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.
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.
“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.
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
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.
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 ...
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)
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.
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 ...
"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 ...
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)
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)
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 ...
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.
When the plans to erect a new building at Anhalter Bahnhof were announced, many media reported on the Exilmuseum. Here is a selection (in German only):
Berliner Morgenpost, 07.07.2018
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)
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 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.
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.
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
Board of Trustees
Prof. Dr. Peter Raue
Dr. Mathias Döpfner
Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss
Prof. Dr. Daniel Koerfer
Konstanza Prinzessin zu Löwenstein
Dr. Chana Schütz
Academic Advisory Board
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl
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: