Special and Temporary Exhibitions

Since its establishment in 1992 the Topography of Terror Foundation has produced several special and temporary exhibitions that were presented in Germany and abroad to great acclaim.


Germany 1945 – The last months of the war

December 9,2014 to January 3, 2016

By January 1945, with the failure of the last major German offensive in the Ardennes, it was clear to everybody that Germany had lost the war it had begun in 1939. But instead of surrendering, Hitler’s government continued fighting the war. It deliberately calculated on the death of countless people and the total destruction of its own country. Stepping up the massive terror campaign against its own population and groups that were already being persecuted, it tried to prevent the collapse of order inside the country and to mobilise all remaining reserves for the war. In those chaotic final months of the war the German population was caught in a permanent state of tension between destruction and terror, confusion and fear of the future. Using individual examples, the exhibition gives an overview of the various ways in which people behaved and acted at that time.

A German-English publication of the same title accompanies the exhibition.

Hans Bayer - War correspondent in the Second World War

August 13 to November 16, 2014

After 1945, Hans Bayer became publicly known as a literary figure, journalist and celebrated Swabian poet under the name of Thaddäus Troll. He concealed the fact that as a member of the propaganda unit of the Wehrmacht between 1941 and 1945, he had reported from occupied Poland and covered the campaign against the Soviet Union.

The exhibition depictes Hans Bayer's war experiences and provided insight into the reports that he wrote. It also described the establishment, tasks and impact of the propaganda unit. It showed that Hans Bayer not only had room to maneuver during the war, but used it. The exhibition revealed how the writer, who became so successful after 1945 and who never spoke about his time at war, was influenced by his experience as a war reporter.

A German-English publication of the same title accompanies the exhibition.

Warsaw Uprising of 1944

July 30 to October 26, 2014

An exhibition of the Warsaw Uprising Museum under the patronage of Bronisław Komorowski, president of Republic of Poland, and Joachim Gauck, president of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibition presents the history of Warsaw after 1918 – a vibrant metropolis whose development was brutally interrupted by the Second World War. Special emphasis is placed on the 63 days of the Warsaw Uprising. The end of the exhibition shows pictures of Warsaw in the years after it was subjected to totalitarianism. The exhibition was shown at the site where from 1933 to 1945 the central offices of Heinrich Himmler’s SS state had been located. It was here that the fate of Warsaw and its residents was sealed: Hitler ordered the city to be completely destroyed after the start of the uprising. The exhibition included archival color photographs from the time of the uprising, text information, document facsimiles, audio recordings, and interactive and multimedia components.



Registered, Persecuted, Annihilated. The Sick and the Disabled under National Socialism

March 26 to July 20, 2014

An exhibition of the German Association of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics in cooperation with the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Topography of Terror Foundation

The Nazi persecution policies also targeted people who were sick or disabled. They were considered a burden on the German nation. Beginning in 1934, up to 400,000 people were sterilized against their will and more than 200,000 were murdered in mental hospitals and institutions.  A central theme of the exhibition is the question of the value of life. Telling the history of exclusion, forced sterilization and mass murder, the exhibition presents victims, perpetrators, accomplices and opponents. In conclusion it examines how these events have been addressed since 1945. Exemplary biographies are presented throughout the exhibition.

An exhibition catalogue published by Springer Verlag is also available.



”Fire!” 75 Years after the Pogroms in November 1938

November 8th, 2013 to March 2nd, 2014

The Foundations Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror and the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum have revised and extended the exhibition ”Fire!”, which was first shown in 2008, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the pogroms in November 1938. The exhibition ”Fire! The 75th Anniversary of the November Pogroms in 1938” describes the heightened persecution of Jews in the Third Reich from June 1938 onwards and the impact of the wave of violence in November 1938 on Jewish communities, primarily in Berlin but also in many rural areas. A brand new section details what happened to the synagogues or their ruins after 1938. Examples from 26 locations illustrate different forms of remembrance in East, West and unified Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and France, as well as in former German territories that are now part of Poland and the Russian Federation.

There is a German-English bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition.



Between the Lines? The Press as an Instrument of Nazi Power

May 22 to October 20, 2013

The Topography of Terror Foundation, located on the site that had once housed the editorial offices of the Nazi newspaper Der Angriff (The Attack), has created the first comprehensive exhibition on the print media during the Nazi regime, presenting the foundations of the repressive press system and its influence on the development of the German press landscape. Thirteen selected newspapers (displayed as facsimiles) and journalist portraits illustrate the different journalistic strategies pursued by the newspapers and the leeway in action and thought that was available for publishers, journalists, and readers. The two exemplary chapters focusing on the Reich Party Congress in 1935 and on Goebbels’s Sports Palace speech in 1943 provide a comparison of the reporting in newspapers and magazines, as well as on radio and in the weekly newsreels.

There is a German-English bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition.


Berlin 1933 – The Path to Dictatorship

January, 31st to October 13th, 2013
Now presented in an enlarged version in the exhibition trench.

To mark the 80th anniversary of the Nazi ”takeover of power,” the Topography of Terror Foundation is showing the temporary exhibition ”Berlin 1933 – The Path to Dictatorship.” In pictures and documents, it highlights the key stages in the establishment of Nazi rule during the first six months of the Third Reich in the historical setting of Berlin. It also focuses on the fate of the early victims of Nazi terror in Berlin. The number of political opponents and others murdered by the Nazis in 1933 has been inadequately researched thus far. For that reason, representative biographies and a compilation of the names of early victims of Nazi terror in Berlin with brief biographical data the spatial and thematic constitute the core of the presentation.

There is a German-English bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition.


Wilhelmstraße 1933–1945
The Rise and Fall of the Nazi Government Quarter

June 19 to November 25, 2012

Wilhelmstraße and its surrounding area became the centre of German politics from the end of the 19th century. With all the main ministries and government offices based there, the name ”Wilhelmstraße” soon became a common synonym for the German government. Following Hitler’s appointment as Reich Chancellor on 30 January 1933, the Nazis moved into the government quarter. They made their imprint on it in various ways, moving new government offices there, restructuring existing authorities, carrying out extensive building construction and renovation, and even using the street itself as a political stage.

The exhibition catalogue, published bilingually (German/English) under the same title, includes the major sections of the exhibition and further information on the history of Wilhelmstraße and the Ministries Trial.


In memory of the children. Pediatricians and crimes against children in the Nazi period

January 18 to May 20, 2012

An Exhibition of the German Society of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Over seventy years after the systematic extermination of physically and mentally handicapped individuals began in 1939/1940, this exhibition recollected this dark chapter, the child euthanasia program during the Nazi period. Under this program, medical crimes were perpetrated against sick and disabled persons in Germany, including children and teenagers, based on Nazi racial ideology. Through 1945, over 10,000 of them fell victim to the various programs which were designed to exterminate life unworthy of living.
The exhibition showed that the physicians were involved in the killings were generally not concerned with painlessly ending the suffering of these individuals, but rather with ridding the public of ballast existences whose lives were extended only long enough to serve science, in accordance with Nazi racial ideology.

An exhibition catalogue has also been published.


In Plain Sight” – The Deportation of the Jews and the Auctioning of their Household Effects: Photographs from Lörrach, 1940

October 25, 2011 to January 8, 2012 

The series of pictures shown here, which encompasses 42 photographs of the deportation of the Jews in Lörrach on October 22, 1940 and of the auctioning of property from their homes a few weeks after this public crime, is a devastating visual document of those events. The original negatives for both series, which were taken by a police officer, have survived. The scarcity of written records of these events lends particular importance to the visual sources, although they reflect the perspective of the perpetrators who commissioned the photos. They give us a very immediate sense of the atmosphere of these events, illuminating facets of the social history of this Nazi crime, which was only one among so many. They preserve in pictures the faces of those who were involved on the side of the perpetrators, but also demonstrate that this crime was, in part, committed publicly, in full view of numerous spectators.

An illustrated catalogue in German has also been published to accompany the exhibition.


Facing Justice - Adolf Eichmann on Trial

A joint exhibition of the Topography of Terror Foundation, The Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe Foundation and the House of the Wannsee Conference Memorial and Educational site.

April 6 - September 18, 2011

Fifty years ago, in April 1961, the Jerusalem District Court opened proceedings against Adolf Eichmann, former SS Obersturmbannführer and head of section IV B 4 for “Jewish Affairs.” The trial became a major media event. But it was not only a single perpetrator in the Holocaust who was brought before the public eye. For the first time, descriptions by victims received attention around the world. In Jerusalem the era of contemporary witnesses had dawned. Eichmann’s appearance before the court also triggered discussions about the guilt and responsibility of individuals within the Nazi system. This exhibition, designed around the original film footage from the courtroom, was dedicated to these two aspects of the trial: witness testimony and the perpetrator’s strategy. An exhibition catalogue has also been published.


From the Sachsenburg to Sachsenhausen
Pictures from the Photograph Album of a Concentration Camp Commandant

October 20, 2010 – February 27, 2011

An exhibition of the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation / Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum (first shown in 2006)

The exhibition presents photos from a service album belonging to SS-Obersturmführer Karl Otto Koch that was found in the archive of the Russian secret service in Moscow. The album documents his career in the SS from May 1933 to mid-1937. In 1936 Koch took over the leadership of Sachsenhausen, the new concentration camp that was built as a “modern” concentration camp and model and training camp from which all the concentration camps were soon to be administrated and organized. Koch had previously served as commandant in the camps Hohenstein, Sachsenburg, Columbia Berlin, Lichtenburg and Esterwegen.


The Face of the Ghetto.
Photos Taken by Jewish Photographers in the Litzmannstadt Ghetto, 1940–1944

June 23 to October 3, 2010

A few Jewish photographers, commissioned by the Litzmannstadt “Jewish Council,” took thousands of photographs of almost every aspect of ghetto life. Nearly 12,000 contact prints have survived and are currently held in the Lodz state archive. Fifty large-scale photographs from the Litzmannstadt Ghetto – the name given to Lodz by the German occupiers in 1940 – are shown in the exhibition, making the little known photo collection accessible to the public for the first time. The presentation, designed as a traveling exhibition, is accompanied by statements from former residents of the ghetto and entries from the ghetto chronicle. A short overview of the ghetto’s history, a description of the photography as an historic source and information about the photographers provide an introduction into the exhibition. The photographs, officially commissioned by the “Jewish Council,” convey the Jewish photographers empathy with the ghetto inhabitants, clearly illuminating the ambivalence created by the ghetto inhabitants’ hopeless situation and their efforts to maintain their dignity and survive for as long as possible.


Fire! Anti-Jewish Terror on “Kristallnacht” in November 1938

The exhibition “Fire! Anti-Jewish Terror in November 1938” was developed in cooperation with the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe Foundation and the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation. The joint exhibition project that was planned for the 70th anniversary of the November pogroms in 1938 served to historically document the public attack on German Jewry that was carried out five and a half years after the Nazis came to power.

Presented from November 2008 to March 2009 in Centrum Judaicum

A catalogue of the same name is available.