On April 30 this year, Munich’s National Socialism Documentation Centre was opened. As Munich is renowned for having been the “Capital of the Movement”, it was about time for it to establish such a place. We visited it today for the first time. My expectations were high…
And let me tell you, I was not disappointed. The building itself is great – located next to Königsplatz, one of the most famous sites of NS propaganda events. For years, Munich somewhat ignored that square’s history, so it’s great that the huge, modern white cube of the Documentation Centre is now there to provide a counterbalance against the large square which still brings up images of torch-lit marches to anyone who’s ever seen the pictures.
The inside of the building cleverly uses the location it’s in. In front of windows overlooking Königsplatz, there are screens showing film material of both Nazi events in Königsplatz and its partial demolition after the War. Looking at the films in the screen against the backdrop of the actual site almost feels as if you are looking out of the windows and directly into the past.
I’m a little proud of how I captured that effect in the first photo below:
The Centre provides texts, images, film material and maps on four exhibition floors. They chronologically range from the origins of the NS movement to a detailed view of Munich during the Third Reich and finally problems with Neonazis and antisemitism since the end of the War. In addition, there are two floors underground for seminars and interactive learning. We didn’t check them out today as it was pretty busy and F. got a bit cranky eventually. But today was only a first overview anyhow. We definitely intend to go back for a more extensive visit another time.
I am very happy that Munich has found this way of dealing with its gruesome past. All we need now are the Stolpersteine memorials that other cities already have in the pavement outside buildings where NS victims used to live.