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 Projects of the Foundation

▶ 1989 to 2019 - 30 years autumn '89

30 years autumn '89 - let's call it revolution!?
Common reference for intervening practices 2019 in the East to strengthen solidarity

▶ Internationales Network of Houses of Democracy

We proudly present to you the first newsletter of the International Network of Houses of Democracy, edited by the House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin!

You are receiving this newsletter because you participated in the workshop “Houses of Democracy around the world” at the Global Forum on modern direct democracy in Rome in September 2018 or you were interested in this network.

In the workshop mentioned above, we talked about houses of democracy (HoD) and an international network of these houses (see below). This newsletter itself was one of the ideas for this network. Therefore, we completed our first task! :-)

The basic idea of this newsletter is to stay connected, to get to know other HoD and to exchange experiences. Another HoD will edit every newsletter. We from Berlin admitted to write the "Number One" proposing a structure for it. Our proposal consists of three parts: (1) news from the network, (2) actual topics the editing HoD is working or thinking on and (3) a brief presentation of the editing HoD.

Join the network!

  • If you are interested in following and contributing to our network, please let us know. You find our names and emails below.
  • If you know other institutions (Houses of Democracy), sent this newsletter to them and let us know as well.
  • Any comments and inputs are most welcome!
The network consists not only of existing houses but also of initiatives and promoters trying to found a House of Democracy in their city. In any case, please feel invited to be a part of this network!

If you are interested in preparing HoD-Newsletter #3 and present your House of Democracy, let us know ASAP.

The next newsletter will be edit by the «Politforum Käfigturm» in Bern/Switzerland, located in the heart of the capital of Switzerland in a former medieval prison tower.

So enjoy reading and be inspired for your work.
Rainer Wahls & Martin Burwitz
For the Foundation House of Democracy and Human Rights, Berlin


Martin Burwitz, Berlin: martin.burwitz🌐mehr-demokratie᎐de

Thomas Göttin, Bern:thomas.goettin🌐polit-forum-bern᎐ch

1. News from the Network
1.1 Towards a Network of „Houses of Democracy” worldwide

(co-written with Thomas Göttin & Bruno Kaufmann. Thank you!)

The «Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy» 2018 in Rome

From September 26 to 29 this year the 7th “Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy” took place in Rome/Italy. The Forum was full of inspiring ideas and projects in the field of local democracies and developing people power from across the world. All over the world, citizens and cities are engaged in democratizing our democracies – for the citizens, with the citizens and by the citizens.   more informations  ▶  
A workshop was hold on “Houses of Democracy” (HoD) around the world. We discussed characteristics of such infrastructures, how to stay in touch and how to build up a form of an international network. In the workshop and during the Global Forum people from Cologne, Seoul, Athens, Bozen, San Sebastian and Reykjavik were implied. In all these cities, there exist houses of democracy or initiatives to create such spaces.

Houses of Democracy

Conversations during the 2018 Global Forum highlighted some of the HoD-key features:
  • A space linked to (local) civil society
  • Covering topics related to current issues
  • Giving place for public debate
  • Including communication, civic information & political education
  • Being easily accessible, i.e. in the city centre and open for everyone
  • Having reputation of political independence
  • Setting up laboratories for new forms of participation
An open discussion was about the funding of such a participatory infrastructure: the fundamentally public service suggest public funding, independence from government suggest funding by civil society. Regardless of the type of funding, a house of democracy needs to be politically independent. And you can also think about mixed forms of funding by civil society and by the public.

Towards a global network of Houses of Democracy

The core idea of an international HoD-network would be to get to know each other, to exchange our experiences and to support each other: What are similar challenges we are facing and what can we do to solve them? As elements of an international HoD-network we talked about the following:
  • Connecting by newsletter which allow HoDs around the world to get to know each other, present their concepts and exchange ideas. Every newsletter is edited by another institution, starting with the «House of Democracy and Human Rights» in Berlin, including general information and a portrait of the institution.
  • Permanent Information: Houses of Democracy information can be included in the forthcoming Global Community Platform established by the Global Forum co-host Democracy International Global Forum. Register here: www.democracy.community.
  • Meetings: A next workshop is planned to take place during the 2019 Global Forum on Modern Direct Democracy in Taichung/Taiwan, 2-5 October, 2019globalforum.com
  • Staff Exchange between participating HoDs
  • Developing a “House of Democracy” Guide: We want to frame common understandings and recommendations for the HoD-network around the world

Participants of the workshop in Rome:

From left to right: Jung Ok Lee (Seoul/South Korea), Thomas Schmeckpeper (Cologne/Germany), Nick Petonis (Athens/Greece), Thomas Göttin (Bern/Switzerland), Martin Burwitz (Berlin/Germany), Nils Jonas (Potsdam/Germany), Allegro Pasqualino (Calabria/Italy)

1.2 Magna Charta for an International League of Democracy Cities

The Global Forum in Rome agreed on a draft «Magna Charta for an International League of Democracy Cities» (Link) where Houses of Democracy (“physical spaces”) are included as important elements of a Democracy City: «A Democracy City seeks to create physical spaces where people can be with each other, discuss with each other, and make democratic decisions together, freely and safely. In democracy cities, these spaces may take any number of forms, from previously abandoned buildings, to libraries, to schools, to streets reclaimed from brutal traffic, to centers that are explicitly houses of democracy.» You can find the complete text here: 2018globalforum.com

1.3 Initiative for a coordinating office for the Network

To promote and support the development of an international network of HoD the Foundation House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin (managing insitution of the Berlin HoD) is trying to establish a little coordinating office. As the origin of the Berlin HoD goes back to the democratic revolution in 1989 in Eastern Germany we are also interested to build up a network between the local HoD founded all over the GDR back then in 1989. So we would like to combine these efforts to build up a structure for developing these two initatives for networks of HoD. To realize this we try to get financial funding from public programmes for supporting (local) democracy, civil society or international cooperation of citizens.

Any comments and ideas on this project are very welcome. Please contact: martin.burwitz🌐mehr-demokratie.de

2. What the HoD in Berlin is working on
2.1 1989 & 2019

Next year will be the 30th anniversary of the Democratic Revolution in Eastern Germany and also of the HoD in Berlin and others founded 1989 everywhere in the former GDR. They were hard-won by the dissident movements of former GDR. That`s one of the two origins of the present-day “HoD” in Berlin.

Last October, groups, organizations and citizens from Berlin met in a workshop weekend “Do we call it revolution? 30 years after autumn ‘89” to prepare for activities and topics in 2019, plus a critical remembrance; and this process will be continued with groups, organizations and citizens beyond Berlin in January 2019.

  For more information about our events  ▶  

2.2 Communication

We re-founded the so called “Hauspost” (“house letter”), a little printed publication, as another component beside our monthly newsletter about events and exhibitions in the HoD. The “Hauspost” is an internal newsletter for the organizations working in the house. In this way, we want to support their interacting, cooperation or at least the knowledge of the many organizations in our house about what the others do in the HoD. We also use this to share general news about the house with them.

3. About the House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin

Dialogue and diversity

This is the motto of the House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin. It is a platform of solidarity work for over 60 NGOs working in the house in a variety of areas of activity: political and civil engagement, human rights worldwide, environment and more.

The house is administrated by a civil society trust foundation, politically independent with no funding from state, political parties or private companies. It provides seminar rooms, organizes political events and shows regularly exhibitions with different topics.


The beginnings of the house are set in the democratic revolution from 1989 in the former GDR (Eastern Germany). The new “House of Democracy” provided offices for the new founded civil movements of the GDR for their work. The first address was in today very trendy and commercial Friedrichstraße. Before, the house was the local quartier of the SED, the communist state party. After the reunification of Germany, a phase of trouble with the transfer from public property followed. In order to save the initiative of the house, a new foundation was established and this foundation received a down payment for the relocation in a new house at the Greifswalder Str. 4. While this relocation, the house united with the initative for a “House of Human Rights” from western Berlin and became the current “House of Democracy and Human Rights”.

In the present location, there is a mix of organizations from the East and West Germany.


4. Who's Next?

The next newsletter will be edited by the «Politforum Käfigturm» in Bern/Switzerland, located in the heart of the capital of Switzerland in a former medieval prison tower.   Contact: Thomas Göttin  ▶  

5. Editor

▶ Social Movement Day (only in german)

With this annual day of action, we offer emancipatory groups the space and the opportunity to introduce themselves and their projects, to find points of contact, to lend emphasis to their political work, to discuss and, last but not least, to celebrate together.

▶ The Draft Constitution of the Round Table in the GDR (only in german)

Chance - Failure - News - Documentation of the conference on 17 & 18 October 2014

▶ People? Rights? Indispensable.

Testing of a concept for human rights education with juvenile delinquents

Human rights education for prevention

Prevention of human rights violations remains a goal of human rights education. Experience has shown that bodily harm is the most common juvenile offence along with property offences. In the prevention of crimes that violate human rights (bodily harm), human rights education with juvenile "perpetrators" cannot therefore be dispensed with. On February 1, 2012, the Foundation Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, with the kind support of the Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" and the "Aktion Mensch", was able to begin implementing a human rights education project with juvenile delinquents.

Criminal juveniles as a particularly vulnerable group

The project was based on the idea that juvenile delinquents remain subjects of human rights and human dignity. Living in state institutions or state-authorised homes makes them a particularly vulnerable group for human rights violations. They were informed about the human and child rights to which they are entitled and about the possibilities of enforcing these rights. Among other things, they were put in a position to check to what extent their own institution fulfils its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Basic Law, the Berlin Constitution, etc. The group was informed about the human rights and children's rights to which they are entitled and about the possibilities of enforcing these rights.

Victim and perpetrator at the same time

The focus was on the right to a non-violent upbringing and the right to physical integrity. Many young people were victims of domestic violence before becoming violent themselves. The project also made references to Nazi history (children's concentration camp Litzmannstadt) and the GDR past (youth welfare institution Alt-Stralau) in order to sensitize young people to the subject of abuse and labour exploitation from the perspective of the victims at the time. The young project participants were thus addressed both as (potential) victims of human rights violations and as "perpetrators".

Program testing

The project objective was to develop a human rights education programme for juvenile delinquents. To this end, educational materials for working with the target group were developed as part of the project and tested in a series of workshops with supplementary measures in two youth welfare institutions.


The concrete results formed the basis for a further revision of the concept and pedagogical material with a view to achieving the learning objectives and optimising the implementation of the programme. The project results will continue to be used in the educational work of the Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte Foundation and will also be made available to other interested educational institutions. For this purpose, a pedagogical manual was prepared and all materials were offered in parallel on a DVD and for download on the project website.

Project coordinates and contact persons

A project of the Foundation House of Democracy and Human Rights
Duration: 1 February 2012 until 31 January 2013
Project manager: Agnieszka Morawska (Research Assistant)
Contact: by phone 030.20165520 or email: kontakt🌐hausderdemokratie.de

▶ The short autumn of utopia

Exhibition, 1999 and since 2007 annually


The exhibition "The Short Autumn of Utopia" can be seen annually in the House of Democracy and Human Rights.

The exhibition was realized in 1999. The exhibition focuses on the history of the opposition groups, the relationship to the emigration movement, the development of the demonstrations, and attitudes towards the SED and the state apparatuses. The contradiction between the central result of the development, accession to the scope of the Basic Law, and the motives of its protagonists should become clear.

The material is structured by phases of the development of the movement that can be distinguished from each other chronologically and in terms of content:

Chapter 1

Aufbruch wohin? (Vor dem 40. Jahrestag)

Chapter 2

New Road Traffic Regulations (7.10. until 9.11.89) Heading where? (Before the 40th anniversary)

Chapter 3

The corners of the round table (10.11. until 19.12.89)

Chapter 4

A country goes to the West (20.12.89 until 18.3.90)

Chapter 5

No revolution is no solution either (1990 until 2009)

The exhibition was designed and conceived by people and groups who made history in '89, committed and contentious. It is therefore not only based on generally accessible archive materials, but also complements them with previously unpublished materials - original documents, unused photos and authentic tools of the opposition, such as samizdat and leaflets. The exhibition is part of the public debate about the representation and assessment of the GDR and its end. Who archives, documents and dominates the "Wendegedächtnis"? The representatives of the GDR opposition were politically marginalized in the unification process; yet it is worth remembering their work unagitatedly, especially against the background of their initial successes and their failure. Controversies should not be prematurely lifted and closed, but made clearly visible. The aim is an equally unsentimental and provisional summary of the events of 1989..

▶ My home is here!

A project with children and teenagers from a neighborhood in Neukölln, 2010

Presentation at the Jugendstadtteilladen Hobrechtstr.83 on 21 December 2010 at 17:00 o'clock


Being at home means a lot, something very individual for everyone. One can perhaps say in general that it has something to do with feeling belonging. You can do that when that sense of belonging meets a sense of 'welcome. This theme was the subject of the exhibition presented on 21 December 2010. Photos and audio recordings on the theme "My home/ My home", made by children and young people from Neukölln, were presented on this day. The combination of picture and sound created the impression that one was actually on a journey through their home with the children.

Zuhause Bild 1
Zuhause Bild 2
Zuhause Bild 3

In order to encourage visitors to the exhibition to reflect on their own situation, they were asked to write down their own ideas on the subject of "My Home" and introduce them into the exhibition.

The reconstruction and redefinition of the term home was the main goal of the project. The term, which is usually used one-sidedly in public discourse, was to be considered detached from national contexts. The motto was: "Home is where your heart is!

A project of the Foundation House of Democracy and Human Rights in cooperation with the Jugendstadtteilladen Hobrechtstr. 83, 12043 Berlin-Neukölln, with the kind support of Quartiersmanagement Donaustraße Nord.

Responsible for the project: Silke Buchner (Email: orga🌐hausderdemokratie.de)

▶ »Stay in the land and defend yourself daily«

The Experience of 1989/90 as a Political Resource - Discussion Series, 2010

Series of talks at the Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben June - August 2010

A project by Elske Rosenfeld in cooperation with the Foundation Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, with the friendly support of the Landeszentrale für politische Bildungsarbeit Berlin


The series of events was seen as a continuation, but also as a first review of the commemoration processes for the 20th anniversary of the peaceful turn of 1989/90. Participants were invited to approach the historical period of 1989/90 once again in a series of conversations and presentations in order to examine the question of what forms of reference from today to this period are possible as a drastic political experience - and what it could tell us about the possibilities of political action today.

For their protagonists - in the GDR and other Eastern European countries - the experience of 1989/90 was a deep biographical caesura that initiated a far-reaching reorganisation of political and personal circumstances and imaginary worlds. This period was, however, not only important as such a moment of transition, but also represented a profound political experience in itself: a short but intense period in which it was possible and necessary to reach new common understanding on all aspects of living together. This experience of a moment of comprehensive political participation lives on in many protagonists as a unique political experience.

At the same time, however, these events also heralded a fundamental shift in political horizons beyond the boundaries of their immediate theatres in the former socialist countries: the comprehensive concepts of social change that had decisively shaped political action in Western societies (as an ideal/utopia or enemy image) were no longer valid.

In recent decades, this devaluation of ideological concepts and utopian drafts has been accompanied by a certain disillusionment and increasing political disinterest, which has been lamented by many sides, especially in view of the current global problems.

The series of events has invited to explore the question of whether and how the experience of 1989/90 as a moment of active political participation can be used as a model or resource for reflection on political, non-ideological forms of action. On the one hand, it looks back at materials from the period 1989/90, but also proposes to examine the current forms of reference to this historical moment - in commemorative events, in the media, in art and film - and to discuss to what extent these forms of dealing with history are also forms of political thought and action.

The events took place in the historic buildings of the Kunstfabrik am Flutgraben, a former factory on the border strip. As a place of overlap between the historical scene and the current art space, the venue was an integral part of the event concept, on the one hand as material, but also because the special approach of the project lies in the use of artistic material in connection with political and historical events. The aim was to initiate an exchange between the various interest groups in Berlin who deal with the subject of GDR history - in political, historical or artistic ways - between whom there is often little exchange.

The programme of events was intended to invite an examination of the historical experience of 1989/90, focusing on concrete political practices and contents of this period, and questioning their current relevance. In this way, it proposes to counter the currently frequently deplored political disinterest with this lived experience of political participation. At the same time, it was a concern of the project to bring together politically active, historically interested and artistic circles with an interest in this topic and to stimulate an exchange across disciplinary boundaries.

Summary of events:

June 11, 17 - 19:
"Phantasmagorias of History - 1989 and other Ghosts of History"
Interview with Svetlana Boym in the Flutgraben e.V.. Moderation: Elske Rosenfeld

The event served to introduce and contextualize the topics of the series of events. The literary scholar and artist Svetlana Boym spoke on her theoretical and artistic examination of historical upheavals in Eastern Europe and on the question of how to approximate the potentials of certain historical situations that could only partially or not be realized from today. Boym's lecture was followed by a discussion between Boym and Elske Rosenfeld involving the audience, in which topics such as the danger and potential of nostalgia as an access to history and the similarities and differences between upheavals in Eastern Europe were discussed.

10 July, 17 - 19
"Art and 89"
Gespräch, Flutgraben e.V., with Tina Bara, Claus Löser and Angelika Richter. Moderation: Elske Rosenfeld

The event focused on two sets of questions: the relationship between alternative art scenes in the GDR and politics, and the difficulties of evaluating them with today's Western, art-historical, and theoretical vocabulary. The main problem that came to light was that artists in the GDR were increasingly attempting to work away from politics and society in order to evade the state's claim to a social role. Today, however, their political function and interdependence are seen and historicized in positions that are either state-bearing or resistant. The current debates about such a distinction between state art and non-conformist art were also outlined and the associated difficulty discussed. In addition, the artists and art historians talked about their own involvement in these historical processes, whether as participants or observers.

31 July, 17 - 19
"1989 as workshop of the political"
Interview with Sophia Bickhardt, Bernd Gehrke and Annett Gröschner. Moderation: Elske Rosenfeld

The event tried to look back at the memorial processes and events of the last year, in which the participants were partly involved. The question was discussed whether and how the political-utopian aspects of 1989/90 became visible in different forms of commemoration and proposals were discussed as to how the experience of 89/90 as a resource of political work can function today, which aspects of this experience are still relevant today. At the same time, the participants talked about their dual role as contemporary witnesses and memory workers, and the associated problems, but also the strengths of historical work from their own biographical experience.

31 August, 19 -21 o'clock
"Political work in the tradition of 1989?"
Interview in the Flutgraben e.V. with Sebastian Gehrhardt, Andreas Fanizadeh and Dirk Teschner. Moderation: Elske Rosenfeld

The discussion invited representatives of groups and institutions, such as the House of Democracy and Human Rights and the magazine telegraf, to reflect on the continuity of their work, which originated in the opposition movement of the GDR, but continues to this day. The question was how to do justice to the peculiarity of such a political tradition and its difference from West German political traditions without falling into clichéd attributions. On the other hand, a concrete historical situation of the early 1990s was taken up, in which political groups from West Germany met with East German groups, when a union of left-wing groups and bands from the old federal states organized an anti-racism tour through various East German cities. This example was very well suited to reassess the sometimes considerable misunderstandings and differences of opinion at the time and to jointly consider how an appropriate way of dealing with these differences - as far as they still exist - can be found today.

Review in more detail at elskerosenfeld.net

▶ Words can fly. Poetry live (only in german)

Reading series with poetry prize 2006/2007

▶ A country goes to the West (only in german)

A reading tour through half the country (2005/2006)

▶ Diversity and dialogue.

The History of the House of Democracy and Human Rights - Exhibition, 2004

In January 1990, GDR opposition groups took possession of Friedrichstrasse 165 as the House of Democracy. To mark the 15th anniversary of the House, which has existed since 1999 as the House of Democracy and Human Rights in Prenzlauer Berg, the exhibition on the history of what is currently the largest NGO house in Germany was created. Emerging from the GDR opposition movement of autumn 1989, the House has remained a point of reference for civil society efforts to this day.

The exhibition gave an insight into the everyday life of democratic grassroots work. It provided impetus for a discussion about the place of alternative groups in society - in the GDR, at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and in the enlarged Federal Republic. These groups are dependent on finding social support. Unlike the holders of state and private power, they need public discussion for their work. Thus they are not only critics, but also critics. The exhibition wanted to invite discussion and cooperation.

The texts of the exhibition "Diversity and Dialogue" are summarized in a brochure which can be downloaded here: Download PDF-Dokument

The fact that the history of our house has always been more than the history of a building can be seen in the table of contents of the exhibition and brochure:

I. Departure where?

  • Environmental Libraries: 1986 to 1991
  • Oppositional pluralism
  • letters, signatures, demonstrations: Citizen movement as opposition
  • Either - or?
  • For and against ...
  • Alliances and divisions
  • The 1990 elections: the first ...
  • ... and the last
  • The material-technical basis of civil society groups. Part I: The GDR Mark
  • "Damn money" - the financing of civil society groups. Part 2: The West-Mark

II. democracy needs time and space

  • From the Beer Palace to the House of Democracy (1887 to 1989)
  • The places of the Berlin opposition until autumn 1989
  • The decision of the Round Table and the Council of Ministers of the GDR, object choice and move in
  • From moving in to founding an association
  • FOnly property counts"?
  • The founding organisations
  • Shift change. The Change in Tenant Structure in the Berlin House of Democracy
  • Self-organisation: the dictatorship of activists? Models for a democratic house
  • Fiduciary and civic associations
  • restitution
  • "A GmbH is a GmbH ..."
  • Who owns the House of Democracy?
  • The Sale of Friedrichstraße 165 and the Move of the House of Democracy

III From citizens' movement to civil society

  • From samizdat to turning media (I)
  • From samizdat to turning media (II)
  • Once opposition sheet - always opposition sheet? From the "Umweltblättern" to the "telegraph"
  • total refusal in the GDR
  • You shouldn't have columns! Criticism of Nuclear Weapons and Nuclear Power Plants - From Church Roof to Council of Ministers
  • building peace without weapons
  • Autonomous Antifa in the GDR until autumn 1989
  • Autonomous Antifa in the GDR from autumn 1989
  • Reconstruction of the State Security Past: a Success?
  • Away from Plan and Market: The Network of East German Works Councils OSTWIND

IV. The Project House of Human Rights

  • The project "House of Human Rights" (I)
  • Nothing understood ... The project "House of Human Rights" (II)
  • 1992/93: Hopes and crisis. The project "House of Human Rights" (III)
  • 1994-1996: A new beginning with a focus on Eastern Europe and the return to Anhalter Strasse. The project "House of Human Rights" (IV)
  • 1997-1999: Approaching and coming together with the House of Democracy. The project "House of Human Rights" (V)
  • everyday life and utopia. A House of Democracy and Human Rights in Berlin

▶ War is not child's play

Children's drawings from the war - exhibition & series of events 2003

12 November - 11 December 2003
in the House of Democracy and Human Rights

Krieg ist kein Kinderspiel

The exhibition and the accompanying series of events were a cooperation project of Cultur Cooperation Hamburg e.V., Berliner Entwicklungspolitischer Ratschlag and Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte.

In all the armed conflicts of recent years, children are affected to a far greater extent than in the past. It is not by chance that children become victims because they are caught between the fronts. They are attacked in a targeted manner. Systematic terror against the civilian population has now become an integral part of war tactics worldwide. 90% of those killed are women and children. 300,000 children and young people are abused as soldiers in wars.

How do children deal with the horrors of war? They draw. For many children who have been speechless by what they have experienced, painting can be a first step towards freeing themselves from this burden. The pictures help them to integrate what they have experienced into their lives so that they can live on. For us, however, it must be said that these images are documents of war and have only one message: you should have prevented that.

Francoise and Alfred Brauner have collected around 2000 children's drawings from the wars of the last century in 60 years. Children's drawings from the Spanish Civil War, Cambodia, Algeria, El Salvador, Chechnya, Hiroshima, Bosnia, Iraq. The pictures speak for themselves, they touch us. However, they also raise the question: What are we doing today to prevent similar things happening to children all over the world?

Drawing no. 71 and no. 72
Children's drawings from war

Kill by Khmer Rouge, Khmer Rouge massacre (1975-1998)
No name given, boy, 12 years, Cambodia

Remarkable: In all pictures about the Khmer Rouge the passivity of the victims catches the eye:
they wait in long rows for their murder. The children's comments on the pictures underline the feeling of powerlessness.

Provenance: International Rescue Committee, Thailand, New York 1982

Drawing No. 75
Children's drawings from war

The Shooting Soldier, Civil War in El Salvador (1981-1990)
No name given, El Salvador

A soldier shoots a woman and her child. Striking: Two witnesses between the row of trees on the top right: they have neither mouth nor nose, only eyes that have seen everything.

Provenance: Fire from the sky, Ed. Writers and Readers, New York

Drawing no. 138
Children's Drawings from War

Execution, Algeria War (1954-1962)
Draughtsman unknown

This picture was not painted, but cut out. It comes from a home for evacuated Algerian children in Tunis. A French soldier shoots at an Algerian who has surrendered. The bullets are on their way, the man is still standing. Remarkable: The three clouds. Such rows in the drawings indicate that the child 'secures' itself against the chaos of war.

Origin: Racconti di bambini d'Algeria, Einaudi, Turin

Drawing No. 207
Children's drawings from war

The dead sister, Chechnya 1994
Alisa, girl, 12 years old

Alisa draws her sister who was killed by a grenade.

Provenance: Médicins du Monde, Brauner Collection

The exhibition and the supporting programme were supported by the European Union, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the State Development Centre (LEZ).

Logo BER
Logo HdDM
Logo CC

▶ "Curriculum vitae 53"

Series of events 2003

The memory of 17 June '53 has always been politically controversial in a special way. The historical content of the event can only be discovered beyond hasty political appropriation. The depiction of personal conflicts and individual decisions is particularly suited to provide a basis for a broad public debate. The orientation towards individual life courses can undermine the circumstantial distancing or identification with history and present the difficult and changing position of the individual in political developments. The time of the spectacular uprising thus brings the prehistory and processing of the crisis of 1953 into view.

The House of Democracy and Human Rights organised a series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of "17 June". The aim was to make the upheavals of 1953 personally comprehensible on the basis of contrasting biographies - life before and after the uprising - and in this way to give visitors an individual approach to contemporary history. The selection of the persons presented and the speakers from various countries will make it possible to present the European context of 17 June 1953: not only a chronology, but also a topography of upheaval in which the biographies of the persons involved can be found.

The material for this series will be compiled on the basis of literature research, archive materials and interviews with contemporary witnesses and participants. 10 evening events were planned. On one evening, one or two persons - contemporary witnesses, politicians, trade unionists, artists - whose lives and fates were particularly linked to the events of the year '53 were presented. Experts (e.g. historians, journalists) and participants discussed the various biographies.

The following events took place in 2003:

  • January: The Dissolution of the VVN and the Standardization of Antifascism in the GDR (Biographies: Ottomar Geschke; Heinz Galinski)
  • February: The show trials in Eastern Europe - General Serow and Noel Field.
  • March: Adhesion facilitation? The Death of Stalin and the Fate of Political Prisoners in Eastern Europe (Biographies: Stalin and Hermann Field)
  • April: A camouflage organization of US imperialism. The campaign against the Young Community. Biographies: Uwe Johnson/Robert Havemann
  • May: 13 May 1953 - The debate about the "Johann Faustus" of Hanns Eisler.
  • June: The plebeians rehearse the rebellion? Walter Ulbricht and Bertolt Brecht on 17 June 1953
  • September: The Lenin-Stalin core of the party. The July Plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU. Biographies: Anastas I. Mikoyan; Nikolai K. Baibakov
  • October: Rehabilitation or criticism: Rudolf Hernstadt and the assessment of the June Uprising.
  • December: At the end of an epoch: the flight of Jozef Swiatlos and the secret police in Poland after Stalin's death

CV's 53 »

▶ State of affairs / Right-wing radicalism in Germany

Conference 2001