Ausstellung: The Wannsee Conference and the persecution and murder of the European Jews

  • Ausstellungen
  • Veröffentlicht in:" Berlin

The aim of the exhibition in English is to educate about the Holocaust, expose the motives of its perpetrators and commemorate the victims. The focus lies on processes of persecution and the establishment of the killing machinery of the Nazi state. Who were the perpetrators? What were their motives? What actions did they take?

In this context, the Wannsee Conference plays a key role. While there is a certain degree of awareness about the Holocaust in many parts of the world, the role of the administration in these crimes is still mostly unknown. Generally, the history of Nazi persecution is recounted from the perspective of the victims and their liberators. The role of the perpetrators and their perspective has frequently been ignored. This is true both in Holocaust museums throughout the world and in the public discourse on National Socialism and the Holocaust. The exhibition wants to inform about the Wannsee Conference as a key example of how hundreds of thousands of ordinary bureaucrats and administrators were involved in the Holocaust: an involvement and complicity based on the fulfilment of day-to-day tasks without thinking about the consequences or (even worse) in full knowledge of the consequences, and the willingness to accept them.

The people involved never accepted responsibility for their actions, claiming only to be a cog in the machine of Nazi society. In order to actually learn from history and to prevent future state-sponsored mass atrocities, however, it is important to look at the perpetrators and their individual scope of action and to consider the deeds that turned them into accomplices of such horrendous crimes. By highlighting the role of the perpetrators and contrasting this with stories of victims, we get a multi-perspective view on this universal history.