Opening of the online exhibition: “Forced Homes. Antisemitic Housing Policy in Berlin 1939-1945”

In a participatory project funded by the Alfred Landecker Foundation, the Aktives Museum Faschismus und Widerstand in Berlin e.V. and the Coordination Office Stolpersteine Berlin have researched the history of forced accommodation in which Jews in Berlin were housed since May 1939 as part of the National Socialist persecutory measures.

On Monday, October 16th 2023, the exhibition containing the results of the research will go online. Wednesday, October 18th marks the anniversary of the first deportations of Berlin Jews which took place in 1941. The exhibition opening is set in this historical context.

Using 32 selected house histories, the exhibition explains how the allocation of these apartments worked, under which conditions Jewish people residing there were made to live, and what happened to these places after the residents had been deported. Animated maps show the affected houses and illustrate the forced relocations of the Jewish population within the city between 1939 and 1945.

From 1939, almost half of the Jewish population in Berlin were made to leave their homes and relocate into forced accommodation. Jews were made to move as subtenants into apartments rented by other Jewish tenants. In this way, Jews were concentrated in tenement housing, particularly within the inner-city areas. Often, this forced accommodation was a person’s last residence before their deportation and murder.

“An important research result of the project was the discovery that most of the forced accommodation was located in tenement buildings which also contained other apartments. The non-Jewish neighbours would have been aware of the changes happening next-door – people being made to move in and eventually being deported”, says Akim Jah, Board member of the Aktives Museum and part of the project management team.

“The marginalisation and deportation of the Jewish population during the National Socialist era did not happen far away, it was rather happening on the other side of the wall”, says Lena Altman, Co-CEO of the Alfred Landecker Foundation. “Through the exhibition, the project ensures that this important research and knowledge about the Holocaust is not only found in libraries and archives, but is accessible to the public.”

In addition to the exhibition, the following weeks will include accompanying events on the history of individual houses, informative large-scale posters near addresses affected at the time, permanent commemorative tiles with QR codes on the history of the houses and their former residents, as well as other activities – such as historical city tours.

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