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
“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.
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: