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Intercultural Encounters during the First World War

Vernissage on September 7, 2016, in the Foyer of the University Library, Freie Universität Berlin: "Lives from a Global Conflict. Cultural Entanglements during the First World War"

№ 289/2016 from Sep 05, 2016

An exhibition opening September 7 in the University Library at Freie Universität will portray the lives of 16 individuals from Europe, Asia, and Africa, who experienced World War I in various locations. Their lives are examples for the lives of more than one million African and Asian soldiers from French and British colonies who fought on the Western Front between 1914 and 1918. Due to the war, they went to different countries and experienced violence and suffering, but also learned new languages and met new people. For many of them, it was their first encounter with Europe. The exhibition will display photographs and documents from these people and will illustrate how their view of the world was changed through their experiences during the war. The official opening of the exhibition will be on September 7 at 5 p.m. Anyone who is interested is welcome to attend. Admission is free. The exhibition will be on display at Freie Universität until November 4 and after that at the Zentrum Moderner Orient.

The exhibition was compiled as part of the research project on "Cultural Exchange in a Time of Global Conflict: Colonials, Neutrals and Belligerents during the First World War" (CEGC). The project deals with processes and practices of cultural encounters between colonies, neutral countries, and countries involved in the conflicts in World War I. Researchers from London, Utrecht, Poznan, and Berlin are involved in the project. Freie Universität's German project partner is the Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO). Dr. Heike Liebau and two students from Freie Universität, Larissa Schmid and Jan Brauburger, organized the exhibition.

There will also be a display of books from the library collections of Freie Universität that were written by or refer to the individuals portrayed in the exhibition.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • September 7 to November 4, 2016, Vernissage on Wednesday, September, 7 at 5 p.m.
  • Foyer of the University Library, Freie Universität Berlin, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin. Subway station: Thielplatz (U3)


Links to Further Information