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Der private Nachlass des Wandervogels Karl Fischer

Letters, personal documents and more than 750 photographs - the private estate of Karl Fischer (1881-1941) is by far the largest collection in the Wandervogel archive of the Steglitz-Zehlendorf Department of Culture. As a co-founder of the Wandervogel movement, which spread from Steglitz throughout Germany, Karl Fischer played a prominent role in the early youth movement.


Less well known until now is that Fischer was involved in German colonial rule in China from 1907 to 1914 as a military volunteer, commercial clerk, and newspaper editor. The exhibition in the Schwartz Villa traces the traces of colonialism in Karl Fischer's estate for the first time and takes them as an occasion for a critical examination of German colonial history.

The indexing and digitization of the estate revealed a life of Fischer in the service of the colonial policy of the German Reich: In the fall of 1906, the wandering bird volunteered for military service with the III Sea Battalion in Qingdao. He then remained in China - initially as a commercial employee at the Schantung Mining Company. Afterwards, he was involved in the cultural policy of the German colonial power as a newspaper editor in Shanghai from 1910 to 1914, before he became a Japanese prisoner of war in 1914.

In the four chapters "Steglitz," "Qingdao," "Shanghai," and "Bando," the exhibition reconstructs Fischer's stations in East Asia and confronts his perspective, reproduced by the estate, with a postcolonial view of German colonialism in China. In addition, the workshop exhibition takes a first look at historical and contemporary traces of colonialism in today's Steglitz-Zehlendorf district. German colonialism also manifested itself in many ways in the municipalities of Steglitz, Zehlendorf and Groß-Lichterfelde, which were independent until 1920. Exemplarily, the exhibition presents traces from the fields of mission, science, economy, military and associations and stimulates a discussion about the current politics of remembrance in the district.

The exhibition will open on Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 6-8 p.m. in the form of a soft opening with time slot bookings and will be accompanied by a supporting program of guided tours, city walks and evening lectures.

A first workshop talk with the curators Dr. Hajo Frölich, Dr. Kimiko Suda and Dr. Christiana Brennecke will take place on Tuesday, December 7, 2021 at 6 pm in the Schwartzsche Villa.

Registration is required for all events.

Supported with funds from the District Cultural Fund / Subfund for the Reappraisal of Colonial History.
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