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„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

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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.”

Werkstatt
Exilmuseum

On October 15, 2022, over 700 visitors came to the Open House to have a first look at the future Werkstatt Exilmuseum.

In spring 2023 ...

... Werkstatt Exilmuseum will be opening at Fasanenstraße 24. Right next to the foundation’s offices, it is intended as a laboratory for the participatory development of the permanent exhibition and will provide space for small-scale exhibition projects, workshops, and events.
You can learn about how museum content is being developed and learn more about the current state of planning of the new building at Anhalter Bahnhof: what’s it all about? What is being worked on? How will it ultimately look? And how can you get involved?

We will inform about the program of the Werkstatt Exilmuseum soon.

Current
News

November 11, 2022

zdf aspekte about Exile

Freedom gained - home lost. A feature about life in exile. Presenter Katty Salié met Herta Müller at the Werkstatt Exilmuseum.

October 14, 2022

Watch Podium Discussion

"Auf dem Weg zum Exilmuseum – Flucht und Exil damals und heute"
A talk with Herta Müller, Bjeen Alhassan and Christoph Stölzl

October 15, 2022

Open House: Werkstatt Exilmuseum

A milestone to be celebrated: The foundation is moving and invites to a very special event in the yet unrenovated house.

Summer 2022

The Landshoff Donation

An important new addition to Exilmuseum’s library.

July 9 – August 17, 2022

Exhibition: PLACE

An architectural exhibition on the designs of Dorte Mandrup – in collaboration with Exilmuseum.

June 8 – July 7, 2022

Public Participation

The plans for the museum at Anhalter Bahnhof can be commented.

March 2, 2022

Max Reinhardt – Berlin and Exile

Cornelia Vossen is a guest speaker at an event in the framework of the exhibition "Berlin Global".

Virtual Reality

ZU/FLUCHT virtually

The exhibition ZU/FLUCHT lives on!

September 18, 2021

Exile Then – Exile Now

Now online: video recording of the panel discussion at Anhalter Bahnhof

The
Museum

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?

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 Exilmuseum project comes at the right time. Now, as stories of refugees and exiles appear in the news on an almost daily basis, our gaze is drawn anew to the experiences of those who were forced into exile or expelled by the Nazis. This dramatic subject has not received enough attention. A museum of exile can serve as 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

The
Building

The Exilmuseum

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
Foundation

The Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin is a citizens' initiative and foundation.
We are grateful for your financial support.

IBAN: DE81 1007 0100 0298 8244 00
BIC: DEUTDEBB101

Patrons
Herta Müller
Joachim Gauck

Executive Board
André Schmitz
Bernd Schultz
Kai Drabe
Ruth Ur
Johannes Wien

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

Academic Advisory Board
t.b.a.

Founding Director
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl

Curator
Cornelia Vossen

Managing Director
Meike-Marie Thiele

Assistance to the Managing Director
Nicole Skoczowsky

Research Associates
Sarah Blendin
Dana Müller
Philipp Sukstorf

Press

Here you can find press releases, pictures, a newsletter archive and a press review.

Leaflet (2020)
Short summary of all important information about the Exilmuseum (in German)
Download

Booklet (2018)
About the vision and background of the Exilmuseum Berlin
Download

Contact

Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Ludwigkirchplatz 2
10719 Berlin
Phone: +49 30 7673 3912 0
Fax: +49 30 7673 3912 9
info@exilmuseum.berlin

Additional location:
Fasanenstr. 24, 10719 Berlin


We are grateful for your financial support!
IBAN: DE81 1007 0100 0298 8244 00
BIC: DEUTDEBB101
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Your 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. 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.