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Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Studio
Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Studio © Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin

Werkstatt Exilmuseum

Understanding and helping to shape the future Exile Museum

Unforgotten: During the dark years of National Socialism, around half a million people tried to save themselves from persecution and leave Germany. Many of them managed to escape via Berlin's centrally located Anhalter Bahnhof. A museum is to be built at the authentic site in the next few years. The new Exilmuseum workshop invites you to accompany the development of the new museum.

Anhalter Bahnhof: once the centre of metropolitan life

Somewhat abandoned, it towers into the sky: the ruins of the old Anhalter Bahnhof in the heart of Berlin, near Potsdamer Platz. It's hard to believe that behind the dilapidated façade once stretched a huge station concourse with many waiting rooms!

Ruin of the Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin
Ruin of the Anhalter Bahnhof in Berlin © bzi, Foto: Gerd Pofahl

Until its destruction at the end of the Second World War, Anhalter Bahnhof was one of Berlin's most important long-distance railway stations, serving tens of thousands of travellers to and from all directions every day. Its importance is international and, at the beginning of the 20th century, increasingly elitist: Kaiser Wilhelm holds state receptions here, the aristocratic elite greets the Russian Tsar Nicholas II here.

The catastrophe

Under the rule of the National Socialists, the hustle and bustle of the big city at Anhalter Bahnhof takes an ominous turn from 1933 onwards: People are persecuted everywhere in Berlin and in Germany, their lives are threatened. Among the travellers are an increasing number of people who have to leave Berlin secretly, leaving everything behind to save themselves and their loved ones. Many of them are lucky and manage to reach their destination. But they are often tormented by a lifetime of fears, the longing for what they have lost, the feeling of being a stranger.

Telling life stories and building bridges

There are things that must not be forgotten, precisely because the connection to the present is so obvious: today, many refugees arrive in Berlin, have left their loved ones behind, look into an uncertain future, and hope to be accepted. The future Exilmuseum at Anhalter Bahnhof will be dedicated to Berlin's own traumatic past, but will also draw a connection to the situation of the countless refugees in Berlin today.

Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Exhibition
Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Exhibition © Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin

A six-metre-high information tower on the open space next to the portal ruins informs visitors about the Exilmuseum project at Anhalter Bahnhof and presents the initiatives and plans for the future architecture. 

Exciting insights: Workshop Exilmuseum

You can already be there: 
The Exilmuseum workshop in Fasanenstraße will prepare you extensively for the museum. You will be informed about all the details of the plans: you will learn how the new museum is to look according to the architectural designs, especially in interaction with the historical ruin. You will also be introduced to the concept of the future permanent exhibition.

Also be curious about the ways in which you can get personally involved in the project.

Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Exhibition
Workshop Exilmuseum Berlin, Exhibition © Stiftung Exilmuseum Berlin

A varied programme of events will accompany the work in the workshop:
Readings and film screenings, discussion evenings and workshops are planned, and most importantly:
Meetings to build networks around the theme of "exile".