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The Exilmuseum Berlin: a place of unforgettable stories, a place of reflection, a place of empathy. A place which creates an understanding of the word exile and thus makes a statement against totalitarianism and inhumanity.

Christoph Stölzl

  1. Deutsch
Herta Müller, Patron of the Exilmuseum © Steffen Roth

“There is not one place in this country where the content, where the meaning of the word exile can be portrayed by individual fates. An exile museum could provide younger Germans the opportunity to learn more on the subject. It could prove an education in compassion and empathy. The risk of flight, the unsettled and bewildering life in exile, the unfamiliarity, fear and homesickness.”

“The focus of the exile museum should be exile in Nazi Germany. This unprecedented catastrophe for those who were banished and lost everything, and the catastrophe for Germany, which expelled its most important artists and its best scientists within a very short period of time. But this period, of course, also draws attention to the refugees who are now finding their way to us. That makes an understanding of the word exile and all it signifies much more important.”

In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2009, Herta Müller advocated already a “museum of exile”. She supports the new Exilmuseum in Berlin as patron.

The Museum

Christoph Stölzl and Cornelia Vossen about
the origins of the Exilmuseum

The Museum …

… seeks out the life stories hidden behind statistics and abstract encyclopedia entries. With an emphasis on the 20th century, the exhibition focuses on the fates of individual people. They are the actors and bearers of exile history.

… traces the experiences of exile based on specific motives, issues and topics, and thus provides visitors with an emotional, close-up view of the subject.

… makes historical backgrounds comprehensible and in doing so, recognizes emigration from the areas under Nazi government as an injustice which still concerns us. What can we learn from this historical experience for today?

… tells of the forced emigration following 1933, with the knowledge that the century of exile has not yet come to an end. How have flight and displacement become major experiences of our era? What changes in the 20th century have led us to speak of the "century of exile"?

… looks to the present: Over 65 million people are currently displaced – 1 out of every 113 people is affected. What connects being in exile today with that of the past?

… tells how the exodus from Central Europe also became a transnational transfer of ideas. It shows how migration changes cultural patterns in a significant way – an awareness that is of increasing importance for a peaceful coexistence in our globalized world.

Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin

Location

The aspired location for the Exilmuseum is the plot bordering the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof portal. From this former main train station, tens of thousands of people once began their journey into exile. Symbolically, the portal ruin reflects the state of transit, the rupture of life paths, the seismic change that exile signifies.

The political statements regarding this location are consistently encouraging. This year, the foundation will hold an architectural competition to determine designs for the new museum building.

Current News

Announcements, dates,
events

At the Federal Foreign Office

Exilmuseum introduces itself internationally

At the friendly invitation of the Federal Foreign Office, we presented our project to ambassadors from all over the world on Nov. 18, 19. Increasingly, we are networking with international cooperation partners, interested parties and sponsors.

Claus-Dieter Krohn is mourned

Academic consultant has passed away

In September 2019, academic adviser to the Exilmuseum Foundation, Prof Dr Claus-Dieter Krohn, passed away very unexpectedly. His scientific expertise and his friendship will be missed. To the obituary ...

Detailed background report

'Tagesspiegel' of 12 May 2019

Our project takes shape: Peter von Becker provides a detailed background report on the Exilmuseum in the Sunday edition of "Tagesspiegel" newspaper. Read article ... (in German)

A visit by HTW

Design seminar on the Exilmuseum

How to develop the corporate design for a new museum? Supervised by Dipl.-Des. Katharina Lemke the students of the communication design faculty at HTW Berlin spent a semester working on the future Exilmuseum. The diversity of the results impressed and inspired us.

Patron of the Exilmuseum

Fmr. Federal President Joachim Gauck

We are delighted that former German President Joachim Gauck has decided to support our project by becoming a patron alongside Nobel Prize laureate Herta Müller.
Press Release ...

Art Auction at Grisebach

Record proceeds for the Exilmuseum

"The art market event of the year" (Welt am Sonntag) met with great interest in advance. At the auction of Bernd Schultz's private art collection, a sensational 6 million Euro were raised as start-up capital for the Exilmuseum.
Press release by Grisebach ...

Days of Exile 2018

Making exile comprehensible

Herta Müller and Christoph Stölzl were invited to the Körber Foundation in Hamburg on October 18 to talk about the contents and perspectives of the Exilmuseum. Host: Sven Tetzlaff, Reading: Katharina Schütz.
Watch video ... (in German)

Georg Stefan Troller

The first interview for the museum

The first interview with a contemporary witness took place: The filmmaker and journalist Georg Stefan Troller (97) impressed us with his alertness and clarity with which he spoke about the experience of exile.
Watch video ... (in German)

Bernd Schultz Collection

Auctions to benefit the Exilmuseum

The private collection of Bernd Schultz, including works by Watteau, Matisse and Picasso, will be auctioned at the Grisebach auction house on October 25/26, 2018 under the title "A Farewell and a New Beginning". The proceeds will go to the Exilmuseum.
Watch video ...

Society for Exile Research

Visiting the annual conference

On 14.09.2018, Cornelia Vossen and Christoph Stölzl presented their plans for the Exilmuseum at the annual conference of the Society for Exile Research. The topic of the conference was "Archives and Museums of Exile". An article in the corresponding yearbook will follow in 2019.

Museumsjournal

1/2018

The special focus of the first edition of the Museum Journal 2018 is "exile". It also contains an article on our vision for the Exilmuseum.
Read article ... (in German)

Work has Started!

Our Team is Complete

Our team formed at the end of 2017. We now have a combined force of competences in the areas of exile research, exhibition concept development, film-, multimedia- and audio production, interactive applications, memorial site education and project management.

The Office is Open

Ludwigkirchplatz 2

The Foundation Exilmuseum Berlin has moved into its office space on Ludwigkirchplatz 2. The photo shows one of our sun-filled rooms and Prof. Dr. Claus-Dieter Krohn's library, which will enrich and support our work.

Resonance

Statements on the Exilmuseum Berlin

“Really a brilliant idea! All you can do is shake your head and ask why such an important idea was not implemented a long time ago.”
Frank Herterich (grandson of Mies van der Rohe)
“The Exile Museum project has come at the right time. Now, when flight and exile are in the news again almost every day, the Museum sheds light on the dramatic circumstances faced by those who were forced to leave their homeland and go into exile after 1933, a subject that gets far too little attention. An Exile Museum can become a space for shared remembrance.”
Former German President Joachim Gauck
“Nobody has ever asked me about, or apologized for, that deeper meaning of exile—which is, in fact, a bit like losing your life’s center, its binding thread. Now, finally, a place will exist where this question is asked, where these apologies will be made. How wonderful if I live to see it!”
Georg Stefan Troller
“I am impressed by the way the Exilmuseum Foundation seeks to engage with its audience. Every contribution that helps us to remember and to reflect on emigration and exile is welcome—also to do this in cooperation with institutions and initiatives that already exist, as the Exilmuseum plans to do. Expertise and good ideas are needed to convey to the postwar generations, who have, thank goodness, grown up in a peaceful and safe environment, that having a home is by no means guaranteed.”
Monika Grütters
“Forced emigration and exile still shape our world today. For this reason, it is so important to safeguard an awareness of emigration during the Nazi era and to establish places of remembrance. The bitter reality of what has been suffered, the broken biographies…they should not be dealt with only in the ivory tower of academia but experienced and understood by people today through the individual stories of those from the past. This is what I expect from the Exilmuseum.”
Klaus-Dieter Lehmann
“For many, exile didn’t end in 1945. Many of those who remained in Germany during the Third Reich did their utmost to hinder academics returning from exile to German universities in the 1950s. This narrative is part of the story too and must be discussed in a museum devoted to exile. This museum is long overdue. It is fundamental to the formation of German identity.”
Ulrich Wickert
“The founding of a museum of emigration seems more important today than ever. This particularly applies to Germany, which must be reminded again and again of the emigration which took place during the years of tyranny. The impulse and momentum achieved during the intellectual reconstruction of the Federal Republic which came forth out of emigration has hardly been discussed. A newly conceptualized history of the Federal Republic could be established at this level which evaluates the fundamental contributions of emigrants anew.”
Horst Bredekamp
“Exile is one of the most sorrowful of all human experiences; the trauma remains a lifetime. (...) The Exilmuseum will connect the general with the specifically German and extend far beyond literature and documentation; it will connect the Nazi period with the present. It is to be feared that this topic will never end, which is why I consider the founding of an exile museum all the more important.”
Michael Wolffsohn
“The founding of an exile museum is a magnificent project for a topic which confronts us daily (…) in our thoughts, in our encounters with those who have suffered, and in music, which reflects the multitude of histories destroyed forever.”
Eliahu Inbal
“The expulsion of prominent German writers, artists, scholars and scientists belongs (…) to the darkest chapters of German history in the 20th century, and is manifested nowhere more strongly than in Berlin. This is why I cannot think of a better place to make the impact of dictatorship and narrow-mindedness felt in spatial terms.”
Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller
“The horror and shock of the Holocaust was so overwhelming and so crushing that it neglected the fates of the emigrants, the drama of survival (…) What a gift it is that there will now be a place where these stories can be told which should have been told a long time ago – of the suffering by countless broken lives. (...) Berlin needs an exile museum.”
Sibylle Zehle
“Forced migration and exile are issues of great relevance both to the history that we at the Leo Baeck Institute seek to preserve and to contemporary challenges nations are facing on a global scale. Therefore, it is timely and appropriate that the Exilmuseum will be established in present-day Germany. A museum dedicated to commemorating and examining the individual stories and the societal impact of the exile experience will serve as an important lesson around the world.”
William H. Weitzer
“When confronting Berlin's history today, one senses again and again that this city is missing a certain intellectual substance. With the extinction and expulsion of Jewish culture, Berlin robbed itself of one of its essential and characterizing foundations. An exile museum which reminds us of this is long overdue.”
Florian Illies
“In my opinion, however, it should not be too 'museum-ish' but instead more of a lively space in which the past, present and future come together, a space which offers room for discussions, readings, perhaps even small performances or concerts.”
Otto Schily
“A museum of exile is a challenge especially suited to our time, with its networked spaces but also with its many precarious and vulnerable existences! What will be exhibited here is not what has always and unquestionably been a part of it, but rather what reminds us of broken cultural traditions and communities and makes visible the intertwining of our history with the history of others.”
Doerte Bischoff
“I am sure that future visitors will establish a connection to the very current topic of refugees and those seeking protection and asylum, and perhaps even become inspired and motivated to rethink their own outlook.”
Joachim Rosenkranz
“This subject, so very pivotal for German history and the 20th century, has never been addressed as a comprehensive history. It would be irresponsible to not tell the story.”
Jens Bisky

158
portraits
by Stefan
Moses

Donation

The first large donation made to the Exilmuseum Berlin: 158 portraits of emigrants by Stefan Moses.
In the fall of 2017, Stefan Moses (1928-2018), the grand seigneur of German portrait photography, gifted the museum 158 of his large-format portraits of German emigrants taken between 1947 and 2003.

The
Foundation

A civic initiative started by the art dealer and co-founder of the Villa Grisebach, Bernd Schultz, and the Nobel Prize laureate Herta Müller provided the impetus for an exile museum in Berlin. The associated Stiftung Exilmuseum was established in 2018.
The Museum strives to establish partnerships and cooperation with existing institutions and archives on the topic of exile.

Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin

Patronage
Herta Müller
Joachim Gauck

Executive Board
André Schmitz
Bernd Schultz
Kai Drabe
Ruth Ur

Board of Trustees
Prof. Dr. Peter Raue
Dr. Mathias Döpfner
Michael Beckel
Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss
Axel Ganz
Prof. Dr. Daniel Koerfer
Konstanza Prinzessin zu Löwenstein
Gabi Quandt
Dr. Chana Schütz
Robert Unger
u.w.

Academic Advisory Board
t.b.d.

Founding Director
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl

Curator
Cornelia Vossen

Managing Director
Meike-Marie Thiele

Academic Research
Sarah Blendin
Dana Müller
Philipp Sukstorf

Press

Info and Downloads

Contact

Contact person

Meike-Marie Thiele
Project Manager
Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Ludwigkirchplatz 2
10719 Berlin
Phone +49 30 767 339 124
presse@exilmuseum.berlin

Booklet

March 2019

Exilmuseum Berlin: Vision and Background:
View PDF (4 MB)

Press kit

2018

Get more information on the idea, the foundation, the founders and staff.
View PDF

Info

Your Personal Story
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. Please contact us sending a brief summary of your story (preferably one page) either by post or by email:
info@exilmuseum.berlin

Contact

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Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Ludwigkirchplatz 2
10719 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 7673 3912 0
info@exilmuseum.berlin

Donation account:
IBAN: DE81 1007 0100 0298 8244 00
BIC: DEUTDEBB101

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