The Berlin History Workshop researches, collects and publishes on Berlin history. It has been organising exhibitions, guided tours and events since 1981, focusing on National Socialism, women’s history, oral history, biographical research, minorities and everyday history.
A project group of the non-profit association researched the long “forgotten” sites of forced labour and became involved in compensation and remembrance initiatives. In 1995, the Berlin History Workshop began to systematically collect memories of former forced labourers. Oral history recordings, written memoirs and private photographs created a specialised archive on the everyday history of forced labour – all over Berlin. In interviews and letters, the witnesses tell of work, hunger, violence and bombs, but also of love and friendships.
The collection of the Berlin History Workshop is archived in the Documentation Centre on Nazi Forced Labour in Berlin-Schöneweide. Excerpts can be found in: Zwangsarbeit in Berlin 1940 – 1945. Erinnerungsberichte aus Polen, der Ukraine und Weißrußland, ed. by the Berlin History Workshop, Erfurt 2000.
With the smartphone, the memories of those involuntary Berliners are now coming alive again – on site on five tours across Berlin. The Geschichtswerkstatt is happy to receive donations so that further tours can be developed.
- Jenny Wüstenberg, Civil Society and Memory in Postwar Germany Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017