The vulnerability of the indestructible, about the work of the sculptor Wolfgang Sandt


Wolfgang Sandt's medium is stone. He sets out to find the material's inherent secret, its inner light, its hidden language.

Wolfgang Sandt's theme is "fragility", the question of the constant changeability of seemingly immutable values ​​and circumstances.

One result of this exploration are his "fragile stelae", long, slender, elegant and always with fragile areas on the verge of breaking. Wolfgang Sandt says of this: "The artist must always go to the extreme".

He is fascinated by the contrast between the heaviness of the material and the lightness of the form: he seeks the connection between heaven and earth.

Another contrast that becomes visible in his work is that between the solidity of stone and the intangibility of light. Wolfgang Sandt works the hard stone so finely that it becomes translucent and seems to dissolve.

In doing so, he creates true "light stones".

Curriculum Vitae Wolfgang Sandt

  • 1960 Born in Munich
  • 1979 - 1981 Art School, Munich
  • 1982 - 1985 Apprenticeship as stonemason and stonesculptor
  • 1985 – 1993 Collaboration with several sculptors for works in public spaces and churches in Germany
  • 1989 Stay for art studies in Pietrasanta, Italy
  • 1987 – 2001 Creation and political struggle for the erection of a memorial for the concentration camp site of Dachau subcamp at Ottobrunn (more about this below on this page)
  • 1993 - 1995 Masterschool for stonemasons and stonesculptors, Munich, finishing with masters diploma
  • 1998 The community Haar acquires the sculpture “Srebrenica” to commemorate the victims of the Bosnian war of the 1990s.
  • 2006 Start of the ongoing La Rogaia “Arte Natura“ project for the revival and maintenance of old cultural and natural landscape in Umbria, Italy, creating an olive tree sculpture park
  • 2023 At the invitation of the Ukrainian Embassy in Berlin, participation in the ArtArmor project, an artistic aid project for Ukraine, with the sculpture "Against All Odds".
  • Lives and works as free artist in Kaufbeuren, Germany and Passignano sul Trasimeno, Italy

An important part of my biography. The memorial for the Dachau subcamp at Ottobrunn

KZ-Memorial Ottobrunn, 1988, Sandstone, 180 x 60 x 60
KZ-Memorial Ottobrunn, 1988, Sandstone, 180 x 60 x 60

The memorial for the subcamp Ottobrunn of the Dachau concentration camp was an important part of my artistic biography and so far that one of my artworks which had the biggest impact.

The existence of the subcamp during the "Third Reich" had been forgotten or hushed up after the second world war.

1982 a youth group of the protestant church in Ottobrunn learned about the subcamp and brought the fact of its existence back to public consciousness.

At that time I had just finished art school and had started an apprenticeship as stonemason and sculptor. I had already an idea for a memorial but was aware of the fact that my skills still were not sufficient to realise it.

In the middle of the eighties finally I felt ready. I knew how to carve stone, I made a draft and presented it to the youth group of the protestant church and to a group of supporters which had formed quickly.


Yet it was not earlier than 2001 before the memorial was erected in the center of Ottobrunn, after long years of political struggle.

On this page bit by bit I will publish all the information I can get about the history of the memorial.

Here I start with a video of the memorial.

The concentration camp subcamp Ottobrunn

A visit to the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial is a compulsory part of the school career of most students from Munich and the surrounding area.

Relatively few visitors to the camp, however, notice that the list of external camps of the Dachau camp also includes the name of a small community in the southeast of Munich: Ottobrunn.

In the middle of the forest, southwest of the Rosenheimer Landstraße, almost exactly where today the residential houses are located on the Zeisigstrasse, the
subcamp was opened in 1944.

About four hundred prisoners were deployed there. They had to work on the construction of a test facility of the Reich Aviation Ministry, which was located on the present grounds of the sports park on the Haidgraben.

So the Ottobrunn camp was a working camp and not an extermination camp.


The prisoners, who had to work hard for between nine and eleven hours each day, were housed in simple wooden barracks and were well looked after compared to usual concentration camp conditions.

This was also due to the fact that the camp had originally been planned as a camp for civilian workers.


Although the sources are incomplete, it can be assumed that the SS guards in the camp, dealt relatively humanly with the prisoners because it was a rather small subcamp.*


In some cases, however, reports of maltreatment and violence have been reported and at least one prisoner perished in the Ottobrunn concentration camp.


Camp penalties such as "gymnastic exercises" or flogging were imposed on even the least important occasions, also in order to break the resistance of the prisoners.


The camp in Ottobrunn was evacuated on 1st of May 1945 - without having achieved its actual purpose, the completion of the test facility of the Air Ministry.


The SS guards took off on the evacuation march and the prisoners were freed after a few days by the American military.



*Footnote by Wolfgang Sandt:

According to information I received from old inhabitants of Ottobrunn the SS treated their prisoners relatively well, because the „leased“ them out to local businesses where they had to work (not unusual in the SS „economy“ system).


Prisoners who were not able to work could not be used to make a profit for the SS.


Other information suggests that the local SS crew consisted at least partially of petty criminals who were eager to earn additional income by leasing prisoners as workers under the table.

Excessive hardship would have led to the incapacity of the prisoners, a high number of deaths to bureaucratic complications and possibly an investigation by higher authorities which would have disrupted the good "business" of the local SS.

Both things that the SS responsibles on site wanted to avoid.

The memorial

Already in 1988, the "Mahnmahlinitiative Ottobrunn" was founded, whith the intent to promote a memorial to the concentration camp Ottobrunn.


Although the sculptor Wolfgang Sandt designed a stone memorial and completed it, no place was found for his sculpture.

After a long-lasting public discussion and just as long-lasting political disagreements in the Ottobrunn community council finally on February 22, 1992 it was agreed upon to attach to the above mentioned old monument in the Friedensstraße an additional information board about the concentration camp.


The engraved text should be prepared by the local Culture Committee.


Why until today, almost 9 years after the municipal council´s decision, no board has been attached is unclear.


Our contact person at the communal administration only told us that no one should assume bad intention here, but that the Culture Committee probably could not agree on a suitable text.



Even if you do not assume that the person in charge has an evil intent, this lack of work on the past is always an indictment.




Further information: In 1996, the book "Forgotten? Repressed? Processed? "Hrsg. Stefan Plöchinger, which should be visible in the Ottobrunn municipal library.


It contains 2 specialist works on the past of Ottobrunn in the Nazi era and the memorial discussion.

Andreas Blüml