"Not lastly we have people like Rainer Hildebrandt to thank for us now being in a Europe at the threshold of a new chapter of history, for a new culture of coexistence being possible in Europe today, ...", Hans-Dietrich Genscher (former Foreign Minister †)
NATO - Mission for freedom
In 2007 our museum decided to hold a new permanent exhibit on the history of NATO in order to do justice to NATO’s services for freedom. The exhibit is a logical supplement to our museum’s content. With 120 wall charts, 90 media stations and numerous original objects, it presents historical post-war developments and their contexts not only in Berlin, but worldwide.
Before the exhibit was opened Charles C. Clay, grandson of the U.S. General Lucius D. Clay, and Sergei Khrushchev unveiled the memorial plaque at the Allied checkpoint barracks at Checkpoint Charlie. For NATO HQ, NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Dr. Stephanie Babst, publicly bequeathed to us one of the first original, historical emblems of NATO. NATO General Secretary Anders F. Rasmussen visited and dignified the exhibit in 2012.
From Gandhi to Walesa
Non-violent struggle for human rights
This exhibit – with 14 items loaned by Gandhi’s family estate, the “Charta 77” typewriter from Czechoslovakia, the hectograph from the illegal East German periodical Umweltblätter– can be considered the first exhibit on international non-violent struggle.
Examples from various countries are used to show how justice prevailed without in turn committing injustice, from humour to non-violent mass demonstrations. These include the “Leipzig Monday demonstrations” and the Alexanderplatz demonstration of 4 November (East Berlin), which occurred five days after the Wall fell, and Moscow’s “Three Days in August”. On display in the museum is the 50 metre long white, blue and red flag that Moscow’s residents marched behind as they brought the putsch of the Old Communists to its knees.
Raoul Wallenberg lives
One plan, one individual and 100,000 people - the stuff of Hollywood heroes.
A life for humanity and saving countless Jews living in Hungary: that is Raoul Wallenberg. With his tireless commitment and the idea of providing people with “protection passes”, Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg was able to save 100,000 people in Budapest from 1944-1945, primarily of Jewish faith, from certain death at the hands of the National Socialists.
After Budapest was taken by the Soviet Army, the Soviets arrested Raoul Wallenberg on 17 January 1945 and deported him to Moscow. All traces of him have since been lost to this day. Of course it is highly unlikely that Raoul Wallenberg could still be alive today. But nobody can know that he has died as long as there is no reliable proof of his fate.
The Kampfgruppe gegen Unmenschlichkeit, which was founded and led by Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt, had a searching service that looked for political prisoners who had not been declared missing. The Kampfgruppe, or task force, operated beyond Germany’s borders. So the parents of Raoul Wallenberg, Fredrik and May von Dardel, decided to ask Dr. Hildebrandt for help.
After the death of their parents Raoul Wallenberg’s siblings, Nina and Guy, continued to search for him. Raoul’s brother Guy von Dardel led the intensive search with assistance from friends and supporters, among them Albert Einstein and Andrei Sakharov. National leaders from the world’s most powerful countries pleaded with the Soviet government to shed light on Raoul Wallenberg’s fate.
Ambassador of freedom
Our exhibit on the 40th president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, shows him as a politician and person. The name “Reagan” stands for freedom and democracy.
On 11 June 1982 Ronald Reagan visited Checkpoint Charlie in the company of incumbent Mayor of Berlin Richard von Weizsäcker and Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. He stood thoughtfully at the white border line and made the critical step across it, where large numbers of people’s police officers from the Socialist Unity Party’s border division were stationed. For the free Western world, this step went down in history as a message of freedom.
With this step over the line drawn by the GDR regime, the white border line (the original of which is on display in our museum), Reagan began to write world history.
Our exhibit shows a video installation of his entire speech from 1987 in front of the Brandenburg Gate with his famous words, “… tear down this wall…”, 27 wall charts with Ronald Reagan’s biography and information about his life and policies, as well as many original items such as Ronald Reagan’s chainsaw that he used on his ranch, his hat, and his riding boots.
Civilian protests and civil war
The civilian protests in Ukraine, which began on 21 November 2013, were triggered by the surprising suspension of the association agreement with the European Union by the government of President Yanukovych. The Euromaidan Movement was reportedly violently suppressed by Yanukovych’s pro-Russian government. There were 100 casualties on the Maidan.
As of 8 December 2013 hundreds of thousands of people took part in the demonstration at the Maidan in Kiev. Our exhibit impressively shows the developments in Ukraine, the commitment of individuals and their work toward a democratic movement in their country. The exhibit also documents the work done by Ruslana, the famous Ukrainian singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2004 (link to page). Ruslana was one of many artists, local and international, who were present at the Maidan.
As a result of the Euromaidan protests, President Yanukovych was impeached by the Ukrainian Parliament. For the Russian government, the crisis in Ukraine – which later evolved into open warfare in areas of eastern Ukraine with Russian intervention on the side of the separatists – gave Russia the opportunity to annex Crimea.
This exhibit is not for the faint of heart. That is because torture and suffering are the tools used by the North Korean government to silence its critics and enemies, and to prevent opposition.
Inmates at the prison camps (gulags) have made drawings depicting gruesome and inhumane conditions and torture methods. This exhibit was made possible with support from the South Korean non-profit “Free the NK Gulag”.
World peace – Weltethos
This exhibit is presented in cooperation with the Weltethos Foundation. It calls for the acceptance of shared ethical norms and values. World religions and philosophical traditions have similar values and ethical standards despite their differences.
It hopes to invite others to become better acquainted with the fascinating world of religions and to understand the significance of their ethical messages, and the relevance thereof for our modern society.