„Why do we still need a museum that tells individual stories of Nazi-era exile? I think the real question is: why did it take so long?“
Joachim Gauck, Former President of Germany and Patron of the Exilmuseum
Nobel Prize-winning author Herta Müller wrote an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel back in 2011 advocating a museum about exile. She is the patron of Exilmuseum Berlin.
“To this day, there is no central place in Germany that makes tangible the expulsion of hundreds of thousands into exile by the National Socialists.
The dangers of fleeing, the shell-shocked lives in foreign lands, poverty, fear and all-consuming homesickness – in our modern times, certain groups of people are still experiencing this each and every day, making it all the more pressing for us to truly comprehend the meaning of the word exile.
Learning about the events that occurred during that period of history makes it possible for us to better understand the people who are looking for refuge in Germany today. As a vibrant location of contemporary times, the Exilmuseum will also tell their stories.”
What is Exile?
The focus of the Exilmuseum is the period 1933-1945. Persecuted by the Nazis, about half a million people fled abroad in these years. Numerous of them left Germany for what was hopefully a life-saving place of exile from Berlin’s central railway station, the Anhalter Bahnhof. It was always a departure into the unknown, often followed by a lifelong feeling of alienation, fear and longing for home.
The Exilmuseum Berlin wants to tell the stories of the people who faced this fate - and at the same time build a bridge to the present: How did flight and uprooting become central experiences of our time? What is the connection between exile then and now? And what can we learn from history for today?
Exilmuseum Berlin will be built on the empty space between the portico ruins of the former Anhalter Bahnhof and the Lilli Henoch sports field.
For its realization, the foundation Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin launched an architectural competition in cooperation with the Berlin Senate’s Department and the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. The winning design by Danish architect Dorte Mandrup impresses with its curving, crescent-shaped façade, which grants plenty of space for the portico ruins while simultaneously seeming to embrace them protectively.
The opening is planned for 2026.
Dorte Mandrup took up the motif of arches, bridges and gates in the old station architecture, but interpreted it using a modern architectural language all her own.
The Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin is a citizens' initiative and foundation.
We are grateful for your financial support.
IBAN: DE81 1007 0100 0298 8244 00
Board of Trustees
Prof. Dr. Peter Raue
Dr. Mathias Döpfner
Prof. Dr. Daniel Koerfer
Konstanza Prinzessin zu Löwenstein
Dr. Chana Schütz
Academic Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl
Assistance to the Managing Director
Here you can find press releases, pictures, a newsletter archive and a press review.
Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Phone: +49 30 7673 3912 0
Fax: +49 30 7673 3912 9
Fasanenstr. 24, 10719 Berlin
We are grateful for your financial support!
IBAN: DE81 1007 0100 0298 8244 00
Did you yourself, your family or friends flee from Nazism to a foreign country? What stories can you tell about exile, flight and emigration, persecution, life in a foreign country, about farewells and new beginnings? We would be honored and glad if you told us about your experiences. Since the Exilmuseum will be located at Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin, we are particularly interested in stories of the departure into exile from this station.
Please contact us sending a brief summary of your story either by post or by email.