The Exilmuseum Berlin: a place of unforgettable stories, a place of reflection, a place of empathy. A place that fosters understanding of the word exile and in doing so takes a stand against totalitarianism and inhumanity.

Joachim Gauck, Bundespräsident a.D., Schirmherr des Exilmuseums

  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.

Current News

Announcements, dates,

July 9 – August 17, 2022

Exhibition: PLACE

Dorte Mandrup's design for Exilmuseum, with a façade that with a huge arch stretches around the ruins of the portal to Anhalter Bahnhof, will enrich Berlin’s architecture. Now an exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum provides a special opportunity not only to get to know the work of this architect, but to give a sense of what Exilmuseum will be like.
More ...

New building for Exilmuseum

Public participation has started

As part of the early public participation process, the designs plans are on display at the Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg until July 8 and can be commented on. The input will be incorporated into the further planning.

Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg
Fachbereich Stadtplanung, 5. OG
Yorckstr. 4–11, 10965 Berlin
The documents are also available online:
Bezirksamt Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

Diggings at Anhalter Bahnhof

Beneath the Surface

Diggers arrived at Anhalter Bahnhof ready to explore the grounds and investigate what’s hidden beneath the surface. Might we find foundations of the historic train station? Tunnels? Old ammunition? The results will significantly impact the development of our building project.

Exhibition Dismantled

The Journey Continues

The exhibition containers were once homes for refugee families in Berlin, then to our temporary exhibition ZU/FLUCHT, and now their journey continues. Almost all the exhibition elements have found new homes including Bauhütte Kreuzberg and two youth clubs.

Only until October 31

Exhibition ZU/FLUCHT

In just a few days our open-air exhibition "ZU/FLUCHT" at Anhalter Bahnhof Berlin will come to an end. On Thursday, October 28, you will have a last chance to meet our team in person, ask questions and get a tour through the exhibition.
For more information: www.zuflucht.org

September 18

COME TOGETHER – Exile, Museum, Music

One day packed with events! From panel discussions with outstanding guests to a Q&A with the architect of the Exilmuseum, Dorte Mandrup. In the evening live music by ILLAY.

For more information visit www.zuflucht.org

September 17, 2021

Afghanistan – Thoughts from Exile

Author Massum Faryar reads from his book Buskaschi oder Der Teppich meiner Mutter, followed by a discussion concerning the current situation in Afghanistan with Faryar, journalist Nadine Kreuzahler, as well as designer and women's rights activist Laila Noor.

September 5, 2021

A Sunday at Anhalter Bahnhof

Look forward to a variety of activities such as guided tours through the exhibition, children's program, conversations with people in exile, a workshop on the planned Exile Museum, and much more.
We look forward to meeting you!

For more information: www.zuflucht.org

Iconic Awards 2021

Dorte Mandrup is Architect of the Year

Congratulations: The architect of the Exilmuseum, Dorte Mandrup, is awarded the "Architect of the Year" prize. The Iconic Awards for Innovative Architecture are presented by the German Design Council.

August 12 and 26, 2021

My Story – my Museum (Workshop)

We’re inviting refugees to come tell their story. What item remains especially linked to your journey into exile? We want to hear your story and what you’d like to see at the Exilmuseum.
For more information: www.zuflucht.org

August 11, 2021

Short Film + Discussion

The short documentary "13 Square Meters" provides a provocative perspective on Berlin's refugee housing. Referencing the research project "Architectures of Asylum" at the TU Berlin, the film puts the shelter's initial design into question by examining how refugees rearranged their space revealing their limitations.
For more information: www.zuflucht.org

July 24, 2021

Urban Gardening

Taking roots at Anhalter Bahnhof: The Exilmuseum would like to get to know its new neighbors. Gardening together in the open-air exhibition is a good way to start.

For more information: www.zuflucht.org

June 26, 2021

Furniture Building

Here you can contribute to the exhibition ZU/FLUCHT! Under the direction of students from the TU, you can help build seating for the planned events. Anyone who enjoys working with their hands or is willing to learn is invited.
For more information: www.zuflucht.org

Berlin Design Awards 2021

Driven x Design Award Programs

The design for the Exilmuseum was awarded the Berlin Design Award in Silver. It was curated into the awards as part of the 'Elevate Hope' campaign. Thank you! Award page ...

Tempohome Exilmuseum

Student Seminar

Over the course of two semesters, students at the TU Berlin are developing a "Tempohome" for the Exilmuseum. As part of the seminar, they are redesigning former housing containers for refugees in order to draw attention to the project at the future location of the museum. The realisation of the project is envisaged.
Info on seminar ...

Insiders/Outsiders Festival

Lecture on the Exilmuseum

We were recently invited to present our plans for the Exilmuseum via online lecture at the British festival “Insiders/Outsiders.” You can watch the video here (in English).

Architectural Competition

Exhibition of Designs

The exhibition includes all of the submitted designs, making them available to the public for the first time.
Duration: Sept 29–Oct 17, 2020
Location: Foyer of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Potsdamer Str. 33, 10785 Berlin
Admission is free

Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz

for Professor Dr. Christoph Stölzl

Our founding director was awarded the Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz (the Great Federal Commander’s Cross of Merit) from the German federal government on September 15, 2020. The high honor was given in recognition of Professor Stölz's service in the historical reappraisal of World War II and the Holocaust, among other things.
More ...

The Architectural Competition

Announcing the Winner

Congratulations! Danish architect Dorte Mandrup has won first prize in the design competition for the new Exilmuseum building.
More Information …


Interview about the Exilmuseum

The blog "Entwicklungsstadt" deals with the architecture and urban development of Berlin. Our managing director Meike-Marie Thiele answered questions about the status of architectural planning and what the Exilmuseum is all about.
Open Interview ... (In German and English)

Architectural Competition

Interim Presentation

Half time in the architectural competition for the new museum building. In February, all competitors had the chance to discuss their design approaches with the jury for the first time.

Birthday of Joachim Gauck

Donations to the Exilmuseum

The foundation received a substantial donation on the occasion of the 80. birthday of former German president Joachim Gauck. When our official patron noted that he'd be glad to receive donations to the Exilmuseum in lieu of birthday presents, the response was an overwhelming 110,000 euros. We warmly thank all donors.

At the Federal Foreign Office

International recognition

At the friendly invitation of the Federal Foreign Office, we presented our project to ambassadors from all over the world on Nov. 18, 2019. 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 ... (In German)

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 ... (In German)

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.



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.

The Building

The Museum's Architecture

The Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin organized an international architectural competition for a new building located on the site of the Anhalter Bahnhof. Danish architect Dorte Mandrup won the first prize.

More information about the competition and the location ...


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



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by Stefan


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.


Info and Downloads

Latest News

You can find all the latest news and press materials about the architectural competition for the Exilmuseum Berlin here ...

Meike-Marie Thiele
Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Ludwigkirchplatz 2
10719 Berlin
Phone +49 30 767 339 124


March 2019

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


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 the Exilmuseum Berlin. The associated foundation, the Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin, was established in 2018.
The Museum strives to forge partnerships and collaborations with existing institutions and archives working on the topic of exile.

Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin

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

Founding Director
Prof. Dr. Christoph Stölzl

Cornelia Vossen

Managing Director
Meike-Marie Thiele

Assistence to the Managing Director
Nicole Skoczowsky

Academic Research
Sarah Blendin
Dana Müller
Philipp Sukstorf


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 either by post or by email:


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Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin
Ludwigkirchplatz 2
10719 Berlin, Germany
Phone: +49 30 7673 3912 0

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