The Story of Valentin S.

A „Poster-Novel“ by Ihor Tvoronovych

10 September - 31 October 2021

The posters tell the story of Valentin S., who was a Nazi forced labourer during the Second World War. Each image motif reflects a moment in Valentin S.'s story. The posters can be read as a coherent story, they are like a novel in pictures.

The story of Valentin S. was passed down in two ways in the family: on a postcard and orally from his sister: Valentin S. was deported from Kyiv to the transit camp Genthin near Berlin. Afterwards he worked with his sister on a farm in the Berlin area. After an argument with the farmer, Valentin was sent to a Westphalian mine as punishment. He fled from there because of the very hard work and hid from the authorities for some time. The last reference to Valentin S. can be found in the lists of the Dachau concentration camp: His name is noted with the date of death 1944. The background to his death is unclear.

Valentin S. was the artist's great uncle. For Ihor Tvoronovych, the poster series is a study of family history. He wants to use it to make certain key moments in history emotionally comprehensible. To do this, he uses methods of product advertising: here, the story of a person is told in order to create an emotional connection to the "consumer". Ihor Tvoronovych uses this principle to enhance the empathetic effect. At the same time, he breaks many motifs ironically and adds modern elements to them. In this way, the artist offers a completely new approach to understanding history - with the help of the new form "poster novella".

The life story of Valentin S. has many points of contact with the fate of other forced labourers - and at the same time is a unique example of the struggle of an oppressed individual against an authoritarian system. The forced labourer Valentin S. was a victim of the Nazi dictatorship. However, he repeatedly rebelled against the regime until his death and demonstrated his own will to act. This is also shown in the exhibition by Ihor Tvoronovych.

About the artist:

Ihor Tvoronovych is a 25-year-old artist, graphic designer and political activist from Kyiv. He runs the organisation "Free Education Space". He is currently teaching and doing his PhD at the Faculty of Architecture of the National University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in Kyiv. At the same time, Ihor Tvoronovych gives a course on universal design, volunteers with Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASF) and is involved in social projects. His areas of interest include social and political issues of life in Europe, human rights and universal design.

The exhibition is supported by the Foundation Remembrance, Responsibility and Future, Meet-up: German-Ukrainian Youth Encounters and the Future Scholarship Programme, and the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre.

Postscriptum. "Ostarbeiter" in the German Reich

15 October 2020 - end of August 2021

The exhibition "Postscriptum - 'Ostarbeiter' im Deutschen Reich" by the Memorial Society commemorates the Soviet women, men and children who were forced to do forced labour for the Nazi regime during the Second World War.

The National Socialists deported around 8.4 million civilians to the German Reich for forced labour. The approximately 3 million people from the Soviet Union - the "Ostarbeiter" - formed the largest group among them. The German war economy was urgently dependent on these workers. At the same time, the Nazi security authorities insisted on consistently excluding the Slavic forced labourers from German society. Marked with the badge "OST" they were exposed to extremely poor working and living conditions.


In The Cellars of Berlin

Underground armament production of the Telefunken company in the war years 1944/45

7 December 2020 - 25 July 2021

A largely unknown chapter of Berlin's urban history is the underground relocation of armaments production at the end of the war in 1944 / 1945. The exhibition "In the Cellars of Berlin" is now dedicated to this topic using the example of the Telefunken company, which operated the largest German tube factory in Sickingenstraße in Moabit.

Starting in 1944, parts of the tube production were moved from Moabit's Sickingenstrasse to three large brewery cellars in Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg, as well as to a subway tunnel near the Reichstag. The female name Lore was intended to camouflage the underground facilities:

    Lore 1 - today's Kulturbrauerei, Schönhauser Allee 36, Prenzlauer Berg.
    Lore 2 - Bock Brewery, Fidicinstrasse 3, Kreuzberg
    Lore 3 - Königstadt Brewery, Saarbrücker Straße 24, Prenzlauer Berg
    Lore 4 - Underground tunnel, Reichstag, Mitte

The exhibition goes on a search for traces to these four historical places. Themes include the conversion of brewery cellars into armaments factories, the role of forced labor, and the conflict over whether the cellars should be used to protect the civilian population or for armaments production.

Without the high-tech product electron tubes, it would not have been possible to operate radio and radar systems, jamming transmitters or radio controls for rockets.

After its presentation at the Nazi Forced Labor Documentation Center, the exhibition will go on tour. It is planned, subject to current developments in the Corona pandemic, to show it also at the historical locations, in the above-mentioned Berlin breweries.

The exhibition consists of eight panels, which can be shown both inside and outside. A stable support system is available.

Information can be obtained from Thomas Irmer: 0151/64507809


Archaeology of the Nazi Internment Camps

26 May 2020 - 18 April 2021

Combs, spoons, eating bowls and barbed wire – archaeological finds tell us about life and survival – but also death – in the Nazi internment camps.

Since the 1990s archaeological excavations have been conducted at the sites of former camps in Berlin and Brandenburg and large quantities of finds have been recovered. The exhibition Exclusion: Archaeology of the Nazi Internment Camps is now displaying many of these objects for the first time. More than 300 exhibits in seven chapters provide us with an insight into the complex system of the internment camps and into their archaeological legacy, as well as into the work being done by Contemporary Archaeology.

According to current plans, the exhibition will be on display at the Brandenburg State Archaeological Museum from 8 May 2021.

Photos             360° View                  Exhibition leaflet                  Catalogue

Holocaust and Forced Labour in Galicia

Destruction and Survival

30 August 2019 - 2 February 2020

Galicia is a region in East-Central Europe that is divided today between Poland and Ukraine. Different ethnicities and religions, especially Poles, Ukrainians and Jews, had lived together in this region since the mediaeval period. The Second World War destroyed their peaceful coexistence.

Eighty years ago, in September 1939, the German Reich occupied West Galicia, while the Soviet Union annexed the eastern part. After the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941 Germany also conquered East Galicia where it formed the District of Galicia. Over 500,000 Jews lived there. The Germans murdered nearly all of them.

The exhibition traces the fate of the Jewish Lipman family and the actions of rescuers Bernhard and Else Beitz as well as Donata and Eberhard Helmrich. It shows forms and places of forced labour as a constituent part of the Holocaust in Galicia – and reveals the possibilities it offered for saving human lives.

For the Nazi forced labor documentation center, the touring exhibition was expanded by several aspects that deepen the connection between the Holocaust and forced labor in Galicia.

Philibert and Fifi

Caricatures and Drawings by a French Forced Labourer

An exhibition of the NS-Documentation Centre of the City Cologne
23 November 2018 – 28 April 2019

Even before his deportation to Germany, the French artist Philibert Charrin (1920-2007) dealt with National Socialism in his caricatures: Hitler as a warlord, Goebbels as a loudmouth. In April 1943, the French Vichy government forcibly sent him to the German Reich to work as a forced laborer near Grazin Austria. With the help of his drawings, Charrin dealt humorously with the work, the Austrians and the other forced labourers - always accompanied by the stick figure "Fifi", which can be found on almost all drawings. Many of his caricatures mock the alleged "master race" or refer to resistance and sabotage by the forced laborers. One part of the drawings depicts their everyday life and circumstances. These statements are mostly encoded by skilful depiction or witty language. What all the drawings have in common is the humour with which Charrin depicts those times despite the harsh living conditions.

English leaflet                        circulaire française

Batteries for the Wehrmacht

Forced Labour at Pertrix 1939-1945

13 November 2015 - 28 October 2018

Pertrix, a subsidiary of AFA (Akkumulatorenfabrik AG), a member of the Quandt group, manufactured dry batteries and torches for the Wehrmacht and supplied fuse batteries for combat aircraft to the Luftwaffe. Batteries were a central product of the war industry and one of the most important sources of income for the Quandt group. During the war, Pertrix employed all groups of forced laborers: Berlin Jews in "closed work", prisoners of war and Italian military internees, Western European civilian workers, Eastern workers, Poles, concentration camp prisoners. Most of them were women. The exhibition illuminates the role of the company in the German armaments industry and within the group. The dangerous work in the battery factory is reported on the basis of original objects and interviews with contemporary witnesses.

The exhibition can be borrowed under certain conditions.

The exhibition was sponsored by the Johanna Quandt Foundation.


Forced Labour in Berlin 1938-1945

24 August 2006 - 3 May 2007 and 11 June 2009 - 5 May 2013

An Exhibition of the Berlin Regional Museums

Who were the people who had to do forced labour in Berlin, where did they come from and under what conditions did they have to live and work? Who were the profiteers and who organized and administered the forced labour operation? What was the fate of the survivors after the war like? What traces did the mass use of forced labor leave in Berlin's urban space and in the memories of the Berlin population? This exhibition, which was developed on the basis of regional research by eleven regional museums and institutions in 2002, explores these and other questions. In 2005, this exhibition was expanded to include the subject of forced labour in the Berlin-Brandenburg operations of the Flick Group.

Forced Labor and Aryanization

Warnecke & Böhm - An Example

27 September 2011 - 27 January 2013

The company "Warnecke & Böhm - Fabriken für Lacke und Farben" had its headquarters in Goethestraße in the Berlin district of Weißensee. Until 1945 Warnecke & Böhm became one of the leading suppliers of protective coatings for the armament industry of the German Reich.

Between 1939 and 1945, the company employed a large number of forced laborers, including Jews living in Berlin and foreign civilian workers.

The history of the forced labor of Jews at Warnecke & Böhm also includes the "Aryanization" of the company and thus the expulsion of the co-owner Heinrich Richard Brinn after 1933. He was later obliged to do forced labor in Berlin, deported and murdered.

The exhibition focuses on the personal files of former Jewish forced laborers at Warnecke & Böhm. These files comprise a total of 352 files, copies of which have been preserved in the archives of the New Synagogue - Centrum Judaicum Foundation since 1991. Only in the course of preparing the exhibition was it possible to track down the original files, which had previously been believed lost.

The personal files document how the "closed work deployment" of Jewish forced laborers was organized by a number of official and internal departments in the sense of "proper administrative action". They receive job allocations, personal forms, registrations with and deregistrations from the General Local Health Insurance Fund, company ID cards, stamp cards, wage and tax statements, work accident protocols, sick certificates, holiday applications, applications for exemption, but also complaints, objections and demands from forced laborers.

In view of this bureaucratically organized system of disenfranchisements, harassment, health risks and even open violence, the personnel files also document the effort, the courage and the strength of Jewish forced laborers, against the treatment at Warnecke & Böhm appeal and especially for the discretionary scope that the company possessed to use in their favor.

61 Jewish forced laborers of the company Warnecke & Böhm survived the time of the National Socialist dictatorship. The others - 306 people - were murdered in concentration and extermination camps.

An exhibition of the Museum of the district Berlin-Pankow in cooperation with the foundation "Neue Synagoge Berlin - Centrum Judaicum".

Building blocks

History and Perspectives of the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Center

24 August 2006 - 27 January 2013

The "Bausteine" exhibition provides information on the history of the former forced labour camp in Berlin-Schöneweide from 1943 to 1945, which is still unique today as a whole. Built by the "General Building Inspector for the Reich Capital" Albert Speer, it was one of around 3,000 collective shelters for forced labourers in Berlin. Italian military internees and civilian workers, female concentration camp prisoners and civilian workers from various European nations were accommodated here. They had to work in one of the numerous factories of the Schöneweide Armaments Centre. The exhibition also documents the history of the origins of the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre, which was only made possible by many years of civic involvement, and its tasks as an exhibition, archive, and learning location. On display are photographs, documents, plans and original objects.

Mrs. Zhuk and her granddaughter

Mrs. Zhuk and her granddaughter

21 September 2010 - 13 November 2011

The event/photo exhibition was made possible by forum bmp and other private and public sponsors.

Maria Zhuk
Born 1924 in the village of Begatsch/Ukraine. 1932/33 Golodomor hunger period. 1937 Forced collectivization. 1939-41 Father in the Gulag. 1942 forced to work in Germany. 1943 concentration camp Ravensbrück, 1944 concentration camp Sachsenhausen, weapons factory Silvia. 1945 return. Mother killed in bombing, father suicide in 1945. Second hunger period. Enemy of the people, surveillance by the NKWD/KGB. 1947 Marriage. The man, seven years in the army, dies in 1995. 1948 birth of the first of four children. Publication of various memoirs in Soviet and Ukrainian newspapers.

Yanina Lazarenko
Born 1976 in Chernigow. 1995 Model in Kiev. 1997 Studies at the Institute of International Relations. 1999-2001 several longer periods in Western Europe. 2002-03 Moscow. 2005 Life in the Crimea under the open sky. 2006-07 Project manager in Moscow for Elle, Psychology and Departures. 2008 Birth of her daughter. 2009-10 single mother in Kiev.

Forgotten. Displaced. Reconciled.

Places of Nazi forced labor in the Dahme-Spreewald region

18 June 2010 - 11 September 2011

An exhibition of the association Kulturlandschaft Dahme-Spreewald

In the Dahme-Spreewald region, too, forced labor was part of an enormous armaments machinery that could only function as long as thousands of foreign forced laborers were employed here. Airplanes were built in Schönefeld, locomotives and torpedoes in Wildau, and the necessary ammunition was produced in the No. 6 Army Munitions Institute in Töpchin. The forced laborers were employed in medium-sized industry as well as in municipal service companies and private households. A special section of the exhibition is devoted to the forced labor of Jewish prisoners in the Königs Wusterhausen subcamp.

Tear through a life

Memories of Ukrainian Forced Laborers in the Rhineland

11 June 2009 - 6 June 2010

An exhibition of the Landschaftsverband Rheinland-Pfalz

Following a visit programme by the Landschaftsverband Rheinland in March 2006 for former forced labourers from the Ukraine, it was possible to launch another project. Many of the survivors were no longer able to travel, but were very interested in making contact. The project made it possible to travel to them, to record their life stories and to document them in a travelling exhibition together with an accompanying publication and CD-ROM. The forced laborers who could be visited in the Ukraine were patients in the former Landesfrauenklinik and Hebammenlehranstalt Wuppertal Elberfeld as "Eastern Workers". Ten life stories are presented which reflect very individual fates. Most of them had to undergo the birth of their first child under the conditions of forced labour, two are daughters of forced labourers who were born in Wuppertal.

Total Work

Forced labour of the Czech population for the Third Reich

29 May 2008 - 31 May 2009

Exhibition under the patronage of the Foreign Ministers of the Czech Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany.

In the context of the Nazi occupation policy, the exhibition focuses on the gradual development of Nazi forced labour in the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia". It shows the mobilization of the Czech population up to the forced recruitment of entire cohorts. The exhibition documents the deployment of labour and the living conditions of Czech forced labourers as well as the system of work and punishment in labour education camps. The slave labour of the concentration camp prisoners and the specific situation of Czech Jews and Roma are also described in detail. Around 250 mainly personal documents and photographs, some of which are being shown for the first time in Germany, are on display.

Particularly noteworthy are the unique pictures of the Czech photographer Zdeněk Tmej from the years of his forced labor 1942-1944. An exhibition chapter is dedicated specifically to the forced labor of the Czechs in Berlin. A film with excerpts from interviews with survivors and thematic commemorative booklets supplement these testimonies.

For example, Bosch

Forced labor for an armaments factory in Kleinmachnow

31 January  - 18 May 2008

During the Second World War, Dreilinden-Maschinenbau GmbH Kleinmachnow, a subsidiary of the Bosch Group, deployed more than 2,500 civilian forced laborers, prisoners of war, and concentration camp prisoners of various nationalities. The exhibition, reworked by Angela Martin for the Documentation Center and designed by Hanna Sjöberg, documents the history of the company and the use of forced labor with numerous photographs, documents, plans, and original exhibits. Reading desks contain in-depth material. Quotes from interviews with survivors form a narrative strand from the victims' perspective.


Slave and Forced Laborers of the Third Reich from Poland 1939-1945

8 May 2007 - 20 January 2008

The theme of this exhibition is the history of the 2.8 to 3 million Polish men, women and children who were forced to work in German war and agriculture during the Second World War. Display boards with photos and documents, original objects, biographies and a film illustrate the fate of these people.

The Polish version of the exhibition was developed by the Polish-German Reconciliation Foundation in Warsaw and has been shown in various Polish cities since 2005. In cooperation with the Documentation Centre for NS Forced Labor, an updated German version was produced, which will be shown at other locations in Germany.