The memorial site and the permanent exhibition are an essential part of the learning center and the educational program. In addition, temporary exhibitions on a broad range of subjects explore local and national aspects of the Nazi era. Between the beginning of 1998 and the beginning of 2012, the center mounted 53 temporary exhibitions. A comprehensive supplementary program was developed for each exhibition.The NS Documentation Center organizes more than 130 events per year, in a variety of different formats. Events range from small lectures, readings and panel discussions to workshops, large conferences and cultural events with theater and music.
Since 1994, Cologne publisher Emons has brought out series of “writings of the NS Documentation Center of Cologne.” In 2012, a sub-series called “biographies and materials" was added. In addition, since 2005, the NS DOC has itself published a series of teaching workbooks and, since 2008, a series by the ibs. There have also been numerous individual publications related to the work of the documentation center. Since 2003, the center’s activities have been documented in detailed annual reports.
Since its founding, research projects have been key to the work of the NS Documentation Center. The subjects of those projects include, among others, Jewish history, collecting contemporary witness statements and interviews, forced labor, the police, young people, including subjects such as “Child Evacuations to the Countryside” and “non-conformist youth,” the press, clubs and organizations, the persecution of the Sinti and Roma, and Nazi military justice. Among the large, ongoing research undertakings are the history of the Holocaust, opposition and resistance, the Gestapo, the Nazi system of Gauleiter, architecture and urban planning, Cologne’s public health policies under the Nazis and the Hitler Youth movement. The NS DOC supported the “Stolpersteine” project Demnig’s project from the very beginning, including providing support for the cooperative project, “Stolpersteine in Hungary.”
The center has been the recipient of numerous awards. It has received 17 important prizes and awards, some of them national or international. These include the “special recommendation” of the 2000 Museum of the Year Award; the 2001 Architecture Prize of North Rhine-Westphalia and Cologne; induction in 2002 into the “Excellence Club” of the "Best in Heritage” organization; the 2006 History Award from TV’s History Channel; the 2007 prize for innovation in adult education from the German Institute for Adult Education; the 2008 Freya Stephan Kühn prize for “excellence in effort and achievement in communicating history” awarded by the state association of North Rhine-Westphalian history teachers and, in 2011, the award for best museum during Cologne’s Long Night of Museums.
Associaton EL-DE House
The development of the NS Documentation Center is itself a typical example of the history of German memorial domain and commemorative policies. It would not have been possible without the efforts and commitment of citizens and, even today, their support is crucial to important parts of the work. Since January 1988, that work has been supported by the Friends of the EL-DE Building Society.