Photo. Refugees waiting to be admitted to the Marienfelde Refugee Center, August 14, 1961
© DHM-Schirner
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The Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum collects and preserves the material record of this historic site. Our museum also collects and preserves the history of refugee flight from East Germany to the West, a history in which this site played a significant role.

The museum’s collection is based on what was left behind by the State Office for Health and Social Welfare, whose archives were left to the supporting association after the refugee center closed in July 1990. This collection was significantly expanded for the permanent exhibition in 2004/2005 – not least by gifts from former refugees, immigrants, and employees of the refugee center. Since the opening of the permanent archive, the emphasis has remained on collecting witness testimonies, information about persecution in East Germany, and about arrival and integration in West Germany.

A look into our collection

What does the collection include?

Our collection comprises objects and documents from the former refugee center, the reception procedure for refugees and witness accounts from East German refugees.

The documents from the former refugee center include various archives, such as administrative files and refugee processing forms, the former center’s equipment, and rubber stamps used when the center was still active. They give a view into the center’s organization, the work of individual offices, and the everyday lives of the refugees themselves.

Another part of the collection is comprised of mementos and items used by families and individual people. These items are part of our contemporary witness archive, and have either been given or loaned to the museum.

Photo Archive

The photo archive includes about 3,000 prints and negatives. The largest part of this archive comes from the Evangelische Flüchtlingsseelsorge (Evangelical Pastoral Care and Aid Society) and documents their work in the West Berlin Refugee Centers between 1953 and 1962. In addition, there are photos from refugees and witnesses, as well as from the Berlin press.

Historical Press Archive

The historical press archive includes newspaper articles and clippings compiled by the different administrative offices of the former refugee camp from 1953 to 1990. This archive consists mainly of notices and reports from the Berlin daily press concerning flight from East Germany, refugee policy in West Germany, and relations between the two German states.



Dr. Manfred Wichmann
Collections and Archives
Fon: +49 (0)30 213085-276
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