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)

Do. 05.09.
18:30 Uhr

Gedenkstätte Gestapogefängnis und Dauerausstellung "Köln im Nationalsozialismus"

Für: Erwachsene | Von: Museumsdienst Köln | Mit: Oliver Meißner | Treffpunkt: Kasse des EL-DE-Hauses | Teilnahme: kostenlos

Sa. 07.09.
14:00 Uhr

Gedenkstätte Gestapogefängnis und Dauerausstellung "Köln im Nationalsozialismus"

Für: Erwachsene | Von: Museumsdienst Köln | Mit: Oliver Meißner | Treffpunkt: Kasse des EL-DE-Hauses | Teilnahme: kostenlos | zzgl. Eintritt

Mo. 16.09.
17:00 Uhr

Exklusiv-Führung für Mitglieder des Vereins EL-DE-Haus e.V. mit Dr. Karola Fings

Für: Erwachsene | Von: NS-Dokumentationszentrum | Mit: Dr. Karola Fings | Treffpunkt: EL-DE-Haus | Teilnahme: kostenlos | Rahmenprogramm zu: „Kriegserfahrungen 1939-1945. Kölner und Kölnerinnen an Front und Heimatfront“, 02.09.2019 - 02.11.2019


acitivities (in German only)

So. 01.09.
11:00 Uhr

Eröffnung | NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Kriegserfahrungen 1939–1945 - Kölner und Kölnerinnen an Front und Heimatfront

Für: Alle | Von: NS-Dokumentationszentrum | Treffpunkt: EL-DE-Haus | Teilnahme: kostenlos 02.09.2019 - 02.11.2019

So. 08.09.
11:00 Uhr

Event | NS-Dokumentationszentrum

Tag des offenen Denkmals

Für: Alle | Von: NS-Dokumentationszentrum | Treffpunkt: EL-DE-Haus | Teilnahme: kostenlos


Guided tours can be booked for groups and are available in a variety of languages.


Guided tour: What happened at the EL-DE-Haus? Guided tour for families

This tour has been specially designed for families with children from 10 years of age.

A child-friendly introductory talk prepares visitors for the tour of the Gestapo-prison memorial. The talk includes information on the history of the EL-DE-Haus, the operational structure of the Gestapo (secret police) and the different groups of prisoners. The graffiti in the prison tract tell the story of their fate.  


Guided tour: Of Navajos and Edelweiss Pirates – a guided tour of the Ehrenfeld district

This tour targets school children from year 8 with some background knowledge of the NS period.

The tour introduces students to the youth groups persecuted by the Nazi regime which were known as „Navajos“ and later as „Edelweiss Pirates“ at their places of activity. The duration of the tour of the district is 75 minutes and is followed by a visit to the EL-DE-Haus where the focus is on the traces that these non-conformist youth groups left there.

Duration: 2 hours
Max. group size: 25
60 € for school classes, 100 € plus admission for students, 150 plus admission for adults
Supplement: weekends/foreign language tour: 10 € each

The tour can be booked for several groups at a time. 

NB: meeting point: bus/tram stop „Könerstr.“ in front of St. Joseph’s church. Transport tickets are not included in the tour.



Kriegserfahrungen 1939-1945. Kölner und Kölnerinnen an Front und Heimatfront

September 2, 2019 to November 2, 2019

DE Obwohl der Beginn des Zweiten Weltkrieges nun achtzig Jahre entfernt ist, sind dessen Folgen im öffentlichen und privaten Bewusstsein nach wie vor gegenwärtig. Die tiefgreifenden Umbrüche, Gewalt- und Verlusterfahrungen hat die Erlebnisgeneration an die Generationen der Kinder und Enkelkinder weitergegeben. Die Ausstellung widmet sich den Kriegserfahrungen, die Kölner und Kölnerinnen in den Jahren 1939 bis 1945 machten.

Vergiss deinen Namen nicht – Die Kinder von Auschwitz

November 15, 2019 to January 19, 2020

DE Sie wurden mit ihren Familien in das Konzentrations- und Vernichtungslager Auschwitz-Birkenau verschleppt oder kamen dort unter unvorstellbaren Bedingungen zur Welt. Nur wenige haben überlebt. Sie tragen die Spuren des Erlittenen auf dem Leibe und in ihrer Seele. Auf 56 großformatigen Tafeln werden eindringliche Lebensgeschichten von Kindern und Jugendlichen erzählt, die den Holocaust überlebt haben.



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