The Foundation’s academic library contains German and foreign-language books, newspapers and journals as well as digital media on the subject of forced migrations in Europe in the 20th and 21st centuries. This primarily includes current research and specialist literature on the collection's focus areas of forced migrations and 'ethnic cleansing', remembrance culture, as well as close examinations of the topic of flight and expulsion. In addition, there is the so-called 'old stock', the library of the former Stiftung Deutschlandhaus.
Contemporary Witness Archive
The Foundation maintains a contemporary witness archive. The holdings (about 100 linear meters) include ego-documents and interviews with contemporary witnesses, but also estates, documents from associations and institutions, and historical accounts. A special feature are seven writers' estates (20 linear meters), including those of Ruth Hoffmann, Gustav Renner, Eberhard König and Gerhard von Amyntor. The collection of documents compiled by the author Heinz Schön on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and the escape across the Baltic Sea (25 linear meters) has also belonged to the Foundation since 2018. The archive also contains documents from the Stiftung Haus der ostdeutschen Heimat, which was dissolved in 1974. The administrative files, document collection and photo collection of the Stiftung Deutschlandhaus (34 linear meters), which was dissolved in 1999, are also available as a closed collection. The oral history holdings include approximately 60 life-story interviews conducted by the Foundation, as well as interviews from various other origins in digital and transcribed form.
The Foundation acquires objects primarily for its permanent exhibition and future temporary exhibitions. Most of the new acquisitions are donations from private individuals who themselves experienced flight, expulsion and forced migration or who have a personal connection to these topics in some other way. Of relevance are realia of all kinds related to the topics of flight, expulsion, forced migration, loss of homeland, ethnic homogenization, majority and minority politics, as well as to integration and remembrance culture. The collection centers around Europe, with the flight and expulsion of Germans at the end of World War Two being the main focus. The temporal focus is on the 20th century, with occasional recourse to the 19th century and also current references. The collection includes posters, political propaganda material such as leaflets or postcards, photographs and photo albums, maps, personal documents, newspapers, brochures, paintings and other works of art, as well as three-dimensional objects, including clothing, tools, toys, personal mementos, receptacles and vessels of all kinds, and quite a few items of luggage and means of transportation that were used to escape. In addition, the so-called 'old stock' of the former Deutschlandhaus Foundation forms part of our collection. This includes paintings, graphics, arts and crafts and everyday objects, as well as brochures, leaflets, maps, photo albums and 2,000 postcards.
History of the holdings
The library of the Documentation Centre for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation is fed by two sources: the library of the former Stiftung Deutschlandhaus and acquisitions made by the Foundation for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation since 2010.
Contemporary Witness Archive
Since 2013, the Foundation has been conducting audiovisual life-story interviews. In addition, the archive has been collecting ego-documents since 2014, and receives relevant document collections and papers from private estates on an ongoing basis.
The starting point of the collection is the old stock of the former Stiftung Deutschlandhaus. Since 2010, people who, themselves, or whose families have been affected by flight and expulsion have been approaching the Foundation for Displacement, Expulsion, Reconciliation to preserve their mementos. In order to build up the collection with a view to creating a permanent exhibition, a call for objects was issued in 2012. Subsequently, over one hundred new acquisitions were added to the collection. In 2017, another appeal followed, with the special call-out: "We are on the search for escape stories". This was aimed exclusively at written memories, although some three-dimensional mementos were also added to the collection along the way. The collection also regularly obtains objects in connection with the eyewitness interviews, which have been taking place since 2013 in line with the oral history method, because these rare three-dimensional artefacts that bear testimony to individuals' experiences belong inseparably to their remembered stories and to the preserved documents. Through collaborations, for example with the UNHCR since 2018, the collection continues to be supplemented with selected realia that illustrate forced migrations today.
Biographical video and audio interviews
ca. 25 lfm/lm
Heinz Schön Archive on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff and the escape across the Baltic Sea
ca. 14 lfm/lm
ca. 5 lfm/lm