New Berlin ‘exiles’ museum at ruins of train station site
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New Berlin ‘exiles’ museum at ruins of train station site

Exilmuseum which is due to open in 2025 will be located alongside the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof train station, where more than 500,000 fled from in the 1930s

Remains of the Anhalter Bahnhof station
Remains of the Anhalter Bahnhof station

Plans for a new museum to tell the story of half-a-million German Jews who fled into exile to escape Nazi persecution are taking shape in the city centre.

The Exilmuseum, scheduled to open in 2025, will be located alongside the ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof train station in the city centre, the foundation behind it announced last week, as architects fine-tune their designs.

More than 500,000 fled Germany to escape Nazi persecution, most leaving in the 1930s, and the new museum wants to bring to life their stories and biographies, the idea having been born two years ago.

Danish architects Dorte Mandrup will design the museum, which will feature a concave-shaped building stretching out behind the remaining ruin.

The museum, of which former German President Joachim Gauck is patron, will tell the lives of exiles both famous and not, with physicist Albert Einstein among the former. Gauck said he hoped their tales would garner “admiration of the determination they embodied”. 

Patron Herta Müller, who was forced to flee to Germany from Romania in 1987, said the ruins of the bomb-damaged station was a perfect choice of location as “parables for returns and farewells”. 

The museum will also tell the story of the train station, which was used to deport Jews, and the Nobel laureate said its preserved entrance gate was a landmark for people who were “torn out of their everyday lives” by the Nazis because of who they were, whether Jews, left-wingers, Sinti, Roma or homosexuals.

“People who had to flee into exile are still not considered victims in Germany,” she said, while museum director Christoph Stölzl added there would be “some very moving stories”.

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