May 3, 2005 - September 4, 2005

Berlin 1945: A Private View.

Photographs by American, British and French Soldiers. The special exhibition offers a view of the destroyed city immediately following the arrival of the Western forces in Berlin. This occurred in July 1945, two months following the end of aggressions and the capitulation.

From official portrayals, we know some aspects of the early days of the Allied occupation, but little has been seen from the perspective of the participants. The private photos of the Western allied soldiers constitute a rich historical source and open up new perspectives. How did the American, British and French soldiers get to Berlin? How did they discover and get to know the city? How did they see the German people?

The special exhibition shows private photos in this scope for the first time. The pictures show us the terrible destruction of the city; on the other hand, they symbolize the military victory of the anti-Hitler coalition. They also show how opportunities presented themselves – while strolling through the streets, while on duty, on the black market or in stores – to come into contacts with the people of Berlin. The photos from the soldiers’ everyday lives provide us with an intimate view of the military world; this window is normally closed to outsiders. In contrast to the soldiers of the Soviet forces, those of the Western forces were permitted to use cameras and demonstrate their skills as amateur photographers.

Documents and objects, many from the personal collections of the photographers, as well as magazines and radio reports from the era, will round off the special exhibition.

A richly-illustrated volume will be published to accompany the exhibition.

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