The starting point for the exhibition was the collaboration between the curators of the HBPG, Thomas Wernicke and Julia Bork, and students under the direction of Prof. Kerstin Laube. During a joint research trip to the Oder region in spring 2018, the exhibition team compiled extensive interview and image material.
Various stations such as “Expulsion and Destruction”, “New Beginnings and Reconstruction”, “Coming Together and Understanding Across Borders” provide insight into the developments on both the Polish and German sides. Audio, image and video sequences, rather than exhibits or display boards, accompany the visitors on their journey and offer an associative approach to the historical events. Even if the causes differ, the situation on both sides of the Oder was similar: visitors see people fleeing, destroyed towns and villages, and they gain insight into the new beginnings of agriculture, industry and private life. Photographs and film clips, current interviews and personal narratives by contemporary witnesses and those born after the war in the region are interwoven with private visual material, which primarily tells family stories, as well as with official recordings, which are always also documents of political propaganda. The result is a spatial dramaturgy that appeals to all the senses and makes the collective shock of flight, expulsion and forced new beginnings comprehensible.