NS-Documentation Centre

Cologne's National Socialism Documentation Centre was founded by a resolution passed by the Cologne city council on December 1979 and has become the largest regional memorial site in the whole of Germany for the victims of the Nazis. Since 1988, it has been housed in "EL-DE Haus", the EL-DE building, named after the initials of its owner, Catholic businessman Leopold Dahmen. This building was the headquarters of the Cologne Gestapo (secret police) between December 1935 and March 1945. In the final months of the war, several hundred people, most of them foreign forced labourers were murdered in the courtyard of the building. With a touch of historical irony, the EL-DE building remained largely unaffected by the ravages of the war.

The NS Documentation Centre (NS-DOC) is dedicated to the commemoration of the victims of the Nazi regime, as well as research and educational work about Cologne's history during the Nazi era. The former Gestapo prison was opened as a memorial site on December 1981. Some 1,800 inscriptions and drawings by prisoners have sur-vived on the walls of the ten cells. The Gestapo prison memorial site is one of the best preserved prisons from the Nazi era, representing an historical asset of national and European importance. Since June 1997, the permanent exhibition in the EL-DE building has presented political, social and community life in "Cologne During the Nazi Era."

This exhibitions addresses themes such as the seizure and machinery of power, propaganda and the "ethnic community," everyday life, youth culture, religion, racism, the genocide of Cologne's Jews and its Sinti and Roma population, and opposition, resistance, war and society during the war. In addition, temporary exhibitions present local and national aspects of the Nazi regime. The centre also stages more than 130 events each year. The museum's educational department and the Information and Education Association against Right-wing Extremism (ibs) also run educational and teaching programmes.

The NS Documentation Centre sees itself as an important research centre. This is supported by the library, with literature on Cologne under the Nazis, general Nazi history and right-wing extremism. It is also the task of the documentation department, with its extensive collections of photographs, posters, artifacts, documents and witness statements, which are organized into databases and made accessible. Numerous research projects deal with Jewish history, contemporary witness statements and interviews, forced labor, the police, youth culture, the press, clubs and organizations, various victim groups and commemorative activities, such as the Cologne artist Gunter Demnig's project "Stolpersteine" (Tripping Stones). Among the major current research projects are the history of the Holocaust, resistance, the Gestapo, the Nazi system of Gauleiter (district overseers), urban planning, public health policies and the Hitler Youth movement. The results of the research projects are published in a series of writings in book form, a workbook series, a series by the Information and Education Association, and the center's Internet page.


public guided tours (in German only)

Mo. 20.04.
17:00 Uhr

Exklusiv-Führung durch die Sonderausstellung "I.G. Farben" für Mitglieder des Vereins EL-DE-Haus

Für: Alle | Von: NS-Dokumentationszentrum | Mit: Dr. Katja Lambert | Treffpunkt: EL-DE-Haus | Teilnahme: kostenlos | Rahmenprogramm zu: „Die I.G. Farben und das Konzentrationslager Buna Monowitz. Wirtschaft und Politik im Nationalsozialismus“, 13.03.2020 - 24.05.2020

Sa. 02.05.
14:00 Uhr

Gedenkstätte Gestapogefängnis und Dauerausstellung "Köln im Nationalsozialismus"

Für: Erwachsene | Von: Museumsdienst Köln | Mit: Oliver Meißner | Treffpunkt: Kasse | Teilnahme: kostenlos | zzgl. Eintritt

Do. 07.05.
18:30 Uhr

Gedenkstätte Gestapogefängnis und Dauerausstellung "Köln im Nationalsozialismus"

Für: Erwachsene | Von: Museumsdienst Köln | Mit: Oliver Meißner | Treffpunkt: Kasse | Teilnahme: kostenlos


acitivities (in German only)

Do. 23.04.
15:00 - 17:00 Uhr

Fortbildung | NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Mit Grundschulkindern ins EL-DE-Haus

Für: Lehrkräfte | Von: Museumsdienst Köln | Mit: Birgit Kloppenburg MA (Museumsschule) /Dr. Dirk Lukaßen (Museumsdienst Köln) | Reihe: MultiplikatorenProgramm | Treffpunkt: Foyer | Teilnahme: kostenlos | Anmeldung bis: 16.04.2020

Do. 23.04.
19:00 Uhr

Vortrag | NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Multimedialer Vortrag - Die »Kriegsenden« in Köln

Für: Alle | Von: NS-Dokumentationszentrum | Mit: Dr. Martin Rüther | Treffpunkt: EL-DE-Haus | Preis: € 4,50 | ermäßigt: € 2,00 06.03.2020 - 24.05.2020


current Exhibition

I.G. Farben and the Concentration Camp Buna-Monowitz. Economics and Politics during National Socialism

March 13, 2020 to May 24, 2020

The Buna-Monowitz concentration camp was jointly founded in 1942 by the chemical company I.G. Farben and the SS. Thousands of prisoners were killed by inhumane working conditions in the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau when they were no longer able to work. The exhibition shows the creation, operation and dissolution of the concentration camp. Historical photographs document the view of the company and the SS. Those photographs are contrasted with autobiographical texts.

End of war in Cologne - City and people between March 6 and May 8, 1945

March 6, 2020 to May 24, 2020

On the occasion of the 75th return of the end of war, the NS-DOK will break new ground. The vault of the EL-DE building will become a “media box”. Combinations of light and audio installations as well as film and image projections will be shown. This allows for new insights on the Nazi era, war and dealing with the past. In-depth historical content is conveyed by means of media stations. At the same time, the city itself becomes an exhibition area.


Divided Memories 1940 – 1950. Between History and Experience

June 4, 2020 to August 9, 2020

DE Der totale Krieg, die Massenmobilisierung, die fremde Besatzung, Widerstand, Bürgerkrieg, Genozid – eine ungeheure humanistische Katastrophe. Die Ausstellung behandelt einen der bedeutendsten Zeitabschnitte in der Geschichte Griechenlands und darüber hinaus. Sie zeigt kulturelle und künstlerische Auseinandersetzungen dieser Zeit, die das Leben des Landes bis heute bestimmt.

Das Reichsarbeitsministerium 1933-1945. Beamte im Dienst des Nationalsozialismus

August 21, 2020 to October 25, 2020

DE Die Ausstellung befasst sich mit der Geschichte des Reichsarbeitsministeriums in der Zeit des Nationalsozialismus. Es wird gezeigt, in welchem Ausmaß das bisher meist als einflusslos dargestellte Ministerium die nationalsozialistische Diktatur stützte. In sechs Kapiteln werden die Struktur und das Personal des Ministeriums sowie zentrale Tätigkeitsfelder vorgestellt: Von der Rentenversicherung, dem Arbeitsrecht und der Arbeitsverwaltung bis hin zum Zwangsarbeitereinsatz.



Appellhofplatz 23-25
50667 Köln
T +49 221 221 26332
F +49 221 221 25512

Opening hours

Tue to Fri 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Sat and Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Every 1st Thu of each month: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
closed on Mondays

carnival 2019:
closed 28 February, 3 and 4 March, open 1, 2 and 5 March!



Tickets are valid for one day.

Permanent collection
Adults: 4,50 €
Concession: 2,00 €

Some exhibitions may carry a separate charge.

Free admission for children up to 6 years, for Cologne residents up to 18 years, students (incl. 2 teachers per group), holders of the KölnPass, Cologne residents on their birthday

Free admission to the permanent collection on the 1st Thu of each month (except public holidays): for Cologne residents.


Audio guides in: German, English, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian. € 2


Access to the rooms of the venue is restricted for disabled visitors.

Public transport

Public transport
rail service, local trains (S-Bahn): "Hauptbahnhof" (10 Min walk)
underground: "Appellhofplatz"
Car Parks
Am Dom / DuMont-Carré