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The relationship between the West and the communist bloc, the popularity of Willy Brandt with GDR citizens, sex scandals and the East German spy Günter Guillaume – all defining moments from Willy Brandt's time as Chancellor. Gain a real understanding of the politician in the Willy Brandt Forum's permanent exhibition. This modern museum gives an insight into his professional life and unconventional political style. Delve into the political history of West Germany with documents, photos, films and original recordings. Willy's private life and personality are also explored.
Committed European since childhood
Willy Brandt is shaped by experiences in his youth. Born Herbert Frahm in Lübeck, he joins the resistance when Hitler comes to power and flees to Norway and then Sweden. He took the pseudonym Willy Brandt for protection and kept it when he returned from exile and became more involved in politics. At the time when East Germany is building the Wall, Brandt becomes mayor of Berlin. He meets with John F. Kennedy at the Rathaus Schöneberg. In 1969, Brandt becomes the first SPD party Chancellor of West Germany and begins the work of building bridges with the East. And that's only part of what he achieves: Brandt's life is steeped in history and closely entwined with German history. After he dies, the German government founds the Bundeskanzler-Willy-Brandt-Foundation, which since 2010 has had its headquarters on the famous Unter den Linden boulevard. This is where you'll find the Willy Brandt Forum today, a political multimedia experience. The exhibition is divided into five themed chapters leading visitors through important events in Brandt's life, from his Norwegian exile up to his death in 1992. The bright, modern rooms display personal documents and photographs, such as his legal name change document from 1949 and his naturalisation certificate from 1948, all of which tell of his time in Norway and as mayor of a divided Berlin. On the display boards, you can get an overview of the highlights of his life story, and on the multimedia stations, there are videos and audio soundtracks. There is even a special audio tour for younger visitors.
Highlights of the Willy Brandt Forum
- Original Brandt film and audio files.
- Large portraits of the former German Chancellor.
- Brandt's Gestapo index cards.
- Nobel Peace Prize medal.
- Official government declaration from 1969.
More on German history and politics
In 1963, Kennedy stands in front of the Rathaus Schöneberg and speaks the famous words "Ich bin ein Berliner", and on the 10th of November 1989 Germans celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall in front of the building, which is home to the exhibition now found in the Willy Brandt Forum until 2010. The current exhibition of the city hall carries biographies and stories about Jewish citizens of the Schöneberg district. The SPD party headquarters are housed in the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Kreuzberg, a traditional working class and trendy area of the city. Behind the modern glass and limestone facade, there is a large event and exhibition space. Don't miss the bronze Willy Brandt statue, already a local landmark.
Our tips for your visit
Take S-Bahn S1, S2, S25 or underground U55 to Brandenburg Gate, and the Willy Brandt Forum is only 200 metres away. Alternatively, take buses 100 or TXL to Brandenburg Gate. Admission is free of charge, and private visits for groups can be arranged by phone or email. Public guided tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm. There are additional charges for private group tours on weekdays. Book online using the registration form on the website.