Photo. Refugees waiting to be admitted to the Marienfelde Refugee Center, August 14, 1961
© DHM-Schirner
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The Museum

The mission of the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum is to document the history of German division, flight from the GDR and the experience of refugees starting over in the FRG, and to preserve that history for future generations.

The museum is housed in the historic Refugee Center building that stood on the front lines of the Cold War, where the competing systems of capitalism and communism collided. The museum allows visitors to explore perspectives from both sides of the German-German border. Unlike any other site, Marienfelde portrays the history of divided Germany as a narrative shared by East and West. Emigration out of East Germany to West Germany was an ever-present and complicated issue for both German states, albeit with differing effects on their respective politics, economy, and society.

However, the duality of post-war German history is not only reflected in such geopolitical structures. It also emerges most significantly in the lives of the refugees and emigrants whose personal experiences span East and West. The former refugee center at Marienfelde is thus not only a political memorial site, it is also a personal site of remembrance for those whose lives were affected by this site and its history, whether as refugees who spent time living here, or as workers, administrators, or volunteers that helped staff the center.