Berlin enjoys a global reputation as a modern, tolerant and culturally diverse metropolis. Presented under the title “Diversity Destroyed”, the 2013 Berlin Theme Year seeks to communicate the importance and sensitive nature of these democratic values and achievements. The Theme Year will highlight the social and cultural diversity that was destroyed in Berlin under the Nazi regime in the years following 1933. The eightieth anniversary of the Nazi regime’s accession to power on 30 January 1933 and the seventy-fifth anniversary of the November Pogroms are the cornerstones in a year of commemoration, remembrance and active engagement with the past.
“Diversity, tolerance and openness are values that we must consciously seek to cultivate as a society and within our personal lives – this is one of the central messages of this Theme Year. The diversity of cosmopolitan Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s was destroyed by the National Socialist regime within a short period of time and with grave consequences. That we can claim today to have regained such a degree of diversity is not a foregone conclusion. It is an achievement on the part of our city and its citizens that we must actively seek to preserve. This is the message of the Theme Year to the people of Berlin, in particular to the younger generations and the many guests from near and far who flock to our city each year to share in this diversity”, outlined the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, at a press conference held on 14 January 2013.
Over 120 project partners, the portal exhibition at the German Historical Museum (DHM) and numerous other events
More than 120 partner organizations have come together to support the 2013 Theme Year. The spectrum of participating organizations includes museums, clubs, public and professional associations, foundations, businesses, art galleries, artists, theatres, archives, district authorities, research institutes, church organizations, documentation centres, memorial sites, and private initiatives in Berlin.
The impact of the Nazi dictatorship on Berlin’s cultural and social landscapes will be explored in over 100 projects staged within the framework of the 2013 Theme Year.
A wealth of interesting information relating to these projects will be available on the Theme Year website, including information on the historical context, the open-air exhibitions (see accompanying press release) and the central portrait exhibition with its over 200 portraits.
A focus on biographies is a recurring element throughout the Theme Year. Forging links between diverse projects, events and activities, these biographies will invite viewers to explore in depth the life stories, achievements and fates of a range of individuals from this period, including both historical figures such as Albert Einstein and Bertolt Brecht – symbols of Berlin’s diversity before 1933 – as well as many now largely unknown figures: musicians, photographers, cabaret and revue show artists, writers, poets, and circus performers.
Opening on 30 January, an open-air exhibition at the Brandenburg Gate will invite visitors to take the biographies of these individuals as the starting point for their own exploration of this period in the history of the German capital. The open-air exhibition will relocate several weeks later to the Berliner Lustgarten.
The Theme Year webpage (www.berlin.de/2013) will provide an overview of the various exhibitions, panel discussions, readings, publishing initiatives, film projects, temporary art projects, multimedia collages, apps, theatrical features, and guided tours staged throughout 2013. The web portal will also feature an interface with the database of the well-known Stolperstein project and an interactive map highlighting the locations of 1,500 Stolpersteine in Berlin. The portal will be continually updated and expanded throughout the year with a growing number of biographies and other background information as new partner projects and organizations contribute to this initiative and its calendar of events. Much of the content created in this context will continue to be available as a research and information service on the City of Berlin’s dedicated portal (www.berlin.de).
An international appeal – titled “Diversity Destroyed” – will be launched on the website in the spring of 2013 with the aim of collecting and publishing online the biographies of past and present citizens of Berlin whose life stories were substantially affected by the Nazi dictatorship. This initiative will restore these eye-witnesses, together with their friends and families, to their rightful place in the city’s history.
The portal exhibition staged on the ground floor of the I.M. Pei Building at the German Historical Museum (DHM) will serve as the central forum of the 2013 Theme Year through to 10 November.
Open-air exhibitions featuring information columns will be installed at eleven locations across Berlin. Each of these urban memorials forms a thematic exhibition that explores the history of Berlin under the Nazi regime through the events and institutions situated in its vicinity. Additional information columns will highlight the over 50 exhibition projects created by partner organizations of the 2013 Theme Year. Together, these 120 installations will highlight and link the various activities staged within the context of the Theme Year, forming a visual gateway to this initiative.
A service programme has also been developed in cooperation with the project partners. The educational services programme features a range of workshops and guided tours, including activities especially developed for the Theme Year on specific areas of interest for various ages and audiences.
The 2013 Theme Year is an initiative of the State of Berlin, and is coordinated by the state-owned agency Kulturprojekte Berlin.
This year of commemoration, remembrance and active engagement with history is generously supported by the German Lottery Foundation Berlin (DKLB) and the Capital Cultural Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfonds). The Theme Year is staged in collaboration with a range of partners and sponsors, including WALL AG.
Do you have an event you have already organised and funded that suits perfectly the Theme Year DIVERSITY DESTROYED? If you are an events organiser, artist, a representative of a group, organisation or museum, or if you, in a similar capacity, think you can offer some form of activity, which could be integrated into the Theme Year, please register here now: PDF-Datei
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Read more: www.berlin.de/2013/en/theme-year