 as army accommodation.

Following the deployment of the regiment in the first Gulf War – and following a major refurbishment that had taken place just prior to this – withdrawal from Nuremberg and the clearance of the Merrell Barracks was ordered.

On 15 September 1992, the American colours flying above the Southern Barracks were lowered in the final flag parade.

The main building was graded by the Bavarian Monument Preservation Authority as the "most important barracks of the Third Reich" and placed under a preservation order. As a result, there was no question of demolishing the building.

Federal Office Headquarters

Following the transfer of the building to the Federal Republic of Germany, the idea emerged of the then Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) becoming the next tenant. The increasing numbers of asylum applicants in the Federal Republic in 1992 and the considerable increase in staff connected with this created an urgent need for a spacious building large enough to accommodate the Federal Office's headquarters.

After the restructuring of the Southern Barracks, a process which took several years and gave the building a more modern appearance, the BAFl was able to move into its new premises in 1996.

The Federal Office also remained in these premises after it took over the duties of the integration department and was renamed as the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.

Today, in addition to the Federal Office, the building also houses a branch office of the UNHCR and of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a branch office of the Federal Office of Administration and the Main Customs Office of Nuremberg.

Documentation of the building's colourful history

The building has had a colourful history that is documented in many ways inside he premises. With the works of art that were incorporated into the building during the renovation, such as the preserved ceiling mosaics in the gatehouse, the "blue wall" and the memorial plaque to all the forced labourers previously housed in this building, the history of the Barracks is remembered. Federal Office staff explain the history of the Southern Barracks to numerous groups of visitors during guided tours of the building. As a result, the historical origins of the building and its transformation are documented.

Date 5 May 2011

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