Museums in Berlin: Forum Willy Brandt: Discovering great history in small things - Berliner Morgenpost

Museums in Berlin: Forum Willy Brandt: Discovering great history in small things - Berliner Morgenpost

Berlin. & Nbsp; "We were very lucky," says Wolfram Hoppenstedt, who has been the managing director of the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation since 1996. When the news came that the Elisabeth Selbert House was to be demolished and replaced by a new building, it was clear that the Unter den Linden exhibition space could no longer be used.

"The Federal Agency for Real Estate has found a great alternative for us," said Hoppenstedt. Less than a five-minute walk from the boulevard, the forum is now opposite the Komische Oper. Since October visitors have been able to visit the small museum there, which is dedicated to the life and work of the SPD politician and former Chancellor Willy Brandt (1913–1992).

Even if the new location is not far from the old one, some compromises had to be made. The permanent exhibition on the 150 square meters that are now available could not be accommodated. "It was important to us to continue our program of events with readings, film screenings and discussions at the interim location," said Hoppenstedt. In order for the balancing act between the exhibition and event house to work, only the most important objects were initially brought to Behrenstrasse, including the certificate that Brandt received at the Nobel Prize award ceremony and the metal sculpture by the well-known artist Rainer Fetting, which stands in the entrance area.

"We are working on making optimal use of the space," says Hoppenstedt. Alone, it still takes a while before other exhibits can be presented, for example, in the wide window niches. In the meantime, the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation is increasingly relying on digital communication. “New is a terminal where visitors can immerse themselves in every phase of Brandt's life,” enthuses Hoppenstedt.

He is particularly pleased that many groups of visitors to the Bundestag have found their way back to the museum since the reopening in October. More and more tourists and Berliners are discovering the exhibition. “Nevertheless, we are aware that we do not have the same exclusive location as before. As soon as the construction fence is on the Unter den Linden property, we will use advertising to draw our attention to our new location. ”

In addition to individual exhibits from the permanent exhibition, there will also be a first special exhibition to be discovered by April next year. Under the title “Divided City. 1945 - 1990 “the forum presents seven dioramas from the Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg, which tell the big story in small. With the help of a fictitious Berlin border crossing, phases of the division are made visible - as is the reality of life of the people during the almost three decades of division of Germany.

There are still many ruins in the showcase dedicated to the post-war period. Later, and this becomes clear in another diorama, the borders are drawn overnight and, as a result, the wall is built. It is amazing how detailed the work is and how many different perspectives can be discovered. There are people to be seen rappelling out of the window with bed sheets so that they can flee to the west at the last moment, while the escape holes are mortared just a few floors below. "It is admirable the historical claim with which the makers from Hamburg went to work," says Hoppenstedt. He is particularly fascinated by the details. For example, the "Leap into Freedom" was reenacted: On August 15, 1961, 19-year-old People's Police Officer Conrad Schumann saved himself by making a daring jump over barbed wire to West Berlin.

The further the story advances, the clearer it becomes that GDR and FRG were living apart: occupied houses on the one hand, prefabricated buildings on the other, politically motivated demonstrations in the west, Stasi surveillance and socialist propaganda in the east. “The most exciting thing is how differently children and adults see the dioramas. We have seen that visitors quickly start talking. We're really glad. Just like the fact that the Miniatur Wunderland Hamburg does not otherwise lend any exhibits. ”An exception was made for Berlin.

And what's next? “One day we can go back to the old location, we have already been assured of that. However, we expect at least six years to pass before the new building is completed, ”says Hoppenstedt. In the meantime, the Federal Chancellor Willy Brandt Foundation has set itself the goal of designing a new permanent exhibition. The national traveling exhibition is currently guest at the Paul Löbe House, and an international version will tour Moscow from 2020 worldwide.

They are also looking forward to the opening of another location next to the Forum in Berlin and the Willy-Brandt-Haus in Lübeck. “At BER Airport, which is named after Willy Brandt, there is another exhibition that we designed. There is no other airport like this. Now we hope that the airport will be opened as soon as possible. ”Before moving back to Unter den Linden, one would like to hope.

Forum Willy Brandt Berlin, Behrenstrasse 15, Mitte, daily 11 am–5pm, admission free. Special exhibition “Divided City. 1945 - 1990 "until April 30, 2020,

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