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Museums build bridges

After 70 years, a new museum project in Germany introduces the history and cultural heritage of the Sudeten German expellees

Museums build bridges

The foundation stone for the new Sudeten German Museum in Munich was laid on 16 September, 2016 by the highest officials of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Free State of Bavaria in a solemn ceremony ©Martina Lehmannová

by Michael Henker, Chair of ICOM German, Head of the Planning Staff for the Sudetendeutsches Museum; and Martina Lehmannová, Chair of ICOM Czech Republic, member of the Advisory Board for the Sudetendeutsches Museum

The project for a new museum in Munich, Germany is well on its way. It will centre on a highly specific group of people who were expelled from their homes after the end of World War II: the Sudetendeutschen, or Sudeten Germans. Thus, 70 years after the dramatic events took place, the history and cultural heritage of this German-speaking group of almost three million individuals will finally be introduced to the general public.

Human memory is fairly variable, and has tendencies to transform reality to flow in different directions: love, hate, forgiveness, hostility… One of the onerous tasks in which museums are engaged is introducing events that unfolded in the past, and describing them in accurate, unbiased manner – with valuable help from collections of artefacts. However, themes that trigger emotions still very much exist, and the case of the Sudetendeutschen is one such theme.

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