Skip to main content

What is the price of memory and what is the cost of amnesia? Or: Visions and illusions of anti-imperialist solidarity

How do the transnational solidarities of the GDR shape our present? Echoes of the Brother Countries explores visions and illusions.


Hundreds of thousands of people from countries such as Algeria, Angola, Chile, Guinea-Bissau, Cuba, Mozambique, Syria and Vietnam migrated to the GDR between 1949 and 1990. Their stories often remained untold. 

The exhibition and research project Echoes of the Brother Countries is dedicated to these often overlooked political, economic, educational and artistic interdependencies, exchange processes and migration movements between the GDR and other socialist-oriented states, the so-called brother countries.

In the shadow of the iconic images and iconographic representations of solidarity, "united class struggle" and "socialist internationalism", there was another reality.

Although the GDR emphasised the fairness of its working conditions and opportunities for professional development, contract workers and migrants generally experienced exploitation, cramped living conditions, surveillance, the deprivation of certain freedoms and rights - such as the right to get pregnant or have a relationship - racist and xenophobic attacks, withheld wages and broken promises on the part of the sending governments and the GDR leadership.

However, there were also practices of solidarity at individual, local, national and global levels, including GDR support for so-called 'anti-colonial and anti-imperialist liberation struggles' in other parts of the world.
How were such relationships made possible? How much of this history and legacy is still visible today? 

The exhibition and research project brings together numerous positions that create a space for remembrance, dialogue and reflection on transnational solidarities and contradictions.



Echoes of the Brother Countries is a three-year multidisciplinary project that artistically explores the complex relationships between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and its so-called brother countries.

A particular focus is on Cuba, Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam. Of all the brother countries, they had the largest proportion of exported labour and they share a painful history of deportations after reunification, combined with a lack of financial compensation for the labour of their citizens.
These are also the countries whose citizens "shared" with the GDR became prominent and visible victims of racism and rejection in reunified Germany.


But how much did ordinary GDR citizens know about their history back then? And how much does Germany know about them after 1989?


Echoes of the Brother Countries is a three-year multidisciplinary project that artistically explores the complex relationship between the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and its so-called brother countries.

A special focus is on Cuba, Ghana, Mozambique and Vietnam. Among all brother countries, they had the largest share of exported labor and they share a painful history of deportations after reunification, combined with a lack of financial compensation for the labor services of their citizens:in. These are also the countries whose "shared citizens" with the GDR became prominent and visible victims of racism and rejection in reunified Germany.

But how much did ordinary GDR citizens know about their history back then? And how much does post-1989 Germany know about them?

In its approach, the project emphasizes an open process and accessibility: it opens up important historical research from scholarly and archival contexts as well as oral histories, artworks, cartographic interpretations, new translations, films, musical compositions, and radio recordings in multiple languages to the public.

Multidisciplinarity and participation are at the core of the approach, which echoes the "echo" in the title loud and clear; project participants and audiences will carry it forward and amplify it in a variety of ways



Additional information
Opening hours
Wed.-Mon. 12:00-19:00

Accessibility

We do apologize that the following information is currently only available in German.
Participating artists
Abed Abdi
Khaled Abdulwahed
Donald Acquaye
Maimuna Adam
Kais al-Zubaidi
Santos Chávez
Ivan Cibulka
Sarah Ama Duah
Nguyễn Lương Đức
Ângela Ferreira
Carla Filipe
Lea Grundig
Sami Hakki
Kiluanji Kia Henda
Isaac-Newton-Schule
Emile Itolo
Januário Jano
Hiwa K
Euridice Zaituna Kala
Martha Ketsela
Songhak Ky
Verena Kyselka
Karl-Heinz Kummer
Hernando
León
Humberto López
MORUS-Oberschule
Nástio Mosquito
Olu Oguibe
César Olhagaray
Zohra Opoku
Charles Owusu
Minh Duc Pham
Gertraude Pohl
Elske Rosenfeld
Riad Ali Saad
Farkhondeh Shahroudi
Sophie-Brahe-Gemeinschaftsschule
Dito Tembe
Sung Tieu
Christoph Wetzel
Horst Weber
Dates
March 2024
MoTuWeThFrSaSu
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31