EAST GERMANY | Zeitgeschichtliches Forum, Leipzig’s GDR museum

2020. Corona. Travelling is a different game. Yet our Fernhweh acted up too often. So we arranged a train trip to Germany and Austria. Specifically to Leipzig in Saxony, several spots in Bavaria and returning home with ÖBB‘s Nightjet from Innsbruck in Tyrol to Brussels in Belgium.

Leipzig has a very interesting museum on the history of the German Democratic Republic (GDR), perhaps better known as East Germany. But the museum has a discreet name: the Zeitgeschichtliches Forum: the Forum of Contemporary History

The Zeitgeschichtliches Forum opened in 1999 and focuses on the history of the German division, everyday life in the communist dictatorship of the GDR, and the reunification process.

The permanent exhibition gives insight into the history of opposition and civil disobedience in the repressive one-party state of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). 

Furthermore, it focuses on the history of everyday life in the Soviet Occupation Zone and the GDR from the end of World War II in 1945 until the Peaceful Revolution of 1989 and German reunification. 

The fundamental revision of the permanent exhibition, completed in 2018, gives more space to the time period after the reunification. New topics are the successes and difficulties or growing together, international terrorism, digitization and globalization. 2000 objects, photos and films, as well as numerous interviews with eyewitnesses illustrate the recent history of Germany.

Alongside the permanent exhibition the museum displays several temporary exhibitions every year.

Contemporary approach

Perhaps unsurprising for a Forum of Contemporary History, the museum is contemporary, with a contemporary look and feel and style, which reminds us of the House of European History in Brussels. 

After touring the museum, you will definitely have an insight of the life in and history of the GDR and its aftermath. Because that (hi)story does not stop on the 9th of November 1989 with the Fall of the Berlin Wall, neither on the formal reunification on the 3rd of October 1990 with the Zwei-plus-Vier-Vertrag

A must-visit museum in Leipzig.

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