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Exhibition Archive: 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007
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Special Exhibitions 2009
13th of November 2009 to 30th of June 2010

„Im Totaleinsatz - The Forced Labor of the Czech population for the Third Reich“

An exhibition by the „Czech-German Fund for the Future“ and the foundation „Topography of Terror, Documentation Centre Nazi Forced Labour“, Berlin Schöneweide.

The public perception towards slaves and forced laborers within the Third Reich was such, that the Czechs played a minor role when compared to Poles, Russian, Belorussians and Ukraines. For a long period of time the view in Germany was that the Czech forced laborers came „willingly“ to Germany. It was believed that they shared a „better status“ then the Poles or Russians and weren’t „real forced laborers“.
This is historically speaking not correct. With the formation of the Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, the German authorities pressured the Czech population to register for work in Germany. Officially it was voluntary, however, with time the recruitment measures became more drastic. Eventually all age groups would become subjected to „Totaleinsatz“. Roughly 400,000 to 600,000 Czech forced laborers, had to work within the Third Reich under inhumane circumstances until 1945.

The exhibtion "Im Totaleinsatz“ documents the working and living conditions that these people had to endure. Focus is also put on the labor and penal system within the Workercamps, with reference to 250 personal documents and photographs. The actual slave labor of the CC detainees as well as the specific circumstances of Jews and Gypsies are looked at in detail. A film containing excerpts of interviews and recollections by survivors, adds depth to the exhibition.

The presentation is supplemented via photographs by the Czech photographer Zdenek Tmej, taken during his years as a forced laborer in Breslau between 1942- 1944 which has kindly been provided by the Archive B&M Chocola Prague.  

21st of August to the 30th of October

"Worthless Life - Destroyed Lives"

An exhibition from the Union of „Euthanasia“ – The Incorporated Society of the Aggrieved and Forcefully Sterilized

The exhibition „Worthless Life - Destroyed Lives“ documents via texts and pictures the fate of those who were forcefully mutilated or murdered during the National Socialist euthanasia programs. It focuses on the „Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring“  which took place in 1933 and the euthanasia programs which were implemented during 1939.

It shows how the selection process was used as a political instrument in order to sterlize the mental ill and the physically sick. Individuals who stood out or did not wish to conform to the political system, were also targetted for sterilization. After 1939 about 300.000 people were sent to medical institutions where they were gassed, recieved lethal injections or were purposely starved to death.

400.000 people alone underwent sterilization of which 5000 women and 600 men died due to the results of mutilation.

One of the main focuses of the exhibition is the fate of the children of the murdered patients. Deeply traumatized, many were sterilized and sent to orphanages or „Conformation Familes“.

The exhibition documents the reparation history of the survivors, revealing how stigmatization and discrimination continued in the Federal Republic after 1945 and the difficulties that recieving compensation and rehabilition entailed.

The exhibition will be opened on the 20th of August at 07:00 pm. In order to honor the occasion Margret Hamm, the executive head of the Union of „Euthanasia - The Incorporated Society of the Aggrieved and Forcefully Sterilized“ , will give an opening speech.

5th of July to the 16th of August 2009

"Klaus Staeck: I want to make clear"

An Exhibition by the Documentation Centre Prora

Klaus Staeck - Who has never heard of him and his famous posters? “German Workers! The SPD wants to take away your villas in Tessin!”, was the warning that went out to the German voters in 1972 during the Bundestag Campaign. “The rented item is to be handled gently and returned in good condition”, was the motive in 1983, in regards to our levitating planet.

Klaus Staeck worked against the Zeitgeist. His posters have often become a symbol of the social situation and problems of the time. His poster for the “German Bankers Club” from 1997 reveals how relevant his work is to this day, and is rightfully the main poster for the exhibition. What was considered over exaggerated a couple of years ago, has become a reality in the current financial crisis.

The documentation centre Prora shows 100 posters by the president of the Berlin Academy of Art. It does not only wish to celebrate a retrospective but also reintroduce the political message of the artist Klaus Staeck into the mainstream.

2nd of May to the 28th of June 2009

“The other side - Carlfriedrich Claus, Michael Morgner, Thomas Ranft"

An Exhibition by the Documentation Centre Prora

The “Leipzig School for Graphics and High Art” is not only known for having produced the "stars" of the new and old Leipzig School such as Neo Rauch or Bernhard Heisig, but also artists such as the members of the legendary art group “Clara Mosch”. They came together in 1977 near Adelsberg, a suburb of the former Karl Marx City. The name for the group is an anagram, consisting of the first letters of their names: CLA is from Carlfriedrich Claus, RA is Thomas Ranft and Dagmar Ranft-Schinke. "MO" is derived from Michael Morgner and "SCH" is from Gregor-Torsten Schade. Inside a former corner shop, they would open one of the few private producer galleries in the GDR. The group saw itself as a, “emergency group faced with the shallow Socialist Realism”, according to Morgner. They denounced the conventional reality, however, did not have their own program or manifesto.

27 years after the dissolution of the group in 1987, the Documentation Centre Prora has decided to show the etchings and lithography of Carlfriedrich Claus, Michael Morgner and Thomas Ranft.

The graphics by Carlfriedrich Claus continue to fascinate people with the poetry that lives inside them. They mainly consist of a form of microprint which come together to form a shape. This is in contrast with the large pictures and graphic sheets by Michael Morgner. This artwork was characterised by a expressive "Gestus", informal dark backgrounds and heavy themes such as death. It was near the end of the 70’s that Morgner finally found his own "signature’"style. He never sold himself to trends but worked continuously on his own understanding of the arts.

Thomas Ranft is first and foremost a graphics designer and sketcher, his "lacy" pictures remind one of floral structures. Often they are fragile fantasy pictures. He sketches meticulously yet softly, discovering new forms within the fields of design. There is no crassness; mental clarity and sensible concreteness mark his work. In the last couple of years he built objects consisting out of wood, metal, litho stone and etching plates.    

4th of April to the 31st of May 2009

“Oda Schottmüller - Dancer, Sculptress, Nazi-Opponent" and
"The Red Orchestra Resistance Organization”

Two Documentations by the "German Resistance Memorial Centre" in Berlin and the "German Dance Archives" in Cologne

The artist Oda Schottmüller (1905-1943) was a dancer within the tradition of the modern 1920’s dance expression; its most popular representatives were Mary Wigman and her student Gret Pallucca. These dancers rejected the dance style of the classical ballet of the 19th century and designed a dance that orientated itself towards quick and rhythmical movements based on a form of Expressionism.

After completing her education as a dancer, she attended the sculptor course at the Itten School in Berlin, a company competing against the Dessau Bauhaus. It was here that Schottmüller began to design her own costumes and masks made out of wood which she would later wear during her performances as a dancers, developing her own style.

After the National Socialist’s seizure of power, Schottmüller was still able to practice her craft freelance, despite not joining the Reich’s Theatre Chamber or accepting the Nazi’s cultural politics of the “German Dance”.

The majority of Schottmüller’s acquaintances and friends consisted of opponents against the Nazi regime, such as Harro Schulze-Boysen and his colleagues. Schulze-Boysen worked for the Reich Aviation Ministry, where he had access to highly secret information. Together with Arvid Harnack, a councilor within the Reich Economy Ministry, they would supply Russian diplomats with important information, such as about the planned attack against the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941. Connections to various Communist Resistance groups throughout Europe would also be maintained. The group, which was called the “Red Orchestra” by the secret police, would handout oppositional pamphlets and hide concentration camp prisoners.

During the Autumn of 1942, the Gestapo deciphered the radio contact between the communist resistance groups and Moscow. Over 100 members of the "Red Orchestra" were arrested, including Oda Schottmüller, who was oblivious of the of most of the actions carried out by the group. She was accused of allowing radio messages to be sent to Moscow from her studio. To this day, it is not sure whether this was the case or not. Despite this, she was sentenced to death by the Reich’s Supreme Court in January, 1943. She was murdered in Plötzensee on the 5th of August, 1943.

The two exhibitions “Oda Schottmüller- Dancer, Sculptor and Nazi Opponent” and “The Red Orchestra”, document the life of Oda Schottmüller and gives us an overview of the resistance group “The Red Orchestra" and the fate that has befallen its members and the actions they carried out against the Third Reich.