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Traces of the German Colonial Empire

Exhibition in Foyer of University Library of Freie Universität Berlin Deals with German Colonial History

№ 93/2013 from Apr 25, 2013

What do Expedia, Edeka, and the German TV lottery have to do with colonialism? These and other questions are the focus of an exhibition dealing with the German colonial empire scheduled to open in the foyer of the University Library of Freie Universität on May 3, 2013. Students enrolled in the master’s degree program on public history have collected objects that are remnants of the German colonial era and put them together in the exhibition entitled "Ein Platz im Schatten? Erinnerungen an die deutsche Kolonialgeschichte" [A Place in the Shade? Memories of German Colonial History]. The display includes references stemming from films, food packages, and everyday life in the city of Berlin and the former colonial states. The exhibition will run through June 21. It is open to the public, and there is no admission fee. The exhibition opening will be on May 3, at 4 p.m., and interested members of the public are welcome to attend.

As of 1884 the German Empire aspired to own colonies, its own so-called "place in the sun." This period of history has left its mark, not only in language, but also in other areas of everyday life. The memory of the German colonial empire hardly plays a role in the public consciousness of the German population, however, because it is overshadowed by the German history of the 20th century. Students in the master's program in public history have compiled objects and documents from the colonial history of the former German Reich and put them on display along with explanations of the relationships. For example, the names of Taku, Iltis, and Lans streets in Berlin-Dahlem can be traced back to the so-called Boxer Rebellion in China, which included forces of the German Empire in 1900 and 1901.

Dates and Location

  • Exhibition opening: May 3, 2013, 4 p.m.
  • Exhibition hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • University Library, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 39, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Thielplatz (U3)
  • The exhibition will run through June 21, 2013.

Further Information

  • Yvonne Ebeling, Master's Program in Public History, Freie Universität Berlin, Email: 
  • Dr. Susanne Rothe, University Library, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838–53359, Email: