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Special Exhibitions 2013

From the 26th of June to the 28th of August 2013 (daily from 09:30 to 19:00)

"Burned books - writers banned by the Nazis"

An exhibition of the Förderkreis Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas

In the late evening hours of May 10th 1933 bonfires lighted up central squares in almost all university towns in Germany. Big crowds had marched up to burn books. Students and stormtroopers threw books of hundreds of writers, scientists and publishers into the flames. This act was not planned by the Ministry of Public Enlightment and Propaganda under Joseph Goebbels, but was planned and organized by the Nazi student organization. The book burnings were the peak of a campaign "against the un-German spirit." Students were called in circulars to clean the libraries from “Jewish subservice” writings. Public libraries were requested to search their collections based on “black lists” and hand over the respective books to the bodies of students for burning.

The travelling exhibition “Burned books” from the “Förderkreis Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas e.V.” (association for the promotion of the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe) was developed in cooperation with the head of the review section of FAZ newspaper Volker Weidermann and the curator Jan Frontzek. It deals with the book burning from 1933 and the fates of selected writers whose books had been burned. On nine large-sized steles the lives and works of writers including Anna Seghers, Irmgard Keun, Max Brod, Klaus und Heinrich Mann, Egon Erwin Kisch, Erich Maria Remarque, Kurt Tucholsky and Stefan Zweig is presented. Integrated equipment allows to hear the authors reciting from their work.

From the 31st of May to the 28th of Septembre 2013 (daily from 09:30 to 19:00)

"Leni Riefenstahl"

An exhibition, arranged and curated by Ina Brockmann and Peter Reichelt, Mannheim

LeAusstellungsplakatni Riefenstahl is one of the leading artists that contributed to the power maintaining propaganda system of the "Third Reich". Her influence is similar to Albert Speer, Gustaf Gründgens, Arno Breker or the lesser known Clemens Klotz, architect of the Prora seaside resort. They let themselves be used by the regime, profited from it, yet wanted to be seen as non political artists after the regime fell apart.

Riefenstahl has spent most of her life constructing and controlling the "Myth of the Apolitical Genius Artist Riefenstahl". This is ironic considering that her film about the 1936 Olympics and the Nuremberg Rally Trilogy contributed to the racist and heroic ideal of the National Socialists. She helped to give the German Reich and the "Deutsche Volksgemeinschaft" under Hitler’s reign a more "pleasant" and "human" image.

The presentation "Leni Riefenstahl" by the curators Peter Reichelt and Ina Brockmann is the first exhibition that is not controlled and authorized by her and shows a differentiated view of the historical figure Leni Riefenstahl.

The exhibition reveals that Riefenstahl was not someone who was ideologically independent and only made artistic decisions but someone strongly connected with the ideology of the “Third Reich” as well. Her commitment to the National Socialist regime, it’s propaganda machine and the benefits she reaped as the “Reich’s Film Producer” were too obvious to be simply ignored.

Riefenstahl’s influence is still seen today in modern film production, the aesthetics of advertising and the sexualizing of sport. However, her strong ties to the NS regime and Hitler have left a strong negative impact on her artist achievements. The exhibition dismantles the myth created by Riefenstahl and reveals her as a symbolic representation of the denial of the past that took place after 1945 in Germany.       

AusstellungsplakatFrom the 31st of March to the 25th of June 2013 (daily from 09:30 to 19:00)

"Zoppot, Cranz, Riga Beach - Baltic Sea Baths during the 19th and 20th Century"

An exhibition by the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe in collaboration with the German Cultural Forum for Eastern Europe in Potsdam and the Chair for the History of Eastern Europe at the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder).
Sponsored by the M.C.A Böckler - Mare Balticum Foundation and presented by the German Cultural Forum for Eastern Europe

The year 1989 and the political upheavals that came with it did not leave the beaches and the baths of the Baltic Sea untouched. Gradually the Baltic Sea region is coming together again in the heads of the people who inhabit the region. The cultural connectivity of the Baltic Sea region is mirrored in the architectural urban landscape of the former Hansa cities. However, the “world” of the Baltic Sea baths has a common history, a history that is even older than the division of Europe.

The oldest European sea baths emerged during the beginning of the 18th century in England, specifically in Brighton and Scarborough which were also visited by Germans. The English sea baths would serve as an impulse to initiate the emergence of a sea bath culture at the Baltic Coast. The first sea bath of the Baltic Sea was built in 1793 at the Mecklenburg coast: “Heilige Damm bey Dobberan”. The further development of sea baths and the emergence of a unique bath culture will be shown in the exhibition “Zoppot- Cranz- Riga Beach” accompanied by pictures.

Initially the development of sea baths was meant to have medical purposes as their main priority. However, during the 19th century they became more and more popular as centers for recreation and relaxation. This meant that they would eventually develop from a meeting point of “respectable society” to areas of mass tourism during the beginning of the 20th century. With the beginning of the First World War, the bath culture of the Baltic Sea began to decline, especially in the eastern region. With the formation of the National Socialist leisure organization “Strength Through Joy” (“Kraft durch Freude”) and the tourism that it organized, a new form of Baltic Sea bath culture would emerge leading to the construction of the “KdF-Sea Bath Rügen” in Prora. However, this culture would cease to exist after the end of the Second World War. The Baltic Sea coast would become the scene of various military conflicts and brutal crimes, for example, the murder of Jewish concentration camp prisoners during January 1945 along the beach of Palmnicken.

The division of Europe after 1945 lead to a massive militarization of the whole Baltic Sea region and changed the appearances and identity of various Baltic Sea Baths. The state lead mass tourism would leave an impact on the whole Baltic Sea region. What was once known as a health resort for the elite would become a leisure resort for the working class. Since 1989 a renovation and resurgence of the former Bath Culture such as the reconstruction of white villas and sea bridges would contribute to reviving the charm of the “good ol’ times”. The accompanying interest for the collective history of the Baltic Sea region is carried by the presentation “Zoppot- Cranz- Riga beach”.

From the 29th of March to the 28th of May 2013
"The Face of the Ghetto. Pictures by Jewish Photographers from the Ghetto Litzmannstadt 1940 - 1944"

An exhibition by the foundation "Topography of Terror", Berlin

The exhibition "The Face of the Ghetto" presents pictures by Jewish photographer from the ghetto Litzmannstadt between 1940 and 1944. It focuses on the theme terror and crimes by the Nazi regime as well as the fate of the victims of these crimes. The ambivalence between the hopeless situation in the ghetto and the efforts of its inhabitants to live as long as possible with dignity is captured through the empathy of the Jewish photographer for its inhabitants.

The exhibition reveals for the first time to the public an almost unknown picture inventory about a dramatic stage during the persecution of Jews in the ghetto Litzmannstadt, formerly known by the name Lodz but renamed in 1940 by the German occupiers. The exhibition is complimented by testimonies by former ghetto inhabitants which are documented in the ghetto chronicle. A short summary of the history of the ghetto, a characterization of the photography as a historical source is also integrated into the exhibition.

The exhibition reminds us of the suffering inflicted upon the Jewish population of Europe and shows the observer what the ostracizing of minority groups can lead to in extreme cases. With this the exhibition wants to expose and remind us that the ideology that was propagated by Hitler’s Germany was fixated towards the death of millions of people.